MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22: Actress Cate Blanchett before Georgio Armani fashion show at Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018.

Dressing for Success: Which Stars to Emulate for the Most Professional Looks

Dressing for Success: Which Stars to Emulate for the Most Professional Looks
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*Featured image credit: sama_ja / Shutterstock.com

The business world today is so competitive, and the way in which you dress can be hugely influential when it comes to setting you apart from the crowd. 

For those of you looking for some new ways to dress for success, here are some stars who always seem to manage to pull this off perfectly. 

Alexa Chung

NEW YORK-MAR 31: Actress Alexa Chung attends the CHANEL Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 Metiers d'Art Show and Party at the Park Avenue Armory on March 31, 2015 in New York City.

Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Alexa Chung is known for being a huge style icon, with her quirky fashion sense inspiring so many women all over the world. 

While Chung knows how to glam it up for special occasions, she also understands how to throw together a professional outfit. 

In the look pictured above, Chung was on her way to attend a Chanel presentation in Paris, and fittingly wore a Chanel tweed suit. However, rather than pairing this suit with a muted blouse, Chung opted to go for another printed garment instead, creating so much texture and pattern in her outfit. 

Now, mixing prints for a professional setting can be quite tricky…

The key is to keep the following in mind: 

  • Color – prints that are of a similar color palette will tend to work better together than those featuring clashing color schemes 
  • Proportion – pairing prints that have similar proportions will help to prevent your outfit from appearing too costume-y 
  • Classic prints – classic prints, such as florals, leopard prints, stripes and polka dots, tend to work quite well together 

There is nothing wrong with mixing bold and vibrant prints, and this combination can often make a fantastic statement. However, if you are going for a professional look, make sure that the prints you choose are relatively subdued. 

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump is no stranger to being photographed, and always manages to look so put together in just about every paparazzi snap. 

Trump’s style has always been quite conservative chic, and this only escalated after Trump began working in Washington alongside her father. 

Although Trump decided earlier this year to close down her fashion brand, the star still dresses in such a professional yet timeless style. Understanding the power of simple lines and classic silhouettes, Trump still manages to put a modern spin on all of her looks. 

Suits are something that Trump wears on a regular basis, opting for monochromatic colors, wide collars and minimal design details. Pops of color are always added to Trump’s outfit in the form of accessories, whether this may be jewelry, shoes or bags. 

Olivia Palermo

MILAN - FEBRUARY 24: Olivia Palermo before Tod's fashion show, Milan Fashion Week street style on February 24, 2017 in Milan.

andersphoto / Shutterstock.com

Whether you know her as a socialite, a reality star, a designer, a model or anything else, there is no denying that Olivia Palermo has such a distinct sense of style. Not only that, but the outfits that she wears are quite accessible, making it easy for fans to emulate her look. 

Want to dress more like Palermo? 

Here are a few key elements to include in your outfits: 

  • A crisp white shirt – the classic white shirt features in so many of Palermo’s looks, whether she wears this with wide-legged pants and a blazer, or a flowing maxi skirt 
  • Skinny pants – Palermo loves the sleek silhouette created with skinny pants, whether this may be jeans or more formal trousers. She often pairs this with the classic white shirt mentioned above to create a casual yet sophisticated look 
  • Heeled booties – with a stiletto heel and a pointed toe, booties make a regular appearance in Palermo’s outfits. Black is usually the color that the star opts for, as this is the most versatile shade for pairing with a variety of different styles 
  • Suits – in order to prevent her suits from looking too stuffy, Palermo experiments with modern twists when it comes to silhouettes, colors and other design details. From extra wide-legged pants to oversized pockets to patterned shirts worn underneath, Palermo really knows how to jazz up a suit 

In-keeping with her professional outfits, Palermo usually opts to go minimal when it comes to her makeup. The star has gorgeous natural features, and she carefully chooses the best products to highlight these. From a subtle brown eyeshadow to complement her large brown eyes to a nude lipstick to keep things subtle, Palermo rarely goes over-the-top when it comes to her makeup. 

Michelle Obama

Being in the spotlight so much, Michelle Obama knows how to look her best. After spending all of those years in the White House, Obama’s style is ultra-professional but still so chic, making it no surprise that she has topped many Best Dressed lists over the years. 

Obama understands how to show off her best features. Her toned arms are the envy of many, and Obama keeps these on display with sleeveless dresses and shirts. 

Sleeveless sheath dresses are actually quite a signature look for Michelle Obama, as is the double string of pearls that she often wears around her neck. Cardigans and belts also make frequent appearances, and both of these work so well for a professional setting. 

What sort of colors does Obama wear? 

You may think that the former First Lady would stick to neutrals, but Obama has always loved a bit of color. From vibrant solid shades, such as a jewelled turquoise, to bright prints, Obama doesn’t shy away from adding some color into her outfits. 

Wondering where Michelle Obama purchases her clothes from? 

While many of her outfits do come from top designers, Obama often frequents high street stores too. 

Here are a few stores where some of Obama’s best looks have come from: 

  • J.Crew – for their classic selection of separates that can easily be mixed and matched 
  • White House Black Market – offers a fabulous selection of black and white outfits, as well as prints 
  • H&M – for their signature striped dresses 
  • Talbots – for their A-line skirts and dresses 
  • ASOS – for skater skirt-style dresses

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett at the ceremony honoring Cate Blanchett with the 2,376th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA. 12-05-08

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

While Cate Blanchett is often seen in sparkling, sexy dresses, the actress also has such an inspiring business wardrobe too. 

