No one quite believes that old tale about hemlines tanking when financial markets head south. Yet, there does seem to be something prescient about the new feel for fall fashion. The clothes are tailored, sophisticated and ready for business. Whether your office dress code is corporate conservative, or casual attire, these are the pieces that will make your workweek 40 hours of fabulous.


Fall heralds the return of the feminine silhouette, and with it, the perennially chic pencil skirt takes centre stage. The waist-cinching, hip-hugging silhouette of this sultry skirt has seduced working women for decades, from Marilyn Monroe’s ‘wiggle walk’ in Some Like It Hot, to the tailored knee-length design Maggie Gyllenhaal paired with a pussy-bow blouse and stocking in Secretary. Fast forward to 2011 and the new skirt is reworked with a longer length and stamped with statement prints. The midi cut may be seen as demure, but its body-skimming lines and sexy slit a la Stella McCartney are alluring. Simply pair it with a crisp shirt and elbow-length gloves and you’ll have sophistication – and quite possibly a promotion – wrapped up.


If sleek skirts and ground-grazing frocks aren’t for you, don’t worry; well-cut trousers are in step with work wear. Smart styles like those at Chloé and Michael Kors lengthen and slim, so wear these a little long for the most flattering silhouette. Alternatively, this season’s more directional shorter cut — sharply tailored, naturally — shows a little ankle, so boyish lace ups or killer pointed stilettos are in order. Who wears the pants? You do.


All those menswear-inspired staples on the runways demanded a suitably masculine shoe. Enter the high-heeled loafer. From Alexander Wang’s tasseled pumps to Yves Saint Laurent’s penny-ready wedges, fall’s new take on mannish footwear has become a cool way to climb the corporate latter and lends a lift to the new office looks.

Check out our Fall/Winter 2011 trend report here

Keep reading. We’ve got 3 more must-haves on the next page…


The smart blazer may be synonymous with sober tailoring but labels like The Row and Rag & Bone gave the gentlemen’s club staple a soft update this season in textured fabrics like tweed, velvet, bouclé and wool. Opt for le smoking hot tuxedo styles that can handle a bold piece of jewelry – they’ll take you from boardroom to cinq-à-sept with ease.


The button up blouse is not just your average shirt; it’s the power player in every working woman’s wardrobe. Bow-front blouses in particular, like those at Pucci, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, are your shortcut to the corner office. For night, undo a few buttons and add a sparkly something.


For fall designers got the memo and handed the handbag strap its pink slip. From Ferragamo’s handy houndstooth to Celine’s sleek leather envelope to Victoria Beckham’s uber-luxe croc version, the portfolio clutch is this season’s must have accessory. Fusing function with fashion – it’s the ultimate carryall for your iPad, smart phone and other office tech toys — it’s one practical piece that makes a chic first impression.

Et voila, now you’ve got all the qualifications (at least sartorially speaking) to succeed in business. With these professional necessities, you can banish dull deskscapes forever and finally become the company hero.

Read more
Ladylike pieces for fall
Fall/Winter 2011 trend report
The best structured handbags