What colours to wear when travelling for business accross the world

Colours accross the world – what to wear when travelling for business?

Take a moment when you are dressing for work to consider the colour/s you put on and what image that portrays. You may need the boost of confidence from wearing your favourite red dress and you want to project a bold image to the world.

We don’t all interpret colours in the same way. When travelling accross the world it is worth keeping in mind the key colours to avoid or wear for particular occassions.

For instance, traditionally South Africa red is a colour of mourning and in Thailand it is to be worn on Sundays. This website lists some cultural colour meanings and as they say these are traditional meanings but things change in cultures and it is worth doing some research if you are going on a business trip.

Take a look at this colour wheel that shows the various colours and the meanings of colours accross culturescolour cultures wheel

Click here to go to the interactive wheel of colours, meanings and cultures

Colour placement in fashion outfits

When designing a piece of clothing a designer must consider it as part of an outfit. This outfit has to look visually ‘right’. Making an outfit look ‘right’ usually includes balance and points of focus. In my previous blog post I discussed the length of sleeves and balancing out the body. I’m going to look here at how colour placement can influence the eye.

Visual balance in art and design can often be achieved by using odd numbers.

In art there is the visual triangle where objects or people are arranged to create an invisible triangle shape. There is also the use of placing 3 areas of the same colour to draw the eye through the painting. Take a look at the painting below – the blue pulls your eyes accross the painting and the balance of 3 blue areas is visually harmonious. There is almost an invisible triangle joining the three blue areas.

space composition II

This principle is also applied in graphic design, interiors and fashion.

Look closely at this lovely interior created by firm Gauthier Stacy
You can see the candle sticks are grouped in 3:

Rule of 3 in interiors
Rule of 3 in interiors

This is an example in fashion styling as a way of creating a visual triangle and pulling the eye through an outfit with 3 points of colour. Ralph Lauren uses orange sandals, a handbag and a jacket to create this grouping. You could use a belt, bag and shoes to create a grouping of 3 colour points or perhaps a necklace, jacket and belt.

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection
Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection

It can often be a placement of one that is the odd number. It can be a piece that creates a focal point – pulling the viewer to a point you want them to look at or just adding a pop of interest/colour.

Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15
Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15
David Koma
David Koma has drawn your eye to the waist with a yellow waistband in s/s 15 collection. You can do this with a belt

This can be done through styling on a catwalk or in your personal styling but you can also add pops of colour as part of an integral part of your fashion design.

Friday Fashion is pink and fluffy

Outfit with pink fluffy cropped top and jeans
Talking through the outfit choice of the day!

Friday’s are not normally specifically casual or dress down for me in the studio. The clothing I choose for the day is usually dependent on the activities of the day. Friday arrived and I was going to be mainly sewing so I decided to go for a casual look with my new pink fluffy cropped top!

Casual dress-down Friday outfit  jumper jeans

Wearing Coloured Tights To Work – professional work wear ideas

Can you wear coloured opaque tights to work?

Well, probably not if your work place is very corporate and has strict guide lines.

I’ve selected some of the easiest black alternatives to get you started, if you want to and can, branch away from black opaque tights in your work place/office!

Navy

Navy is a good place to start if you are looking to branch out from black opaque tights. Navy is still very neutral, smart/professional and corporate. I like the way Jean at Extra-petite.com styles navy in unexpected ways.

In picture 1. Jean pulls navy through all of the accessories – tights, bag and shoes.

In this picture Jean adds colour (and personality) to her outfit with the bold green coat. Once taken off you have a pretty neutral corporate outfit – a good idea to steal?

navy tights and bag
1. Navy tights and accessories from Jean at Extra Petite.com
navy jacket and tights
2. Jean at Extra Petite wears a navy jacket and navy tights

 In this other outfit navy cover’s a large proportion of the body; the torso and legs.

Because of this, threading the maroon through the outfit in shoes, gloves and skirt works well to balance it out.

 Grey

Dark grey tights

Another easy step into colour and away from black is grey.

