Autumn Business Capsule Wardrobe, Part 2 – Dresses

Last week I wrote about the foundation of your business capsule wardrobe being jackets. This week I’m looking at dresses which I believe should be key items in your business wear. Firstly they make getting dressed so easy; just add shoes and a bag and, if the dress has sleeves, you are ready to go. Secondly a dress says that you can be businesslike as well as feminine. And finally for a long day in the office they are comfortable to wear.

So what to look for?

First let’s talk about which dress to choose for your body shape.

dress to suit your body shape

Navy wrap dress Michael Korsicon, Print shift dress Maxmara, Red Dress Hobbsicon, Dot dress Jaeger.

If you have curves the wrap or draped dress is your friend. Just make sure it doesn’t show too much cleavage, if the front is too low add a toning or contrasting camisole to preserve your dignity.

For those who are apple shaped the loose shift is the shape for you. Draw the eye up and away from your tummy area with an interesting necklace.

The boyish body looks good in a shaped shift to give the illusion of a waist.

The pear shape needs an A-line dress that fits on the waist and then flares out.

Styles of dress.

The Boardroom Dress

boardroom dress, business wear women

Red dress Goaticon, Black suede heels Daniel, Black Tote Lulu Guiness, Navy Dress Libby London, Tote Coach, Brown court shoes L.K. Bennett, Pearl necklace John Lewis.

This dress should clearly state “I’m in charge” it should be classic with a modern twist, beautifully tailored and in either a neutral, like the Libby London navy dress that you can wear again and again, or one that grabs attention (in a good way) like the red Goat one above. It needs nothing more than an elegant necklace, heels and a smart tote bag. Designers have finally cottoned on to the fact that we want sleeves in our dresses so no jacket is needed.

The versatile jersey print dress

women business wear, versatile dress

Black jacketicon and Dress Austin Reedicon, Tote and shoes as above, Cardigan Pure Collection, Black suede boots Hobbs

This is a wardrobe workhorse. Easy to wear and care for, it can be dressed up with a tailored jacket or worn more casually on Dress Down Friday with a knit and boots. You’ll find lots of variety under the £100 mark – look at Hobbsicon, Phase Eight, Kaliko, Fenn Wright Manson and surprisingly Austin Reed which is where the one above is from.

The double duty work and occasion dress

business wear women, occasion dress

Jacket Hobbs, Blue print dress Sportmaxicon, Grey bag Hobbs, Grey shoes LK Bennett, Blue Shrugicon, Bagicon and Shoesicon Hobbs.

A great dress to take on a business trip where you know you will be entertaining outside of the office. Worn with a tailored jacket for business and with a change of accessories for the evening or any smart event.

The desk to cocktails dress

what to wear, desk to dinner, business wear women

Grey jacket, bag and shoes as above, Teal dress Hobbsicon Earrings Hobbsicon, Shrug Coast, Silver bag John Lewis, Shoes Bionda Castanaicon.

Choose a dress with interesting detailing and be adventurous and avoid black – you will stand out from all the other LBD’s at the event. Just add a fabulous pair of shoes, some sparkly jewellery and a fur shrug.

These are the core dresses that will give your wardrobe versatility. Next week we’ll look at separates.

If you would like a completely done for you capsule wardrobe buy my Personalised Capsule Wardrobe Dossier Service. or have a look at the Autumn sample capsule wardrobe.