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work your wardrobe

When it comes to clothes to wear to work, women with drive should feel confident and comfortable. The trick is to approach your working wardrobe as you do your career, plan it out step by step, and build your wardrobe to be meaningful and powerful.

I have worked long enough in fashion to know the ‘Rules’ of a working wardrobe. It doesn’t mean you have to wear only black, grey and white. Colour and print are perfectly acceptable when approached with diligence.

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman,” said Coco Chanel. Wise words indeed, and here are some insights that would make Coco proud.

We spoke with highly regarded stylist Sar Ruddenklau, who dresses a great many Australian and international television personalities from news readers to the cast of television series Offspring. She has many private clients that are not on screen, feel free to take a look at her website,

“First impressions are powerful,” says Sar. “You have to look at yourself through the eyes of your employer, especially if you are representing your company to clients or customers. Consider how you can be the best face for the business.

“If you wear a suit regularly, consider investing in a bespoke suit or a getting a good quality suit altered to fit. Perfect fit, good quality and natural fibers will mean your suit will be flattering and last for at least a couple of years. Most good suit suppliers will offer an alteration service,” says Sar.

She advises that if you are aiming to climb the corporate ladder, dress like you already have your boss’s job.  Subliminal wardrobe messages really can work when competing for that promotion.

Once or twice a year it’s highly advisable to enlist the services of a professional stylist. You will receive personalised advice on the best fit, styles and colours for you. These services also introduce you to new labels and help you build a versatile working wardrobe.  You will learn a great many tips and a key one is quality over quantity. The standard cost for a consultation is $80 per hour.

“Colour and print are absolutely acceptable at work – in measured doses,” says Sar. “Look for colour and pattern in the details rather than all over. Experiment with coloured details on shirt trims, belts and shoes, paired with neutral colours,” she said.

Here are a few labels to consider:

Equipment is known as always having the best white shirt and many wonderful pastels and prints.  It’s polished but not stuffy and shirts can be classic as well as on trend with refined detail. The brand was favoured by Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Becall. David Jones sell Equipment shirts or you can order online.  Visit:

Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF) has the great wrap dress and many other classic shaped dresses that can be purchased online at  The label also has a store at Westfield, Sydney City.  DVF allows you to be a little more adventurous but not outrageous with print and colour.

Godwin Charli designs beautiful tailored pieces and it’s Australian made, which is refreshing.  It has three boutiques in Victoria and you can buy online at

Andrea Yasmin has accessible pieces and has the staples covered such as the pencil skirt, shift dress in many guises, fitted white shirt and tapered trouser.  The Black collection is always available so no fear of your favourite not being available. The label is available online, select boutiques nationwide and at her store in Melbourne’s CBD. Visit


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