A guide to dressing for success

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Research shows that female job candidates are far more likely to be judged on their appearance than their male counterparts, so getting your wardrobe right as a woman is essential. Getting the balance between professional and fashionable is often a fine line.

Luckily, the owners of luxury women’s business fashion brand Cecily have put together a handy guide of do’s and don’ts for making the right first impression with your choice of outfit.


  • Choose well fitted, tailored dresses or a shirt and skirt that work well to flatter and enhance your shape, but make sure they’re clothes you feel comfortable in and that make you look and feel great.
  • When it comes to necklines, v-necks are universally flattering, as they lengthen the neck; but don’t be scared of other modest necklines – play around with some variations to see which style best frames your face.
  • Plain block colours or a subtle pattern work best in business settings and it pays to choose mid-tone colours such as blue, green, wine and purple, as they’re universally flattering.
  • When it comes to complementing the body, black is the ‘stay safe’ option for a good reason, so make sure you have at least one trusty option in black to fall back on when needed.


  • Big prints and busy patterns are a style no-no in the workplace; avoid boxy and stuffy power suit jackets that suggest you’re stuck in the 1980s.
  • Overly revealing necklines can be distracting so are best avoided if you’re hoping to project an experienced and elegant look. Avoid overdressing – the key is to look smart and sophisticated, not as though you’re dressed for a party.
  • The same goes for large, distracting jewellery – discreet pieces that complement your outfit and help present a complete ensemble are the way forward.
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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson