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The Fashion Memo

8 ultra-chic workwear updates

Looking ‘office-appropriate’ does not have to mean letting your personal style fall by the wayside. This season, there are myriad new takes on classic pieces that will work perfectly for smashing that glass ceiling

Chrissy Rutherford

The jumpsuit

While it might not sound like the most obvious addition to your workwear closet, a tailored jumpsuit is a game-changing piece. Whether you’re drawn to Givenchy’s utilitarian styles or Gucci’s elevated designs, simply finish with an oversized tote and square-toed shoes for a look that is both directional and office-appropriate. The jumpsuit’s endless versatility also makes it the desk-to-dinner piece par excellence – add statement earrings and you’ll be ready for wherever the night takes you.


The watch

Wearing a watch demonstrates your organizational skills – but wearing the right timepiece shows you have taste and an eye for a good investment. A leather-strapped design by heritage brand Jaeger-LeCoultre or Hermès Timepieces is the perfect accompaniment to muted tailoring; while Cartier’s chain-link Panthère watch instantly elevates simple shirt dresses and classic black separates. The ultimate piece of boardroom-appropriate bling.

L-R: Blesnya Minher, Funda Christophersen, Mary Lawless Lee

The shirt dress

The shirt dress is the backbone of a warm-weather workwear wardrobe – wear one and you’re immediately in the zone. The key to keeping it modern is the fit (go oversized and androgynous) and color (this piece should whisper or shout; think muted tones or riotous prints). Head to Tibi for directional leather designs, Asceno for chic silk styles or Erdem for mood-enhancing florals, and be sure to layer on some jewelry – preferably statement earrings or an armful of gold.

Simay Demirel

The wide-leg pants

When it comes to pants, low-slung, looser-fitting and more masculine silhouettes are the epitome of effortless elegance. Think Annie Hall – if The Row did movie costumes. These easy-going designs are the perfect counterpoint to bright-colored and precision-cut pieces – and a match made in heaven with any plain top, sweater or blazer you already own; just add a gold coin necklace and some elegant slides.

The loafers

When it comes to shoes, few styles are as enduring as the penny loafer, championed by style icons throughout the decades, from the late Grace Kelly to Chloë Sevigny – and this season is no exception. Loafers are experiencing a renaissance of unprecedented proportions, with the likes of cult label Khaite and Parisian fashion house Chloé both showcasing their take on this classic piece. For a faultless office look, pair yours with a crisp shirt and gently tapered trousers – cropped, of course.

Jane McFarland
L-R: Georgia Tal, Fiona Zanetti, Linda Tol

The neutral suit

Make a pantsuit work in warmer weather by choosing lightweight fabrics in understated shades – Gabriela Hearst and Theory have a selection of desirable double-breasted styles that promise to elevate your nine-to-five look. Pair with a simple white tee (add a logo if you’re into something a little more irreverent) or a silk blouse and low-key accessories.

Aylin Koenig

The trench coat

A practical trans-seasonal favorite, the trench coat is a true sartorial necessity that can be thrown on over anything and everything – from tailoring to jeans, a summer dress or a pencil skirt. For a classic trench you can’t beat Burberry; however, if you’re looking for an update on this fail-safe piece, try oversized styles or palette-cleansing colors. Bottega Veneta and Valentino have some of the best on offer.

The shoulder bag

In recent seasons, handbags have tended towards extremes – we’ve seen everything from dramatic proportions to sculptural shapes and even transparent styles. However, when it comes to finding the perfect day bag, it’s best to stick to enduring styles. The simplicity of a leather shoulder bag makes it the perfect finishing touch, no matter what you’re wearing.

Chloé Harrouche

The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown