I’ve been running a Salute to American Designer Series, which started last week with Tory Burch. This week we focus on New York-born and based designer, Donna Karan.
As Fabulous after 40 stylist Morgan Mullin tells us, every career queen ought to have a bit of Donna Karan in her wardrobe! Karan captures an important element of American Style; the working woman’s closet.
What is the Donna Karan look?
Donna Karan is best known for her chic separates that female professionals live in. Her love of jersey and other soft fabrics show she makes comfort and practicality a priority- a refreshing change from many of her male peers who don’t always consider the clothing’s wearability.
Karan is all about a wardrobe that mixes and matches, and you should be too! It means that you’ll get the maximum wear out of each item you own and that it’s easy to look pulled together, even in a rush, because everything compliments each other anyway. Here’s how to get Karan’s corporate chic look.
1. Smart Suit Separates
Suits can seem stiff and boring. But, the truth is, a suit is a blank canvas that both your inner fashionista and the head of HR can approve of. Donna Karan makes beautiful, feminine suit pieces like jackets, pants, and skirts that you can combine in different ways for maximum mileage. Don’t be afraid to play around with special accents that will set you apart: Think oversized collar, tulip-shaped skirt, or pants that are slightly cropped. Just stick to 1 or 2 of these special details to keep it timeless.
2. Rich Colours and Neutral Tones
One of the ways Karan makes mix and match styling easy is by sticking to a neutral palette. Black, white, grey, navy, brown, olive and beige may not be edge-of-your-seat colors but clients find they are easy to wear and they make them look polished.
The designer adds interest by injecting touches of rich colors, like garnet red, cobalt blue or deep plum into her outfits. Pick one item you’re wearing and swap it out for something in a jewel tone or moody hue to add extra oomph to your ensemble.
3. Where hard meets soft
Workwear is often very masculine feeling with all its hard lines and structure. Karan likes to play this off against feminine elements to create a contrast that is visually stunning. It can be as big as making a suit jacket slightly soft and rounded in shape or as small as wearing a camisole under a blazer for evening.
For more formal events, she often creates draped gowns that are soft cascades of jersey and pairs them with tailored blazers. Try something similar to your next cocktail hour- it’s a great way to show off your feminine side but still feel professional.
4. Giant Jewels
When it comes to jewelry, Karan believes in the old saying “go big or go home”. She tends to either feature a huge statement piece or no bling at all! To replicate this, choose one piece(either a necklace, earrings or a bracelet) that is oversized and let that be your only accessory. Go for a piece that is mixed metal or mixed materials (like a leather and wood cuff bracelet) to truly capture her style.
Or, on the days when you’re feeling a little less look-at-me, forgo the jewelry box altogether for an intentionally minimalist feel.
So, there it is: How to dress for the office and stay true to your love of fashion! Thanks to Donna Karan, climbing the corporate ladder can be chic.
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