The new series of The Apprentice has begun and while there’s all the usual backstabbing, tears and tantrums the one thing capturing attention is the candidates’ workwear.
It seems that the hopefuls face the same difficulties many people face when dressing for work – only with their disasters broadcast on TV.
Men have been criticised for badly fitting and boring suits. Meanwhile the female candidates tend to either play it too safe or go for extreme bright colours they hope will make them stand out in the boardroom.
According to some, The Apprentice contestants are trying to ‘dress up’ as powerful business people rather than demonstrating who they actually are.
There’s no reason why dressing for work needs to be difficult. By paying attention to detail you can create a work-appropriate outfit that both impresses and shows a little of your personality.
It may be too late for this year’s The Apprentice candidates, but here’s our advice to anyone in the business world looking to impress:
1. Make sure the suit fits
A suit can help anyone look and feel their best, but it should fit perfectly. There’s no need to spend a fortune but do invest time in measuring yourself correctly so you can buy the right size. It’s more modern to go for a slim fit, but whatever you plan to wear make sure it’s not too tight. Aim for body-skimming rather than skin-tight.
Our suggestion: Our Contemporary suiting range is the ideal choice for avoiding boardroom blunders
2. Go neutral but use accessories to show personality
In a bid to stand out many of the contestants are going for bright colours and loud patterns. We’re all for demonstrating personality, but a safer and less distracting way of doing it is to use accessories wisely. Go for neutral, well-fitting clothes and use scarves, cufflinks and jewellery to show who you are.
3. Embrace details
While we’re advocates of neutral colours that doesn’t mean your clothes need to be boring! Look for styles with interesting necklines, subtle patterns or luxurious, draping fabrics to stand out. One of the few sartorial winners this year was Sarah-Jane Clark who chose a simple dress with intricate, cut-out lace shoulders.
Some of our favourite pieces are this Qualitas dress, Contemporary notch neckline jacket and wrap blouse. They offer enough detail to keep things interesting yet won’t distract from the message you’re delivering.
4. Consider hemlines
Whether it’s a dress, skirt or trousers make sure the length is perfect for your figure. Trousers should generally just brush the top of the shoes so if they’re too long take them to be altered. Dresses and skirts should be checked from all angles to make sure that you won’t flash more flesh than intended.
5. Finishing touches
A great outfit will fall apart if your shoes are scruffy, inappropriate or dirty. Invest in a great pair that you can be proud of and wear them in. Feeling uncomfortable because of badly fitting shoes can show in your face so make sure you’ve worn them plenty of times before any important meeting.