Traditional corporate dress codes no longer cut it in big business − uniformity will only take you so far. Today, making your voice heard is as much about how you present yourself as your work. Here’s our special two-part guide on breaking the mould of the office dress-code this autumn and winter, as well as key pieces to suit every budget.
Don’t be afraid of colour
Colour is the new black for the boardroom. Sober shades of charcoal and slate can look tired unless reimagined in fresh silhouettes. Traditionally cut suits, however, are brought back to life in autumnal shades of raspberry red and earthy green. Worn with confidence and flair, you’ll stand out for all the right reasons. A vibrant hued dress or silk shirt can make an equally strong impression if a suit feels a little formal.
Raeline dress with button detailing, €265 at Maje, Rafael panelled jacket, €1,496; Henri slim-leg crepe trousers, €527; both Altuzarra at matchesfashion.com, Fuschia shirt, €235 at LK Bennett, Red cropped trousers, €40 at River Island
Rethink the pencil skirt
It’s so closely associated with the corporate culture that a pencil skirt can look generic in an office environment. Elevate your look by choosing an asymmetric midi skirt instead. An interesting cut or a slightly different silhouette suggests a considered approach to how you dress and infers a similar approach to how you work.
Padded skirt with geometric hem, €89 at Cos, Oatmeal wool wrap skirt with utility buttons, €99 at Cos, Camel flared skirt, €255 at whistles, Wrap tie midi skirt, €40 at Topshop, Burgundy faux-leather skirt, €60 at Per Una
Embrace your femininity
The days of having to look like a man to be taken seriously are long gone, but nonetheless it’s easy to forget that sharp lines benefit from a discreet frill or a small flounce. Substitute the traditional button-front shirt with something softer – perhaps a Victoriana-style piece or pussy-bow blouse.
Lace trim satin top, €795 at Dolce & Gabbana, Lace detail blouse, €80 at Laura Ashley, Textured frill sleeve top, €30 at mandco.com, Tie front blouse, €588 at Mantú, Lace collar blouse, €90 at Suncoo