STYLE ADVICE: BUSINESS CASUAL

STYLE ADVICE: BUSINESS CASUAL

A corporate environment does not necessarily mean classic shirt and tie. Exact buyer Frances Buchner explains how to incorporate current trends into your work wardrobe

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The classic all-white button-up is not your only go-to item for a workwear look. When shirt shopping, look out for alternative choices in colour and fabrics. This season, Exact embraces rich jewel tones and natural hues, trendy blues and winter mustards. Look out for shirting with organic prints, checks, ginghams and interesting textures such as chambrays or oxfords. Shirts remain slim-fit and the main focus is on tailoring. When paired with solid-colour trousers, it makes for a sophisticated and trendy office-ready look.

Old classic goes corporate

Denim to the office? Yes, it can be done. Choose a denim shirt that doesn’t have bulky pockets, but rather a slim-fit style that can be worn under a full suit. Add a textured bow tie to finish off your corporate look. For a more casual interpretation, pair your denim shirt with chinos and a navy blazer. Wear the shirt unbuttoned at the neck and tuck a pocket square into the blazer pocket for a classic finish. Go for deep blue or indigo tones, rather than acid-washed or bleached denim.

Minimise to maximise

Attention to detail is a key factor for a stylish look. Pull off a busy shirt by pairing it with a single-colour jacket or trousers. Add simple accessories, ensuring that the shirt is the star item. Elbow patches, epaulettes, detailed button holes or stitching as well as patterns and prints add points of interest, but don’t go crazy with it. ‘Less is more’ should be your style rule.

Crew necks – are they office appropriate?

T-shirts are adaptable to most outfits and the crew neck’s simple neckline looks apt with tailored pieces. A plain, neutral crew T-shirt looks great layered beneath a two-piece suit or worn under a blazer. For those who are a bit more daring, swop out the plain T-shirt for a bold Breton stripe or a loud monochrome blocked T-shirt.

Footwear trends

Good footwear selection is imperative in a business-casual look. Look amazing with denims or suit trousers. Choose tasselled or plain ones and pair with everything from a flannel shirt with denims to suit separates with all the trimmings. Lace-up boots in leather or suede are trending for the colder months and are a good choice to wear with dark denims. Tuck your jeans into the boots for a neat appearance and throw on a textured blazer for a smarter look.

Key investment pieces

*a classic two-button navy blazer, tailored to your personal requirements

*a few plain slim-fit shirt options and one or two trend-right shirts to add punch to your wardrobe

*slim-fit flat-front trousers in navy or beige and a pair of dark-wash denims with a tapered leg or straight cut

*a good pair of shoes – black and brown leather brogues are an essential part of your workwear wardrobe. Keep them clean and polished.

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