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Frankie Graddon from The Pool


How to dress for success

13 February 2019

Fashion journalist Frankie Graddon is no stranger to the pressure of dressing well. With a job that largely entails advising women how to do just that, there is little room for making faux pas. So how does a fashion expert dress for on-duty success? Here, Frankie reveals her top tips on getting it right this season and beyond.

“The definition of workwear has shifted,” says Frankie. “The rise of new industries, such as social media, freelancing and agile working spaces has disbanded the traditional notions of the office wardrobe. It means theres more in the workwear remit than ever before, which is great as theres more choice. This season we’re seeing a lot of animal print, office-ready denim, statement trouser suits (which look great paired with sneakers – it’s all about the high/low mix), midi-length dresses and skirts, plus trophy jackets with a sharp Eighties silhouette that are destined to be worn with big earrings.

I believe clothes and appearance are tied up in confidence. It’s armour and being comfortable in what you’re wearing is so important. For example, if you're in a high-stress scenario, you need straightforward clothes – but that doesnt have to mean plain or boring. My ethos is to wear an amped-up version of what I’m used to: I love midi dresses but instead of styling it with a slouchy cardigan, I’ll pop on a blazer instead. Likewise with jeans, I’ll choose a smart black pair with a neat shape rather than a casual blue-wash boyfriend style.

Stick to what’s true to you, because as style icon Iris Apfel says, The biggest fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror and see someone else’. It's also really important to like what you wear to work as we spend the majority of our time wearing it."

Frankie's top tips on how to curate a working wardrobe:

1. Start with a few pairs of great trousers

This includes tailored styles and smart jeans. Anything goes for the silhouette (wide-leg, slim-cut, bootleg, cropped are all in), so pick whatever shape suits you – for me, it’s tie waists and belted styles at the moment. If you find a design that you love, stock up and buy two pairs.

2. Easy dresses are a must

These are all-in-one, instant outfits that require minimal effort. I love the look of a statement midi, layered with a knit and great boots. A relaxed jumpsuit worn with sleek trainers is another easy go-to.

3. Next is a well-cut jacket

This will be useful for throwing over a simple T-shirt and jeans. Personally, I prefer more of a relaxed, boyfriend fit and I'll always roll up the sleeves. Look out for double-breasted styles, which give a great shape worn open or closed. A printed jacket – such as a check – is a great idea too, as it hides grubby marks from public transport.

4. Embrace simple layers

Crew-neck sweaters, fine roll-neck jumpers, cotton T-shirts and silky shirts are all useful basics to have. I have multiples of these styles in grey, white, navy and black.

5. Add in your seasonal standout pieces

Once you have the basics sorted, you can then switch in trend-led designs.

Instant outfit


Please note that the product Frankie Graddon is wearing in the hero imagery is her own and therefore not available to buy at Next.



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