How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Cord: the feel-good fabric you need now

  • Shane Watson shared advice for effortless style while working from home
  • She suggests wearing cord because it’s a soft but substantial fabric
  • British style expert suggests pairing a cord shirt with a polo neck 

Many of you will be working from home as you read this, and starting to realise that deciding what to wear when WFH is not the doddle you had thought.

I’m an old hand at this. I’ve been at it for years and I know how it goes. You start off wearing roughly what you would if you were off sick: sloppy loungewear and slippers. Then you vary it a bit, with exercisewear, or baggy jeans and a hoodie.

For several days you’re happy as Larry, dressing purely for comfort and not bothering to brush your hair or wear any shoes. But pretty soon — and I’m guessing it’s about now — you discover your Sunday-on-the-sofa clothes are not going to cut it.

You need to be Just Dressed Enough if you want to perform at your best.

I’m not about to recommend the ultimate luxury track pants — those would be silk joggers from Serena Bute (£300,, if you’re feeling oligarch-rich.

Shane Watson shared advice for embracing the cord trend, for comfort and style while working from home. Pictured: Margaret Howell show

You don’t want to go down the lounge/exercisewear route in my opinion — it’s too relaxed to keep you focused, and too boring. The perfect WFH outfit is not identifiable as a WFH outfit — and that’s the secret. It’s clothes that happen to be comfortable, but that’s not the main point of them.

This is genuine feel-good fashion: it literally feels good — no seams digging in, nothing restrictive or itchy — and it’s feel-good in the sense that it makes you feel spruced up and confident, too.

Which brings us to corduroy. You don’t generally pick clothes just because of the fabric they’re made of, unless that fabric is cord.

Cord is the feel-good fabric that beats them all. It’s soft but also substantial. It’s comforting, which is a bonus at the moment, and it lends itself to relaxed tailoring, which is the cornerstone of Just Dressed Enough.

I’m not about to work at my desk at home in a suit, but I might wear Me+Em’s pale yellow, wide-leg cord trousers (£160, and, later, sling on the matching jacket (£250) to loiter in the back garden with a glass of wine and do some socially distanced drinking with the neighbours. (This I haven’t tried yet, but it’s something to look forward to.)

Needlecord is generally the more flattering option for trousers. For several seasons, & Other Stories has done a cropped kick flare which I’ve got in black, but now I’ll think about getting it in maroon (£39, This shade looks good with khaki, navy or pink.

There’s lots of pink in the shops for spring. H&M does a dusty pink cord shirt (£19.99, which looks appealing, though you might be better off wearing this with jeans.

Shane suggests wearing needlecord trousers which are fitted on the hips, not the leg. Pictured: Ines de la Fressange

& Other Stories also has salmon pink boyish ankle-swingers, which have a looser cut and sit lower on the waist (£65, They would look great with a tucked-in top and short boots.

French Connection does its own extra-wide-leg pair in butterscotch (£29, french to wear with off-white trainers.

You could even go for bone-white cords (£25, Why not? You’re not getting on a grubby bus or train, after all. Whites are not in the least bit impractical if you’re never leaving the house. For now.

Comfort cord: The new rules

  • Wear needlecord trousers which are fitted on the hips, not the leg.
  • Avoid black. Go for pink, maroon or yellow instead.
  • Pair a cord shirt with a polo neck.
  • If you’re feeling brave, now could be the time to try ivory cord trousers.

If you’re in the mood for a skirt, & Other Stories does a chestnut brown, straight button-through style (£35, which you might want to sling on for a change.

Or there’s Boden’s green skirt (£39,, which has two front pockets and looks a lot like something you might have worn in the late-Seventies with clogs, while listening to Cat Stevens.

Maybe the easiest and most tempting of spring’s cord looks is the slightly oversized, long-tailed shirt. Zara does one in very light beige (£19.99,, which would work over most trousers with a skinny polo-neck underneath.

You could, if you wanted to, go the whole hog and work in a cord trouser-suit, which is surely what Diane Keaton would do in these circumstances. Jigsaw has a flared design in canary yellow or white (jacket, £110, trousers, £75,

That won’t be happening in my house, but there’s no doubt cord makes smartening up easier, and you’ll want to keep standards up. You’ll see.

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