Spring is officially here - according to the calendar, that is. Yes - sunny days are coming, but they are often accompanied by chilly mornings. So how do you dress when it's essentially frigid on the way to work, but almost balmy by midday? It's all about the layers. Layers don't always mean defaulting to your workhorse black wool coat and trusty charcoal scarf - you can look just as stylish walking to the office as you do running out for a quick lunch. AND your outer layers can even add some unexpected panache to your look, either as harmonious outfit-completers or as a color and style counterpoint to your ensemble.
My client, Ellen, asked me to show her how to build a few outfits from beginning to end - so that's what we did in a recent styling session. I worked with items already in her wardrobe to create looks from start to finish, focusing on ones that make her feel just as fashionable when she's bundled up in the AM as she does in a PM meeting.
Ellen loves dresses for work - and for important days, she prefers structured ones. Neutrals are also on Ellen's top ten list, so I often create looks for her that rely on texture (rather than color) for interest. The wool of the dress, the rib of the cardigan, and even the braid on the belt add necessary dimension to this ivory on shades-of-grey look.
This amazing Ellen Brook scarf ties all the colors together, and gives a sophisticated pop of print. I also love the grey suede knee-high boots - they're a little unexpected with a prim and proper dress, and they showcase Ellen's personality to a 't'. (If knee-high boots aren't your choice for the office - nude heels blend seamlessly with this look, as well!)
A faux-suede moto jacket is also a bit unexpected, but adds just the right edge (and needed warmth for a cool morning). And if you're good with a wearing a scarf all day - then skip the jewelry. But if that scarf is going to come off as soon as you hit your desk - add some warmth with a dose of gold and a few doses of sparkle.
On less dressy days, a cozy knit dress is Ellen's outfit of choice. This black and white marled dress serves as a great base for a multitude of looks. On cooler days - she'll grab boots and tights. On warmer days - a simple black heel works just as well.
Another Ellen Brook scarf adds a graphic focus, and a little pattern play to this look. How does the second print work? It's based in the same colors as the dress, but in a different scale.
If you have more than one piece of transitional outerwear, then go for color. Yes, Ellen has a trusty black trench - but this red trench packs a stylish punch, and definitely gets Ellen noticed on the walk to and from BART.
Casual office days (or dinner dates) often call for something other than a dress - so how about a skirt? A simple sweater, print skirt, and booties are a fun alternative (and another versatile base) - so I simply added Ellen's favorite floral scarf and leather jacket.
If you're not as into skirts as Ellen - then black jeans (or trousers and heels) work just as well - especially since the scarf adds print and the leather adds subtle shine to what would otherwise be a slightly too simple look.