TAKE BACK THE POWER IN YOUR OF­FICE AT­TIRE

From the cat­walk to your wardrobe… Grace Cahill on the fash­ion fixes that work in the real world

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - STYLE WATCH -

AFTER A BLISS­FULLY WARM SUM­MER in sun dresses and es­padrilles, I’m in­stic­tively aware that my au­tumn wardrobe feels much more uni­form now that I’m re­signed to wear­ing ‘proper’ clothes again. The prospect of cold morn­ings and even colder evenings, rush­ing to and from work, doesn’t sound too thrilling. But what I do love about au­tumn is the end­less sar­to­rial pos­si­bil­i­ties. My favourites are lay­er­ing chunky knits over blouses, swishy tu­nic dresses in rusty au­tum­nal prints and break­ing in new chunky an­kle boots – I’ve al­ready spot­ted a pa­tent leather pair in Zara and am imag­in­ing icy cold morn­ing walks in them.

The great thing about dress­ing for work is that in­di­vid­u­al­ity and per­son­al­ity are em­braced rather than es­chewed. How you present your­self is just as im­pres­sion­able as you how you per­form. Two decades ago, we needed a sar­to­rial ar­mour if we had any hope of shat­ter­ing glass ceil­ings. Your power suit was a pen­cil skirt, a blazer and heels. Now your power suit is any­thing you feel com­fort­able and stylish in. The lines be­tween your week­day and week­end wardrobe are so blurred that any out­fit can be re-worked for a Satur­day night out or a Mon­day morn­ing meet­ing.

Of course, this isn’t news for those whose idea of dress­ing up is wear­ing high-waist trousers with a T-shirt and sim­ply el­e­vat­ing it with state­ment ear­rings or a jazzy de­signer belt for din­ner. For oth­ers, who sar­to­ri­ally di­vide work and plea­sure, here is some rev­o­lu­tion­ary styling advice – start ex­pand­ing your brand knowl­edge. In­vest in la­bels that will build you a wardrobe that mul­ti­tasks. Mod­ern work­wear now ac­counts for a whole spec­trum of ca­reer types, from banker to cre­ative, so it’s im­pos­si­ble to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween them. Our work­ing day has also changed and evolved so much that flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments might mean that you spend as much time at home as you do in the of­fice. You need clothes that work at a lunch meet­ing and also run­ning to the school gate.

Cult brands like Ganni, Fin­ery, Joseph, VB by Vic­to­ria Beck­ham and Rixo are mak­ing the tran­si­tion smoother with form-fit­ting midi dresses, experimental shirts and smart but less rigidly tailored sep­a­rates. Sleek tai­lor­ing works hard but there’s no rea­son why soft tai­lor­ing can’t work just as hard. All you need is five or six in­tel­li­gent items as a foun­da­tion that you can wear in nu­mer­ous vari­a­tions – a dress, a knit, a shirt, wide­leg pants, a blouse and a soft dou­ble-breast blazer.

Footwear? Gone are the days when we needed to tackle nine-hour days in six-inch heels to gain re­spect from our peers. Sling­back mules or kit­ten heels trans­late into smart but re­laxed op­tions in the of­fice and mean you can get from A to B with­out a footwear stash un­der your desk. It’s all about ex­ud­ing a softer play on power – wel­come to 2018.

“ANY OUT­FIT CAN BE RE­WORKED FOR A SATUR­DAY NIGHT OUT OR A MORN­ING MEET­ING”

STYLE WATCH Grace Cahill

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