Isabel Spearman is a brand and image consultant who previously worked as special adviser to Samantha Cameron at Downing Street. Each week , she offers a helping hand dissecting workwear dress codes and offering a modern take on power dressing.
To ask Isabel Spearman your workwear questions, email [email protected] or follow her on instagram @isabelspearman
In this week's column, she tackles wearing catwalk trends for the office...
Q. Are catwalk trends off limits in the corporate world? I’d like my wardrobe to be up to date, but don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb
A.Even if you aren’t one to follow fashion closely, I can guarantee you that a trend that was shown on the catwalk this week in Milan will end up in your wardrobe in a few months time. High street brands are getting faster at translating these trends into their own (more affordable) collections.
Blazer, £235; and trousers, £130, Reiss
The first is tonal blocking. In everyday language this means wearing different shades of the same colour, like Maxmara’s elegant layers of heather and lilac. I’d suggest a coloured suit with a top in a complementary shade for the office. I had a meeting last week with a senior female executive and she came into the room wearing a fantastic dark pink suit. Unless you’re very confident it’s a hard look to pull off, which is why I would recommend darker colours, like Reiss’ sharply tailored burgundy suit, paired with Zara’s red tweed peplum top.
Handkerchief hems are a trend I usually try and avoid, despite their popularity on the catwalks, as my ordered nature prefers straight lines. Then I spotted a very chic red skirt from M&S which I would happily bend my own rules on. COS have a practical and smart navy shirt dress which would be perfect for the office.
Finally, ruffles are set to be popular for SS18, around necks, cuffs and hems - Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafine had the best ones in Milan. I am very partial to a ruffle, and got some strange looks in the City last week in Ganni’s Charron dress as it does make me look like a Victorian milkmaid. To avoid said looks, try pared down options like the Reed dress from LK Bennett’s brilliant new collaboration with Preen. A ruffle at the collar looks great under a jacket and is flattering around the face. Sandro have some lovely shirts with ruffle details, and ME+EM have clever layering ones that you can wear under a jumper. Perfect as the weather gets colder.