A dark grey skirt/dress and dark grey tights is an easily achievable, flattering and professional look.

Grey tights and skirt
Dark grey skirt matched with dark grey tigths
grey dress and grey tights
Alexa Chung wears a grey knee length dress with grey tights
work wear grey tights
Dotty wears Grey tights with a pale tweedy skirt
dark grey tights
Blake Lively wears dark grey tights

 

Red Tights

Red comes in many shades. Maroon and burgundy which are darker shades of red are the easiest to en-corporate into a work wear look. Demonstrated here, are three ways to approach adding strong coloured tights to outfits and if your feeling super adventurous then you could exchange the red for another bright colour!

1. Wear an all black outfit with your coloured tights. The contrast is bold but not too crazy!

coloured tights, black dress, smart work wear
Greta wears a black dress and red tights on Red White and Pearls blog
Burgundy red tights, pretty black dress outfit
Jessica Quirk wears burgundy tights and black outfit on her What I wore blog
2. Here the maroon colour has been selected from the dress and matched with maroon tights. Matching your tights colour to a colour in a pattern is an easy way to style an outfit so it is coherent. It is not always easy to find the exact match in colour

pattern burgandy

3. Grey is a softer neutral than black and can be a nice complimentary colour to red tights.
coloured tights, grey skirt, work wear
Burgundy tights and grey skirt

Daily work wear Style: Fitted pencil skirt and loose silk blouse

One of the advantages of designing and making clothes is wearing them! I always at least like to try them each on at sample stage.

red skirt, ivory blousefitted red skirt, ivory blouseFitted red pencil skirtWork wear blouse and skirt

Here I am wearing the Grace blouse in ivory and the sample for a stretchy pencil skirt. The looseness of the blouse style contrasts nicely with the fitted style of the pencil skirt.

A quick video snippet of me talking about why we decided to continue the Grace blouse across seasons:

Kerry wears Ivory blouse in fashion video
A short video snippet about the Grace blouse

Styling a Navy Dress

Styling a Navy Dress

Navy is a great alternative to black. If want to add colour to your wardrobe, navy pretty much goes with any colour. Styling a navy wrap dress for work and professional environments and situations is easy to do. In the picture above I have added a small selection of accessories and colours to give you some ideas. But there are really endless choices opportunities to personalise and style your working professional wardrobe.

Navy itself is very flattering on most skin tones. For more mature skin tones you will find navy a perfect alternative to black. The depth of colour won’t wash you out.

Colour choices:

1. I have chosen a burgundy red. Using this deeper darker red takes the colour pallet into more Autumn winter. Brighter lighter reds work equally well with navy.

In this style selection I have added gold as my metal of choice. This golden tone works nicely against navy and burgundy red.

2. Navy and grey are a lovely combination. As I would class them both as neutral colours, having them both in an outfit will give you a very smart, corporate and calm look. Make sure you go for the grey that works for you. Some people suit a pale grey and others a darker shade. There are so many greys out there and some tend to be bluer and others greener. Wearing silver jewellery works well with a navy and grey combination. The reflective nature of silver lifts and lightens an outfit.

3. Cream or white with navy are a classic, sophisticated and summery combination. Here I have picked a pearl necklace as my jewellery of choice – always professional and sophisticated. If white is too harsh against your skin tone try other colours like ivory, cream or blush. Keep it business like by avoiding any sailor references!

4. Yellow might not be your cup of tea but it can look really nice next to navy. If a whole yellow dress is too much, picking out and highlighting with yellow in an outfit can be a more subtle and professional way to go about it. In the picture I have selected a lemon yellow shade but yellow in any shade works very well next to navy. If you prefer a mustard, go with mustard.

For more help on understanding colour and colour matching

Accessory style and shape choices:

Jackets and cardigans

When you are dressing for work you can either go for a jacket or a cardigan. Depending on what your dress code is at work or what your position is you will pick one or the other.

