See for yourself!
Forget the dizzying ups and downs of the market. Try keeping up with trends in business attire. The fashion pendulum has swung from Gordon Gekko's sleek power suits of the 1980s to the dot-slob wear so heartily embraced in the 1990s. In 2003, neither extreme feels right. So, what do we wear to work?
To help us answer that question, Fast Company called upon fashion gurus Clinton Kelly and Stacy London, the fabulous cohosts of TLC's hit show What Not to Wear. We then recruited four sporting souls from Sprint's New York office, armed each with $500 (more or less) and an arsenal of pointers from the experts, and headed to Bloomingdale's and Banana Republic.
For men: First, dump those billowy pleated trousers in favor of a plain front. Kelly says a plain front offers a cleaner, more polished, more modern look. And pinstriped pants—brilliant! "Every guy should own at least one pair. It's just a classic look," he says. As for shirts, go for a bold stripe or pattern. And yes, it's okay, even hip (up to a point), to match striped pants with a striped shirt. For belts, stay simple and clean. For ties, find a striking pattern, and give the knot a little bulk. As for shoes, think tassel-free.
For women: London says stick to your own style, but keep your look fresh and get clothes that fit. Ill- fitting outfits (too big or too small) hide a person's true body type—a fashion faux pas no matter what you look like. Find dresses and skirts that come to the knee or, if you must, just below. Pants, too, should be cut to fit you right. Then splash in some color with the right sweater or blouse (or both). One of London's faves this season is a V-neck sweater with shirt collar and sleeves sewn on but no actual shirt underneath. "It's got a collar, but without the bulk," she exclaims, picking two off a rack with a single polished swoop.
Before: Corporate everypeople. After: Whoa!
Carl Pavolic | Sprint's regional vice president for the northeast sales group
- Cole Haan black belt | $69
- Ted Baker gray flat-front pants | $175
- Polo Ralph Lauren blue striped shirt | $59.50
- Hickey Freeman wine striped tie | $90
- Banana Republic black silver-buckle shoe | $198
Rita Werth | senior manager for national accounts
- Elie Tahari gray dress | $348
- Sutton Studio burgundy cashmere cardigan | $99
- Necklace | $18
- Bracelet | $18
Michael Galluccio | director of marketing and sales operations
- Joseph & Lyman brown cashmere sweater | $68
- Ted Baker striped shirt | $135
- Michael Kors brown pants | $245
- Banana Republic brown suede shoes | $138
Kathleen Dunleavy | senior public relations manager
- Anne Klein blue silk shirt | $89
- Alfani black leather jacket | $199
- Anne Klein striped black pants | $89
- Andre Assous black suede shoes | $125
A version of this article appeared in the November 2003 issue of Fast Company magazine.