This month, our Smarten Up The Boss team had a specific brief...
We needed to make a lawyer look brighter and more approachable, while maintaining the sober image required by the courts.
City firm Bell and Buxton’s head of family law Demelza Wrigley had been nominated by her secretary, Samantha Lyall.
“Demelza attends court regularly and needs to be smart, so she often wears muted tones. But I don’t believe her clothes reflect her fun and vibrant personality,” wrote Sam. “I feel she needs to inject colour into her wardrobe. She is great to work for and is always so busy, dividing her time between work and her three children. I would love her to have the “me” time she deserves.”
Bringing colour to Demelza’s working wardrobe meant a call to the best in the business - Master image consultant Jane Chapman, of the True Colours Image Consultancy in Broomhill.
Time-poor Demelza was hesitant. “A makeover is so not me and I don’t have much time to spend on my appearance, with a job and three children under six,” she said. “Then it struck me; they were all the reasons to embrace expert advice that, in the long run, would save me time and effort.”
Jane explained how colour analysis worked: “We use shaded swatches to find the exact colours that like you - the ones that make your hair, skin and eyes come alive.”
Demelza had what she called “a lightbulb moment”: “As I looked in the mirror I suddenly saw what they were talking about. They diagnosed me as an Autumn. Soft, warm shades of terracotta, mustard, teal, olive, red and brown really did make me look better.”
Said Jane: “For most lawyers, the default is a formal black suit. There are times when that is the only appropriate outfit, but there are many others when it isn’t. Demelza works in family law; she needs to look approachable as well as professional. Black drains the colour from her face so she should team Autumn’s dark neutrals (brown or navy) with warm colour.”
Next, Jane turned her focus to shape. “What we wear says loads about what we are like and what people can expect from us,” says Jane. “I wanted to help Demelza dress in ways that show clients what she’s about before she’s even said a word.”
After visiting her at home, looking through her wardrobe and working out her body shape, she concluded: “She needs clothes with a softer look and a more curvv shape - open necklines and jackets and dresses that nip in under the bust.” .
The lawyer had to agree. “I can wear brighter hues and more fashionable clothes in the office but felt naturally drawn to dark, muted and baggy things; I haven’t lost all my baby weight and confidence in my appearance is low,” admitted the 37-year-old. “Jane found things in my wardrobe that I should be wearing and others that ought to go. I’ve thrown loads of things out.”
Jane even went shopping on her time-poor client’s behalf, picking up a shapely dark brown jacket in the Hobbs sale, a gold-coloured necklace that flattered her skin tone better than her preferred silver jewellery and a cheery red V neck top.
Demelza liked the outfit so much, she’s bought it.
Her habit of wearing only mascara prompted a make-up lesson by True Colours’ Adelle Aderhold. She created an easy and swift look for the office using Sheffield brand Jane Fardon’s colour seasons palette for Autumn types.
“Don’t skip make-up. It’s a vital finishing touch and a lipstick is a key accessory,” said Jane. “The right shade can do more to enhance your eyes than eye-make-up.”
Armed with her own Autumn colour swatch to follow, Demelza was showered with compliments back at her High Street office and has vowed to keep up appearances: “I intend to keep up the good work,” she said. “I can see what a difference they made to me and I now have the skills to shop for clothes and make-up more efficiently.”
*Nominate your boss for a Business Monthly makeover. We’re also looking for shops and salons who want to get involved. Email Jo.Davison@thestar.co.uk