MAKE YOUR WARDROBE WORK FOR YOU
And not the other way around
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