September 12, 2012 09:40 ET

'The Office Way is Holly'

Power Dressing is a Thing of the Past as Women Now Dress for Work Like Willoughby

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 12, 2012) - When it comes to women making a statement in the modern British office, the biggest faux pas is to power dress. Instead of expensive designer wear, heels and lots of make-up, the looks likely to earn respect and admiring glances are seasonal colours and the 'easy glamour' of Holly Willoughby - and that's according to office-working women.

According to research of 1,000 female office workers aged 18-40 by online fashion retailer, TV personality and working mum Willoughby (35%) has the best look for a modern British office, followed by actress Emma Watson (15%).

Their cool and casual look trumped the formality of business personalities such as Karren Brady (14%), Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry (2%) and Dragons Den's Hilary Devey - known for her shoulder pads and 'OTT' make-up (1%). The full top ten list is as follows:

1/. Holly Willougby (35%) 6/. Abby Clancy (6%)
2/. Emma Watson (15%) 7/. Lauren Goodger (5%)
3/. Karren Brady (14%) 8/. Tulisa (3%)
4/. Fearne Cotton (11%) 9/. Michelle Dewberry (2%)
5/. Alexa Chung (7%) 10/. Hilary Devey (1%)

How not to get ahead

The biggest boob a woman can make among her fellow colleagues is to have too much on display - with the most unacceptable looks being displaying cleavage (61%), mini-skirts (54%) or too much make-up (51%).

Women don't try too hard for work

Rather than the old cliché of the 80s where power dressing and revealing looks to impress male colleagues were all the rage, the findings reveal how the majority of women want to look like they've not tried too hard - and wear clothes no different from those worn on nights out with friends (63%). Perhaps it's no surprise that on average women need just 17 minutes to get ready in the morning - with those in London taking the longest at 21 minutes.

In fact, with a more relaxed attitude to what is acceptable in the office, almost the same number of women (61%) said they would struggle to accept a strict dress code - with a fifth (22%) even saying they'd struggle to continue in their current job if they were told what to wear.

When it comes to the most approved looks, established classics such as the business suit (75%) and the pencil skirt (74%) still rate highly, but wearing seasonal colours or a patterned blouse (both 77%) earned the biggest kudos. Meanwhile, knitwear (66%), pumps (66%) and jeans (49%) scored far higher than head-to-toe designer wear (42%) and shoulder pads (41%).

Commenting on the findings, Julie Donnelly, Head of Womanswear Buying at said: "The office is the new catwalk and fashion doesn't stop during office hours. Instead of trying to make a power statement or impress 'the boys', the 'easy glamour' exhibited by Holly Willoughby, individuality and not trying too hard comprise the modern office dress code - and that can only be a good thing."


*1,000 British office workers aged 18 to 40 were surveyed in August 2012 by OnePoll for

About Very:
Very is part of Shop Direct Group - the UK's leading online and home shopping retailer - which operates across 49 countries, including the US and Canada. Our brands include:
The Group has 5m active customers.
Very boasts celebrity collections from Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby and many more.
The Shop Direct Group brands receive over 600,000 website visits every day.
We deliver more than 25m parcels a year.
We sell more than 800 brands - including leading fashion labels and our own brands.

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