Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell

2014 Spring Fashion: Office Style Guide

  1. Spring Is (Almost) Here!

    Spring Is (Almost) Here!

    Say goodbye to your puffy jacket: Here are 175 ways to be the most stylish person at the office.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  2. Button Up a Shirtdress

    Button Up a Shirtdress

    Menswear-inspired separates are a key trend this spring. Instead of going full Diane Keaton, keep it feminine and light with a kicky shift that includes a collar, button placket, and classic cotton cloth in a neutral or faint pattern. If you’re tall, a flared hemline also works well.

    Far left: Sleeveless? Instead of a blazer, cover with Burberry Prorsum’s long cashmere cardigan ($3,195) to keep the look from feeling boyish. A plush handbag like the Affine from Time’s Arrow ($725) helps.

    Center: The No. 289 roller ball belt (Billykirk, $99), with a band about an inch wide, will define the waist without adding bulk. The gold bangles are Jennifer Meyer, $475-$2,250. The Lindsay sleeveless dress is A.L.C., $575.

    Near left: Layer a crewneck in a similar palette, like Tanya Taylor’s Keaton sweater ($495), then keep the collar out for a preppy twist.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  3. Shirtdresses


    From left: Boxy pocket tunic, Nomia, $495; Shosanna dress, DV by Dolce Vita, $132; Geniada sleeveless dress, Theory, $295.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  4. Get a New Handle on Bags

    Get a New Handle on Bags

    Finally, a work-appropriate upgrade of that grocery tote you’ve been carrying: For women, shopping-bag shapes come in durable textiles with clean lines, perfect for slinging over your shoulder on commutes. For men, buttery leather softens holdalls in various sizes, making them flexible and roomy enough to carry some gym clothes, too.

    From left: Eco-Croc Beckett tote, Stella McCartney, $1,200; Leather Santa Monica bag, Tumi, $895.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  5. New Bags for Men and Women

    New Bags for Men and Women

    Clockwise, from top left: Leather shopping bag, A.P.C., $720; Eliot document case, Smythson, $2,115; Hank briefcase, Will Leather Goods, $395; Neo Noe PM, Louis Vuitton, $3,700.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  6. Bet Soft on Suits

    Bet Soft on Suits

    Tailoring doesn’t have to be so uptight. With less padded shoulders and a more casual fit, unstructured suits feel as comfortable as khakis, whether paired with power ties or fine-gauge knits. The trick is to break the jacket in, so choose a solid navy or gray that’s easy to wear often.

    Far left: Unstructured silk cotton suit, Patrik Ervell, $1,230; Broadcloth shirt, Cesare Attolini, $590; Abstract galaxy necktie, Brooklyn Tailors, $115; Arceau Le Temps Suspendu watch, Hermès, $19,400; Brown canvas oxfords, John Lobb, $625.

    Near left: Gray Weighouse wool suit, Thom Sweeney for Mr. Porter, $1,995; Cotton shirt, PS Paul Smith, $230; Striped cotton cashmere sweater, Etro, $520; Perry dress loafers, Bally, $625.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  7. Go Light on Jeans

    Go Light on Jeans

    It used to be only the most creative offices allowed jeans. Even then, it was implied they would be dark. As many labels have reinvigorated denim, slim (not-so-skinny) cuts feel fresher in paler hues.

    Far left: The shorter length on Todd Snyder’s plaid sportcoat ($1,495) keeps it from feeling like it needs suit pants.

    Center, on him: Riviera shirt, A.P.C., $190; Reversible leather belt, Salvatore Ferragamo, $240; Tyler jean in struck, J Brand, $198; Lincoln brogues, Paul Smith, $585. On her: Canelle striped shirt, Sandro, $375; Super-skinny jean in even tide, J Brand, $178; Penny D’Orsay flats, Jenni Kayne, $595.

    Near left: A light pair looks good with Miu Miu’s pastel jacket ($2,320) because the colors aren’t an exact match.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  8. Easier Than Skirts, Better Than Chinos

    Easier Than Skirts, Better Than Chinos

    Incorporate men’s pairs in light grays and somewhat-distressed blues as you would your favorite khakis. Since denim is a bit stronger in texture, it works well with heavy brogues.

    From left: Pins fit in sunbleach, Levi’s Made & Crafted, $195; Stiletto fit in sterling, Current/Elliott, $188; Brixton fit in Boris, Joe’s, $172; Slim fit in heather gray, 3x1, $345.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  9. Follow the Pattern: Into the Wild

    Follow the Pattern: Into the Wild

    Florals for spring feel a bit more groundbreaking when given an impressionistic twist. The best options come in silk or other drapey fabrics that can hold bright color better than cotton.

    Far left, from top: Lana top, Steven Alan, $195; Georgiana silk top, Timo Weiland, $325. Many stylish women have started buttoning shirts up to the top, like we did with the Phoebe blouse, A.P.C., $325; Printed poplin shirt, Carven, $500.

    Center: Signature shirt, Equipment, $298; Jersey pencil skirt, DSquared, $375.

