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AW21 Trend #1: Casual Cool

The influence of ‘Zoom’ on how we dress may be more profound than we realise. Our pivot to work-from-home for months on end gave rise to the style phenomenon best described as ‘casual comfort’: a somewhat sneaky marriage of respectable top half – a crisp shirt or stylish top, a modest accessory – with a bottom half that would typically only see the light of day on a lazy Saturday at home. And don’t even mention the footwear situation.

Now that we’re returning to the workplace, the idea of prioritising comfort in our post-Covid corporate uniforms is (thankfully) here to stay. And while your favourite active wear may never get the green light from senior management, you can seek inspiration from one of the big new trends of the year: the hybrid wardrobe.

At its heart, this trend is all about elevating the everyday, and using some clever mixing and stylish matching to create looks that transform seamlessly between work and office, morning and night, meetings and after-work drinks. It’s about taking ‘casual Fridays’ up a level (or two), by overlaying fashionable accents on your work-from-home basics.

A simple plain t-shirt can be taken to new heights when it’s the supporting act to an über-comfy maxi skirt in new-season prints, like those on offer at Cotton On and Dotti, or some 70s-inspired wider-legged pants from Universal Store or Sportsgirl. Elevate your favourite pair of fitted blue jeans with a loose shirt in either crisp white or simple pattern, like the beautiful (and great value) ranges found at Just Jeans and Jay Jays. Even the ultimate in universal fashion comfort – leggings – can be given a seat at the office table when contrasted with a luscious, over-sized winter knit, like a monochrome cable-knit jumper or skivvy from City Beach or Factorie.

Naturally, the secret to turning casual into cool is in the detail, and this is where accessories earn their place on your new-season wish list. From belts with metallic detailing, floral scarves and bright coloured purse-bags, to over-sized earrings and elegant flats in bold hues, the right details can be your ticket to riding the career train in style and comfort.