First things first: What is a business formal dress code?
While dress codes vary from business to business and from one industry to the next, there are a few hard and fast rules we can apply across the board.
Corporate offices call for a skirt which falls at or below the knees, which you could pair with a shoulder-covering dress shirt, collared shirt or blazer - make sure to hide any stray straps. Bardot cut blouses are also out!
Avoid anything that shows cleavage or fabric that moves when you bend or stretch.
Business casual dresses are acceptable provided they follow the rules above - no short hemlines and no low necks.
Skirt suits are also appropriate and create an instant appearance of elegance and sophistication.
In cooler climates it is advisable to wear tights or pantyhose at all times, but in the summer months in Australia women can get away with bare legs provided the skirt is an appropriate cut and length.
A closed-toe heeled shoe is preferable, but only if you can walk comfortably!
If skyscraper stilettos aren't your thing, try a simple pair of flat brogues or ballerina pumps - they can look equally chic when styled correctly.
Women working in law firms, courts or HR are usually expected to avoid statement jewellery as it distracts from the task at hand.
Makeup should be kept neutral and hair styled in a clean, presentable fashion to your taste.
Just be sure it's not falling in front of the face as this can look messy and unkempt to potential clients.
So what staples do I need to ace the formal business look?
A key component of any business formal wardrobe is a tailored, multi-purpose blazer.
Black blazers go with almost everything - they are the perfect complement to black suits, black dresses and any shade of office wear, for that matter.
For sunnier months, try a light hued jacket in cream, beige or even dusty pink like this beauty from Parisian brand Sandro below.
For women who hate the feeling of pants, a dark coloured pencil skirt in black, navy or grey is a brilliant bet.
Pencil skirts are extremely versatile and can look completely different depending on the style of shirt you pair them with.
Try a black pencil skirt with a white or statement coloured button-up blouse for an elegant option.
For something a little different, why not go for this belted khaki option from Oxford?
A good selection of five to seven blouses will set you up well on your quest to conquering the professional dress code.
Women's business attire allows for any colour shirt, so use this garment to show off your personality as much as you'd like!
Be brave and try a daring burgundy or regal purple - just be sure to have a couple of white and black at hand for particularly serious meetings!
This classic white button shirt from Ralph Lauren is the perfect addition to any business casual capsule collection.
A handful of well fitting knee length dresses are essential to nailing modern women's business wear.
Sites like ASOS and The Iconic have entire pages dedicated to business formal attire.
Brands like SABA offer high quality with a relatively affordable price tag if you consider you'll be wearing the garment at least once a week.
Chic but comfortable - that should be your mantra when choosing a pair of business appropriate shoes.
A moderately high heel with a closed toe is the safest bet, and if you buy wisely you can transition seamlessly from office to bar in the evening.
Try a timeless block heel like this modern style with perspex outline from Zara - a steal for just $70 AUD!