And not the other way around

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Bazaar -

Let’s ad­mit it, dress­ing for work can be about as ex­cit­ing as eat­ing oat­meal for break­fast. But that’s about to change: This sea­son, de­sign­ers of­fered an an­ti­dote to the fash­ion dol­drums, serv­ing up plenty of op­tions in fresh hues and bold prints. So in­stead of think­ing that your pro­fes­sional wardrobe has to go back to black or cardi­gans or bal­let flats, avail your­self of the many sleek sep­a­rates and ex­tras that are now on the mar­ket – think tai­lored blaz­ers, slouchy pants, and power pumps in un­ex­pected colours or pat­terns.

The first thing to know is that prints are big for Cruise 2014; no­tably, Ric­cardo Tisci at Givenchy showed suit­ing in all-over flo­rals, which is a great way to em­bolden the worka­day sta­ple. But the look can be tricky to trans­late into real life. “Head-to-toe or clash­ing prints are great on the run­way, but for work it’s bet­ter to ground one print with neu­trals,” cau­tions Ge­orge Sharp, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of de­sign at the Jones Group. “A graphic silk blouse can add edge to a black pantsuit.” Net-a-Porter fash­ion di­rec­tor Holli Rogers sec­onds that sen­ti­ment. “Avoid go­ing over­board by pair­ing a beau­ti­ful show­stop­ping piece with a ba­sic, such as a silk shirt from Equip­ment. This gives it con­trast so the prints aren’t over­pow­er­ing.”

Of course, if you’re feel­ing dar­ing, “you can and should add a con­trast­ing ac­cent like a printed pump,” says fash­ion con­sul­tant Roopal Pa­tel. “Prints are very per­sonal, so when you mix and match they can re­ally bring out your per­son­al­ity.” For those who

w want to keep it a bit tamer, “a printed ac­ces­sory can add a touch of hu­mour or fem­i­nin­ity to a clas­sic work look,” says Sharp. “But don’t overdo it. Let the ac­ces­sory be the fo­cus, and play down ev­ery­thing else. It’s the per­fect way to in­tro­duce a print to up­date your work wardrobe.” Notes de­signer Elie Ta­hari, “A printed pump should be a sta­ple in ev­ery woman’s closet – it lends style to any out­fit.”

Pat­tern play isn’t the only route to a cool and orig­i­nal of­fice en­sem­ble. Pas­tels, a key trend this sea­son, lend a touch of fem­i­nin­ity even if it’s a trouser look you’re af­ter. “Pas­tels add such warmth and airi­ness to a wardrobe,” w Rogers says. And they’re not to be taken only in small doses – full looks in sug­ary shades were all over the run­ways. Ta­hari is on board with the trend. “Monochro­matic dress­ing is an easy way to cre­ate a sleek, lean sil­hou­ette,” si he ex­plains. For a fresh take, mix in dif­fer­ent tones of one colour, such as “a pale p blue mixed with a peri­win­kle blue, or a dusty pink blouse paired with a punchier shade of pink,” ad­vises Pa­tel. “The chal­lenge is how to not feel like an Easter egg.” Her so­lu­tion? “Sil­ver ac­cents, like a me­tal­lic heel with a pale-pink skirt, make it feel mod­ern.”

Fi­nally, don’t be afraid to get a lit­tle rak­ish. Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller pushed the work­wear w lim­its with her wide-legged pants and silk blouse combo, which set the tone for a sea­son of com­fort. “It looks mod­ern to play around with pro­por­tions,” says Sharp, “and wide-legged w pants are re­ally for­giv­ing. To make it ap­pear ef­fort­less, push up the sleeves of your blazer, and don’t close all the but­tons on your shirt.” In the end, the sea­son’s trends are all about de­fy­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. So get loose, roll up your sleeves, and let your clothes do the work for you.

Givenchy Cruise ’14

Chloé Cruise ’14

Bracelet, Bot­tega Veneta


Fin­ish with me­tal­lic ac­cents. Pumps, Stuart Weitz­man

Clutch, Gucci

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