My friend Christine is job hunting and has asked my fashion advice, which is sweet considering I haven't held down a day job in a coon's age. But I do go for the odd business meeting, and I think it's a timely question. How does one dress for success without spending a month's wages?
When it comes to meeting strangers that might be one day paying you, this is a definitely Better Safe than Sorry situation. (Apart, of course, from the World's Oldest Profession, in which case, the sky's the limit, girls, and Less is Definitely More). I'm absolutely convinced one can go into any of the good low range shops (or, online if you're not near a big city or branch) and look fabulous.
Take for example Johanna, above, a graduate student in international relations. When I ran into her on Bond Street, she'd just come from a job interview. This, to me, is the perfect summer interview outfit. I'm sure she left her potential future bosses with the impression of an attractive, articulate, intelligent, well groomed, lovely young lady that they'd feel was an asset to their company. I have no idea if her dress was from Prada or Topshop - and neither would they. This is one situation where we want them to remember us, not our dress.
One exception, of course, is the shoes. With shoes, I feel, one can go a bit doo la lah. I remember a story about Kate Hepburn. She was breaking a lot of glass ceilings behind the scenes with the studio execs in those days. Legend has it, when she had a big showdown coming these men, she'd wear her very highest heels. And she was tall to begin with. Those poor guys didn't stand a chance. While I love the look of Johanna's pretty black ballet pumps with the bows, and they're great for getting to the appointment on time (far more important than the outfit!), I like to think that hiding inside her Louis Vuitton handbag were a nice pair of Louboutins, (above), for her to slip into just prior, or one of the more affordable, but still spectacular, variations found in most shops this season, like the Shelley court shoes for £55 from Topshop, below.
Oh, and wear your good luck underwear, or whatever you're superstitious about. My favourite good luck talisman is a small, magic rock (I've got lots of extra ones, for backup, as I've learned it can really freak you out when you lose one) and a purse sized bottle of Jo Malone in Honeysuckle and Jasmine, or French Lime Blossom. If you can't afford good scent, stop off in a department store twenty minutes prior, and apply liberally. Remember girls: if you smell good, you feel great, and it shows.
So walk tall, carry a big stick, smell like an English rose, and knock 'em dead. That's my advice. But if anyone has any other suggestions for Christine, please do let us know!