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The following article appeared in Woman Today, January 2010, in Manila.

Power ImageToday’s women want to look good and trendy at any age. With greater job opportunities, higher disposable income and constant exposure to the latest fashion and beauty trends, women today are certainly wanting to be more savvy in their overall visual presentation. However, the desire to be “IN” may actually become your worst nightmare when you cannot keep up with fashion’s notorious fickleness and end up looking so “last year”! Fashion comes and goes in hyper speed; sometimes a hot fad may fizzle out in a matter of months. To avoid looking like a fashion victim, here are some general guidelines:


  • Do invest in timeless items such as tank tops, jeans, well-cut blazers and little black dresses. You cannot go wrong with these classic pieces. Buy them in neutral solid colours for easy coordination with other trendier pieces.
  • Do opt for a natural sheer look be it your make-up, nail polish or hairdo. If you are in the creative field, you can be more adventurous with your style, otherwise a sun-kissed matte look always project a sharper and polished image. If you want to experiment with bold colour make-up, go for a matte instead of glossy finishing for work.
  • Do update your wardrobe in small doses. For example, trendy accessories such as a bright colour handbag, patterned tights in neutral colours or laced-up booties will add instant wow into your core wardrobe without having to spend too much.
  • Do wear your hair in a neat and light style. Frizzy or flyaway hair can be kept in control with the use of hair products or accessories. Long hair should be sleek and tidy; wear it in a chignon style or low ponytail for an elegant day-to-day look.
  • Do wear trendy fashion because you really like them and not for insecurity reasons. You do not have to be togged in trends from top to toe to look good and feel belonged. Inner beauty triumphs over fashion at the end of the day. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, think positively and cultivate friendships. As designer Kenneth Cole says “To be aware is more important than what you wear.”
  • Don’t bet on exaggerated styles, cuts and colours to stay for long e.g. acid wash jeans, big shoulder pads, micro minis, neon colours and military jackets. These styles are not only difficult to pull off but they will fade away by this time next year.
  • Don’t wear flip-flops in and out of the office. It does not matter if they are branded, fashionable or ultra comfortable. A slipper is a slipper and it has no place in the corporate world. It instantly diminishes your credibility at work.
  • Don’t wear bright make-up to work. Blue eyelids were hot in the 1980’s and are making a comeback but unless you work in a beauty industry, I would recommend that you choose a softer blue palette for the board room.
  • Don’t overdo in the accessories department. Big bold accessories may be the trend now, but wearing oversize necklaces or rings will be distracting for the office. You will want your boss, co-workers and clients to focus on your sales pitch or presentation rather than your fashion statement.
  • Don’t wear 5-inch heels to work or to anywhere! They are bad for the feet and certainly do not work a professional image. Leave it for after 6 if you must really wear them.
  • Don’t wear leggings to work no matter how casual your office is. Leggings will continue to be a strong trend but that doesn’t mean it should become your office wardrobe staple. Remember you will want to stand out in the crowd and not be one of the crowd to get that promotion.