Top tips to styling the shirt for work

Thought a collar and cuffs was only for number crunchers and cabin crew? Think again.

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The shirt sure gets a bad wrap in certain circles, but the one-time symbol of servitude has loosened up of late, freeing itself of office cubicle connotations and rising through the ranks of style thanks to a soft-but-sharp reworking in wool. 

Photo: Timur Emek, Getty Images

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Nothing says sharp-chic quite like Ece Sukan strutting the streets during Milan fashion week in a mesmerising combination of tartan and suede. The Turkish fashion influencer and retro fashion fan knows a good textural mix when she sees it, and by layering shirt over tunic over knit she’s given new life to a look less surprising on a wayward lumberjack.

The key to keeping this look firmly grounded on the city streets? It’s the shirt. The collar, the cuffs, the patch pockets, the button-down placket: these details come together to give any outfit a stylish head start, even when worked in a fabric you could easily curl up in fireside. Team it with a few well-placed pieces of jewellery and an It clutch and the tone is set.

Never say that the shirt can’t be versatile. Ultimately, it’s all in the fit and fabrication. Choose yours a size too big and wear it like a jacket with sleeves long and buttons undone. Something more substantial than cotton is a must to achieve that insouciant slouch, like a lightweight wool plaid or washed flannel. Basically anything that doesn’t say “banker” is the piece you need to nab.

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