25 Tops Tips on Dressing for Business
1. Need to look professional yet ontrend at work? An Equipment shirt never fails. The cult label was founded by Christian Restoin (the husband of ex Paris Vogue editor, Carine), in the ’80s and it’s still the ultimate in chic today. Pair it with tailored shorts, a leather skirt, trousers or even a body-con skirt with some heels for a 9-6 power look!
Tala Samman, editor of Dubai blog myfashdiary.com
2. Personalise your look with all kinds of accessories. My favourites are Pucci scarves (even used as belts), Alexander McQueen scarves rolled as a choker around my neck, chunky rings, and a stack of beaded bracelets that I wear with my watch.
Ghada Slim Melki, stylist at Harvey Nichols, Dubai
3. If you wear traditional gear to work, opt for plain abayas with simple details (my favourite is the tone-on-tone black but in different fabrics), and ensure that it is closed in the front (the less busy, the better). Team with basic pearl earrings, a power ring and closedtoe patent leather pumps.
Leila al Marashi, designer of Sugarvintage (sugarvintage.com)
4. For the office I like looking polished. My jeans are always a dark wash from J Brand (no logos on the pockets) and teamed with a nice blouse or blazer. You should always carry heels and flats with you. I’m short, so the heels give me a muchneeded boost and the flats are necessary, especially when running around The Dubai Mall!
Rosemin Manji, RR&Co Bespoke Luxury Management
5. Blazers always make me feel pulled together. They look best when they’re really fitted and worn open, so buy one size smaller than you would normally wear.
Stephanie Phair, director of The outnet.com
6. Don’t be afraid of colour; it puts everyone around you in a better mood. Corals and soft yellows are a great way to brighten up any office outfit.
Melina Mitri, PR for s*uce
7. Whether long, short or studded, a classic trench silhouette is my top outerwear choice for right now.
Rachel Zoe, celebrity stylist
8. While what you wear on the outside is all important, I find that good, matching underwear is a must for those days when you have a big meeting. There’s something about knowing you’re matching underneath to make you feel powerful. I have a set that I always wear for interviews and I’ve landed the job whenever I’ve worn it!
Elda Namezbah, managing director
9. For your corporate wardrobe it’s best to keep your attire more on the classic side by investing in staple pieces that can be worn next season as well. Every woman should own at least one great black dress or pants suit, such as the cropped black pant by DVF or a black Nanette Lepore short-sleeved fringe detail belted dress. Pair with basic pointy patent pumps by DVF or a pointy slingback leather version by Michael Kors.
Twakniqua Morgan, womens’ wear buyer, Saks Fifth Avenue
10. For a unique but still stylish look I wear my husband’s suit jackets. Teamed with jeans, a shirt and killer heels on dress-down-Thursdays they add a bit of an edge and I still feel smart, but also individual.
Tabitha Cordeira, Dubai business woman
11. Lightweight wool is always advisable as a great work fabric, especially here in Dubai. Wool fabric can be woven in a very light weight and always keeps its shape, ensuring that the suit remains looking sharp, even after a whole day of work or travelling.
Alberta Mezzacapo, brand manager, Reiss
12. The suit is still the smartest choice for professional women. The two things that really matter when buying one are the cut and the cloth. Look for high quality fabrics and trimmings such as horn buttons. A cheap suit will always look cheap. A single-breasted jacket with a neat shoulder line, gently fitted at the waist, with a slim-fitting skirt that ends below the knee is a classic that will flatter most women. Wear with a silk blouse or silk scarf underneath to soften the look. And there is no alternative to trying things on. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in the changing room to find what works for you.
Susie Faux, author of Wardrobe Solutions (Dhs80, amazon.com)
13. Tailoring is a good thing. Spend money on it. A Dhs100 dress can look like a Dhs2,000 dress. And a Dhs2,000 dress can look like Dhs100 if it’s not fitting right.
Phillip Bloch, celebrity stylist
14. Fit is everything when you’re talking about tailored work clothes. Trousers should be fitted, but free of VPLs. Skirts, especially straight styles like pencil skirts, should be loose enough to sit down in comfortably. Jackets should be able to be buttoned, and blouses must never gape between buttonholes.
Kirsten Doak, VIVA fashion editor
15. The work bag is my number one accessory. I like to call him Jimmy! Mr Choo is with me at every interview, work meeting and lunch date but, more importantly, he sits pretty by my side daily. Leather? Tick. A neutral colour to complement even the trickiest of wardrobe choices? Tick. A Mary Poppins pit? Tick.
Shannon Wylie, Dubai fashion stylist
16. One of the best clues to company dress codes is what your boss wears. Just think about the styles that the highestlevel woman in your organisation wears and use them in your wardrobe. Does she wear mostly skirt suits? Or does she rely on fitted dresses? Does she wear opentoed shoes or pumps?
Hala Constantine, CEO
17. The classy, understated look works best for the office. Five 9-6 wardrobe essentials that I would recommend are: a tailored jacket that can snazzy up the casual tank and jeans look, a classic monochrome blouse paired up with a high-waisted skirt, a figure flattering shirtdress cinched at the waist, a pretty print dress (great for the Dubai summer) and glossy high heels.
Shereen Saifudeen, communication manager
18. Nothing looks better at work than confidence. Put that on each morning and it will get you to places that no designer outfit can. And accessorise with a friendly, yet professional smile.
Anna Delahunty, manager
19. To help reduce the effects of a demanding work schedule (or party schedule), slip on a pair of optical frames to help distract from any dark circles. Your new powereyes will convey a sophisticated, professional image.
Dave Basior, Dubai stylist
20. When it comes to work clothes, spend as much as you can afford. Shop wisely by going to good-quality stores during the sales; there won’t be as much choice, but what you get there will be a better investment.
Gita Gherskin, local businesswoman
21. Jewellery that jangles (chandelier earrings, stacks of bangles) is distracting. Opt for stud earrings or single bracelets.
Simone Watson, recruiter
22. My “dressing up” work style is all about a great pair of shoes that scream stylish simplicity, in a hot but chic colour that can transfer from day to night.
Shanice Mesquita, senior brand manager for Kurt Geiger
23. Accessories are a great way to add a bit of colour and life back into your work wear. A statement necklace or an over-sized cocktail ring can really help you break the whole corporate look. Another great tip for all my working clients is buying coloured shirts and blouses. Injecting pops of colour can brighten up both your mood and your look.
Iman Pasha, private shopping manager at Boutique 1
24. Always avoid clothes that involve a favourite band’s name or witty catchphrase. There’s a time and a place for it and work’s not one of them.
Michelle Fraser, manager
25. Become a frequent visitor to one of the many skilled tailors in the UAE to get the right fit every time.
Sandra Fennel-Lee, lawyer