Perfect workwear styling with Lizzie Edwards
Lizzie Edwards is an author, speaker and owner of a style consultancy for women in business.
She is passionate about waking women up to their full potential and believes that when you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you are confident, and then you an achieve anything. Her book, Look Like the Leader you Are is a must read for any women wrestling with what to wear to work. As a major fan of fashion and styling, I jumped at the chance to speak to Lizzie about how to make the most of your wardrobe, and how to manage your image in the professional world.
You have what seems like a dream job, how did you get started in professional styling?
I had studied fashion and textiles at college after leaving school, and then spent my early twenties as a model. After going to university and a few other jobs that didn’t feel right I hired a career coach. It became clear to me that after a few personal challenges myself and a lot of self development I wanted to work in the personal development field. I loved style and was interested in the impact of clothes on how you feel, so I started a business as a personal shopper. I first trained in colour and style, and later 'as my business grew' personal branding and executive presence.'
Your book is completely invaluable for any woman struggling with the 'what to wear to work' question. Can you give us your top tips for dressing for the workplace?
The first thing is to take it seriously and realise the impact what you wear has - both on how you feel, and therefore show up in the world, and on how others see you, and therefore the opportunities that are given to you. Just recognising this fact, and deciding that it is therefore something that is worth investing time and money on is an important step. Many women fight it, think it’s unimportant, and not worth their energy, but what you resist persists, and in my experience if it’s at all an issue, it won’t get better only worse, and end up taking up more headspace and time.
Secondly, work out what your own personal signature style is. You must be you, so don’t feel like you need to dress as others do. Yes, you need to dress for the industry, office culture, audience, but you need to be authentic and show who you are with your own personal style. And therefore it's worth putting the time in to exploring what you like and don’t like, what styles, colours, brands suit you physically and aesthetically so you are comfortably ‘you’. Knowing your style saves you a lot of time and money. You can get dressed quicker as you won’t have too many clothes or choices of outfits, but a formula to follow. You won’t buy random items as you will know when shopping if an item fits your signature style.
Invest. Buy less and buy best. It's really worth buying items that you LOVE to wear, that are good quality, that make you feel good, that last a few seasons, if not years.
What do you think how you dress says about your professional approach?
Your clothes are your packaging and as with any product we use the packaging to give others a taste of what they can expect. Dressing well, wearing good quality clothes that fit and flatter tells others you value yourself, are successful and worth their time.
What is the most common workwear dilemma you hear from your styling clients?
Comfort is key. Many women work long hours, commute and travel. Being comfortable and being able to dress an outfit up or down, having shoes they can walk in, layers that can be taken on or off depending on the aircon or heating. Dressing smart-casual is by far the biggest area my clients want help with. Many can do the ‘boardroom’ look - putting on a dress and heels, or suit for example, but it's the day to day in the office, wanting to look like the leader and like they mean business when, they re not suited and booted, is what they struggle with. Finding stylish smart separates, jackets and blouses, for example.
How you do describe your own style?
My own style is very understated. I like simple designs in quality fabrics. I wear mainly neutrals, and very rarely would you find me in pattern, though I love it on others. I’m quite introverted so it feels a bit loud on me up near my face, but I love patterned trousers though!
Can you name the 5 items you rely on in your wardrobe?
White sneakers - I live in them. They can be smart, but comfortable.
Jeans - What can I say. Jeans nowadays come in such great fabric and a re so comfy, especially the high waisted ones.
Uniqlo heat tech tops - to layer from underneath without bulk. I wear them everyday all through winter.
Nude seam free bra - invisible underwear is a MUST
Off white Tops - I live in them, all different necklines, shapes and styles. Bring lightness up to the face, work under jackets, make any bottoms work.
What does your consultancy offer?
We essentially work on self confidence through style confidence. We offer style and image transformations, enabling women to find their own authentic style, make the best of their image, and gain the confidence to achieve their professional and personal goals.Our clients are senior women over thirty-five. They are professionals, executive, entrepreneurs and consultants.They are Leaders, or aspire to be.
And finally, how can our readers get more help from you?
I am currently working on a group programme and online offers which will launch around the middle of the 2019, so please sign up to my newsletter to keep updated.