Struggling with dressing for work everyday? Can’t pick an outfit quickly? Feeling frustrated that you have nothing to wear? Many women do. And I was one of them many years ago. Until I realised the vital importance of creating a PERFECT WORK WARDROBE for my own sanity. A  wardrobe that is effective and  practical but also flattering and stylish.

This brought me to this moment where as a Personal Stylist I helped many other women to assemble their wardrobes for over a decade. And  now is a good time to introduce you to this Office Work Wear guide!!

This step-by -step guide will bring you structure and relief instantly. I want to help you eliminate your frustration and anxiety about  it . You will also  become aware of the reasons behind it, what you can do about it and what you need to have in Your Wardrobe.

First of all, let’s identify why it is important to pick you outfit in the morning quickly and easily. Usually because you:

  •  have very little time to decide what  to wear and get dressed
  •  want to look good  in your outfits and feel confident about your looks
  • feel like yourself and be authentic in your style self-expression.
  • focus on the more important things that you need to that day

Right??  Then it’s time to tackle it head on with this  TRANSFORMATIONAL FORMULA.


  1. Identify  THE DRESS CODE  most appropriate for your office and occupation.  For the majority of jobs SMART-CASUAL  is the norm . Sometimes also called BUSINESS CASUAL. This means that you can combine smart key pieces with more relaxed and comfortable ones. If you are in a Senior management position, public eye or a lawyer your dress code is more BUSINESS FORMAL. This means that your separates have to be more structured, elegant, smart and formal. It might also have some other elements such as certain colours, patterns  or necklines ruled out.
  2. Identify YOUR BODY SHAPE. It is the foundation of flattering, visually appealing Styling.
  3. Next step is to pick the RIGHT  RATIO OF BOTTOMS TO TOPS –  1 TO 2. For example 3 to 6, 5 to 10, or 8 to 16. The most practical amount of each will be determent by whether you work part time or full time, budget, personal preferences and how public your position is. The higher the amount of  bottoms, the more approximate you can be. For example , you can have 5 bottoms and  11 tops .
  4. Pick  the  MOST VERSATILE AND  FLATTERING BOTTOMS FOR YOUR SHAPE. There will defining differences in the tailoring and cut of these  depending on your shape. so make sure you follow the rules.  What are they? Generally speaking, slim pencil pants – full length and cropped as well as pencil  skirts are a good foundation for all shapes. However make sure that you choose high waisted pant and skirts if you are a Pear or an Hourglass shape as you want to emphasize your slimmest part. These bottoms should have a small percentage  of elastane or lycra in the fabric and can have a hidden side or back zipper. Unless you are very slim Hourglass or Pear, it is best to avoid any folds, drapes or unnecessary details around the stomach and waist. It tends to make us look frumpy and mumsy. I know this for sure because I am an Hourglass/Pear Body type and understand what it’s like to be one.  As soon as I wear pencil type smooth trousers or skirts, I feel very streamlined and  sleek. If you are a Rectangle, Apple or Inverted Triangle, go for the elasticated  pull-on waistband that has no zipper. This is the key ! And you can fold it over if the crotch is too high for you. It is best if the waist sits 5-6 cm below the waist. Very good bottoms for Rectangles, Triangles and Apples are also the pants and skirts that don’t a separate stitched on waistband –  the whole garment is cut as one piece with wide elastic band inside and again it’s best if it has no  zipper so you can fold it over if necessary.  For all shapes choose fabrics with a little stretch as it moulds to the shape of your body for a more flattering fit.
  5.  Now we ADD THE DOUBLE AMOUNT OF TOPS to these bottoms. In comparison, your tops should be THE MOST FLATTERING TO YOUR COMPLEXION – your skin, hair  and eye colour. The styles should also be  Body Shape flattering, interesting, a little trendy but always comfortable to work in for many hours. Very important note here for all body shapes – you will wear most of your tops out  and make sure they are long enough and don’t shorten your torso. Pears and Hourglass will look best in more fitted style tops. Only slim pears and hourglasses sometimes can tuck their tops in and look fantastic. Tucked in tops also work well for petite ladies.  Other than that, wear your tops out.  Apples, Rectangles  Inverted Triangles should chose more loose tailoring such as front drape tops, batwing and kimono sleeves or double layers. Cowl neck tops usually suit all Body shapes and women with big bust.
  6. CHOOSE SHOES  in similar amount to  your bottoms numbers. For flats I recommend the stylish ballet flats in black , tan or nude and some cool trendy sneakers usually in neutral colours. If you like heels – choose more comfortable wedges or pumps with mid-high heels . For special occasion or presentation, if you wish and can handle heels, you may select a high stiletto on black or nude.
  7. Now you need 2-3 BAGS. Middle to oversize  tote depending on what you need to fit in and in proportion to your height and size . Black, nude, tan  navy or bronze  are good versatile colours that will work with many different looks.
  8. And finally you will need ACCESSORIES TO COMPLETE YOUR LOOKS.  Add  a necklace, bracelet , interesting ring or earings. Little or bigger  jewellery pieces to reflect your personality, energy, vibe or personal beat. They give you a unique quality and are a very important for that little X- Factor. They can be very delicate and minimalistic or a little more bold and  chunky. it’s Ok to wear a statement bracelet or necklace at work, as long as you don’t put  on 2 or 3 statement pieces at once. There is a fine line here and good taste is recommended.
  9. You will also need to have 2-3 BLAZERS ,  JACKETS OR CARDIGANS as an outer layer for cooler weather. Choose more fitted around the waist blazer styles with a single button at the waist as the more flattering cut for Hourglass and Pear Shapes. Choose soft buttonless long lapel jackets for other 3 body shapes.
  10. One more word for DRESSES.  They are very suitable garments as work wear but I wanted to include them last. This is because  feminine Pears and Hour glass shapes really benefit from wearing dresses.  With the shapes that have less defined waist it gets trickier.  A lot will depend not only on your body type, but also on your size, height,  age  and  if you have any extra weight or not. Yet again different shapes will suit different tailoring. Pears and Hourglasses  should go for  Pencil dresses or Wraparound styles.Rectangles, Inverted Triangles and Apples  generally speaking, can go for side-ruched pencil dresses if you are quite slim and can get away with it. The ruching will cover up the waist that is not very defined.  But you have more weight around your waist, kimono and batwing style dresses are more flattering.


I hope you found this thorough guide helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.  If also recommend you to get one of School of Style Body Shape E-Books with examples of complete outfits for :

or feel free to book a 3 HOUR Shopping Trip with me so we can build a Perfect Work  or Off -Duty Wardrobe for you. PERSONAL SHOPPING TRIP

Kind regards,

Masha Bowran

Personal Stylist, Style Educator and Refiner