Navigating work attire is no longer about throwing on a pair of heels and some lipstick.
We caught up with Katherine Lowe, model booker for Clyne Model Management about dressing with confidence, and why practicality is just as important as polish.
What do you wear on a typical day?
Day to day, my outfits are pretty casual for workwear. I like to be comfortable. My go-to is jeans/skirt/dress and a T-shirt and some kind of flat shoe. Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time I have at least one sweater on or with me because I get cold easily. In terms of jewellery, I’m one of those people who sleeps and showers in it. If I have any kind of meeting that I need to look ‘together’ for, I make sure I’m wearing the most polished version of my day-to-day; I like a button-down shirt, skirt and loafer combo – with a sweater, of course.
What inspires your work attire?
I have this dream where I’m in that basic, French-chic kind of silk shirt, wide-leg-to-the-floor navy pants and expensive flats, with a gold watch and a bow in my low ponytail. Or Phoebe Philo, just traversing the agency stairs looking super together but also relaxed, wearing Celine SS10 or something… It’s okay, I’m not deluded – I’ve accepted it’s never going to happen, haha.
What is a normal day like for you?
It varies, but I’m pretty lucky in that I have a job that is quite flexible. As long as I have the internet and my phone, I can do most things from anywhere, which means if I have an appointment in the day I can go do it – but on the other hand, it’s not uncommon to need to reply to emails and do things at, say, 9pm on a Thursday night.
Has the way we dress for work changed?
Yes, especially in creative industries. It’s a lot looser now. Not sure if that’s a good thing for me. I know this is a fashion magazine, so it’s pretty blasphemous to confess this, but I’ve been known to come into the agency in gym gear.
Do you ever feel pressure to look a certain way?
Yes, for sure. I know I’ve talked a lot about being casual and I can’t stress enough how much of my wardrobe consists of sneakers and oversize men’s T-shirts, but I do make sure, if there’s a meeting or event, that I put in the effort to look like I made one – or at the very least I look like I know what I’m doing!
Is there a double standard for women and men when it comes to workwear?
I think this is all dependent on what industry you work in. In more corporate industries, I think men are often fine to just chuck on a suit and be done with it. I think women are expected to be a bit more creative (makeup, hair, accessories), and it’s awful but I would presume women are taken more seriously if they look more polished (compared to men).
Interview: Emma Gleason
Photo: Carolyn Haslett
This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly Issue 4, 2019.