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Meaning business

Make a good impression by letting your business wear work for you.

Don’t believe anyone who says that appearances don’t matter – that’s a sugar-coated lie if ever there was one. Mind you, they’re not everything. However, they are important for pleasure and for work.

You still don’t agree? Well, what would your boss say if you walked into the office, one fine Monday morning, wearing a pair of pink bermudas and flip-flops so yellow and bright that you look like you stepped on a canary? If you don’t happen to work as a pool attendant, let’s just say that your next performance bonus will be nothing to write home about.

What you wear to the office should reflect what you do, your qualities and your aspirations. Moreover, your office wardrobe should reflect this season’s trends. You might decide to go to the office in an immaculate two-piece polyester gabardine brown suit with wide notched lapels. You would have looked great in the 1970s, but not today.

So, which trends should get hours of overtime this season and which breach the fashion contract?

For him

A sharp suit or a blazer and flat-fronts will always get you plenty of points at the office, especially if they are in the material of the season: flannel. Checked suits and separates are also very in.

This season, however, it’s not all about suits and blazers as we celebrate the return of the polo neck. What fuels the polo neck’s popularity is its sheer versatility and variety: from chunky knit polo necks to fine gauge numbers, polo necks are a warm alternative to the usual shirt and tie.

Now polo necks have been around for decades. However, this season they have been updated with block-colour designs and prints. Yet they still have that European chic, intellectual and slightly artsy quality. So if you want to look intelligent and convince your colleagues that you are a man with good taste, invest in a polo neck or five this season.

Colour is an important wardrobe consideration. True, nothing looks better than a dark suit, a crisp slim-fit white shirt and a bold tie. However, the colour of the season is green. And it’s not just one colour: cue various shades of khaki, pine, hunter, bottle and olive green.

For a less formal approach to office wear, check out this season’s workwear. Items normally associated with miners, fishermen and railroad workers have been given a hip makeover: cue waxed sailor coats, plaid shirts, military peacoats, oxblood coloured boots and raw denim jackets. The strong man returns.

Wrap it all up with the hottest accessory of the season: the document holder. Nowadays, men and accessories do flock together, and the document holder has both form and function to be this season’s must-own. Less bulky than a briefcase, more refined than a messenger bag, a document holder gives your outfit a nice balance between smart and casual.

For her

First things first: it is not only black which defines the essence of smart at the office. A woman’s office wardrobe need not consist solely of a line-up of black and grey suits. You can be a little bit adventurous, without looking like you will be hitting the town right after work.

This season, colours are not limited to grey, brown, black and beige. Pastels, even if normally associated with spring and summer, have strong autumn and winter credentials. However, don’t go for the head-to-toe pastel look – rather, try, for instance, a pale pink shirt with dark trousers. Pastels also look good when paired with a bolder colour.

Prints and patterns also give your office wardrobe an instant makeover. Go for geometric or 1960s-inspired prints. An animal print in the details will also help you stand out, in a good way, in the boardroom.

This season also celebrates zips and belts. Zips are both functional and decorative while belts, especially of the knotted variety, are extremely versatile.

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