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Sharp Cuts

Smarten up your wardrobe with sharp suits and sexy secretary-style pencil skirts. crack

Give your working wardrobe a promotion. Whether you’re getting ready to wrangle in the boardroom or boost your motivation levels, revitalising your 9-5 togs can work wonders in scoring gold stars from the boss.

Skirt the issue
The skirt suit is well and truly back in fashion. With pencil skirts grazing the knees teamed with belted matching jackets, this ladylike look was big business on the catwalks at Prada, Lanvin and Louis Vuitton. Check out the high street’s designer-inspired offerings.

Colour Me Beautiful image consultant Fiona Wellins warns: “Ladies, if your suit includes a skirt, make sure that it is long enough so that you can sit without showing too much leg.”

Try: Coast Pinky jacket, £125, and skirt, £60; Marks and Spencer Per Una red suit jacket, £75, and skirt, £39.50; Crombie herringbone jacket, £350, and pencil skirt £125.

Cold shoulder
Power hungry city girls will get their kicks from the Eighties-style shoulders. Give any working ensemble a new season spin with structured shoulders, as seen on the Balmain catwalk. Sharp shoulders for the office look their boldest in black but you can still add a shot of colour to your look with a bright top or blouse.

“Your choice of fabric and the cut of the suit jacket is important,” Fiona says. “Make sure that the cloth does not add bulk to your body and that the cut flatters your figure.”

Try: Wallis black sharp shoulder jacket, £55; Primark power shoulder jacket, £19; New Look black shoulder blazer, £60.

Slouchy suiting
If you favour a more relaxed look at work you can still do tailoring Stella McCartney-style with a slouchy blazer. Work with proportions and team skinny trousers, body hugging dresses or slim-fit skirts with your boxy blazer to avoid a tent-like look. Your jacket may be oversized but it still needs to fit well across the shoulders and back. Fiona has this advice: “The lapels of the jacket should lie flat across your shoulders, if they don’t then the jacket is too small. Wear them open so the jacket hangs properly front and back.”

Try: Warehouse tailored long coat, £100; River Island checked blazer, £49.99; Vila wool mix boyfriend blazer, £60 at ASOS.

Trouser talk
Can’t stand the thought of flaunting your pins? Turn to trousers. Ankle flashing is all the rage so opt for cropped slim-fit trousers and courts or patent loafers. Or go to the other extreme, try wide baggy pants that skim the floor. Avoid fabrics that crease if you’re sitting all day.

“Suit trousers should fit well at the waist,” Fiona recommends. “If you have a rounded tummy then be careful about styles that have pleats or pockets as these can add bulk.”

Try: Hobbs Sion trousers, £110; Next pinstripe trousers, £28; Marks and Spencer Autograph cropped trousers, £39.50.

Classic colour
A wardrobe crammed with black-on-black may be easy to co-ordinate in the mornings but it’s sure to leave you feeling uninspired about clocking in. Stand out from the black and white brigade and incorporate some colour into your working wardrobe.

“Blue is a great if you need to feel confident,” Fiona says. “It’s also good to wear at an interview as it will help you to come across as trustworthy.”

Leaving a lasting impression when you’re hankering after a promotion or pay rise is also important and Fiona advises investing in the power of purple.

“If you need to re-invent or prove yourself at work then inject purple into your wardrobe,” Fiona says. “Wearing purple shows that you are creative and inventive, if you need to appear caring then wear purple in shades of lavender and damson.”

And if you’re stuck in a job where you need to stamp your authority or need a lift, Fiona recommends a dramatic red to come across as confident and upbeat.