    Near left: Balance out a loose-fitting blouse by tucking it into Frame’s flared denim ($209).

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  10. Printed Matters

    Printed Matters

    For a guy’s twist on this idea, many retailers are offering patterned shirts that are slightly more subtle than ladies’ florals. Look for a button-up with a small motif printed on a neutral you’d be wearing anyway. Ground it further with a solid knit tie, navy blazer, or colorful chinos on an early-out Friday.

    From left: Kalamkari print shirt, Band of Outsiders, $295; Printed button-down, J.Crew, $88; Printed golfer short-sleeve shirt, PS Paul Smith, $230.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  11. Stay in the Trenches

    Stay in the Trenches

    Rather than go for a saturated color or avant-garde fit, invest in a workday essential with utilitarian details and a simple silhouette. Have a tailor tweak until it looks perfect.

    Far left, from top: Midlength cotton gaberdine trench, Burberry London, $1,695. Glossy Point D’Esprit layer coat, Red Valentino, $695. It’s clear—and repels rain. A black version of the coat by Dries van Noten ($1,450) looks chic for night, especially when vamped up with Bally’s red heels ($595).

    Center: Packaway trench, Bottega Veneta, $1,100; Blue check leisure shirt, Alfred Dunhill, $225; Lightweight chinos, Slowear Incotex, $360.

    Near left: A roomier trench by Steven Alan ($645) balances out form-fitting clothes.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  12. Trenchcoats: Stay Neutral

    Trenchcoats: Stay Neutral

    Military-inspired colors such as army green and navy match office suits, shirts, and the ties beneath. Feel free to skip the blazer when it’s inclement. To create a more tailored shape, knot the belt to itself in the back, rather than tying yourself in.

    From left: Insider coat, Gant, $650; Coated linen trench, Mackintosh, $1,250; Classic trench, Ermenegildo Zegna, $2,495.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  13. Try Baby Colors for Adults

    Try Baby Colors for Adults

    Blush pinks and sky blues may call to mind your kid’s nursery, but many brands are highlighting these dusty shades for spring: They look great on both men and women and pair well with whites, tans, and every skin tone.

    Top row, from left: 1. Preppy jumper, Karen Walker, $210. Button-front shirt, T by Alexander Wang, $265. Brigitte trouser, Piamita, $285. Anouk nude pump (throughout), Jimmy Choo, $595.

    2. Slim-fit jeans, Ralph Lauren Black Label, $250. Cotton dress shirt, PS Paul Smith, $230. Canvas oxfords (throughout), John Lobb, $626.

    3. Leather coat, Ports 1961, $4,195. Long-sleeve shirt, Carven, $290. Skinny side-zip jeans, Stella McCartney, $325.

    4. Cotton-linen twill suit, Marc by Marc Jacobs, $756. Silk sleeveless blouse, Salvatore Ferragamo, $1,350.

    5. Cotton suit, Ermenegildo Zegna, $3,095. Slim button-down shirt, Thomas Mason for J.Crew, $148. Silk tie, Gucci, $190. Winston sunglasses, Warby Parker, $95.

    Bottom row, from left: 6. Knit skirt, Sonia Rykiel, $900. Ellie blouse, Reiss, $150.

    7. Oxford shirt, Brooklyn Tailors, $195. Cotton trouser, DKNY, $230. Leonard sunglasses, Illesteva, $165.

    8. Viscose pant, A.L.C., $392. Sleeveless silk shirt, DKNY, $195. Sunglasses, Prada, price upon request. Arceau chrono colors watch, Hermès, $6,500.

    9. Suede elastic bomber, Calvin Klein, $2,195. Poplin shirt, Acne, $190. Yukon trouser, Steven Alan, $225.

    10. Saffiano leather double bag, Prada, $2,650. Cotton button-up, DKNY, $225. Skinny crop pant, Frame Denim, $199.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell
  14. Add a Touch of Retro

    Add a Touch of Retro

    Flattering Pleats
    Accordion folds have shed their 1950s schoolgirl feel, thanks to new fabric blends and fits and lengths that add less bulk. Skirts and dresses will swoosh nicely during your commute.

    Throwback Polos
    With contrast edging, button-up fronts, a bit of stretch, and a more relaxed fit on the polos, these modern updates on the accountant’s uniform are great for layering once it gets too warm to wear a real sweater.

    Far left: Painted silk cotton knit, Bottega Veneta, $1,350.

    Center left: Pleats add volume, so they pair well with Thakoon Addition’s simple, streamlined top ($325).

    Center: Sunburst skirt, J.Crew, $118; Ankle wrap heels, Samuji, $630; Colorblock tunic blouse, Marissa Webb, $498.

    Center right, from top: Cavalry silk shirtdress, Marchesa Voyage, $495; Swan skirt, Tocca, $425. Channel the Rat Pack with a Folk windbreaker ($515) and dressier trousers. Timo Weiland’s have a slight sheen and hold their crease ($480).

    Near left, from top: Reed broken stripe button-down, Timo Weiland, $255; Striped cotton polo, Canali, $245.

    Photographs by Boru O’Brien O’Connell