Telegraph Style & Substance: Phanella's Work Wardrobe

The career coach Phanella Mayall Fine went from law to asset management to career coaching. She now co-runs an online magazine for working women - and polices hemlines in a mini skirt


JULY 24, 2015 13:22

When I started my career as a lawyer 10 years ago, things were pretty corporate. There was no way you'd go into a meeting without a jacket. Things have relaxed now; there's a lot more scope for showing a bit of personality.

I coach and run women's corporate leadership programmes, approaching women in law firms and investment banks. I'm not a style consultant, but I do work with clients on their image. I advise women to be careful about make-up in particular: you want to look polished, but not sexy. Fake tan, a heavy brow with bright lips, fake eyelashes and too much mascara should be avoided. The other mistake people make is not dressing for the environment they're in. If you're in a casual office going into an important meeting, take a jacket and don't wear open-toed shoes.

Earlier this year I co-founded the Step Up Club, an online magazine for working women. In my day-to-day job I can go from a meeting at InStylemagazine, where Step Up is in talks about a column and running a number of events, to coaching a group of bankers. I'll wear a dress and sandals for the magazine visit, then add a tailored Maje or Sandro jacket and heels for the coaching event.

I'm short (5ft 2in), so I never wear knee-length skirts, as they make me look even smaller. I either go short or midi, and I like fitted bell or skater skirts from J Crew, Vanessa Bruno and Issa. I wear good, discreet jewellery from Cartier and Boodles, but never huge pieces.

I usually wear heels for work: it's important to feel confident, and for me heels are part of that. I go for comfort: I buy from Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Lucy Choi. I carry an Anya Hindmarch satchel that fits my iPad. It's important for me to look stylish, but sometimes I avoid trend-driven things because I don't want to appear unapproachable.

Join the Step Up Club here