Autumn Office Outfits vol 4: Maximalism

Autumn Office Outfits vol 4: Maximalism

The last outfit I talked about here was rather minimal: grey, white, t-shirt, jeans… So it makes sense – at least in my mind – to change tack entirely and do an opulent look. Of all my office style ideas I’m pretty sure this is the one most people will find the most difficult to wear. I totally get it. Maximal isn’t easy to do for work, even if you are a maximalist by nature and most people aren’t, clothes-wise. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give it a go.

I’m not entirely alone either. At least since Alessandro Michele started at Gucci, maximalism is officially a thing: colour, patterns, metallics, unexpected combinations… My take is more classical and not quite Gucci level eccentric, but that’s why it says „office outfit“ in the title. A looser silhouette would be more on trend, but again, something more fitted is easier to pull off at work.

There are two key ideas here, one specific, the other general. First is the concept of a brocade skirt. My love for brocade skirts is well documented and everything I wrote about them two years ago is still valid. They are surprisingly practical and user-friendly, if not necessarily understated. This Ketlin Bachmann skirt is my update of an old favourite, notable for its very midi length and the pockets. These features make it simultaneously more and less formal than a traditional pencil version.

The other point I’m making here is that usually, our instinct with bold pieces is to tone down the rest. I have worn this skirt several times with a beige cashmere jumper and neutral pumps and it definitely works. It can, however, be more interesting and somehow fresher to go all out and combine it with a contrasting silk blouse, jewel-toned satin shoes and a rather loud coat with fake fur cuffs, as I’ve done here. I admit that it is dangerously close to the good old brocade divan with a silk cushion look, but I feel like it’s worth the risk. And yes, I’ve worn it all to work.

A note on footwear: I think the modern maximalist trend in general works beautifully with flat shoes. Think velvet slippers or fur-lined loafers or golden brogues. This skirt specifically, however, looks better with a heel – at least on me. As it’s almost shockingly long for daywear, you can look a bit swamped in it when wearing flats. You do not have to go down the classic pointy pump look, however. I’ve just worn this skirt to work with slouchy knee-high suede boots and I thought it looked great.

Is there anything you wear to work despite it being rather over-the-top?

Photo Liina Jasmin, MUAH Ave Antson.


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  1. 3

    I think big bold patterns are best on skirts and coats since they offer large smooth continuous panels of surface for the print to take center stage

    • 4

      Yes, I agree. Of course, there are always exceptions and some people can wear anything, but big patterns need room. Floor-legth gowns can be good, too.

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