The short suit
Don’t let your school days deter you: tailored shorts are the chicest piece you can wear to work this season (that’s fashion speak for ‘term’). Less restrictive than a skirt suit and infinitely cooler (literally) than a pantsuit, they’ll help you aim for a look that’s like a smartened-up Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Find the perfect high-waisted pair at labels like Rokh, Tibi and newcomers The Frankie Shop.
The trench coat
A practical trans-seasonal favorite and forever friend, the trench coat is a true sartorial necessity. Throw it over anything and everything from tailoring to jeans, a summer dress or a pencil skirt. Update with an oversized shape in a plain or printed finish and look for details like contrast edging and outer pockets; Bottega Venetta, Rokh and Acne Studios have some of the best on offer.
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 manly) and color (neutral: this piece should whisper, not shout). Head to Theory for classic beige or Acne Studios for something more twisted, and layer on some jewelry – preferably an armful of gold or some statement earrings.
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 a match made in heaven for any plain top, sweater or blazer you already own; just add a gold coin necklace and some elegant slides.
Wearing a watch demonstrates your organizational skills. Wearing the right watch shows you’ve got taste and an eye for a good investment. A tan or navy leather-strapped design is ideal with neutral tailoring; a chain link makes a great team with a shirt dress or classic black separates. The ultimate piece of boardroom-appropriate bling.
The ladylike bag
Trade in your kitchen-sink tote for a classic top-handle bag. With their clean lines, elegant hardware and deceptively simple designs, top-handles by the likes of Prada, Hunting Season, Givenchy and Simone Rocha will work with everything from masculine pants to that chic short suit.
The neutral suit
The chic sandal
The most covetable sandals right now are a minimalist’s dream. From Staud’s strappy ’90s-inspired styles to flats by Ancient Greek Sandals and The Row, these barely-there designs will work with everything. Short suit? Shirt dress? Neutral suit? Wide-leg pants? Check, check, check and check – job well done.
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