Office styling: anything but uniform

Office styling: anything but uniform

The suit has long been a statement of homogeneity, of belonging to a group that holds strong on the values of uniformity and tradition. We're not averse to that - a great suit is a great suit and can look amazing on the right person, but at Oliver Spencer we've always been of the mind that traditional tailoring needed to evolve in order to stay relevant, especially in the workplace.

This is true now more than ever as our collective wardrobes become more casual, as sartorial rules evaporate, and work flexibility finally becomes the new normal. This season, Oliver Spencer's tailoring reflects the paradigm shift we're seeing in menswear. Cut in super soft fabrics, Oli has always preferred an unstructured style, which means there is no canvassing or shoulder structure in the jacket. This means it has a much more relaxed drape than the traditional suit, despite having the same silhouette. It's just as at home in the office as it is at the pub (of course you will be the best-dressed guy there).

This season, we have created a number of different suit styles that are also incredibly easy to wear as separates. The Solms and Finsbury jackets are both perfect for "business casual" looks since they have all of the details of the traditional suit but without any of the corporate stuffiness. Here's a guide to each style:

The Solms jacket

An Oliver Spencer classic, the Solms jacket was originally created for a friend who wanted a tailored notch-lapel blazer with a collar that he could turn up and fix in cold weather, offering his neck more protection. Hence the Solms is really two jackets in one. With the collar down it functions as a smart but relaxed half of a suit or separate, but pop it up and it becomes more of a functional workwear silhouette. This season we've cut it in a variety of fabrics, from a midweight navy cotton/linen jacquard that's ideal for transitioning into Autumn, to a heavier ecological wool farmed and spun right here in the UK.

How to style it

Of the two jackets, the Solms is the more casual thanks to the hybrid collar construction which positions it somewhere between traditional tailoring and modern workwear at the flip of the lapels. You can wear many of the Solms styles with matching drawstring, fishtail or judo trousers for a smarter look. Ditch the shirt and tie though - although they have a place in smart business wardrobes, the Solms is better suited to a more contemporary configuration. Hence try styling it with lightweight extrafine crew necks jumpers, or go with a rollneck in the colder months. If you prefer a shirt, then the most casual style will be our grandad collar which is a classic workwear motif. You can style add a hint of formality with a pinstripe style such as our Wallace Cream/black (which also comes in our New York Special style with a classic spear collar).  

The Solms offers a tonne of easy styling options if you take the blazer and mix it with your trouser/chino/corduroy rotation. For an Ivy League reference, the addition of a Madras check shirt in the guise of our Brook shirt Ramsey Multi will bring a nice bit of heritage pattern and colour to the look. another great way to style the Solms for perhaps a more professional look is with our Pablo knitted polos which come in two muted colourways of grey and navy. Depending on how casual your office is (or if you work from home but have to dial into Zoom calls), you can even wear the Solms with a pair of our Morwell joggers as pictured above.

The Finsbury jacket

With its subtle peak lapel and two-button unstructured silhouette, the Finsbury jacket is an amazing edition to a modern wardrobe. This season we've cut it from ecological wool farmed and spun right here in the UK, alongside a beautifully tactile organic corduroy cloth and a cotton and linen blend. The latter we call the Linton,  which works really well as a year-round lightweight blazer that can be worn as a suit with our matching trousers in fishtail or drawstring styles. The Penton corduroy styles function more like the traditional sports jacket but can also be worn as a suit. It's a great way to elevate a pair of drawstring trousers or chinos for the office, or when you need to smarten up for a Zoom call. One of the key pieces for this season is the Finsbury jacket in Kendrick charcoal which features a Prince of Wales check ecological wool with a subtle blue accent which you can draw out by styling with a navy shirt or crewneck jumper. The traditional pattern woven into a very modern and relaxed silhouette is truly unique to Oliver Spencer and will add a new dimension to your tailoring collection.

How to style it

Although the peak lapel is more formal than the notch lapel, our Finsbury jacket's unstructured design and relaxed drape give it a casual edge that lends it to multiple ways of styling. Rollneck jumpers reference a 70s-inspired aesthetic but look very modern all the same when worn with the Finsbury suit but also with the jacket on its own, especially the corduroy and wool versions. When thinking about shirts, it's always good to consider the different textures in your look - this season's shirting is perfect since we've used a lot of very soft organic brushed cotton that pairs really well with the various Finsbury jacket incarnations. Try the Dock Popover shirt for a more casual look, or the Brook and Clerkenwell styles for a more traditional button-down.

The Buffalo Jacket

Work environment permitting, you can take one step back form the traditional suit jacket silhouette and instead opt for a more workwear-inspired look courtesy or our Buffalo jacket. This style more closely resembles the blue collar blousons of old, with a cropped overshirt shape. Hence it's much more versatile and can be worn with any number of casualwear pieces, but we've created matching trousers to allow it to function as a two-piece set, making it perfect for the more laidback office. It's constructed from a fully-lined organic cotton drill that is substantial enough to function as an outerwear piece yet light and flexible enough to be a comfortable indoor jacket.  

How to style it

Wearing it as a separate at the weekend is a doddle, but for the office during the week, we would recommend wearing the Rhodes Green or Black Buffalo jacket with matching judo trousers or drawstring trousers for a complete set. It just gives you a level of smartness that separates don't quite attain. Create a paired back tonal look by pairing the 'suit' with a black, grey or white shirt for the black jacket, or an earthy autumnal tone in the case of the green jacket.

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