Add Some Oomph
Twice a year New York Fashion Week rips through the city like a supernova comet. The event goes as quickly as it comes, exploding in a flashy, fancy burst of pretty people in outrageous get-ups, which often times does not translate to wearable fashion. Navigating new styles and trends is tricky for professional women as you’re often confronted with questions like: Do socks with sandals work in the dead of winter (or at all)? How wide of a pant leg can you wear without looking like a clown?
You want to invest in a strong statement piece — but you want to make the right statement. Thankfully, each season leaves behind some exciting new trends that can work in the office depending on the execution and what you’re coupling. Here are 10 work-friendly trends from New York Fashion Week 2014, from the looks on the runway to what notables were wearing to what you can purchase in stores now.
A Colorful Coat
As the cold weather looms, we will once again collectively contemplate how to cover up. Yes, black, grey and camel all make for perfectly sane options in a coat color, but the choices in hot, juicy hues this season are tempting. In one single feisty jolt you can boost your entire cold-weather wardrobe.
Always wear your colorful coat with confidence and joy and don’t be afraid to layer it over contrasting shades. Wear a red coat over a turquoise sweater, for example, and keep the bottom black or grey, always neutral, to break it up without looking too wild.
Our Pick: H&M’S Purple Wool Coat, $129
A Statement Skirt
For the past several seasons trousers have had a leg up on the simple skirt, but no more. Try a full, swirling skirt in a fun new fabric or print. Get the most out of this garment by avoiding a repeat of a piece you already own. (This is not about buying another pencil skirt.) Keep your top minimal in a classic neutral or play with the colors that pop up in the skirt if you want to be a little more daring.
Our Pick: TOPSHOP’S Kirada Jacquard Midi Skirt, $96
Powerful Feminine Pumps
Had enough of all the masculine shoes like brogues and slip-on sneakers? Clean, simple pumps in easy-to-wear silhouettes are in abundance for fall. The new lower heels (2 ½” and under) are the perfect proportion for all the cropped, narrow trousers also in style, and for slim pencil skirts and midi skirts. And this more practical heel height is a great middle between the flattering but uncomfortable high heel and the comfortable but not necessarily always flattering pair of flats.
Our Pick: MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS Flex Kitten Pump, $120
Leather or Faux Leather
For some, the idea of leather clothing conjures up an image of a biker, rock star or fetish mistress. While all of those connotations might be true, they are also cliché. This fall, leather takes a chic turn in buttery, glossy, real and faux skins. Soft leather trousers, neat off-color knee-length skirts, boxy tees and schoolgirl pleated skirts are evidence that this is clearly not the leather of the past.
Try a slouchy, relaxed leather trouser that has the ease of sweats but the polish of a tuxedo pant. What makes this look good now is the new modern cut; that’s key. Whether you choose a top or bottom in leather is up to you, but stay with shapes that are sharp and updated. Not only will the material add novelty to your look but so will the silhouette.
Oup Pick: BLANKNYC ‘Face Lift” Faux Leather Track Pants, $98
Orange isn’t the only new black. This season’s color of choice is grey. From cool charcoal to dusty dove and all shades in between. What could be more classic? Not as edgy as black or nerdy as navy, grey has a softness and warmth to it that makes it extremely wearable. Try a soft, lofty two-tone sweater over relaxed charcoal trousers for a fresh, new take on head-to-toe.
Our Pick: J.CREW’S Lambswool Zip Sweater in Heather Pebble Graphite Colorblock, $98
Minimal Collar Necklace
For seasons now we’ve been bombarded with over the top everything-but-the-kitchen-sink statement necklaces. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly but the look has become too saturated. The new minimal metal collar set in shiny gold or silver actually packs a similar punch in a quieter way. Perfect as a shiny adornment for the office or cocktails.
Our Pick: JULES SMITH’S Americana Curved Golden Choker, $98
When it comes to looking appropriate and professional in the workplace, nothing can take the place of a great suit. The only upkeep needed here is to keep the pieces updated in fresh, new silhouettes.
A youthful insouciance is present in many of this season’s new jackets, pants and skirts. Neat, slim trousers balance sharp, cropped single or no-button blazers. Details like structured shoulders, shawl collars and pocket placement make all the difference in a jacket.
Simple, unfussy underpinnings are best. Always make sure that each part of your suit fits you perfectly. Try on several sizes when shopping to make sure you’re buying the right one (and remember that all stores and designers size differently, so going up or down means next to nothing). Alterations are always worth the investment too.
Our Pick: ZARA’S Blazer With Gathered Shoulders, $79.90
ZARA’S Trousers With Size Zip, $79.90
Not just for evenings out, metallics are the new neutral. Silver, gold, platinum and rose gold shades work surprisingly well during the day in small, perfectly placed doses. The key to making metallic work for your work day is easy: just pair your piece with a simple, basic top or bottom in black, white, grey or camel. An accordion pleated skirt in steely silver is best with a black cashmere pullover or a classic, white button down shirt tucked in for a preppy but not look.
For a monochrome feel, a charcoal knit would also look chic. But stay away from adding any other shiny bits. One metallic piece is usually more than enough.
Our Pick: AQUA’S Midi Pleated Metallic Skirt, $98
Furry, fuzzy and shaggy skins and materials are currently in stores for fall taking shape as super-sophisticated outerwear and jackets, all manner of accessories and trims galore. In the past, shearling was always heavy, bulky and hard to wear. Beloved for its warmth and coziness, designers are now cutting shearling to be as lightweight as wool. A zippered cardigan cut in faux-shearling is one great way to add softness to any look. Keep it sophisticated by pairing it with a pretty minimal blouse and tailored trousers, wear it like it’s a classic blazer.
Our Pick: MANGO’S Faux Shearling Cocoon Coat, $119.99
Taking its cues from a t-shirt, the new boxy top is at once casual, yet polished. Its relaxed shape and wider sleeves bring ease, but the endless possibilities of fabrics and colors make this top wearable for everyone. This cool, modern shape also works with virtually any bottom you might already own (one exception being a full, swingy skirt), so pairing it up should be pretty effortless. Make sure the top fits easily across the bust but isn’t too wide on the bottom, otherwise you might run the risk of looking like an actual box.
Our Pick: ASOS’S Plaid Tee, $53.32