Whether you're a man or a woman, if there is one word that sums up 2013's corporate wear trends, it's simplicity; simplicity of design, simplicity of fabric, simplicity of accessories. Boldness in colour has replaced boldness of pattern as the look to make you stand out in the office, with the big designers taking things back to basics in their catwalk shows.
Simplicity doesn't mean disappearing into the office uniform crowd. A single â€˜splurge' item can be your opportunity to show it isn't just your suit that's a cut above the rest. For gentlemen it may be a bold print tie or pocket square or a pair of vintage brogues. The more adventurous can even reach for a pair of hip loafers, with or without socks. For ladies it can be a statement pair of heels or a handbag that will have colleagues cooing over by the water cooler, or even a statement watch or necklace. Whatever direction you decide to take your corporate clothing in, let the mantra of less is more never be far from your lips in 2013.
Confidence with colour is also an area that can enliven your office uniform. In recent years the trends for men have increasingly been away from blacks and browns and toward lighter greys and blues-colours which would be regarded as flamboyant evening wear ten years ago is now a staple of the office worker who wants to stand out. Add to this the trend toward pink shirts for men, with some fashionistas arguing they are on the verge of replacing white as the reach-for office colour. Real men wear pink is fast becoming all men wear pink. If you're not there yet, catch up. Whilst on the theme of shirts, for both men and women the simple barrel cuff-rather than the more ostentatious cuff link - is in vogue, with cuts increasingly streamlined and simple.
For both sexes, but men in particular, any jewellery should be discreet and understated. Flaunting wealth and status is considered increasingly crass in these tough economic times, and will mark you out in the office for all the wrong reasons. If some bling is still your thing an expensive pen or business card case can effortlessly add that dash of glamour to your outfit.While double-breasted suits have threatened to return the mainstream in recent years, they are still on the periphery, existing at odds with the more casual trends of the workplace. But while one blast from the past has struggled to make an impact, button tip shirts (the ones with the buttons on the collars, to the uninitiatedâ€¦) are back with a vengeance, adding the potential for a preppy look to your office uniform. Wear buttoned all the way to the top under a suit jacket to give off an edgy, yet still office ready, vibe. Another vintage inspired look is silk knit ties; their squared off ends and gruff texture hint toward a free spirit - without the boss having you marked down as too much of a rebel. For women, pant suits and suit jackets worn on top of oversized shirts have reappeared on the catwalk-so it may be time to raid the boyfriend’s wardrobe.
Finally, trends come and go, but some stables will be fashionable for years to come; well cut suits with narrow silhouettes, quality shoes, crisp, slim fitting shirts. From this basis anyone can craft their own corporate style to ensure they look like they’ve rolled off the catwalk, not the bed, when they arrive at the office. And needless to say, however on-trend your clothes if your grooming is not up to scratch the rest counts for nothing. Understated makeup, clean hair and well-manicured nails are timeless.