NYFW: CHADWICK BELL S/S 2014

Much of what we’ve seen on the runways so far this season have focused more on the lighter side of spring and summer wardrobes; short shorts, short skirts, sleeveless blouses and bare midriffs have been rather common place. Chadwick Bell takes a different approach, however, and reminds us that someone has to actually work before getting all that casual fun time. Fortunately, he presents for us a wardrobe that is office appropriate without being totally boring.

As one might expect, the color palette here doesn’t wander too far. Black and white hold dominant appearances and the white especially is likely to draw a lot of attention. Blues and greys figure prominently as well, along with a very light tan whose exact tone might vary depending on the light source.

With Bell, necklines don’t plunge and knees stay tastefully covered. Rather than causing a commotion with what might be accidentally revealed, the designer makes a fuss over textures, such as soft knits and even a careful use of leather. The closest anything comes to risque is with a most tasteful slit in a couple of skirts that give one just enough room to swivel in an office chair without anything tearing.

Toward the end of the collection, we step away from the office and think wedding or evening wear. Here, asymmetrical cuts of sheer panels gives a very contemporary feel to dresses that are still going to play just as well in Wisconsin as they do in Connecticut. A full-length shawl seems ready made for the mother-of-the-bride.

Of course, no one really likes being stuck at work while everyone else is out playing in the sunshine, but this is a collection that can make the professional woman just as excited about her spring wardrobe as when she was a happy-go-lucky coed.

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