4 ways to dress up an ordinary outfit to look more smart

I’m a self employed freelancer, which means I mostly sit at my desk in my dining room, wearing whatever clothes I found when I got up to do the school run that morning. That’s all well and good, but what about those days when I need to look a little more smart, for a meeting or an event? Here are a few simple ways to dress up a standard outfit so that you look and feel more presentable:

1 Add a nice scarf

A t shirt and jeans is a fairly basic, “mum uniform” outfit. If you add a scarf though, you instantly look a little more dressed up and smart. You needn’t sweat your way through the day in a woolen scarf; in fact, a simple cotton or silk one will work much better for this than a traditional scarf. These days you can buy scarves in all sorts of styles, colours and patterns; I have a lovely collection that can make even the exact same pair of jeans and t shirt look like a different outfit from one day or meeting to the next.

2 Dress up with nice earrings

I’ll be honest; most mornings, putting in earrings is the least of my concerns. I usually forget. I have found though that if I put in a simple, stylish pair of gold earrings it can instantly make me look more put together. It’s the smaller details that help in this sort of situation and earrings are a great place to start!

3 Add a heel

I don’t often wear heels – with a school run involving a mile walk up a hill, that would be bonkers. But if I have a meeting in town and need to look a little more smart, I find a pair of heels can help me to feel more confident and smart.

4 Change handbags

This one is simple, but it works quite well. My usual handbag is a simple, brown cross-body bag that serves me well but looks plain and unassuming. It’s perfect for mum duty, with lots of zips and pockets. When I’m going to a meeting and need to transition from “mum” to “professional who knows what I’m doing” I change my handbag for a smart, structured leather handbag that looks much more professional.

It’s about how you feel as much as how you look

When it comes to looking smart for a business meeting, I often find it’s more to do with how I feel. If I feel like a scruff in mum uniform, I don’t feel confident and can often feel a bit of an imposter in a professional environment. A few tweaks to my outfit though, and I look and feel much more smart and confident – and that can make a big difference to how a meeting goes.

What are your go-to items for transforming your outfit?


Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.

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