If you are a professional or executive woman, entertaining clients and socialising with business colleagues is a big part of the job, and in December more so than at any time of year.
One of the most common causes of frustration among my female clients is the need to be able to leave the house in the morning dressed appropriately for a day in the office, and then be able to head straight out to a bar or restaurant for the evening to meet and mingle with colleagues and clients.
Here are a few tips on how to go from understated office attire to looking dressy elegant with minimum effort, or the need for a change of clothes.
The first most important item to invest in is a great office dress with a plain round or scoop neckline. This is your foundation and in the day can be worn with a fitted cardigan or jacket during the day in the office. It needs to fit you well, have some man made fibre to allow you to wear it all day with minimum creasing and to feel comfortable. It should almost be too plain, cut to suit your shape and be the best quality you can afford. Try Max Mara, DVF, Gerard Darel, or Banana Republic.
Invest in some great heels; ones you can manage an evening in. Buy patent or metallic or a colour - something different than you would wear in the day. Changing your shoes will make you feel totally different, and can bring a simple dress to life.
You'll also need some costume jewellery, such as a statement necklace or earrings. This is the key to your Day to Night Transformation, and it's a great way to inject some of your personality into your image. It doesn't have to be sparkly, just make a statement, and again be the best quality you can afford. Buy either silver or gold base colour depending on your own colouring, and size depending on your frame. Great places to find some are Zara, Stella and Dot, and Banana Republic. of real cheap but fun pieces try H&M or Forever 21. Never wear earrings and necklace together, one or the other. If you want more, add a cocktail ring or bracelet.
Another way to transform your day dress is an evening jacket either in a dull metallic sequin, such as old gold or pewter, in coloured velvet or even a fine knit with metallic thread running through. These will work for years and won't go out of style if you buy a simple classic shape. Less is more.
Once you have a few go-to pieces in the wardrobe, you have options that you can confidently mix and match and put together with minimum effort, which will take the stress out of the work party season. However, if you find getting the right styles for you, and pulling together an outfit, a stress you can do without, get in touch to find out how I can help.
Lizzie Edwards is a leading London based Personal Stylist and Image Consultant