Autumn Office Outfits vol 2: Tonal Dressing

Autumn Office Outfits vol 2: Tonal Dressing

In some ways, my workwear look number two doesn’t differ much from number one: top, skirt, exactly the same pumps. In other ways, they are opposites: the first one was all about bold colour and unexpected combinations, the second stays pretty much within one shade. While colour blocking has been around for years, tonal dressing is one of the big new colour stories of this autumn/winter season (there is another one and we’ll come to it in due course).

I find the return of shade matching* fascinating, as we’ve lived with mixing things up for so long that tonal clothes seem almost radical. In the era of moderate dressing, this is a clever way of creating impact – oversize knits and midi skirts give you a lot of fabric to play with. After seasons of Gucci-inspired mayhem, the eye might also be little tired of maximalism and this looks fresh and cool in comparison. What is also new is that is doesn’t have to be the exact same shade: it’s rather difficult to pull off, but wearing – for example – two different reds can be striking.

In an ideal tonal world, I would have worn either my Zara culottes or cropped COS trousers for this look, both the exact same colour of my jumper (I’ve worn this combo IRL and it works very well; I also do a more elegant version of this look with a more fitted top and longer skirt). I wanted, however, to show off this Sister Jane tweed skirt. In an attempt to shop less at Zara, I’ve been looking for smaller brands I like and Sister Jane is one of them. They are easy to order from and reasonably priced, so worth a look. I’m not entirely sure about their sustainability credentials, though, hopefully they exist.

I couldn’t escape Zara entirely, unfortunately. I had originally envisaged a different top for this outfit, but when trying it on the night before, realised it didn’t look anything like I had imagined. Cue last-minute shopping in Zara. I do like the outcome, but wouldn’t recommend buying this knit, as the quality is appalling. Do take note of the shape, though: it’s looser and shorter than I normally go for, but this is what looks right at the moment. You’ll be doing a lot of tucking in this autumn and for that you need some volume, while not wanting fabric to bunch up inside your trousers or skirt.

I’m also showing it with outerwear: ideally, that should be the case for all the looks, but that was simply logistically impossible. The coat is also from Zara, from several seasons ago – it’s so classic that I’ll probably wear it for years to come (they have a similar one in brown this year). I couldn’t resist including my Vivienne Westwood laptop case, because it goes with the colour theme and looks, I think, rather fantastic.**

Of all the autumn trends, this is one of the easiest to wear. It’s also a great way to do a „colour“ trend without actually doing colour. You can simply pick your favourite neutral – beige, grey, tan, pale pink – and wear it head to toe. What do you think? Would you wear something like that?

Knit by Zara, skirt by Sister Jane, pumps by Prada, coat by Zara, laptop case by Vivienne Westwood. Photos Liina Jasmin, MUAH Ave Antson.

*I do remember the last time it was in fashion and that was a loooong time ago.
**I of course left it in Strasbourg last week and may never see it again, because this is what I do.


Add yours
  1. 1

    This outfit is the epitome of autumnal colours with little blue flashes from the skirt. It has a feel-good factor while remaining smart and polished (heels with a pointy edge). You have given me a few ideas. Perhaps a powder-blue knit would also do the trick?

    • 2

      Thank you! And definitely, if you’re not going for a strictly tonal look, this warm caramel pairs so nicely with many colours, powder blue very much included. There are in fact quite a few shades in that skirt and all of them would create a pretty polished outcome, if used as an additional colour.

  2. 3

    I haven’t read the above column yet (too busy)- just had to tell you that you’re absolutely gorgeous with this color scheme.

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