How to wear it: We style you from the interview to the corporate boardroom

How to wear: Work wonders
How to wear: Work wonders

From first impressions to snagging the corner office, our 9-to-5 style guide offers sharp solutions for today’s working girl.

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When it comes to nailing a job interview, dressing the part is an important piece of the puzzle. “Do your homework. Understand the type of company you’re interviewing for and what type of dress code they may have,” says Lisa Axelson, head designer at Ann Taylor. (Known for its classic workwear staples—slim pencil skirts, tailored blazers and sheath dresses—this U.S.-based brand opens its first international store at the Toronto Eaton Centre this October.) Corporate environments often require suits, while creative spaces tend to be a little less formal. Either way, Axelson says you don’t have to sacrifice personal style for professional polish: “A colourful belt, a necklace, a scarf or a fantastic pair of heels—accessories are a great way to [show] personality without too much punch.” To stand out in a sea of black and grey, opt for shape shifters like jackets with nipped waists or dresses with peplums. “You will look pulled together but your silhouette will sing,” she says. What’s the bottom line on blues? “Don’t wear them to an interview. Plenty of workplaces allow jeans in the office, but that should be reserved for when you have the job.” —Sarah Casselman

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“A creative environment opens the door to an edgier approach to dressing and perhaps a tendency to dress down,” says Judith Richardson, one half of Canadian design duo Judith & Charles (her husband, Charles Lepierrès, is the other half). But she cautions against going too casual—keep things looking smart with a well-tailored blazer and a pair of heels. This fall, she suggests bringing fashion into the office with a graphic black-and-off-white peplum top, a cashmere sweater over a silk blouse as a jacket alternative, and her label’s Zebra-B wool jacket, which has sleek leather sleeves from the elbows down. —Rani Sheen

See the corporate look »

When the suit rules the boardroom, it’s about getting creative where you can. “Your style lends credibility to what you do,” says Jeff Knight, a personal shopper at Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street location in Toronto. Make a subtle play on the silhouette by swapping out the classic pencil skirt for a streamlined dress, and layering it over the one building block essential to any corporate wardrobe. “Carven has designed the perfect crisp, white shirt for fall,” says Knight. “It will instantly make your look fresh and relevant to the season.”—Rani Sheen

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