Sleek in the City

I hope no one has post notifications turned on for this blog, because even though I love the idea of blogging and collecting random bits of writing in one space, I really don’t like the idea of people actually reading it. I would remove every picture of myself on here and any reference to my name, but the reality is that at one point in my life, I enjoyed that side of blogging and I enjoyed the photography side of things too. As I grew out of blogging I became pretty content with not sharing any information about myself, I like the fact that no one really knows what I do or how I got there.

But I still like to write. I still enjoy reading every book I can get my hands on and I still wait eagerly for the next Vogue magazine to grace my local supermarket (I should really just get a subscription by now). I enjoy reading about new trends and fashions and interesting people, it’s a type of escapism for me because my real occupation is pretty far from the glamorous life of glossy magazines (in some ways!). Do people still read magazines? Do people still read blogs? Well at least I hope not this one.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about workwear. What to wear to work, how to comply with whatever mundane dresscode without feeling like a typical ‘suit’. Fashion for me has always been about expression. This doesn’t mean everyday I aspire to make a certain statement, some days I can barely be bothered at all, but that in itself is a form of self-expression and respect for ones body and state of mind. Other days I want to look glamorous and exude confidence. Since I will now spend most of my time in ‘workwear’, I figured that I may as well have some fun with it. I have to admit I do secretly love dressing for work, because when I walk through the big glass doors, I feel humbled and motivated to work hard, and clothing is just a means to get me into that mindset.

Every day starts with the same question: how do I want myself to look? Regardless of how I feel, I want to be a woman who is comfortable in her own skin, but confident enough to try new things. Someone who looks sophisticated and chic but effortlessly so, timelessly elegant and feminine, but certainly not matronly.

How does one do all of that? I’m still trying to figure it out but so far, I’m adding charm to the corporate prototype by opting for elongated tailoring, longline pencil skirts with pearl-encrusted belts, white blouses with just enough frills and cropped cigarette pants with pink satin kitten heels. I stick to the neutral corporate palette of blacks, greys and browns, but experiment with silky textures and daring pops of colour I can probably just about get away with (almost). Gone are the days of padded ‘power shoulders’ and skyline heels. Life is way too short to be that bland.

Key Buys

maxmara

MaxMara 101801 Icon Coat in madame caramel

There are camel coats, and then there are MaxMara camel coats. This iconic coat is a truly eye-catching piece, the proportions are just the right amount of oversized without compromising on a feminine fit.

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Manolo Blahnik Lurum Velvet heels in dark green

Regardless of how strict the dress code, shoes are one area I will always push my luck (I wore pearl-encrusted heeled strap sandals to my interview). With the dreary winter months imminent, there is no way a pair of jewelled velvet Manolos will go amiss. Plus, these heels are backless so comfort is no excuse.

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Peter Do grey tuxedo pants

This is the ultimate ‘cool yet refined’ combination. I love the way the pintuck down the front and back of the trouser captures so much movement, creating that whole ‘effortlessly chic’ look that actually requires a lot more effort than it seems.

Gucci leather belt with pearl double G

This suggestion may divide opinion because of the obvious Gucci logo, but belts are a seriously underrated accessory. An oversized belt with an eye-catching buckle can be worn over a simple pencil skirt or black tailored trouser to cinch in the waist and break up an otherwise mundane outfit of black bottoms and white top.

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Celine’s Women’s Winter show 2019. Link for blazer and trousers

I seriously recommend checking out Celine’s whole winter runway collection (Zara will be all over it soon). In particular, I singled out this look because I love the combination of charcoal grey with creamy nudes. A pinstriped suit will always get boardroom approval, but opting for a wool variation and pairing it with a smart turtleneck reworks a classic in a way which elevates, rather than obfuscates.

 

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I’m going to cheat and include a second shoe suggestion. Exceptions must be made for strutting around the city in a pair of satin kitten heel slingbacks. These shoes are divine and not to mention comfortable enough to wear till 3am in the office. I would wear these with tailored cigarette pants and a crisp, white oversized shirt.

Kitten heels are having their fashion moment again right now and I’m absolutely here for it. To save clogging this post with any more 1.5 inch wonders, I’ll probably do a separate post on these heels.

Beauty Edit

chanel

Chanel Palette Essentielle in Rose Naturel

Disclaimer: I don’t own this palette, so I can’t speak much from personal experience, but I did check the reviews and they’re pretty glowing. I remember seeing the initial launch of this product and how the colours were influenced by different pretty landscapes and I thought it was all quite clever.

What’s really impressive about this little palette is that it combines a concealer, highlighter, lipstick and blush into one handy compact. I’m sure the aforementioned chic and sophisticated, totally modern and un-matronly corporate woman would have one of these in her Chanel 2.55.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and I hope you never buy a padded shoulder blazer again!

Love from,

Iffa
xoxo

Brand recommendations: (no Boden or Hobbs on this seriously cool list)

  • All of the above
  • Aday – seasonless clothing for every woman
  • Me and Em – this brand will cover you from office to gym to weekends
  • MaxMara – MaxMara
  • MaxMara Weekend – a slightly cheaper version of MaxMara (but not always)
  • Massimo Dutti – great blouses
  • Loro Piana – cashmere
  • Claudie Pierlot – serious French chic
  • Maje – more French chic
  • Cos – minimalistic
  • Zara – for a budget-friendly version of all the above

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