Q. I work in an office 9-5 and want my look to be interesting and fresh for 2013. How can I dress fashionably for work and appear professional at the same time?
A.Having problems creating a fashion forward professional working wardrobe? Then you really need to go back to basics. If you lay the right foundations you can learn to create fresh and wearable ensembles that are fashionable, but still appropriate for the office and boardroom.
Build a capsule collection from your existing wardrobe. These are the trusty pieces that have seen seasons and years pass by yet remain timeless – unless of course they are worn and tired in which case they must be removed from your wardrobe immediately. Your capsule wardrobe should be neutral in palette including shades of black, white, camel and grey. It should be made up of simple, comfortable garments in flattering cuts and quality fabrics such as cotton, jersey and wool.
Here are my top 10 essential items for a woman’s working capsule wardrobe –
1. A classic shift/sheath dress
2. A crisp shirt with collar and cuffs
3. A pair of flat fronted cigarette pants
4. A calf length pencil skirt
5. A fine knit sweater
6. A preppy blazer
7. A pair of ballet pumps
8. A flawless coat
9. A practical polished mid-sized bag
10. A pair of high-heeled courts
These basic items form the building blocks of most women’s working wardrobe and are easily transferable across the seasons.
Now you have the basics covered you can turn your attention to styling your favourite fashion trends with your professional business attire. Mix pieces from the capsule wardrobe with clothes and accessories that reflect your favourite current trends. By adding a few key pieces to your working wardrobe you won’t only transform your own personal style, but the mood of your colleagues too.
Here are my top 10 favourite trend led pieces that complete the Monday to Friday working wardrobe for SS13 –
1. Block colour dress - choose primary hues and bright colours that explode onto fabrics like hot pink, grass green, blood orange and cobalt blue.
2. Digitally printed blouse – botanical, animal, geometric, graphic, painterly? The choice really is yours.
3. Detailed collar – yes, collars are still a big trend for SS13.
4. Cropped trousers – get ready for some serious ankle cleavage to be unveiled.
5. Sculpted skirt – this is the easiest way for most body shapes to wear voluminous tailoring. Tulip, bubble, bustle, prom and asymmetric styles play with proportion and cleverly accentuate the waistline and hips.
6. Monochrome knitted sweater – the black and white graphic trend transcends fall into spring.
7. Oversized tunic – ensure your bottom half is fitted neatly with cigarette trousers or a calf length pencil skirt to balance out the proportions. Choose a short wide cut tunic in neoprene fabrics for a sporty edge.
8. Coat dress – start the season on the right foot with a white double breasted style; this is the perfect finishing touch to any business attire.
9. High-waisted flared trousers – a strong 70s influence that channels early YSL tailoring.
10. Statement necklace – art deco designs move away from their original colourless palette of black and white and favour washed out pastels for spring including spearmint, fondant pink, violet and baby-blue.
Black and white is still major news in fashion for SS13. Make a modern statement and dare to stand out in graphic lines and mod inspired tailoring giving a respectful nod to sixties cool.
Styling: Lisa Ringrose
Photography: Jeff Mars
Hair: Karen Louden for Charlie Miller, Edinburgh using L’Oreal Superdust & L’Oreal Infinium hairspray
Make up: Jenni Muir using Christian Dior
Location: The Castle Suite, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
Harlequin knitted dress £469 by Missoni at Jane Davidson. Satin de Luxe tights £32 by Wolford at House of Fraser. Mermaid calf leather wedge shoes £595 by Jimmy Choo at Pam Jenkins.
White double-breasted coat £325 by Raoul at Harvey Nichols. Leather gloves £110 at The Kooples. Satin de Luxe tights £32 by Wolford at House of Fraser. Justine calf leather bag £1195 & Mermaid calf leather wedge shoes £595 both by Jimmy Choo at Pam Jenkins.
White backless draped tunic with belt £230 by Raoul at Harvey Nichols. Bubble leather shorts £255 at The Kooples. Cheryl tights £33 by Wolford at House of Fraser. Black ribbed tights (worn on arms) £16 at Calvin Klein. Mermaid calf leather wedge shoes £595 by Jimmy Choo at Pam Jenkins.