Friday 23 March 2018

Desk to dinner: Take your outfit from day to night with effortless style

DESK: Fine-knit draped cardigan, €195, DKNY; black
wool dress with embellished neckline, €185, Michael by
Michael Kors; wrap leather belt, €85, Berge; black leather
and patent shoes, €335, Nicole Farhi
DESK: Fine-knit draped cardigan, €195, DKNY; black wool dress with embellished neckline, €185, Michael by Michael Kors; wrap leather belt, €85, Berge; black leather and patent shoes, €335, Nicole Farhi
DINNER: Black dress, as before; gunmetal leather and chain bag, €845, Stella McCartney
DESK: Black wool double-breasted jacket, €1,195, and black dress, €1,725, both Dolce & Gabbana; leather laptop bag, €400, Mulberry; black leather gloves, €65
DINNER: Black lace dress with red silk slip, as before, and black lace and suede boots, €495, both Dolce & Gabbana; Lips red crystal clutch bag, €670, Lulu Guinness
The LBD is the quickest route from desk to dinner, and this season's penchant for lace makes it all the easier. Buttonthrough lace dress with separate slip, €300, also available in cream,from Bastyan
Jett red clutch, €195,from Bastyan
Backseam stay-ups, €19, Falke at Brown Thomas, Arnotts and Clerys
Shawl, €79.95; top, €119.95; necklaces, €12.95 each; earrings, €14.95, and bracelets, €12.95, all Noa Noa, Westbury Mall
Lace dress with detachable slip, also in black, €67, Autograph at M&S
Barocco lipstick, €20, Clarins
Anastacia heels, €530, Manolo Blahnik
Pleather and fabric dress, €300, Bastyan
Nude slip, €21, Next
Peacock- feather band, €18.90, Accessorize
Animal-print slip, €35, Next
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

On paper, desk to dinner should be a simple challenge. But it's not, and often it spirals out of control, with seven bags under your desk and an hour of indecision in the loo at work.

But there's absolutely no need for all that strain -- the key is to find pieces that make the transition from boardroom to cocktail bar with as little fuss as possible.

The lazy option is to go to work on a Friday dressed for your night out, but you will feel compromised at the water cooler as you explain, for the 29th time, that you are not coming into work dressed from the night before.

With good styling, getting from day to night can be seamless, with just a handful of changes and swaps -- rather than a full-on, head-to-toe transformation out of a suitcase.

I have a total crush on our star buy this week, a Michael by Michael Kors dress which costs €185 at Brown Thomas. This punches way above its weight from a price point of view, and that's what we should all be looking for in the run-up to the party season.

A play on the shift dress with a torc-style neckline, it has angular, cutaway drama at the shoulders, exposing just the right amount of collarbone -- and we all know how sexy some people consider collarbones.

The dress is subdued and sophisticated yet ultra-sexy, with the matt-silver neck detail -- who would ever suspect, as you sit at your desk enveloped in the glorious, coral DKNY cardi, what a dinner-date sensation you are wearing beneath?

If you want your clothes to work seven days a week, I thoroughly recommend you consider one of these DKNY cardis, which can be worn any number of ways, such as draped with jeans at weekends, in flowing style at the office or tied at the waist.

At Christmas time, we all aspire to look our best, and where better to get inspiration than aspirational designer looks? Gothic lace is everywhere this season, and the Dolce boys explored a luxury device, placing dense guipure lace over a silk satin slip in cranberry red.

The playful contrast of heavy versus soft is a perfect way to rock your favourite LBD in two ways. While our model wore the same dress from desk to dinner, you could try changing slips so that you achieve a demure look for the office, the dress dumbed down with a black jacket and thick opaques.

No one need ever suspect what a fabulous party outfit you intend pulling together in minutes by changing into sheer seven-denier stockings.

Better still, go bare-legged, swapping 'Mad Men'-style Prada shoes for rock-chick, lace ankle boots. With your hair tied up and an eye-catching clutch, you're good to go.

The keys to transforming an outfit from desk to dinner can be found in your accessories closet:

Swap sensible walking flats for killer heels.

Replace thick opaque tights with sheer stockings.

Indulge in some figure flattery and add a belt to cinch in your dress, so it skims your hips.

When you dress in the morning , choose something that lends itself to a quick transformation.

A plain shift-dress shape, chosen for work because it looks professional, is ideal for making over. This half-leather/half-jersey wool dress from Bastyan is ideal. Covered with a boxy jacket or roundneck cardi and teamed with pearls, it is the epitome of conservative dressing. Then, for the evening, peel off the cover-up and add a cropped leather biker jacket, heels and metallic jewellery for a rock-chick look.

Keep an eye on fabrics, because some are easily madeover — adding a velvet jacket and shoes to jersey can totally transform an outfit.

Add a little fascinator or feather headpiece, such as the peacock alice band.

Bairbre Power will be giving a deskto- dinner workshop at Brown Thomas, Grafton Street, next Thursday, November 25 at 5.30pm, 6.30pm and 7.30pm, in contemporary fashions on the second floor

Irish Independent

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