What Business Wear Looks Like Now

Seven young professionals model their modern workwear that can move seamlessly from the office to off-site entertainment after-hours.



 

Calgary’s workforce and workplaces are diversifying and the city’s population is also one of the youngest in the country. This puts a new emphasis for workwear on personality, flair, comfort and style. Add to that the fact that many young business professionals in the city are entrepreneurs or have multiple side projects — whether blogging, running a design business or operating a catering company. This means more than ever business wear is dominated by pieces that do double duty, moving from office to evening and from worksite to boardroom. 


Becky Kung

photograph by jared sych; styled by phaedra godchild and brenna hardy (styleista); hair and makeup by joanne black

Desigual coat, $349, from Espy; Nanette Lepore top, $395, and pants, $350, all from Holt Renfrew; “Selma” satchel, $348, from Michael Kors; Me Too shoes from Nordstrom, Kung’s own.

Fashion blogger at velvetandvino.com. Photographed in Inglewood outside The Nash.

What distinguishes your style in your corporate job?

In the corporate job, I am not afraid to express myself. I find joy in clothing and style, so I never like to feel or look boring. I don’t tone down my personal style for the workplace; however, I do keep it elegant and professional — so the favourite tulle skirt unfortunately has to stay at home. 

How does your style as a fashion blogger differ than your corporate style?

Even though my style is trendy and fashion-forward, it is still very doable and relatable. I love rocking a red tulle dress one moment, and then the next moment it’s white skinny jeans with a pink coat. My readers have come to see that I love polka dots, mixed prints and bold colours, and yet sometimes I will change it up with a monochrome grey outfit.

Which items can take you from the office to a fashion event?

I love statement pieces like a fur crop coat over a cute little dress. I also love over-the-knee boots because they’re perfect for walking to my evening outing and keeping warm, plus their height elevates the look for the evening.

What item can you not live without?

Besides my red lipstick, I would say it’s all about the sexy pump I can stand in all evening. Right now I’m craving these Gianvito Rossi leopard heels and I adore Valentino rock-stud heels. 


John Fache

photograph by jared sych

Filson jacket, $385, Nudie jeans, $199, and Wolverine boots, $420, all from LESS17; Treeline Outdoors T-shirt, $30, from Meraki Supply Co.

Fache is a designer at Gibbs Gage Architects and founder of Camp & City. Photographed at Meraki Supply Co in Kensington.

How would you describe your personal style?

Practical and versatile is key. I am always doing something either with my hands or outdoors. I’m pretty reserved but like to punch it out every once in awhile.

How do you dress at work?

Low-key, but clean. I find I do my best work when I am the most comfortable. Being a designer, you need to show a little creativity. Eventually, everything becomes a shop shirt, so I try not to dwell on certain items, even though I do try and keep them proper.

What brands do you tend to wear most often?

Carhartt, Blundstones, and I’m very fortunate to be the same size as my dad when it comes to flannels.

What’s the most versatile item in your wardrobe?

Hands down my Blundstones. They are the best all-around boot. Boardrooms to table saws to a Friday night beer, they do the trick

What item can you not live without?

Always in my back left pocket is my Fields Notes book.   


Kyle Shewfelt

photograph by jared sych

Technical cashmere shirt, $108, from Kit and Ace; pants. $88, from Lululemon; Nike Air Max shoes, $140, from LESS17.

Shewfelt is an Olympic gold medalist, owner of Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics and public speaker. Photographed at Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics.

How would you describe your personal style?

I'm all about being cozy and comfy, but also being put together. I go from being at the gym and there I’m wearing sweats and cozy shirts or whatever, and then sometimes I have to go to events and stuff and there I like to really dress up and wear a good pair of shoes, a nice watch, and a slammin’ suit.

What distinguishes your style in your industry?

For me, it’s about having pieces that are gonna last for a long, long time. I buy items that I know I'm going to love and wear for 10 years. Often, I have a pair of pants or a shirt and I’m like, “Oh, yeah I bought this in 1998.” But I still wear it and it still works. I still have track pants that I wore when I was 16 years old, and I can remember putting them on going to morning training. I take good care of my stuff, and I think that does distinguish me. Sometimes people just want to buy new things because having new things feels good, but I take really good care of the things that I have. 

What are your go-to items that you wear when you're going from work to after-work social events?

I almost have to be like Clark Kent in Superman, and go into the phone booth and completely switch it up. I got this great watch in 2010 when I was inducted into the [Canadian Sports] Hall of Fame. So I have to put that on. Then I have this silver ring that has the Olympic rings on it. So, when I put those things on, then I know it’s going out time.


Cynthia Chan

photograph by jared sych

Ted Baker dress, $375, Links of London rose gold watch, $695, and Givenchy handbag, $2,415, all from Holt Renfrew; nylons, $5, from Joe Fresh; Brian Atwood shoes, Chan’s own.

