The days of wearing a suit to work have more or less disappeared, unless you're in the corporate world of banking, law firms or other regimented places. But with this relatively new freedom - something men often complain about as unfair - comes the lengthy decision of 'what to wear' each morning. And that takes time we frequently don't have.
Smart Casual' has never been something the Brits have been great at. We tend to look smart or casual. Our American cousins seem to do it better and of course our French ones seem to do it effortlessly. But then some might argue we want a bit more individualism and to be less conservative.
So what is acceptable? A round neck top or vest underneath a jacket? No jacket? A collared top? Tailored trousers or skirt? Sandals and short sleeves in the summer? It's a dilemma that we face along with HR departments worldwide. Somewhere there is an acceptable new norm, but it can take time when you're getting dressed to get the balance of looking smart enough, with enjoying the freedom of a more relaxed and comfortable code of dressing - and quite frankly not taking the proverbial.
Collars and cuffs can undoubtedly look smarter than round necks, but they aren't always relaxed. A shirt under a jacket can look regimented. Without a jacket it can look creased and not so smart. Either way it needs a decent iron before putting on, which can put you off straight away when looking in your wardrobe and then at the clock.
Happily Colcouture now provides women with an easy solution - fabulous collared tops. Smart collar and cuffs but relaxed soft jersey body, which is quick to iron. It looks smart enough without a jacket, but relaxed and modern with one. In the early spring when it's not that warm they can also be worn under a crew neck jumper and still look smart with the collar and cuffs poking out (minus the annoying buttons down the front like a shirt)
In warmer months (which face it in the UK is normally really July and August and a week or so's glimmer of hope in April or May) the just above elbow length sleeve of Colcouture's 'short sleeved' tops provides coolness but whilst still looking professional.
So with Spring around the corner, hopefully we've given you a reason to feel a little brighter in the mornings. But if that doesn't work then at least having figured out what your'e going to wear quickly, you've time for another coffee.