Style isle... Your weekly guide to fashion with Lorna Weightman

The nine to five

We all experience the feeling first thing on a Monday morning, dragging yourself out of bed, jumping in the shower, and then opening the wardrobe doors asking the same question: What will I wear? The traditional work wear attire consisted of the standard suit, for both men and women. For women, that has changed somewhat; the suit is disappearing and in come dresses and separates, which in essence, are far more flattering and comfortable to wear all day. That is not to say that dress policies specify what we can and cannot wear to work, so make sure you familiarise yourself with this before taking on any fashion experiments at work.

The wardrobe dilemma

When I worked the “nine to five” before my days of journalism, I made a pact not to wear a suit for several reasons (I should add that my hours look more like nine to 11 these days ). Firstly, I could never get a matching suit jacket and skirt or trousers to fit me. I endlessly trawled the shops on the hunt for something that could be combined or worn separately to suit my shape, to no avail. The solution was to invest in skirts, tops, and a dress which could be alternated with the same jacket, giving several outfits in one. Not only did I feel more like myself every day, I got value for money.

This spring the concept of separates and alternative work wear will bring a new view. Over the course of the next month, you will start to see lighter colours such as mint green and dusky pink take on the work look from Penney’s (patterned blazer, €25 ), Oasis and Warehouse (lace cami, pelum skirt and black shift dress from Warehouse this spring ) which are pioneering the outfit of the moment. The best way to phase in these shades is to mix and match a light coloured jacket with your darker trousers and skirts, to lift the feel and add a nice spring vibe to your day to day outfits. After all, we spend approximately 40 hours or more per week in our work clothes, so it is always good to approach this side of the closet in the same way as you would the side housing your jeans and casual clothes.

And now for the tips

One tip I give all my readers and styling clients is to keep your wardrobe in outfits, and this is increasingly important for your work clothes. Not only will it keep it organised, it will save you time in the morning. Take some time to go through your work clothes and mix and match them into outfits. Keep these outfits together in the closet, making it easy to get ready each day. It will also give you a chance to see what you have, and more importantly, what you might need this spring. And yes, that includes your accessories too. Drape necklaces and bangles over the hanger to complete each look. And if you have the space, keep your handbags nearby. Now we are not talking about needing a vast amount of wardrobe space here similar to that of Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher in the film Clueless, you just need to put together five to seven looks that will be your capsule work wardrobe. Oh yes, there is that word again, capsule. Every stylist will give different advice as to how many pieces you need in your core work wardrobe. I am going to go with six; one pair of trousers, one skirt, three tops (including a blouse and cotton basic tops which match everything ), one jacket, and one cardigan. You can add a dress to this as well, if you prefer a one piece to separates. This is your core; you can add to it and take away as you see fit. Regarding shoes, flats and a pair of comfortable heels are a must have and if you look at what you have, I would bet the Euromillions that you have these already.

So the moral of the work wardrobe is not to go over the top, build up outfits and invest in the core pieces which will take you to work and on to the small hours of the morning if you are hitting the town after a hard day at the desk.


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