If you like wearing a green dress for work, there is no reason you can’t look smart and mix up how you style it.
On the left I have started off with black and green. Black and green are easy to match and you probably are doing this combination already! (moving anti-clockwise) Navy works equally as well next to green and is a smart alternative to black for work.
There are various different shade of navy from very deep dark navy to a lighter brighter version. Choose a shade that works for you.
I have chosen to add a red belt in the next look. With regards to red with green, I would keep the amount of red to a minimum so you don’t look too Christmasy (or vice versa in a mostly red look). Here I have kept the majority of accessories as nude.
Pick out the red in a lipstick to create a unity across the look or if one red accessory is not enough!
Pink looks nice next to green and again go for a pink shade that suites your skin tone. Red and green are complimentary colours.
Because pink is a mix of red and white it works very well with the green and is less obvious than red.
Orange and green work well together. You can use burnt orange, deep dark orange or a bright orange. It all depends on the green tone and the colours that suit you.
Last but not least we move round to burgundy. Because burgundy, red wine or oxblood are shades of red they work well against green. These dark shades are a great alternative to black, navy or grey.
Just a little side note on working with 2 colours in an outfit. My personal feeling is that you need a neutral colour in there as well. Neutral colours such as black, white or grey. In my opinion if every accessory you add is red, it looks very much like you’ve tried way too hard!
I like to think of it as a recipe. For example:
70% main colour (Look 3. A blue dress)
20% Accessory colour (Look 3. Red belt, necklace and bag)
10% Neutral colour (Look 3. Black shoes and tights)
So now you need to pick your blue dress. These are some of the best ones for work I have found in the shops at the moment.
A purple suit is a great alternative to a black, navy or grey suit. Don’t be scared of adding pops of colour; purple can take it!
Purple is a great winter colour – warm and sumptuous. Because it is made up of red and blue you can add both of these colours to purple. Yellowy green looks lovely next to purple because yellow is purple’s complimentary colour (see here about complimentary colours).
This week black and white skirts have been catching my eye. A black and white patterned skirt is a great piece for your working wardrobe. It has such versatility; you can probably accessorise and pair it with various different items you already own.
Don’t forget to choose a skirt length and shape that suits you. It’s best not to just jump in and purchase just because you love the skirt and the pattern (a note from personal experience!!).
You purchased a black and white skirt. The next step is to asses your wardrobe.
1. The first option is a styling option that has been recently trending: mixing pattern with pattern in one outfit. This doesn’t have to look crazy but it can be harder to find a good match of items. It’s best to use a larger scale pattern on one item with a smaller scale pattern on the other. A pop of colour added to the mix can lighten the look.
2. Pull out all the blouses/shirts/tops (in one colour) you have for work. Now put the skirt on and try it with each of the coloured tops.
What do you think? Do you like yourself in that colour put with the black and white skirt?
In this example I have matched the bag to the shirt to unify the look.
3. This is the most straight forward styling option. Select all the grey, white and black tops/blouses/shirts out of your wardrobe and try them on with the skirt. Sometimes a style of blouse will go better than another. Until you get them on it can be hard to say. To brighten this look it’s nice to highlight parts of your outfit in a colour. In this example I’ve used a belt, shoes and nail varnish but you could use different items. Try a coloured jacket/cardigan, necklace or bag instead.
If you want a stylish, practical handbag that fits your laptop and personal effects in then I’ve done the leg work and found a range of bags for you. Each blog entry in this mini series about laptop bags is about a different size of laptop.
15″ and 15.5″ Women’s Laptop bags
If you like a big screen laptop like me then there is less choice of stylish laptop bags that will fit your lovely laptop in. The following are the details and a breakdown of my top picks for handbags that hold 15″ and 15.5″ laptops. I have sectioned it by brand.
I personally love all the Milli Millu bags. The Founder, Mireia Llusia-Lindh, has managed a very careful balance of attractive designs and practicality. My one criticism of the website would be the lack of filter to narrow down the bags by laptop size – this would have saved my disappointment of going through each bag and finding I only had one choice for a 15.5″, The Zurich.
