A version of this post originally appeared on 60 & Me.
We all have our favorite clothes for a night out with friends or just bumming around the house. But when you want to make a good impression at work, there’s more at stake than just what you like.
And at 40+ and curvy to boot, that can be a daunting challenge.
You want to show everyone that you mean business. But at the same time, you shouldn’t have to compromise your own comfort just to be taken seriously at the workplace.
Of course, you need to look professional beyond the office environment. Like when you have a critical business meeting. Or when you attend a conference. How can you pull of a classy, professional look that feels great and looks even better?
Let’s go from head to toe to with ideas for putting together the perfect outfit.
Start at the Top
Let’s say you would like to draw attention away from some weight on the bottom. Choose a top that draws the eye to your neck and arms with a lighter-colored flared sleeve.
Use a classic button-down top, leaving the first few open to create a flattering vertical line. For comfort, opt for a top that has a little stretch and comfortable sleeves that aren’t too tight or restricting.
Cooler weather? Add an easy layer that keeps you warm while also enhancing your style. A nice tailored jacket with a crisp V-neck works well. It will give you that professional edge that shows others you are in charge – but still makes you stand out as stylish.
When it comes to trousers remember one essential rule: stretch is your friend.
We are past the days of restrictively tight or shapelessly large pants! Go for a little stretch that skims over your curves, showing off your figure while staying comfy all day long.
If you’re a bit more self conscious about your legs, go with a neutral or darker color. It will go well with that light-colored flared sleeve top.
Never underestimate the value of a crisp, clean press on those trousers. The polished look tells everyone that you give attention to detail and should be taken seriously.
When choosing a skirt for a professional setting, make fit and comfort the priority. Forget the number on the tag and focus on what looks best for your body type.
Beware of heavy fabrics or pleated styles that add volume. Instead, go with a flowing style that stays cool, comfortable, and stylish. For example, a handkerchief hem skirt creates a beautiful flowing effect that also lengthens and enhances your figure.
Accessorize Your Look
Who doesn’t like to add a little something to their look?
Curvy ladies – it’s time to embrace chunky jewelry. Tiny earrings and thin, short necklaces are not usually your best bet. Go with a longer, larger necklace to accentuate your style and elongate your figure. It might seem a bit bold – but you’ll look amazing and command the attention of everyone.
Remember anything that shines is going to naturally draw attention. So use your accessories to draw attention to your strong points and distract the eye from other areas.
You can do the same with scarves. Choose a simple, neutral colored scarf to bring balance to your outfit. Or step out with a textured, printed scarf to create a focal point. Depending on how you tie and wear your scarf, you can ensure it draws attention to your best features.
Get Off on the Right Foot
How would you describe your professional footwear? Painful? Constricting? Uncomfortable?
It doesn’t have to be. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for dull loafers either. Again, comfort is the key.
A shoe with a thicker, heavier heel will give you the support you need. If you’re going to be on your feet during the day, make sure your footwear will keep you comfortable. Don’t choose a shoe that looks great at the start of the day but leaves you crying in pain by the end.
Sometimes – no matter how careful you are, your feet will hurt after a long day. If you spend a lot of time at the office, keep a comfortable pair of flats at your desk. You’ll be ready for the boardroom with the fancy heels you walked in on, but you can endure the day with your comfortable desk shoes.
Always Dress to Impress
Looking to make a good impression with a new client or business partner? Get the professional edge by upping your style game.
Always dress to impress. But don’t push comfort aside. If you feel good in your clothes, you will have the confidence you need to stay successful. Now go out there and show them who’s boss!
Stephen, Your Designer
“There is an amazing feeling of artistic accomplishment when all the parts come together into one harmonious aesthetic. It’s a connection with who you are and the elements you choose to express yourself visually. This is what making clothing is all about for me. It’s like when a songwriter hears his first written notes from a voice or a baker who has practiced a recipe and nails it or a figure skater who exceeds her own expectations. I express my sense of art in clothing. I see things in color, shape and texture. I react to the touch of silk on my skin and my eyes are aware of how color combinations make me feel. My goal is to bring all of these intuitive notions to garments that are sized for larger women. If I can accomplish this then I have reached my goal.” – Stephen