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Suiting yourself is the new workplace dress code

The latest trends for autumn/winter 2019 are all about individuality, flair and dressing to suit your own style and personality

April midi dress €29.99, iclothing.ie.

April midi dress €29.99, iclothing.ie.


Tired of dressing for the job like an office clone or worker drone? Then you will be relieved to know that the latest trends for autumn/winter 2019 are all about individuality, flair and dressing to suit your own style and personality.

The recent focus on workplace wellness is increasingly reflected in an office feelgood factor and mood-enhancing clothes. Words like sustainable, organic and cosy are replacing faddish, high-street trends that end up as dishcloths after a few spins in the washing machine.

A shocking amount of online clothing purchases – nearly 40 per cent – are returned to retailers once they are rejected by the customer. More than half of these are burned by the brand, leaving a wasteful carbon footprint. Think twice before clicking that “add to cart” button in order to reduce the amount of clothing dumps around the world.

Online clothes shopping is riddled with pitfalls and prone to errors on sizing and fit. How many times have you decided against buying a jumper because the wool felt too itchy? Or tried on a shirt only to find that the drape of the fabric was limp and unflattering? Countless times.

If you want the perfect outfit, then venture out into the real world and support our terrestrial boutiques, which are trying to withstand the challenge of cheaper, quick-hit, online competition.

Women’s workwear

Floral dresses are still a top choice for the office environment, ringing the changes for the season in a range of autumnal shades and prints. Customise the look to suit your style by teaming them with either Doc Marten boots and oversized cardigans for a more bohemian image, or co-ordinate with chunky heels and a fitted jacket for more formal meetings.

Vivienne Westwood’s autumn/winter show highlighted a daft punky theme with safety pins and leather looks. Fun features for workwear include printed tights that can be worn with a mini-skirts (they’re back!) and chunky ankle boots. The trend for tights, whether simple black opaques or ornate, is poised to grow even stronger as we move towards Christmas.

Molly check satchel bag €37.50, Debenhams.
Molly check satchel bag €37.50, Debenhams.

Satin and silk fabrics are also a key fabric this season, with puff-shoulder blouses and ruffled shirts. Glam rock is also kicking its high boots back into the scene with platform soles. Stella McCartney’s pull-on Suzi Quatro boots and green lizard prints by Alexa Chung hit a retro note for individualists.

Simple workwear neutral blouses and long flared trousers in shades of butter and cream feel fab for cosy mid-week comfort. Soft cashmere jumpers – a staple of the Paul Costelloe collection in Dunnes Stores – suit sophisticated, cropped wide-legged trousers and flat pumps.

H&M, which is trying to adopt a more sustainable approach to its surplus and returned clothing, has a smart line of safari-style jackets in beige and khaki shades.

Croc style sandals from Principles €44, Debenhams
Croc style sandals from Principles €44, Debenhams

Other key looks worth noting are soft cotton baggy trousers worn with Birkenstocks and softly tailored blouses. Effortless chic is the way to stand out rather than louder labels with cult logos.


Autumn/winter menswear also adopts a more relaxed silhouette this season. In fact, formal structures like ties, stiff collars, double shirt cuffs and even conservative socks are being slowly unravelled to allow a softer line of crew neck sweaters, looser shirts and softer, laceless shoes or trainers.

As work encroaches more into our daily lives and downtime, men are enjoying a laissez faire attitude to wardrobe rules. Gathering up a few key pieces like a handful of smart-fitting, casual camp-collar shirts and relaxed chinos is key to a peaceful weekday wardrobe.

By the way, “camp-collar” means soft, flat shirt lapels so leave the tropical pink flamingo styles or funky parrot designs for cocktails at the Copacabana. Tailored denim shirts look great worn with baggier cargo pants.

Don’t go denim head to toe unless you are a Nathan Carter clone. Metrosexual loafers are worth investing in for comfort and for flexibility. Marks & Spencer has an excellent footwear selection.

Finally, the reliable tin of fruit is always worth keeping in the wardrobe, especially the single-breasted casual cut. Choose a style with a versatile jacket and trousers that can ring the changes from a manic Monday to a footloose freebie Friday.