Norwich business woman gets tips on how to dress for work

A dilemma over what to wear for work led reader Sarah Daniels to ask for a Life Matters makeover. Emma Harrowing follows her on her makeover day.

Unless you wear a uniform or you have to wear a suit, deciding what to wear for work can be a challenge. For Sarah Daniels from Norwich this dilemma is threefold.

Running her own health and safety business means that she has a varied role. One day she will be crawling around on her hands and knees doing a customer audit and the next she will be giving a presentation or going to an evening event.

'It can be tricky deciding what to wear so usually I wear trousers, but I'm fed up of looking too masculine even though I work in a male-dominated world,' says Sarah. 'It would be great to find a look that is practical for the work I do but makes me look stylish at all times.

'I own the Red Cat Partnership which offers health and safety advice to a number of businesses in the UK. As I am the face of the business I need to project what the business is about, therefore what I wear for work is important.'

Investing in a work wardrobe that can be dressed up or down is the key to solve Sarah's dilemma. A simple tailored shirt dress, for example, can be worn with a jacket tights and heels for the boardroom, worn over a pair of leggings and flat boots for more practical tasks and worn with a statement necklace and heels for an evening event.

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To help Sarah get a versatile stylish look for work fashion advisor Lucy in Jarrold gives her some tips.

Lucy says: 'A good way to make sure that what you wear for work suits what you do but also looks stylish is to develop a capsule wardrobe of a few key pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different looks for different tasks. An easy way to start this capsule collection is to invest in a good pair of trousers, a smart dress, a few shirts or blouses, a jacket, a pair of flat shoes and a pair of heels. You can then buying cheaper accessories and tops to mix and match different looks.'

To get Sarah started on her capsule wardrobe Lucy creates two different looks from a black shift dress that suits Sarah's shape as it nips her in at the waist and skims her hips.

For a day meeting or presentation Lucy teams the dress with a red blazer (perfect for representing the Red Cat Partnership), leopard print scarf, a work bag, a pair of black opaque tights and a pair of flat patent brogues. To transform the dress into something that would be suitable for an evening event, Lucy replaces the blazer with a faux fur shrug the brogues with a pair of heels, the bag with a metallic clutch and layers on a necklace. The look can be changed within minutes enabling Sarah to be ready for the boardroom to the bar quickly and easily.

The verdict

Sarah says: 'I have had a fabulous time and I cannot believe that I am wearing a dress and it fits me! It's great to see how I can create a capsule wardrobe for work that I can take from giving a presentation or holding a meeting to a glamorous evening event. My hair feels so bouncy and my make-up is so neat - I just hope that I can recreate this look myself.'