Guest Blog: It’s Not About Dressing Up Or Dressing Down. It’s About Flexi-Dressing.

I’m often asked if it’s better to dress up or to dress down?

The simple answer is: it’s always better to dress up…… and preferably in layers. Then if you feel over-dressed, you can remove a layer, such as a jacket, which immediately reduces the impact of a ‘complete look’.

There are several other reasons as to why it’s preferable to dress up than down: from the obvious one of creating memorable first impressions to the less obvious one of bumping into someone who could be influential in your next career move. Or your key client dropping in unannounced and who has only ever seen you ‘suited and booted’.
It also shows respect towards others – and a little self-respect does no harm either.

Having said that, many organisations no longer have such strict dress codes. There are companies choosing Business Casual dressing over Business Smart. Others have a Smart Casual culture – unless meeting clients – and plenty of companies adopt a Dress Down Friday policy. This often causes more angst than any other day, because the rules can be somewhat fluid and misunderstood. My advice is to remember Friday is a working day and so clothing should be fit-for-work work and not slip into weekend or clubbing wear.

It’s not so much about dressing up or down, but being flexi-dressed. Wear clothes that can flex appropriately into your schedule.

In today’s crazy busy business world where you may start the day with the breakfast meeting and end it with a business dinner, you need clothing to take you through 18-hours and a number of different settings and environments.

Your day may also include taking children to school and keeping an eye on elderly parents. When you’re that busy there certainly isn’t time for 3 or 4 complete changes of clothing to honour your timetable.

Flexi-dressing allows you to adapt your outfit to fit your day and still let you look good and feel on top of things. Moreover it is key to saving time. And money too!

Below is a mini capsule wardrobe to show you how flexible 6 pieces of clothing can be. Add a statement bag – to hold your laptop as well as personal items – and heels. From these we can make 7 outfits and by adding a couple more pieces, could extend it further.

The capsule is comprised of:

  • A travel-friendly navy trouser suit: worn as a suit and as separates.
  • A smart work dress: worn alone, with a jacket or a knit.
  • 2 silk blouses: 1 long sleeved and 1 sleeveless.
  • Accessories of a statement handbag and a pair of wearable heels.

8-piece capsule wardrobe

Flexible dressing 1

Red business dress

Flexible dressing 2

Navy trouser suit

Caroline Wolf is a Personal Stylist and founder of Capsule Wardrobe Collection, an online capsule wardrobe service for business women.

Caroline offers personal styling services and also creates personalised capsule wardrobes, from a single outfit to a seasonal business wear wardrobe. Clothes are chosen to match your budget and complement your lifestyle – and are displayed in your own Lookbook.

With a ‘Click & Buy’ function to purchase your clothes, shopping can be done from the ease and comfort of your armchair at home!