<< back to News

The Fashion Of The Apprentice


 The Fashion of The Apprentice

 by Jenny Evans

A summary of the Conventional work look, and how to avoid the conformity.


What does it take to succeed in business? Based on BBC One’s “The Apprentice” you need be: grossly incompetent, an egotistical maniac and dress like the dullest person to ever roam the planet.

Tailored dresses, power suits, non-descript heels and pastel blouses; such is the lot of the young female professional. Yawn.

It is true that Sir Alan would have a fit if one of the candidates turned up wearing a creation from, say, Louise Gray’s AW 2011-12 collection. In terms of telly though, it would be classic to see Lord Sugar’s response to a giant heart shaped hat/head-harness and metallic high-heeled wellie boots.

The “fashion of The Apprentice” is a misnomer. Fashion doesn’t exist on the show. It is all about uniforms and conformity. Pussy bow blouses and the occasional jazzy necklace may pass muster, but any more would be a dangerous statement of gung-ho individualism.

“Grey” and “suit” are the fashion buzzwords in Lord Sugar’s boredroom.

Suits, on the basic level, are easy. They are a no brainer; instant no thought fashion.  Apparently they are also a form of armour, protection from the brutal blow of business battles.

They speak the language of power.

If all this is true, then when was the last time you saw Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg in a single breasted two-piece? Have you ever seen Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon wearing a shiny trouser suit?

Power doesn’t come from conformity, it comes from confidence.

What we wear makes a difference to how we feel about ourselves. We express ourselves through what we wear. By dressing like everyone else we may as well be screaming “I HAVE NO PERSONALITY!”.

Does wearing a suit really make you feel confident? If it does, that’s great. Chances are though that suits fill you with dread. They can make you feel like you are in fancy dress, like a little child stealing from their parent’s wardrobe.

Yet we still persist in wearing them for occasions that demand we look “smart”. Convention demands it.

Contestants on The Apprentice are more about fame hunting than business. They will merrily wear an ugly dress and jacket for they are playing a game. Heck, these guys would probably wear trousers made from their pet cat to get their mug on the telly.

Dressing like a depressed secretary from a Slough business park is as much a part of the game as that thing where they speak into their phones from a weird angle.

For the rest of us, maybe now is a good time to mix things up. Let’s have fun with our work clothes! Let’s raise a few eyebrows and ruffle some feathers! It is time to tell those black bootcut trousers “you’re fired”!


  1. 1. The short sleeved blouse and pastel tank top with ill-fitting bootcut trousers.

Without doubt, this is the most offensive of the bunch. Double the offence points if the “shirt” is already stitched into an acrylic tank top.

  1. 2. The Roland Mouret rip-off dress

Mouret’s Galaxy dress looked the business back in 2006 and then Carol Vorderman got in on the action. 1000s of shoddy imitations later and the look is more Blue Riband than blue chip.

  1. 3. Ill fitting shiny suits

Skirts suits or trouser suits, if they don’t fit well then the deal should be a non-starter.

  1. 4. Pearls

Often worn with pastel coloured shirts and harsh grey suits. Throw in a padded velvet Alice band and frosted blue eyeshadow and we can play a little game called “posh people in the eighties”.

  1. 5. The open necked short sleeve shirt

Puffed sleeves, pin tucks and a lack of top button, these shirts are confused. They can’t decide if they want to be twee and pretty or busting some balls in the boardroom.


<< back to News