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A SUIT IT'S OKAY TO SPLIT

MY female clients continually ask me advice on how to look smart and professional enough for important meetings, which they have to attend almost daily, yet casual enough to fit in with a hard working week in a &ldquo;business casual&rdquo; environment. I like the idea of a separate jacket with co-ordinating trousers or skirt in black or navy because of the comfort and practical aspect, although a suit is an invaluable asset in any business wardrobe and necessary on countless occasions. <br /><br />I was asked the other day if it was ok to split a suit &ndash; wearing only a part of the suit and mixing it with other items &ndash; and for me with the majority of business suits it just doesn&rsquo;t work. Unless you&rsquo;re very careful, it simply ends up looking rather messy and uncoordinated.<br /><br />However, I have found a suit that I think splits like a dream. From Agnes B, it is a neat wool suit in a multi-tone grey check.&nbsp; The check is fine enough not to be sporty, and the cut is formal enough to give maximum impact in the office. The skirt would look perfect with a simple cotton/cashmere twinset for a more casual day; add plain black trousers to the jacket and a bright red or fuschia top for a high powered meeting; or the skirt suit with a neat black or white silk top underneath, seed pearls and red lips, for a presentation &ndash; that&rsquo;ll make everyone sit up.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s beautifully cut and if you go for the trousers they&rsquo;re lined to the knee &ndash; so rare to find these days. It does a casual look through to smart and very professional perfectly, solving a multitude of sartorial headaches first thing in the morning.<br /><br />One more thing I find helpful &ndash; try to think in advance about your clothing each day, even if it is just for a few minutes while you&rsquo;re having a shower. Putting your clothing, colours and accessories together in an interesting, considered way shows that you care about your image, your job and your future. <br /><br />Sara Hollamby is an image consultant at WorkingVoices.com.&nbsp; <br />sarahollamby@blueyonder.co.uk<br />