Workwear Refresh - Smart Casual Outfits
Hardly anyone needs to wear a suit to work these days, unless you are in a particularly Corporate environment, which means mixing separate pieces of clothing instead and that requires more creativity. So, how can you dress this Autumn in an interesting but work appropriate way?
This season key trends are tweed and checks, a 70's colour palette and boho style, sleeveless longline waistcoats (or gilets), wide legged trousers, cullottes and shirt dresses.
Skinny legged and tapered trousers have been the only thing to wear for the past few seasons but wide legged trousers have made a huge comeback. Whilst skinnier silhouettes are here to stay, the wide-legged trouser is a welcome return as they flatter most body shapes. But how can you wear a pair of these without looking dated? Also, they can be intimidating for people on the shorter side as so much fabric can make you look drowned and even shorter. The thing to remember is that you need a bit of height when wearing these so opt for a higher heel but also keep it very simple and plain on top for effortless classic and current style. Avoid any tops with a pussy-bow or frills as that could look dated when paired with this style of trouser. These are from Harvey Nichols but M&S have some great wide legged trousers this season.
Leave the Sleeve
A gilet or a sleeveless waistcoat is a really good way to add interest to your outfit in a work-appropriate way. The one below is by Victoria Beckham at Harvey Nichols but Mango do some smart versions far cheaper. These are great because they work over a tailored trouser, midi skirt or pencil skirt really well but also would smarten-up a pair of jeans for the office.
Lower the Tone
Another great way to add to your professional style is to dress in head to toe tonal colours. You can go all Queen Elizabeth and opt for a bright block colour head-to-toe (she wears it well) or choose classic colours such as camel or navy for a very sophisticated look. Reiss do a lovely matching boiled wool skirt and top set as a great alternative to a dress - the brilliance is, you can then mix them each separately with other things! If you go for top and bottom matching colours and choose navy, finish with nude shoes or a snazzy sparkly silver, if going for camel then choose a warm burgandy shoe, navy or black. If you work in a more creative environment such as PR, Advertising or TV adding a statement necklace from J Crew will really show your work colleagues you have creativity as well as self confidence!
Mixing texture is another bright way to stand out from the crowd in the right way. The bosses are always watching so get noticed by mixing a classic wool pin stripe trouser with a sexy satin blouse and suede shoes mixing three textures at once. The toughness of the wool with the soft femininity of the blouse and suede heel work together really well. You could then add the longline waistcoat/gilet above to complete the look when it gets a bit colder. This outfit would flatter almost every body shape too.
Shirt dresses are a brilliant alternative to a tailored shift dress for both corporate and smart/casual office environments. They are all over the shops at the moment in every pattern and colour you can imagine. To twist things up a bit and keep it interesting, layer your shirt dress over a pair of cropped skinny tailored trousers like these from Reiss, and wear with a pair of high stilettos for a very feminine cool office look.
Where there's a Twill there's a Way
Prince of Wales checks and tweeds are very hot this season and this kind of trouser works well with a polo neck or a thin knit. These Paul Smith Black trousers would also work well with a satin or silk blouse mixing-up the textures. Polo necks do not work well on ladies with big boobs or very short necks so if that is you then go for the silky blouse option instead.
The Wrong Trousers?
As mentioned, wide-legged trousers are huge for A/W15 but also culottes seem here to stay. Culottes can be difficult to wear unless you are a skinny tall supermodel-type with matchstick calves which hardly anyone I know or dress is. There are however some beautifully cut versions out there like these from ACNE at Harvey Nichols. To avoid looking stumpy in a pair and drowned in fabric wear with a high, quite classic pump or stiletto like these at Harvey Nick's, not chunky shoes or it adds more bulk to the whole look.
As this whole post is about Smart/Casual office attire I haven't included a jacket or blazer, just a gilet or, why not go for a cape instead? Not just for superhero's, Massimo Dutti currently have some amazing capes and gilet's just-in this week for Autumn/Winter. This will certainly add interest and give your look the edge.