For a 15″ laptop from Milli Millu you have the option of The Rio or The Zurich.
Two very different options, The Zurich is very structured and The Rio has a much softer laid back luxe look. Both bags have a great shoulder strap length which makes them both perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
The Rio Handle drop: 23cm and The Zurich Handle drop: 20cm.
The Zurich is a perfect handbag for a busy professional with its five separate compartments for laptop/tablet, papers, pens, smartphone and a zipped pocket for personal items. It’s always good to think about the security of your items when commuting so the zip at the top that closes the Zurich completes this bag.
Knomo is another great brand that has really focused on providing a more attractive bag combined with the practicalities we all require! For the 15″ laptop you will find a larger range of options.
Let’s start with the Great Portland and Portland Place – two very similar looking bags. The main difference is in the size of laptop you can fit in. The Portland Place can hold a laptop up to 17″ but only comes in black whereas the Great Portland can hold a laptop up to 15″ and comes in 4 colour options.
They are both made from lightweight and soft nylon. With EVA foam and a double stitched diamond quilting. Are you wondering what EVA foam is and why it is worth mentioning?!! Yes so did I …..
Benefits of Eva foam:
Impact and vibration absorption
Weather and chemical resistance including splash resistance to oils and fuels
Acoustic and thermal insulation properties
Buoyancy with low water absorption
Suitability for thermo-forming and thermo-moulding
Zip across the top to close
Have an internal quilted and padded compartment to protect the laptop
To fit in extra items – both sides of the bags unzip and expand
Soft padded shoulder straps
Internal pouches and zip pockets for all your extra bits
Hanna and Picton
These are probably my favorite bags from Knomo for combining style and function. Two stylish leather handbags that will both fit over the shoulder and easily carry your 15″ laptop and other belongings. Both bags have a quilted and padded compartment to hold and protect your 15″ laptop. The leather for both bags is quite different. Hannah is made from a soft pebbled leather and Picton is made from a hard durable Saffiano leather.
Inside the Picton there is a panel in which you can store items like pens, memory sticks or business cards. A front pocket on the exterior is great for items like your Oyster card that you want to grab quickly. There is also an additional interior zip compartment – maybe you can keep some personal items in here. A nice long shoulder drop of 25 cm means Picton will easily sit on your shoulder.
Hanna (available in red, black or grey)
The sides of Hanna unzip for easy and maximum access to the main compartment. The handle drop is 24cm and will be very comfortable on the shoulder as they are made from padded soft pebbled leather. The top zip fastening adds that extra bit of security.
Aspinal of London
The Marylebone Tech
Aspinal of London have obviously put a lot of thought into this bag design. With its mobile phone pocket and padded ipod compartment both designed with a cable path. The bag is designed to carry a battery charger for both mobiles and ipads, so you can charge on the go! But I wasn’t so impressed that this charger had to be purchased separately (£100).
The bag is made of navy pebble textured Italian calf leather. The handle drop is quite short at 5.5″/13.5cm. So to me this is more of a grab tote or crook of the arm bag than an over the shoulder handbag.
In addition to the padded ipad compartment and phone pocket there is a large main compartment and two external hidden pockets. The large main compartment means you should be able to get a laptop in too and potentially fit up to 17.3″ laptop in there – but I would check with Aspinal of London first. For added security the bag closes with a full length zip.
Also available in deer (beige shade), black or black and cream. Or the option is there Marlyebone Tote which is the same size but doesn’t have the option to carry the charger or have the cable paths. It comes in brown or black.
Another brand I am totally loving at the moment is Bobelle. Although the designer has not done a many work bag/laptop bags the styles and designs are gorgeous.
Spacious enough for a tablet or small laptop (up to about a 15″ laptop), wallet and other accessories.
The lovely suede lining is quite different to all the other grosgrain linings other handbags are wearing!