Chef and owner of Cuisine Catering Ltd. and events  manager at Saltlik. Photographed in her catering prep kitchen.

Does your love of fashion make you stand out in the food industry?

Not a lot of chefs or event managers wears heels or dresses to the office, or even want to carry their handbags into the kitchen. And not a lot of them are into all the brand names. I blame my friends and my mother for this. But I think what makes me stand out in the industry is not my sense of fashion, but the confidence I have as a woman in my industry. 

What brands do you tend to wear most often?

I don’t think I really have a go-to brand. I would say maybe Rachel Roy for dresses. I usually like to buy clothing that makes me feel comfortable and sexy. I tend to lean toward designers that have one-of-a-kind pieces that are not really trendy. When it comes to shoes I love YSL, Christian Louboutin, Prada and Vince. For handbags, Alexander Wang, Chloe and Dior.

What item can you not live without?

I cannot live without my charcoal grey slip-on dress by Rachel Roy, my nude Louboutin heels and my Michael Kors Collection calfskin clutch with python leather tassels.


Brock Melnyk (left) and Jason Longshaw (right)

photograph by jared sych

(On Brock) Zegna suit, $1,295, Dion pocket square, $60, and Dolce & Gabbana bow tie, $195, all from Harry Rosen; shoes, $325, from Hugo BossBreitling watch, $9,375, from Birks.
(On Jason) Paul Smith sports coat, $995, and pants, $325, Hugo Boss tie, $295, and Tateossian tie clip, $185, all from Holt Renfrew; shoes, $398, from Harry Rosen; pocket watch, $395, from Birks.

Senior financial advisors with ATB. Photographed at ATB Financial’s Uptown 17th Avenue S.W. location.

Brock:

What’s the best style advice you’ve ever received?

Some of the best advice I received when I first started my career was “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That advice treated me well when I began my career. Now that I have my dream job, it’s about expressing my personality in a professional manner. It’s in the details. Whether it’s coloured shoelaces or bow ties, the little details define your individual style.

Which pieces take you from the office to social events after work?

I have a Ted Baker blazer I might have to be buried in. I’m a Calgary-born kid, so give me a pair of jeans, a dress shirt and a sweater for layering and I’ll be at your home with a bottle of wine in a heartbeat.

Which brands do you tend to wear the most?

LGFG Fashion House custom bespoke suits, Fisaly eyeglasses (designed in Calgary, made in Milan), Ted Baker shoes, AG jeans and Mypakage boxers. Gentlemen, if you’re not wearing MyPakage underwear you are missing out on life.

Jason:

How would you describe your style?

I can dress like Harvey Specter from Suits, Don Draper from Mad Men, and, casually, I can go from Ivy League to hipster. I like to be on the cusp of new trends in Calgary.

What brands do you wear most often?

I will pretty much buy any brand if I feel I am getting a quality, well-fitting garment for good value. Ted Baker has long been one of my favourite brands to wear. Recently, I added some pieces from the European brand, SuitSupply

What are your go-to items that take you from the office to after-work networking or social events?

I have an embarrassing obsession with jackets and shoes. Calgary has such a volatile climate that can change from hour to hour. I recently added a navy double-breasted blazer from SuitSupply that I can dress down with chinos or wear with an army-green pea coat from Tom Baker in the winter. And I’m a big fan of wingtip dress shoes. My main collection is built up from Johnston & Murphy because they are so comfortable.


Elena Del Bucchia

photograph by jared sych

Kate Spade dress, $368, Anzie Moonstone earrings, $475, and Chloé bag, $2,800, all from Nordstrom; nylons, $5, from Joe Fresh; boots, $285, from Michael Kors.

Del Bucchia is the owner of Elena Del Bucchia Design. Photographed at BoConcept.

How would you describe your personal style?

Edgy, timeless, not serious, practical and eclectic. I wait patiently for things to go on sale and don’t shy away from visits to Joe Fresh. For example, I love to tell people that I am wearing a Joe Fresh plaid shirt paired with a classic black skirt from a boutique store in Amsterdam, a vintage diamond necklace from my grandma, a Chloe bag, a pair of very comfortable black pumps that I bought at Zellers for $9.99 in high school and a Wilfred black coat topped off with my great-grandma’s antique fur scarf.

How does your job influence your style?

My style is about my day-to-day activities and my mood. I think I have an eye for looking stylish without spending thousands of dollars on my wardrobe — I choose to spend my money on travel and new experiences. I have the ability to budget and prioritize my money toward pieces that are worth investing in because I can use them for the next 20-plus years.

What item can you not live without?

My bags. I carry my life in my bag — my phone, my measuring tape, wallet and an extra diaper and wipes (for my daughter). If I get stuck in an avalanche, I have everything I need! 

 

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