It’s time to get down to some serious fashion business... A seasonal overhaul of your workwear wardrobe.
That doesn’t mean a mad splurge, or all new from head to toe. Fashion stylist Kelvin Barron reckonsyou can adapt your existing closet to embrace this season’s key trends with a few little tweaks.
“You can adapt your existing spring/summer wardrobe by incorporating layering and adding chic trench coats and tights. And instead of the slouchy T-shirt you wore in spring, swap this for a woolly top,” Barron advises. “Office-wear can be quite regimented, so you need to set your own rules, create your own sense of style and stick to what you’re comfortable with,”
Tailored clothing doesn’t have to mean drab suits and plain shirts. Barron suggests bringing life and personality into office-wear. “When buying a suit, opt for vibrant colours to stand out from the crowd. Plain shirts can be given life with printed pencil skirts and monochrome trousers.”
If you wear standard dark suits and skirts, Barron recommends adding statement accessories to make the look younger and more fresh.
To achieve the latest androgynous look, take a sharply tailored two-piece a step further with smart shoes. “Androgyny can look powerful in the office,” says Barron. “Think pinstripe blazers with short-sleeved shirts and studded brogues.”
Metallics have transcended from spring/summer to the new season, and Barron is gunning for glints of metal in the office. “A metallic blouse has connotations of being powerful and strong, which is great for an office environment,” he says.
If you’re a girly girl at heart and prefer the feminine touch, try softening sharp, structured styles with mellow hues. “Baby blues, mint greens, delicate peaches and soft pinks are colours you will be familiar with from your spring/summer wardrobe, but these can easily adapt for the new season.
“Soft tones are the perfect way to liven up an autumn/winter wardrobe typically dominated by dark colours.”
If power suits don’t work for you, it’s time to look to your animal instincts for inspiration.
“Animal print is great for an office environment - it screams feisty and hard-working,” he says. “But I would advise muted accessories to keep things serious.”
For more sophistication, unleash your wild side through the accents of your outfit. Think skin-effect clutches and heels.
Heritage style prints, stripes and tartans can also be worked into the autumn/winter office wardrobe. “A tartan blouse can liven up a pair of fitted black trousers, and for the super confident, try clashing prints,” says Barron.
Florals are a great way to embrace ladylike femininity and diversify your fashion portfolio. “Think pencil skirts with boxy blouses, statement collars and chic courts,” says Barron.
“The ultimate necessity this season is a fabulous winter coat, so blow the budget on a quality one - and bring variation to the look with colourful scarves, brooches and leather gloves,” says Barron.
One of the trends that stood out at the London Fashion Week was the belt-cinched coat; Barron suggests: “A skinny belt over your winter coat is the ultimate in office chic - particularly bow belts.”
Tuxedo jackets, double-breasted trench coats and cardigans are also great investment pieces that will see you through winter. “Instead of looking at light materials, think of heavier fabrics such as velvets and tweed,” advises Barron.
WORK THOSE ACCESSORIES
Be your own boss and make a statement with accessories. “An oversized clutch is a must-have,” says Barron. “They’re sleek, but have plenty of storage space.
“Also, think of an oversized satchel - this carefree bag is durable yet stylish, and will last for years, through all the wear and tear you put it through during winter.”
Don’t be afraid of bringing jewellery into your work look, either - providing you keep it appropriate. “A lot of women assume pearls look dated, when in fact they can be fun, fresh and edgy,” says Barron.
If you’re looking for something more modern, try chunky rings and ornate collars. “Statement jewellery can bring any outfit to life,” says Barron. “Think oversized collars with emerald greens and lashings of gold, drop earrings and chunky rings.”
STEP UP TO THE MARK
A job well begun is half done - so now to find the perfect shoes. Boots and pumps speak office chic, but if you want a touch of catwalk glamour, dig out those sleek heels. “A cigarette heel gives an outfit edge and adds subtle sex appeal. This is the ultimate in power dressing and can really liven up a simple black trouser suit,” says Barron.