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Office Insight by Fashionoffice publisher Karin Sawetz, Jan 2010

Long trousers don't make a bright boy

Once, I was interviewed by a journalist about office fashion - not Fashionoffice - I really mean fashion in the office. She has asked me about the key trends from the 50ies up to the 00s and if creativity depends on clothes, etc.

I worked hard on this interview to deliver historical true answers; especially concerning the emancipation of women which became my main focus in the interview.

I have even listed documents for the women's movement like the American movie with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy with the title 'Adam's Rib' from 1949, directed by George Cukor. Hepburn and Tracy are playing lawyers whose marriage seem to come to an end because of jobwise interests concerning the not equal legal rights of women and men; there exists a scene on YouTube which points this perfectly out!

Or the French movie 'Jules et Jim' (1962), directed by François Truffaut with Jeanne Moreau in the leading role. The movie portraits the 'new' woman who was in the 60ies still defined as not calculable and irrational, but for the first time encouraged - even by men, to break the traditional roles.

The praxis to break gender roles by changing the clothing rules - such as Jeanne Moreau shows in the movie example above (scene on YouTube; she wears men's clothes and a moustache) - can still be found in music clips today like in 'My Secret Friend', directed by Berlin based Chris Corner (released Oct 2009) for the IAMX song from the album ‘Kingdom of Welcome Addiction’. In the video, Chris Corner (singer and director) wears an evening dress and his song partner, the Grammy nominated English singer and songwriter Imogen Heap is dressed in a male suit. Since the 70ies, the emancipation of the sexes does not concern women only.

Today, women in many countries of the world have never experienced that gender can decide about the weight your words have. But it's not so long ago that females had no right to decide about future.

The journalist asked me why casual dress is more accepted in offices nowadays.

I answered: "I think that casual wear is something men have to thank women for. Women have brought another style into the office: I would describe it 'relaxed style' which is characterized by elastic, comfortable and carefree materials; after women had not so much time to iron men’s shirts, the textile industry had to work on new fabrics."

And does clothing support productivity or creativity?

"I don’t think that productivity or creativity depends on the clothes you wear but on the social hierarchy. The pantaloon will not become a bright boy when he wears long trousers. Hard luck if the boy is your boss."

fig.: original clockwise
, beginning with the...

Skyblue/white shirt by Eterna from the 'Redline' fall/winter 2010/11. The floral dessin (Millefleurs) of the shirt is mixed with a checked (Vichy) pattern on the bow and collar. The Vichy or Gingham pattern is traditionally used for working clothes. The 'Redline' line focuses on young professional. The silhouette is figure-hugging and less formal than office shirts usually are. Typical for the line are lipstick colors, expressive dessins, and female details like frills and playful gatherings on the waist. By the way: the label Eterna names itself 'opinion-leader in the field of non-iron shirts'.

Elbrus Jacket (for women and men) in slim cut by Vaude fall/winter 2010/11. The name of the jacket comes from the Mount Elbrus in Russia which is the highest peak in Europe. The down/mixed material 90:10 jacket can be packed into a very small storage of a backpack; alternative usage in the city is your own choice. The urban-outdoor-mix style is recommended by Vaude. The jacket will be available in many fashion inspired bold colors.

DKNY watch in neon-blue, presented in Jan 2010.

Sunglasses by Giorgio Armani from the fall/winter 2009/10 collection in aviator-vintage 70ies style.

'Pop n´Cheeks' from the Lancôme 'Ô My Rose!' spring 2010 collection inspired by the pop culture of the 60ies by Aaron De Mey who is since 2009 Lancôme's Artistic Director for makeup. Photo: (C) Lancôme.

Video: Aaron de Mey Exclusive Interview ! by DARKPLANNEUR

Aaron De Mey, born in New Zealand - moved in 1998 to New York, has worked with photographers like Bruce Weber or Ines van Lamsweerde, and film directors film directors such as David Lynch and Sofia Coppola. On the Lancôme Blog several interviews with Aaron De Mey give an insight into the world of the creative team and the art director. For spring 2010, Aaron De Mey has created a very light, fresh look. His inspiration for the portrayal of femininity made of face colors comes from Nobel prize winner Madame Curie, Simone de Beauvoir, and Brigitte Bardot.

Earthkeeper ankle boot by Timberland SS2010; made of recycled material. Timberland's Earthkeeper project is more than making eco-friendly shoes; the label has installed the blog as a worldwide communication platform for people who care about the environment.

Skin Vivo Overnight by Biotherm, available in January 2010. Photo: (C) Biotherm. Important for the relaxed office style is a good regeneration over night; and yes, probably with a bright boy...

Karin Sawetz is journalist, media researcher and fashion scientist (Mag. Dr. phil.). >

Source: Original article with images and video on


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