Friday 9 December 2016

Working It: Dressing for success

Constance Harris

Published 25/10/2011 | 14:36

Jacket, €310, Robbi & Nikki;
trousers, €245, Trina Turk;
shoes, €108, Dune
Jacket, €310, Robbi & Nikki; trousers, €245, Trina Turk; shoes, €108, Dune
Shirt dress, €320, Patrizia Pepe; shoes, €128, Dune.
All photos: Daniel Holfeld
Dress, €160, Ghost; satchel, €475, Coach
Coat, €560, Pinko; dress, €305, Hoss Intropia; shoes, €108, Dune; bag, €335, Coach
Blouse, €245, Jaeger; skirt, €285, Marc Cain; shoes, €128, Dune; belt, €115, LK Bennett

As I indulged in an autumnal-evening fix of sweet popcorn and a younger Harrison Ford in Working Girl the other night, I gave thanks to the movie, yet again, for teaching me so much about dressing for success.

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It has great insights such as, “If you want to be taken seriously, get serious hair.” Also, it showcases the power of simple, colour-blocked, well-coordinated outfits to create a strong impression. Working Girl will teach you way more about image than The Devil Wears Prada.

Readers will know that I have been bemoaning Irish retailers’ and designers’ failure to move fast enough out of a defunct occasionwear mindset and into providing workwear solutions. The market now is very much about getting serious and pulling us out of our current economic situation.

Well, I shall moan no more. A trip around Arnotts’ women’s contemporary floor reveals it as a destination for investment shoppers of smart, feminine looks.

“We deliberately went for a more modern workwear look,” Deirdre Devaney, fashion and beauty director at Arnotts, told me. “That is why we bought into collections such as CK and Patrizia Pepe.

“We envisioned that our customer wanted a more vibrant, younger way to dress for the office than, say, your Austin Reed suit which, by the way, we carry, too.”

Looking really well is very important to people these days. Most of Arnotts’ brands — be they Irish labels such as Helen McAlinden, Fran & Jane, and Peter O’Brien, or Aquascutum, LK Bennett, Hobbs, Jaeger, Reiss, Vivienne Westwood or NW3 — were all about providing the consumer with colourful and strong separates, wonderfully figure-flattering dresses and, most especially, great coats.

“Yes, skirts and trousers are coming back,” Deirdre comments, “but it is still all about the dress and a great coat.” The store has the best offering of coats in the country; from quilted by Tommy Hilfiger, through elegant cashmeres by Tara Jarmon, to bus-stop draught defeaters by Hobbs.

Arnotts’ close neighbours in Dublin, The Custom House, kindly let our intrepid creative team create a Pont Neuf-like vista of majesty in which to show some of Arnotts’ great work garb. I particularly like the Patrizia Pepe shirt dress on this page. In Arnotts’ accessories hall, Coach has opened its first store in Ireland and already has waiting lists for the Madison Lindsey. Coach has recently signed Gwyneth Paltrow as its ‘face’.

Another smart working girl.

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