Mar 6, 2012

Office fashion tips: Work style decoded

By: Jessica Padykula Author: Elle Canada Credits:

Mar 6, 2012

Office fashion tips: Work style decoded

By: Jessica Padykula
Bright colours, eye-catching Art Deco prints, sheer fabrics, mega metallics and a not-so-subtle nod to neon were all featured heavily on spring’s runways making this season one of the boldest in terms of trends If you’re bored of your current wardrobe staples, now is a natural time for an update. But how do you translate some of the theatrical flourishes of the runway into appropriate office attire? “The season is filled with several very dynamic trends, but there are five in particular that can very easily go off of the runway and into the workplace,” says stylist David Zyla, author or The Color of Style.

Office fashion tips #1: Polka dots

Polka dots have grown up this spring. The playful pattern took a more sophisticated turn on several Spring 2012 runways, including Tory Burch, Luca Luca and Marc Jacobs, who all used the popular print in a classic, elegant way. While polka dots might not be something that you would imagine your doctor or accountant coming to greet you in for an appointment, they can be work appropriate, says Zyla. To make the print more office-friendly, err on the side of sophistication and keep your overall look sleek. “Wear your dots in a more conservative cut, such as a classic high-necked top. Pair it with a navy slim skirt and a skinny belt and it stays fresh but retains just enough of a conservative vibe.”

Office fashion tips #2: Baroque flourishes

Spring’s runways were awash with oversized bold patterns inspired by chains, medallions and coins. While a dress or blouse covered in this pattern might be too distracting for the office, you can still make the trend work by scaling back. Dilute the strength of the pattern by mixing it with some solids and another texture, Zyla says. “Try a scarf-style halter like Jay Godfrey’s Gallo top under a short tweed jacket and wear it with a solid slim trouser, or to add a focal point to a sleek suit or dress.” You can also use this pattern trend in your accessories with a trio of Baroque-textured bangles, he advises.

For more office fashion tips read on the next page... Von-Furstenberg-RS12-2185edit.jpg Office fashion tips #3: The draped pencil skirt
Pencil skirts have long been a workplace must, but this spring brings a new way to wear the office staple – with pleats and in some cases, a drop-waist. “While several of the runway versions of this skirt got a bit extreme and a little bit too cocktail party-ish to wear for a morning staff meeting, you can opt for the sleeker, cleaner version of the trend,” Zyla says. He suggests something like a Magaschoni draped pencil skirt in a refreshing coconut chiffon hue. “Hit a second trend of the season: neon, by pairing the skirt with a fitted top such as the cashmere pleat-neck sweater, available in hot orange or citron, also by Magaschoni.”

Office fashion tips #4: Tangerine

Known as Pantone’s 2012 Color of the Year, tangerine has also made a statement on several runways this spring, from Peter Som to Charlotte Ronson. Before you indulge in all things orange, ensure your look is work-appropriate “In a more conservative office, wearing it head to toe might be a bit distracting,” Zyla says. So instead of going overboard, try wearing the bold hue in a single piece, such as an A-line crepe skirt paired with a crisp button-down collar shirt, he advises. Adding pops of tangerine (on bags, shoes and even blazers) can be a sophisticated and polished, yet fresh addition to your wardrobe.

Office fashion tips #5: Shine on

From dresses and skirts to shoes and handbags, metallic are back this spring, but is the trend office-worthy? “Shiny fabrics typically give a feeling of athletic or evening attire, and therefore do not send the right message when you wear them on the day you ask for a promotion,” Zyla explains. The key is to incorporate metallics in more subdued way. Adding accessories (belts, ballet flats, bags) with some sheen is a simple but office-ready way to work the trend. “The best way to embrace the shiny trend is with a handbag in a business-like shape, such as the Marc by Marc Jacobs Turnlock Python-Embossed Leather Tote,” he advises. “It is a great way to update what is very often utilitarian. Not only does it stay businesslike, but it is also much more fun to carry.”

Read more:
Spring 2012: The top fashion trends

Pretty pink accessories for spring
Spring fashion: Elegant and tailored

Fashion trends: Colour blocking pumps

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Office fashion tips: Work style decoded