Career fashion tips and advice

A Great Jacket Choice for Curvy WomenCanadian image consultant shares cardigan style jacket tips to dress for success

If you’ve attended any of our professional image seminars, you know how important wearing a jacket is to dress for success.  The jacket is perceived to be the mantle of authority and adds visual presence, authority and credibility formen and women.

Men vs. Women

But men generally don’t have too many fit issues with jackets because their more angular bodies are a natural fit for tailored garments. On the other hand, many women tend to find jackets restrictive and difficult to wear because traditional jackets (menswear styling) don’t work particularly well with curvier bodies.

One-on-one Advice

I wanted to share some special dress for success advice I give many of my female executive coaching clients that will help you look and feel good.

A fantastic fashionable business wear alternative is to opt for cardigan style jackets in softer fabrics which tend to drape easily over their body.

Four key tips to make cardigan jackets work for you


1 Styling Tip

Canadian image consultant shares cardigan style jacket tips to dress for success

The key to making the unstructured jacket work for a more formal or traditional business environment is to ensure the jacket has a set-in sleeve (seam is at the shoulder socket, as seen in the top two photos).

Any time the sleeve varies from the natural crease line of the arm such as in a raglan (no shoulder) or a drop-shoulder sleeve (lower than the shoulder socket), that style may be unflattering especially if you have narrow or sloped shoulders.


2 Colour Tip

You look better when the colors you choose complement your skin tone (that’s why when building a career wardrobe,to get the most value from your clothing and look great, it’s important to have your skin tone analyzed by a certified image consultant).

Another consideration for colour choice is, do you want to appear formal and powerful or friendly and approachable?  Photo number two has a nice classic Chanel style, but in a pink shade that signals approachability.

3 Fabric TipCanadian image consultant shares cardigan style jacket tips to dress for success

When it comes to fabrics, for a more formal powerful look, my advice is to select a fabric with substance but not too chunky.

I’ve grouped the three photos from most formal at the top #1 to  least formal or more creative #3 at the bottom.

Note that photo three has a gauzy lace look and feel that is more casual, feminine and creative.


4 Bonus Tips

Want to look taller or slimmer? Your colour choices for the whole outfit can help.  Photo three is a tone-on-tone colour combination which slenderizes and elongates the silhouette (your body).

You can also try varying the textures of the pieces in an outfit to add interest to the look.

I hope these tips and advice help you extend your office wear choices. You can look stylishly professional and still feel comfortable.

Fashion photos from Laura Canada

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Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Corporate Image Consultant, Coach and curvy woman

( If you’d like your team to look their best consider our Corporate Team Makeover or invest in yourself with some one-on-one executive coaching.

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

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