Both cardigans and jackets can work over a wrap dress like the one in the picture. To choose a coverup you need to first think about the lines and shapes of the dress. The navy wrap dress in the picture has a high waist line. In my selection 1 I have chosen a short burgundy cardigan which picks up on the line of the dress. Again in selection 4 I have selected a short lemon jacket which will sit just above the waistline.

The longer jackets in selection 2 and 3 I have chosen because their necklines do not conflict with the neckline of the dress. The dress has a v-shape neckline due to its wrap over style and the grey jacket reflects the v-shape neckline. The cream jacket on the other hand is a high round neck that will completely cover the neckline of the dress.

All of the jackets I have selected have long sleeves in common. The dress has mid-length sleeves and so your cover-up piece (cardigan or jacket) will need to have longer sleeves. This will mean your outfit continues to look smart and professional yet keep any air-conditioning chill off!

Jewellery

The jewellery I have selected all keep in mind the v-shape neckline of the dress. They all hang vertically down the chest area, creating the illusion of more body length/height (this tip works well for shorter stockier ladies).

The biggest necklace I chose was a pearl v-shaped collar type. Although bigger it is not too showy. Although jewellery is a great area to add personality to an outfit we need to be careful not to step outside the professional/work guidelines or unspoken dress codes!

A general guideline for necklaces is: the bigger and bolder the necklace is, the simpler and understated the outfit should be.

If your not sure whether you have too much jewellery on: just stick to one thing in one area i.e.

Go for earrings or a necklace. Wear bracelets or a bold ring.

And as Chanel said “when accessorising always take off the last thing you put on”

 Featured clothing:

Weekend Max Mara red top
matchesfashion.com

Miss Selfridge jacket
missselfridge.com

Altuzarra grey blazer
$1,475 – harveynichols.com

Isabel Marant wool jacket
matchesfashion.com

Jimmy Choo yellow pumps
$845 – profilefashion.com

L.K.Bennett suede pumps
$360 – lkbennett.com

Gianvito Rossi pumps
matchesfashion.com

Rosantica chain necklace
matchesfashion.com

Sterling silver necklace
daysjewelers.com

Chloé pendant jewelry
$740 – selfridges.com

Great Portland
$205 – knomobags.com

Dressing Fear

So you may have seen a few tweets of mine yesterday, showing a lot of excitement about working through a fear of mine.
I made the decision to go for it – work through my fear. To help myself get through it I decided to put on a smart business outfit, makeup and jewellery. It sounds silly but I find this very helpful.
Changing the way you dress changes the way you feel. By creating an outer facade I find gives confidence within.
Even if no one sees, for instance; my fear was making a tough phone call – it’s all about adjusting (or tricking) the mind.

I found it interesting how dramatically I felt different. I’m not thinking it would work for a fear of flying or snakes but…. a fear of speaking in public, presenting your research to the boss or when starting a new job – this could assist you.

Do you find dressing ‘up’ helps your confidence to do things you are scared of?

 

Fashion Forecast – staying frost free

With the threat of snow, blizzards, floods and goodness knows what weather we will all get in the next week, I have put together a frosty white and grey look. Stay warm with warm white furry accessories like a scarf or hat. I went for grey to offset the white and sparkley silver jewellery works nicely with this look. A really stylish grey coat is a more practical choice than white and the same goes for the grey gloves!

Stay Frost free
Shades of Grey

Grey can look very professional for work. You need to pick the right grey for you. A very dark grey could be perfect or it could overpower you. A pale grey could work wonders or could wash you out. As with all colours you need to see them against your skin tone and preferably in a natural light.
A friend with an honest opinion helps and you can compare different grey’s against your skin tone.

A sales assistant who tells you the truth is worth her weight in gold – ask her opinion, get her suggestions and show your appreciation. All sales assistants should be honest (but this isn’t always the case), if you get home and you hate it then you’ll just take it back, a waste of everyone’s time.

Interview Outfit and Accessories

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.
Interview Outfit and Accessories
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!

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