Sara Hollamby
Style Counsel

IWAS talking to a friend the other day about wearing dresses at the office – are they suitable and high-powered enough for the City? Dresses are certainly very comfortable when the weather is hot, you don’t have to worry about co-ordinating tops with bottoms, and they are a great way of injecting personality and individuality into your office life. But are they professional enough? Well my answer is yes, as long as they kick all these boxes.

Firstly your work dress should have some sort of sleeve. Short is fine – the rule is that your armpit should be hidden from view – if necessary add a cardi or jacket. Obviously nothing too revealing or too short (no more than 3cms above the knee). A dash of colour is lovely, a subtle pattern also, but you don’t want everyone to remember the exact days you’ve worn it – so be striking in an understated way. Also smart businesswomen wear tights and shoes, no sandals. I always go for natural fabrics where possible because they feel best in any climate, nothing too tight, and nothing too casual, the ubiquitous simple shift dress is perfect, or a shirt dress – there are plenty around, just make sure they are suitably buttoned up.

Now you know why we tend not to wear dresses very often – an appropriate, professional looking frock is not that easy to find. I like this LK Bennet dress: it’s simple, but you can add a belt, jewellery, cardi or jacket (obviously not all at once) and change the look. If you want to splash out on something to make you feel like a CEO see Britt Lintner’s range www.brittlintner.com – her dresses are really comfortable thanks to a beautiful cut and quality fabric, and will last you years, always looking smart and stylish.

Sara Hollamby is a City Image Consultant at www.workingvoices.com