Fashion: Work that work look

Baby doll ruffle dress, �50 at Warehouse.

Baby doll ruffle dress, �50 at Warehouse.

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Update your working wardrobe with a confident new business-like took. Stephanie Smith has tips on how.

All of a sudden, fashion is becoming very grown up, with a knowing and really rather sophisticated new edge as we move towards the autumn.

Not that it’s boring – far from it. Nor are these safe looks either, because there are intriging new shapes to play about with as proportions become more defined.

It’s thanks to fashion’s continuing love affair with the Seventies that the A-line has really come into its own this coming season, especially with skirts, including mid thigh minis and matching below the knee versions in wool and felted fabrics, often in browns and camel tones. Choose your length to suit yourself (and your legs) but the just below the knee skirt is a perfect investment piece for smart workwear this season, so try teaming a camel A-line skirt with a black silk tie-neck blouse or black cashmere polo neck and high heeled courts or sandals, for a classic “I mean business” look that chimes perefectly for right now.

This is where that playing with proportion comes in, because a swinging cape over the top makes the ideal outerwear companion, but watch the lengths so the cape hem hits mid hip, with the skirt’s slimness at the hip visible, otherwise you’re in danger of looking like a tiered lampshade. Not a good look.

The second workwear statement piece to invest in is a grey dress in a great shape, preferably in a tweedy fabric (see Hobbs) or a rich looking jersey. The waist is back so, if it suits you, look out for shapes that emphasise your waist but not in a bodycon or prom way. The new look is more sculpted, with curving lines that gently enhance the shape. It’s actually quite flattering to all sizes and well worth a try. A knitted dress is another excellent way to go, in a body-skimming tunic style – again, grey would be perfect – and even better if you can find a matching cardigan to go over. We’ve gone a bit head-to-toe matchy-matchy, which does bring a very pulled-together and chic look, if succcessful. Look out for wool tailored wide trousers too, too pair with slim-fit roll-necks. And for accessories, try ruby red.

Bold asymmetric shapes and textural interplay from Josie Partridge at Leeds College of Art.

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