Sorry, casual Friday. After years of it being acceptable to show up to the office in jeans and a T-shirt, the dress-for-success ethos is finding favor again this fall.
And several Los Angeles-base stylists couldn’t be more excited.
“We’ve had a lack of fashion [in the workplace] for years,” said stylist Heathyr Wolfe, adding that the low-maintenance professional attire of Mark Zuckerberg and billionaire or multimillionaire chief executives has made it almost a standard to show up wearing just about anything.
“People want to be taken seriously in something besides just a boring suit, polo shirt or shapeless outfit,” she said.
Laurie Graham King, a Los Angeles stylist and wardrobe consultant, said she knew the tide was turning when she started getting calls from clients saying they had been chastised for being “too sloppy” at work.
“Companies expect you to represent their brand in a positive manner,” she said. “And how you dress is a big part of putting your best foot forward at work. I advise my younger clients who are just starting their first job to dress for the position they want. If you dress like a college student, no one will take you seriously.”
Brands are offering up career-dressing collections that are fresh and modern, predicated on a tailored structured piece and building creatively around that.
“There are so many new [jacket] shapes with sleeve detail that still feel professional,” said Debra Perlman, president of New York-based brand Tahari ASL.
A jacket with a bell sleeve or embroidery detail paired with a slender pant will look more interesting than a conventional trouser suit. Other pieces that Perlman suggests seeking out are pencil skirts, bouclé jackets, shift dresses with statement sleeves and fit-and-flare dress; both dress styles can work with the jacket. Accessories should include a bag that is spacious but not slouchy, and a shoe that offers a little stature while the wearer is on her feet all day.
Now, here are some ideas to jazz up your too-casual work look.
Animal prints are a perennial fall favorite. Cole Haan is on top of the trend with this block heel loafer in ocelot-print hair calf. $440, www.colehaan.com
Taking a selfie at your desk? Not before an application of Wunder2’s Perfect Selfie HD Photo Finishing Powder, which presents a refined complexion in the harsh glare of fluorescent lighting. Applied with a large Kabuki brush (not included) over makeup, it sets foundation, eliminates shine and keeps the face looking fresh all day. $22, www.wunder2.com and amazon.com
The Virtue shoe from Abeo encompasses three of fall’s most important trends: It’s in suede, comes in burgundy and features lace-up details. The brand is known for its comfort-forward footwear, so these won’t pinch after a long day at the office. $159.95 from the Walking Co. stores at the Glendale Galleria, Sherman Oaks Fashion Square and other locations and at thewalkingcompany.com
Luba by Hannah Payne
The Shimmer dress from New York-based Luba by Hannah Payne is a youthful take on tweed; this beige zipper-front wool dress is scantily shot with golden threadwork for a bit of textural interest. $298, shopluba.com
Embroidery detail and the three-quarter sleeves on this jacket from Tahari ASL make it anything but a basic black blazer. The piece can work with pants, a skirt or over a black shift dress. Also shown is an olive blouse with neck ruffle detail from Tahari ASL. Jacket, $149, and blouse, $56, tahariasl.com
David Lerner New York
The pencil skirt is reinvented by David Lerner New York with this stretch tube skirt made from a nylon/spandex blend that fits the body while not feeling restrictive. Sizes from extra small to large. $105, davidlernerny.com
Be prepared for the inevitable office air conditioning with the Camelia, a snug yet sophisticated cropped cardigan from Santa Monica-based Naked Cashmere. The 100% cashmere open-front piece is lightweight enough for layering and comes in several neutral colors such as camel, black and gray. $150, nakedcashmere.com.
Arrive at work on a cool day in this Rebecca Minkoff trench-style Ferry coat in purple with a plush velvet feel, $340 at select Nordstrom stores and nordstrom.com.
From Los Angeles designer Elaine Kim, who has a store on 3rd Street close to the Beverly Connection, is this Okara dress in silk charmeuse with an attached leather belt. In addition to white, the dress comes in rose, navy and marbled gray. $525, available at Elaine Kim, 8373 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles.
Last month saw the launch of the limited-edition Coach x Selena Gomez collaboration, which includes this leather-and-suede Selena Grace carryall. The actress-singer includes a message with each bag, “To be you is to be strong.” This design comes in Selena Red, Selena Black Cherry and Selena White — so there’s no chance of forgetting whose bag you’re carrying. $395, coach.com
Don’t forget to accessorize. Los Angeles brand Via Saviene’s modern jewelry pieces work well with upwardly mobile dressing. From the Colette collection is this two-tone cuff made from 14-karat gold and hematite plating with Swarovski crystals. The open hinge style works with all wrist sizes. $275, viasaviene.com