We’ve seen the grandpa cardigan inducted into the cool club in recent seasons, so it should be no surprise to witness career-girl separates following suit, shedding their dowdy, department store image with a little help from some hipper-than-hip French and American labels.
Alexander Wang, the design wunderkind credited with giving slouchy some sorely needed sex appeal, takes on the pleated trouser for spring, refashioning it into a soft pant that’s sure to be a favorite of the downtown fashion set, while Helmut Lang does the blazer one better with unconstructed jackets that exude polished nonchalance. And no discussion of third-floor ladies separates would be complete without mentioning the button-down silk blouse. Leave it to the French, specifically re-launched favorite Equipment clothing, to imbue this workday staple with Charlotte Gainsbourg cool, cutting it oversized and offering it in an array of off-the-beaten-path neutrals.
But remember: though the silhouettes have been refreshed, styling is still all-important here. The effect should be sort of sloppy-louche, so as to avoid looking legitimately frumpy. (Think American Gigolo-era Armani meets Faye Dunaway in Network with a dash of Charlotte Rampling in Stardust Memories thrown in.) The understated nature of these pieces, plus their added volume means they can benefit from a buckle-heavy platform wedge and an eccentric accessory or two. A big bonus? Even though they look brand new, updated separates are still polished enough to go off to work with you.