Dress for Success: 8 Fashion Week Trends for Your Working Wardrobe

Fashion Week just ended and some key trends became clear. Read on to learn more about the styles you may see in the workplace in spring.

The good news from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is that the designers du jour seem to have taken a surprisingly sensible approach this year. Asked recently whom he would most like to help dress for success, CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Joseph Altuzarra chose Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — passing over a posse of celebrities and supermodels. Could high fashion finally be coming to terms with real-world office dress codes?

As the in-crowd jets off to London for their next round of runway shows, we scoured the Spring collections for looks that could transition from catwalk to conference room. Here are eight Fashion Week trends you can easily add to your work fashion wardrobe:

1. Flats are back.

From wedges to stilettos, high style has historically translated to impossibly high heels. Thankfully, one of this week’s biggest revelations was the remarkable resurgence of flat shoes. Top names from Helmut Lang to DKNY sent models down the runway in a dazzling array of moccasins, loafers, sandals and flatforms. Even Victoria Beckham, famed for her 8-inch stilettos, launched her own line of flats at Fashion Week.

2. Hemlines are dropping.

They say you can predict the stock market based on women’s hemlines: The higher the hemline, the more the market will rise. Let’s hope that’s not the case this year. Midi-length dresses and below-the-knee skirts popped up all over the place. The good news is that this trend is easy to replicate in the office, where a too-short hemline can spell a serious fashion faux pas.

3. Braids mean business.

A hair braid is classic work fashion: a professional yet creative version of the ponytail. Braids were out in full force on the runways and red carpets of Fashion Week. For busy workers who want to dress for success, a tightly tucked braid can show your sense of style — and remain safely in place on even the most hectic days.

4. Gingham checks in.

The fashion elite have gone gangbusters for gingham, with their own farmhouse-chic versions of the all-American plaid. Blacks and blues overshadowed traditional red in everything from cocktail dresses to tailored suits. For everyday work attire, look for colorful contemporary twists on this classic cotton staple.

5. Button-fronts bite back.

Nothing could be more versatile than a crisp, white button-front shirt. You probably own a handful already. Well, it’s time to rescue them from the back of your closet and start experimenting with layers and accessories like ties. For once, it seems fashion is imitating work attire, instead of the other way around. You, too, can dress for success by breathing new life into a 9-to-5 classic.

6. Florals begin to bloom.

Fashion Week designers played with floral patterns, putting new spins on prints that have stood the test of time in work fashion. Michael Kors stitched 3D buttercups, Carolina Herrera pixelated her blossoms, and even menswear designer Jack Spade experimented with a floral-camouflage print. Go big and bold to accentuate your professional image: nothing brightens up drab office attire like flowers.

7. Yellow is no longer mellow.

The color that clearly stood out this year was a bright, sunny yellow. Think bolder than a Post-it note but not quite neon highlighter. It was a popular choice on both the men’s and women’s runways, so expect to see it cropping up all over the office come spring. Just be careful to use it sparingly for work or move it down a notch in tone.

8. Technology is beautiful.

Wearable technology isn’t just for techies. Intel came to Fashion Week to launch MICA, or My Intelligent Communication Accessory. The snakeskin-and-gemstone bracelet features a curved touchscreen to display messages like calendar reminders and alerts. Earlier this year, Google Glass forged a partnership with Luxottica, the eyewear manufacturer for Chanel, Prada and a slew of other high-fashion labels. Expect more tech/fashion tie-ups to emerge in the near future, turning wearable tech into functional fashion accessories for the office.

How do you dress for success? Share your tips for stylish work fashion in the comments below.

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