Like a boss! How these actresses rocked corporate workwear

Mar 25, 2016, 09:22 IST | Dhara Vora

How to dress like popular screen characters who ruled the office and played chief

'Details of your incompetence do not impress me', said Miranda Priestly, a character played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. And true to her demand for perfection, the character is a benchmark for wearing couture to work.

(L-R) Faye Dunaway in Network, Deepika Padukone in Piku, Kareena Kapoor in Ki & Ka and Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada. Illustration/Uday Mohite

While Streep's role of a condescending fashion magazine editor might find a connect with those in the industry, Deepika Padukone's closet in Piku was quite the opposite. Simple and ethnic-yet-contemporary, Padukone's look had many takers since it was easily wearable. Palazzo salwars are still selling on the streets and at highstreet stores.

Faye Dunaway in the film Network, epitomised '70s dressing for the working woman. Most recently, Kareena Kapoor plays an independent working woman with a refreshing corporate look in the forthcoming, Ki & Ka. Get inspired by these ladies and ace the dressing game.

For modern corporate wear: Kareena Kapoor as Kia in Ki & Ka
Kia is the woman who runs the home and has a promising career that she works hard to nurture. The film sees Kapoor in simple blouses in solid colours and no prints. There are the pencil skirts and dresses, pantsuits and pants that hug her curves. When relaxed at home or out for dinner with her househusband, Kia is seen in soft cardigans or casual tops.

Kareena Kapoor

How you get it Corporate wear doesn't have to mean suits. Opt for a dress with a modest hemline with a cropped jacket for the day, and for an evening out, skip the jacket. Just because you are the boss, doesn't mean that you dress severely. Blouses in delicate fabrics work equally well. We suggest, you add a change with bold stripes. Ditch poker straight hair and embrace the natural wave; leave them open in loose curls or tie a pony on a busy day.

For retro chic: Faye Dunaway as Diana Christensen in Network
Faye Dunaway portrayed a  simple, classic, no-frills working woman called Diana Christensen in the 1976 film, Network. With soft curls, feminine blouses with bell sleeves,  pleated skirts, and even a curvehugging gown, but in muted shades of browns and creams, she was trying to negate the ladylike charm when she said she meant business.

Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway in Network.  pic courtesy/
Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway in Network. Pic courtesy/

How you get it
Her separates work today too. “Masculine-meets-feminine never looked better. Get Faye's look by pairing an oversized, striped boyfriend shirt with a (relaxed) pencil skirt or cool culottes.

Santu Misra
Santu Misra

Keep it in earthy colours (camel, off-white, beige and tan) to achieve that retro, uniform feel. Drop the heels and throw in cool sneakers (in white) to bring the look up to date,” suggests independent stylist, Santu Misra.

For contemporary Indian: Deepika Padukone in and as Piku
Deepika Padukone's look in Piku epitomised dressing that would help you keep cool (literally) in high-tension and unexpected situations. Her palazzos- with-solid-coloured-kurta look is still a hot-selling trend among Bandra's stall owners who tease you to buy the 'Piku palajho pants'. And with the temperatures soaring, light cottons might be your best bet.

Deepika Padukone

“We tried doing something different from the regular salwar or churidar-kurta look. So, we picked the palazzo with chikan work detail at the hem and a regular kurta, either in plain colours or a subtle print. Stoles in a variety of handloom fabrics such as ikkat or silk added a visual appeal and contrast.

Veera Kapur
Veera Kapur

For footwear, we picked juttis for comfortable movement to locations (she plays an architect) and meetings. Jewellery was minimal. The neck was bare and she wore silver earrings,” says Veera Kapur, costume designer for the film.
How you get it
Stick to different types of cottons that work for all skin types, and instead of a bulky dupatta, wrap a stole. Kapur suggests experimenting with handloom patterns and prints in formal shirts too (with regular or Chinese collars). “Cotton is crisp and even if it gets crushed, it looks amazing. Buy a pair of linen trousers or linen shirts. It is a fabric ideal for the Indian weather. Avoid chiffon, georgette, nylon or any other artificial fabric, which we did in the film too,” suggests Kapur.

For high fashion: Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada
Everybody was scared of the dragon lady, and for all the right reasons. She never went wrong with fashion, after all. It is said that the clothes in the film valued up to $1 million. Miranda Priestly is the editor of a fashion magazine who flavoured her mean side with great sartorial choices.

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada

How you get it
Three things feature prominently in Priestly's wardrobe throughout the film — a jacket, a handbag and sunglasses. “There is some level of authority associated with jackets; they look superior. If you are staying in Delhi, you can experiment with heavy jackets and trench coats. In Mumbai though, you will have to get inspired from Spring Summer jackets that are lightweight. 

Tanya Sharma

Even bomber and kimono style long  jackets can work,” advises fashion designer and stylist Tanya Sharma. A chic handbag, preferably a tote that will carry your sunglasses, scarf and makeup is necessary if the job demands that you don't sit on your desk all day.  Pick a range of branded shirts to look sharp — they could be plain white, or even a classic striped Tommy Hilfiger. “The basics are simple separates. Complete the look with statement sunglasses,” suggests Sharma. 

Four fave menswear looks in films
1. Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs made it acceptable to wear jeans to work.

2. With logo mania back, Jesse Eisenberg’s GAP sweatshirt should inspire everyone into start-ups.

The Social Network
The Social Network

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey

3. Justin Timberlake was a cool-corp in Friends With Benefits.

4. A perfect tailored suit can definitely make an impact — see Mr Grey from 50 Shades of Grey.
— Information courtesy Santu Misra                                                                                                                   

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