Style Letter

Look Better on the Job. The Ultimate Styling Tips and Outfits for Business

by Julia Zirpel

Julia Zirpel is the co-founder of thewearness.com, an onlineshop for ethical fashion and used to work as a fashion director for several women’s magazines.



Men’s fabrics

We women have been wearing tweed coats, glen plaid jackets, or pinstripe fabrics just like men for at least a hundred years. Marlene Dietrich in her suit is unforgettable.

Nevertheless, we still associate classic English fabrics with men. But they look much better on us! The great thing about these fabrics is they are mostly made of pure wool (dump the plastic), are often still produced very traditionally in Great Britain, and last a lifetime.

Any form works—as a coat, jacket, trousers, or skirt. But be careful: especially with blazers, you should aim for a slightly less-classic cut; you don’t want to have an equestrian style. Oversized cuts look cooler, as if you borrowed it from your own husband or friend. The coat should be long, the blazer casually cut, sleeves rolled up. Anyone worried that this looks not yet “grown up” should pay attention to the fit on the shoulders—if the blazer or coat fits perfectly on the shoulders, even smaller women can wear them long.

When styling, these classic fabrics can handle contrast, e.g. pair patent bootees with a silk, flowered dress, check with check or with a bright color, and obviously with a pair of jeans, regardless of how worn they are. You will notice that, no matter what you combine with classic English fabric, it always remains chic and is always suitable for the office.

Here are four examples:

Long mohair coat in classic check. Narrow cut and double breasted it looks particularly elegant. A turtleneck underneath (my favorite basic for winter days in the office) and long, slightly flared trousers. This optically extends you by at least two inches. As shoes to it, I love the contrast: patent leather!

The long, dark, checked blazer with a waist belt perfectly fits with the printed flower silk dress! And with that, a pair of beautiful boots. But also, jeans—regardless if worn or dark denim—both look perfect with this blazer.

The oversized herringbone coat paired with glen check trousers flared at the hem. I love this look. Combine it with a white blouse and yes, this winter definitely white bootees.

A glen plaid wrap-around skirt—even a mini skirt looks good and serious in this material! It’s especially casual combined with an oversized blazer. Now a mini definitely works in the office. And add a Statement: a bright red sweater!

My “Catch of the month“

A quote – because it fits perfectly:

“I have always believed in trying to keep as many of my clothes and shoes going for as long as possible…through patches and repairs—and in this way I tend to be in fashion once every 25 years…” Prince Charles

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