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Grey Days Ahead (in a good way!)
Grey suiting is back, but not like you remember it from your first internship.
Remember in May when Toteme’s Prefall lookbook came out and everyone freaked out!? No? Ok maybe it was just me but it seemed like every single person was posting this photo on Instagram in the span of three days. THE look of the new workplace. This dressed up riff on a sweatsuit just really nails it. Grey wool trousers with a hint of heathered knit? An actual fancy sweatshirt? A slouchy, huge bag. Some sort of slick, skinny strapped ergonomic shoe. The fashion birdies were BUZZING.
Now this photo release was a full two months after the Fall 2023 collections came down the runways, but for some reason this trend did not stick for me until I saw this image. I’ve been holding it, knowing it was a workwear idea I wanted to discuss here. It made me go back and look at all the shows again and wouldn’t you know it, there was so much grey tailoring.
This isn’t that kind of grey tailoring though… like when I graduated college, moved to New York, and bought a grey Theory suit with faint green pinstripes. Why??? I have no idea. Truly. I was coming here to be a fashion assistant so really, what was I thinking? In my head, I needed a Theory suit for “work”. I laugh now, but it was really my first lesson in understanding the differences in office culture, my own personal style and how to navigate both. I should never have bought clothes for an idea of a job. I should have waited to feel it out! Also, a corporate, grey suit is not my style. Even if that was the work environment I was about to enter, it’s probably not the suit I should have chosen. In retrospect, it was an awakening. But I digress. The suiting we are talking about today is more suiting in theory than actual Theory. Suiting for a woman with a distinct sense of style, who can navigate her office culture and her sense of self. It’s the opposite of my internship suit (as I call it)!
Today, we are moving past the basics in Workwear Month and bringing in the FASHION, with a nod to work, of course. Designers are using grey in clever ways and clever new fabrications to create a clean look that in no way feels uniform. Since you may already have a simple grey slack or blazer in your closet, use today as inspiration for some ways to make them feel new.
While you’re at it, bring out your grey sweater. Open the box with the grey jersey button down we ordered from Tops for Work and dig out that grey t-shirt from the bottom of the hamper. We will be using them all.
The Suiting Skirt
First up, this grey wool Officine Generale skirt. OMG. It is giving me Prada (and DIOR!) vibes with the length and fullness, swoon!! I love the drama of this piece while using a shape and material that are so traditional. It is going to be great with boots once winter hits (see the runway styling above) and great now with sandals. It’s a major statement but in such an elegant, subdued way. I want to wear it for daytime in a more creative work setting (like maybe Paris Fashion Week!?) with a t-shirt and Mary Janes, or in more of a traditional office setting with a knit polo and pumps (below).
A Non-Suit Pant Suit Pant
Grey pants that could never be confused with “grey pants”, KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
To start, the pants from the photo that started it all (see top of newsletter.) I know we’ve been talking about Toteme a lot lately, but they really seem to have nailed the whole workwear workhorse thing without losing their ability to experiment with silhouette. They are especially prolific in shades of grey. Is it that they are based in Scandinavia and are used to beautiful washed out tones in their art, their furniture and their sunsets? I promise, we can give them a little break after this week. :) Below, recreating the look.
I didn’t order said fancy sweatshirt from the look because I have multiple grey sweatshirts and sweaters. I felt like the real hero piece that would be hard to replicate here was the pants. They are like a medium-thickness, textured wool that has a little stretch. They are slightly scratchy (which I don’t mind but I know some of you do) and fit wide through the legs. They are definitely a fashion forward style. But I’m into them. I certainly don’t feel like I’m walking into midtown as a first year!
A Boxy Blazer
Either as a full suit or just as a fall jacket, a grey blazer has the potential to be your confidant this fall. Most blazers are hysterically big at the moment, however. Even brands that I usually call on for classic feminine pieces have shoulders sticking out so wide you have to enter the room sideways. I don’t mind a boxy shoulder, but I think the whole swimming in your blazer look is a bit much for us everyday folk. Here are a few happy mediums. Some real beauties! That can be worn over a simple knit for all day or layered as a fall “jacket.”
And maybe the easiest way to play with grey this fall, is to just give your chambray a little nap. While it’s hibernating, swap it out with a grey button down. This shirt comes in basically any iteration you want. Jersey (which we discussed in Tops for Work), stretch wool, slouchy non-stretch wool, linen, etc. Its a nice way to transition to fall without actually having to commit to heavy wool suiting.
And thus concludes Workwear Month. I touched on blazer fits today, and I plan to discuss blazers in more depth later this fall (since I know there are still a lot of questions out there about that category.) But in the meantime, I hope you found some useful (and fun) takeaways for your work life in this series.
I won’t be in your inbox next Sunday. Taking this last week of August off to spend with my family. I look forward to seeing you back here in the FALL! In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful end to Summer.
Happy Labor Day (in advance) and as always…Yours TRULY,
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