Classics for workwear s/s 2011 : jacket, accessories, wardrobe

Another set of current classics for wearing to work
With slight tweaks to show they’re ‘of this season’.

I talked about the shirt, dress, skirt, pants in a previous post. Here’s the jacket and accessories, plus some comments on a wardrobe. And some variations on the classics approach.

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There’s also a photo of a black one.

I’ve made many comments on blazers already.
See my posts on blazer style elements
and on patterns for last winter’s workwear.

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Notches, this season’s gimmick ?

‘This season’ tweak : the turned in notch collar.


This version of a notched neckline first appeared on runways a couple of seasons ago.

Originally made in a similar way to a blazer but with the collar turned in.
McCall’s 6206 has this collar, though not at all a blazer shape.


Happily there is an easy way of getting the notch. A neckline band with a break in it, shown clearly on the white shirt with black band.

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Colour and accessories

The In Style clothes are all black white and tan, with one red jacket.

All the colour is in the accessories – the clear colours of this season’s colour blocking. And accessories are the easiest way of looking trendy/ current when you’re wearing classics.

A big slouchy bag,


Perhaps Hot Patterns HP1023 Handbag Heaven Metropolitan Homage Tote.


Complete your outfit with wedge heel shoes with thick soles.


If those aren’t your style, wear ballet flats, kitten heels, or knee high boots with open toe and heel.

Blue, green, red, purple. Orange and yellow are also strong colours of the season.

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Wardrobe plan ?

With one each of the original In Style items (shirt, shirtdress, jacket, pants) that just makes 4 possible outfits.

If you made a shirt and matching skirt, instead of the shirtdress, you’d have 2 tops, 2 bottoms and a jacket. 5 items and 8 possible outfits.

Add a blouse/ top and the pleated skirt into the mix, and you get 18 outfits from 7 items. Nearly a month of work days.

Add another jacket (cascade, revers, or asymmetric). Makes 27 different outfits if all 8 items co-ordinate.


These blacks and whites don’t match up properly, but hopefully this gives the general idea. Use either blue whites or cream whites. And choose between black and navy.

If you don’t look good in black, white and tan ?
Choose your own favourite neutrals.
Many people, me included, don’t look good in dark colours. Many don’t look good in white. So think of darker and lighter of one neutral. And add a different neutral in between.
Cheer yourself up with colourful accessories !

It’s especially important to wear colours that make your skin tone look good, if you want to look effective. ‘Washed out’ is not a powerful look !

So this group makes a fairly obvious wardrobe.
But if you’d like other wardrobe planning suggestions for work, here are a couple.

Perfectly Packed has a ready-made working travel wardrobe of 8 pieces. Includes casual and more dressy items. Look at the interesting choice of fabric and colour to vary the styles. Add colour or go from work to evening by changing jewellery/ scarves/ shoes. She suggests adding a casual shirt, jeans, and a light sweater to cover even more possible occasions, all in one carry-on case.

You could make this combination yourself by adding a shirt to many wardrobe patterns – check the shirt collar goes with the jacket neckline/ collar. Easy if you use classic jackets such as blazer/ cardigan/ revers styles.

For Business Casual ideas there are several capsule suggestions from Imogen Lamport. Tailored jackets and formal shirts are replaced by more drapey styles in her Relaxed Business capsule, and by knits in her Business Casual capsule.

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My related posts for the winter season, on In Style workwear classics were :
vest, blazer, coat
and skirt, dress, pants, shirt.

How could you soften (or sharpen !) these, if pure classics are not your style ? Most of the shapes are fairly relaxed for a casual look. Use tighter fit or more extreme shapes and sharp angles to look more edgey. Add softer trim, rounded corners, jewellery, scarves, for a prettier effect. Many ways to hint at your own rather different style.

For some other seasonal ideas, look at In Style magazine site’s more general suggestions for this spring-summer.

Or You Look Fab’s Must Haves for the season.

Look good and yourself, as well as effective, at work 😀

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Photos from UK In Style magazine

Patterns and links available June 2011

Explore posts in the same categories: current fashion, specific capsules, wardrobe planning

4 Comments on “Classics for workwear s/s 2011 : jacket, accessories, wardrobe”

  1. Nancy Says:

    I have always liked the idea of the 8-piece wardrobe, but I would need more than three tops. I would probably go with more tops and one blazer since I live in Florida and it’s just too hot for blazers except for a few weeks a year. Great post with lots of ideas to ponder!

    • sewingplums Says:

      Good point Nancy. The idea of a minimum wardrobe is so attractive. But in real life my closet is full of tops because I feel the cold and wear many layers 😀

  2. Thanks so much for the link – great post on creating a capsule too.

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