The Little Things You Can Do to Always Look Professional

Our years of experience on fashion's front lines have taught us a lot of things, but one of the most important skills for girls who are constantly under a sartorial spotlight is to not let any unfavorably scruffy behaviour slip in. Yes, we're British, and we don't always make best friends with our hairbrushes or irons, but you never know when that all-important meeting could come up. No one likes to be caught short with a ketchup-stained blouse, skew-whiff pencil skirt or clickety-clackety stiletto that's lost its heel tip. There's also the psychology behind the matter—if you look untidy or lacking in attention to detail, could that translate into your work? In order to start this week off right, we've thought about all of those little details—virtually cost-free in most cases—that really ensure your closet remains at the top of the leaderboard.

Scroll down to see the tips that keep your outfits looking professional at all times, and then shop some key pieces for a reboot.

You know the little stitches that hold pockets together and are crisscrossed on the back flap of a blazer? Yup, those always need to be undone so the jacket sits correctly on your body!

It's a rookie error that can unfortunately make shoes look cheaper than they are. A warm damp cloth (and sometimes a dash of washing up liquid) will help budge the stickiest of labels.

It's important to have hems taken up or let down as required so that you can make the most of your trousers. For maximum wear—and so they don't look tired out—we'd suggest making sure they graze about 1cm above the ground. Another tip: Ensure you get these altered when you're wearing the shoes you'd probably pair the pants with in the future.

It's the hue that fades the fastest (that's why it's so difficult to find great black vintage clothes), so be sure to keep checking on your black items for visible wear caused by the washing machine. Or be extra careful, and set aside some of your most important pieces for dry cleaning.

A little handheld steamer does work miracles—the Fridja F10 Steamer (£100) is a favorite amongst fashion stylists. It takes up far less space, not to mention effort or time, than a full ironing board and iron. You're also less likely to damage your clothes as the process is generally softer on fabrics. It's a lifetime investment, so try not to baulk at the price.

That clacking sound and the possibility that you'll skid across pavements should be enough to make sure you keep your heels in tip-top condition at all times!

Don't forget that your look is a 360 experience. If you're all rumpled and ill-fitting at the back then the full effect will be lost. We're looking for smooth lines here (no VPLs, please!), and something that has interesting detailing on the back is always a welcome surprise.

Everyone enters the all-but-the-kitchen-sink zone now and then (it happens so quickly), but try to stay on top of clearing out your handbag so that a) you'll be able to tote—rather than lumberjack—it around, and b) you won't have that embarrassing moment when you're scrambling around for a pen and instead end up revealing an altogether more awkward item.

Shop our favourite office-friendly pieces below.

So much more expensive-looking than Topshop.

The best work-appropriate track pants we've seen to date.

A simple formfitting dress is handy to have in any workwear collection.

Chic, design-led and practical too.

A quiet way to bring your personality to the table.

When in doubt, throw a pair of earrings at the situation.

Loud, but still sophisticated.

Next up, the best camel coats to go with your workwear.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.