Blanchett has always favored pinstripes, opting for classic silhouettes with straight and strong lines. Of course, Blanchett also makes sure that her professional looks show off her sultry side, opting for low-cut tops underneath her jackets and blazers. 

On busy mornings, when Blanchett doesn’t have time to carefully put together a sophisticated look, she turns to her favorite jacket by Yigal Azrouel to pull a more casual look together. 

Where does Blanchett shop? 

The star tends to favor high-end stores and brands, with a focus on pieces that have been ethically-made. Fair wages are important to her, which is why Blanchett never purchases cheaper garments. 

VICTORIA BECKHAM

Known for her “posh” looks, Victoria Beckham’s style has evolved so much over the years. 

Today, her looks are polished, chic and sophisticated, whether she happens to be wearing one of her own designs or someone else’s. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when emulating Beckham’s professional style:

  • Proportions are so important – Beckham knows how to play with proportions, usually opting for straight and seamless lines with one statement detail 
  • Single color looks – Beckham often wears looks that feature just one shade, whether this may be a bright pink or a cool blue. She pulls this off by sticking to classic silhouettes when doing this, while also making sure that her accessories are minimal, so as not to distract from her look 
  • Feminine menswear – many of Beckham’s garments are menswear-inspired, but have a distinct feminine twist to it 
  • Flared pants – Beckham loves flared pants, and has been spotted in these in just about every color out there. This creates a long and slimming silhouette, flattering her natural body shape 

When it comes to accessories, Beckham keeps things simple, preferring for her actual outfit to make the statement instead. The same applies to her makeup, with Beckham opting for minimal looks that accentuate her natural features. 

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams, in a Gucci Resort Collection dress, at MARRIED LIFE Premiere at the 32nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival, Ryerson Theatre, Toronto September 12, 2007

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Rachel McAdams is known for her elegant style, and while she pulls off glamorous dresses exceptionally well, the star also looks so good when dressed professionally. 

McAdams tends to favor dresses and skirts over pants and suits, opting for styles that show off her narrow waist. These dresses are usually midi in length, which works so well in a professional setting. Paired with a tucked-in blouse and a pair of heels, a midi skirt makes a great addition to a business wardrobe. 

Although McAdams loves to experiment with bold styles of makeup, the star knows how to keep things simple too. She is often spotted with minimal makeup on her face, with no added color other than a touch of lipstick. 

Charlize Theron

A South African actress, model and producer, Charlize Theron always looks beautifully chic. 

While the actress is often spotted in brightly colored clothing, Theron tends to favor neutral shades, with black being her go-to color. In order to prevent her all-black outfits from looking too boring, Theron ensures that they flatter her best features, from her hourglass silhouette to her long legs. 

Black and white is another color combination that Theron is often seen in. While the star does love black and white dresses, some of her best black and white outfits are combinations that she put together herself. 

Black and white is a great color combination to wear when dressing professionally, with these classic colors instantly looking so sophisticated. Although most people opt for black bottoms with a white top, Theron usually does this the other way round, going for a black top with white bottoms, whether this may be pants or a skirt. 

Kate Middleton

Paris, FRANCE - March 16, 2017 : The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton at the Elysee Palace with her husband the Duke of Cambidge to speak with the French President.

Frederic Legrand – COMEO / Shutterstock.com

Ever since Kate Middleton first started appearing in the media, all eyes have been on her outfits. The duchess has such an impeccable sense of style, with all of her outfits looking fresh, polished and perfectly tailored. 

Almost every outfit that Middleton has worn could easily be translated into a professional setting, and there are a couple of key elements that make this possible. 

Want to dress more like Kate Middleton? 

Keep these tips in mind: 

  • The length of your skirt – whether you are wearing a skirt or a dress, the length of the hemline is so important. One way to ensure that your skirt isn’t too short is by placing your hands by your side. If your hemline falls above your middle finger, then this is a sign that it is too short for a professional setting 
  • Chic accessories – all of the accessories that Middleton wears are so chic and subtle. Bring a touch of royalty into your look by opting for one of her signature brooches. Although many of these are heirloom pieces, Middleton often adds some costume jewelry into the mix too 
  • Nude pumps – nude pumps add length to your legs, making you appear taller as well. This is something that Middleton definitely knows about, with nude pumps often accompanying her outfits 
  • A defined waistline – in order to show off her figure without taking this over-the-top, Middleton will often add a belt into her look to give her waistline some definition 
  • Dark denim – when needing to dress casual, Middleton’s go-to is dark denim. She usually pairs this with a smart blazer in order to keep the outfit sophisticated

One more thing to keep in mind…

Kate Middleton believes in investing in quality pieces and isn’t afraid to wear an outfit more than once. This is a great quality to emulate, since an investment piece really is something that can be worn time and time again. 

Knowing how to dress professionally can sometimes be quite hard, and it is easy to fall into a rut when it comes to dressing for success. Rather than sticking to your go-to pieces, it always pays to experiment with new styles, especially when they have been inspired by some of the best-dressed celebs out there, as you never know what you may end up discovering. 



Gala Carter

About

Born, bred, and blogging in Phoenix, Gala Carter is an expert beauty and fashion reviewer. She loves 90's-style crop tops and 70's-style bouffants — and is very glad both are back!


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