There’s no getting away from it, the return to work begins in earnest this week. While that 6AM alarm might be something of a shock to the system, this does at least mean that you’ve got the chance to step into the new year wearing something suitably sharp. So, here are a few tips to refresh your back-to-work wardrobe, just in time for the season ahead.
1. Camel is (still) king
Of course, the backbone of a professional wardrobe is suiting, but separates can be just as smart. This double-breasted camelhair blazer from Kingsman (Mr Porter’s own tailoring line – a spin-off from the Matthew Vaughn movies) is a handsome thing and perfect for business-casual. For the office, style it as seen with a mid-blue poplin shirt, navy trousers and a club stripe tie. It’ll also look the business on the weekends right through to spring proper, dressed with a white T-shirt and dark selvedge denim jeans. Yes, it’s an investment, but one that’ll stand the test of time.
2. Dark seersucker is a thing
You know seersucker, right? It’s a white and grey striped cotton fabric with a puckered texture, as seen exclusively in the driest of American yacht clubs and on the terraces of London’s stuffiest members clubs. Not so. Seersucker’s enjoying a renaissance, with brands creating lightweight seersucker tailoring in dark navy, black, chocolate and forest green. In its new tonally harmonious form it gives off a sleek impression, and works well for a pared back office look. While it’s a lightweight option for spring, it’s not so light that you can’t wear it now.Try Richard James’s new season two-piece with a sky blue button-down and dark tie, and slip a dark suede gilet underneath for extra warmth. Alternatively, break up the jacket and trousers, and wear as a navy blazer with classic tan chinos.
3. So are tropical colours
Vivid, saturated colours are set to compete with pastels this coming spring/summer season. A number of tailoring brands are playing with jungle green, hot pink, burnt orange and peacock blue. Paul Smith’s new-season two-piece picks up on this colour trend with its matte petrol green cloth. It’s cut in a crisp blend of wool and mohair. Mohair is a smart choice for a summer suit – it’s taken from kid goats and is both lighter, stronger and more fibrous than sheep’s wool. Consequently, it makes for excellent lightweight tailoring, breathing and resisting creasing to a higher degree than pure wool can alone. Try this if you’re in need of a warm-weather travel suit, or you’re after something that will work well day-to-evening. Swap out the white poplin shirt and navy knitted tie for a black merino crewneck after hours and you’re good to go.
4. Novelty prints are cool again
If you’d asked me this time last year whether I like novelty print ties, I’d have answered with an emphatic ‘bog off’. Even so, times and trends change. A lot of ties with playful patterns have emerged this spring, whether from big designers like Prada, or leading independents like Drake’s here. Forget Heffalumps and Moomins, we’re talking chic designs like these tonal skiers. In navy, burgundy and black with a subtle surface texture, this tie couldn’t be easier to wear; try it with a sky blue spread-collar shirt and classic mid-grey suit. It’s an easy way to inject some personality into your business dress this January. It’s fun but still sophisticated.
Was £135, now £94.50, drakes.com
5. Swap your lace-ups for loafers (preferably horse-bits)
True, loafers never really go out of style, but this spring horse-bits are among the most fashionable slip-ons you could choose to wear. Gucci’s are the OG choice, and still made just outside Milan today from soft nappa leather and fine-grain calf. This pair is true to form, designed with a classic loafer construction, thin, springy soles and Creative Director Alessandro Alessandro Michele’s new collapsible heel design. In burgundy they’ll work with classic tailoring in navy or grey, and the soft heels make them comfortable office shoes too. While these might look a touch too relaxed in a formal office, if you work to a creative or business-casual dress code, these will be sure to turn heads . Again, they’re a great option for the weekends too.
6. Suits don’t have to be formal
It’s also worth thinking about what passes for formal in today’s working world. True, many corporate or professional offices still require a conventional suit and tie, but ‘deformalised’ suiting is big news this spring too – perfect for creative offices. This two-piece from Folk is experimental in all the right ways; the garment-dyed fabric is relaxed, the jacket is unstructured and cropped, and the trousers features a sweatpant-style elasticated waistband. Try this as seen here, with a striped T-shirt and a pair of your favourite sneakers.
£260, £140, mrporter.com