The bag has a lockable external pocket, an internal zip pocket, an internal mobile phone pocket, pen holder and spare holder. The handle drop of 21cm is perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
This is a smart looking laptop bag from Kate Spade. This is a padded nylon bag so it’s light and it has some smart patent leather trims. I really like the fact you have the two strap options – the long (23″/58.5cm) adjustable strap for across body or shoulder wear and the handheld handles (5.25”/13cm). The bag fits a 15″ laptop and you have room for more items in there too with an interior double slide pocket and middle divider.
The bag style is more your traditional laptop case than all the others but it is smart and has a more subtle stylishness!
Other brands for colour and patterns!
You could go for a bright colour or nice pattern to jazz up your commute. Try Marc by Marc Jacobs or Orla Kiely. Some practical bags with some nice bright and interesting covers.
So to sum it up, my laptop is 15.5″ laptop (screen size): is 27cm height and 38cm length. Really there aren’t many options at all for a stylish handbag for a 15.5″ laptop… it’s the Zurich from Milli Millu or the Marlybone Tech/tote from Aspinal of London. Hopefully your laptop is a 15″ or less! All my favorite Milli Millu bags come in smaller sizes! Please Milli Millu do one of your bags bigger because my laptop is a 15.5″ but won’t fit into your Zurich bag!
2013 is gone – lets get 2014 started on a high. There is nothing like a high heel to make your legs look amazing and to make you feel confident. If you want to make an entrance into a meeting or new job – grab yourself one of the new court shoe arrivals in store!
These high wedge L.K.Bennett Shoes might be the perfect balance of height and easy to walk in and smart look!
Maybe choose a different pattern, print or colour to freshen up a simple suit or outfit.
Adding colourful accessories could work just as easily with a grey trouser suit.
The colour you wear has an instant impact in a first impression, a meeting and a presentation.
It doesn’t need to be a full coloured outfit – accessories work just as well. Choose one colour, for instance, purple.
You can add purple in a variety of areas of your outfit:
nail varnish, purse, handbag, cardigan, shoes, scarf, belt or jewellery!
Most people have a work commute of some sort. If you, like many in the City of London, thought it was a great idea to buy a big house and live in the countryside and commute into the City for work. I hope your commuting bag is prepared with the daily essentials. With an extra long train commute sometimes it’s these things that can make or break your day!
I’d also like to add into the mix your phone charger or a portable charger which could save you on the days when your phone is dying on the way home and you need to make that call for a late night lift from the station!
So, you’ve managed to land that big interview you’ve been working so hard for. Don’t think that the hard work is over just yet. A well known fact is that people judge people when they first meet (consciously or not!).
The key is to know the job role you are going for, what other people wear in that role and to be the best version of yourself that you can present.
Present yourself visually as someone that is the best fit for the role. Who do they want to see? A smartly dressed woman, yes. But don’t forget your personality – you need them to remember you and to stay feeling like yourself (you on a really great day!).
The outfit I put together above is a look that I personally would use for a variety of different roles and companies. You could equally work the same look in a skirt or trouser suit with a pop of colour in your shoes and bag.
Previously when going for a fashion role I would wear clothes that fit with the look of the brand. For example if I was going for an interview with a company like L K Bennett I would wear a smart, work wear dress with some nice court shoes. But if I was going for a job at Topshop I would wear a look that was bang on trend but with an added bit of quirky.
This concept works if you look at various different banks, lawyer firms and accountant firms. They are projecting an image to their customers about the companies brand/personality.
For example; Does the accountancy firm you are interviewing with, appeal to young up and coming businesses? Your look should stay smart but not unapproachable and stuffy. I have found that thinking in this way for my own interviews in office or fashion roles helps to focus what I choose to wear and makes you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget to only wear items that are polished and well looked after. That trusty bag that has been stuffed to the brim and stuck in the tube door may not be the best choice!
I have also included some things to remember for the day. Some obvious ideas, but in the heat of panic it is all too easy to forget to put your phone on silent or equally, turn vibrate off.
To those of you going for an interview, good luck and if you’d like to add anything please do!