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Tuesday, February 23rd 2010

Career Separates Get Hip for Spring

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.

--Maureen

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