Osman Yousefzada: The modular wardrobe

London-based designer Osman Yousefzada on how to make your office wardrobe work longer


A jumpsuit, a shirt dress and the tuxedo jacket from the modular wardrobe (clockwise from left).
A jumpsuit, a shirt dress and the tuxedo jacket from the modular wardrobe (clockwise from left).

Birmingham-based designer Osman Yousefzada has brought his architectural silhouettes and modern tailoring from the London Fashion Week to Mumbai’s concept store Le Mill. In the US, Hollywood celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, are fans of his feminine and edgy creations, while the bold colours and sleek designs are also finding favour with Indian actors such as Kangana Ranaut and Alia Bhatt.

The designer introduced the modular wardrobe concept after his selection of Perfect 5 trousers became a success (Academy Award-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o says her favourite piece of clothing is her Osman trousers). Yousefzada has now extended the concept of the Perfect 5 capsule to other categories, including tops, dresses and knitwear, to create a complete core collection of classic everyday pieces for the modern woman.

“But the garments are not entirely basic styles. You get a lot more detailing and an element of drama. That makes the pieces multifunctional, with an element of fashion,” he adds.

To make the Indian working woman’s office dressing decisions easier, we asked the designer for his pick of five versatile pieces that can last through the day, from meetings to evenings.

Black Cigarette Pants

The cut is extremely important when choosing the right pair. Fabrication is key, and these pants are designed to hold you in. They do not work like leggings or jeggings because at work you need a bit more room for pockets, etc. This chic pair of pants is cropped to sit above your ankle, therefore lengthening your legs, and cut in a way to fit well at the derriere. All in the best high-twist yarns from Italy.

The Tuxedo Jacket

This tuxedo jacket in stretch Italian wool gives you the perfect office attire and then, with the cinched waist and cleavage, transforms into a ‘Le Smoking’ suit for all-night fun. You can wear it with flats and hair up for the day; later, let your hair loose and add some ankle boots for a rock chic vibe.

Multifunctional Knit

A cashmere top is a good wardrobe piece to take you from day to evening. It can be worn in different ways: to create a cowl-neck top or pulled down over your clavicle for an off-shoulder look when stepping out for a drink after work. You could add a belt and wear it with shorts, and it will look sexy. During the day, the cowl neck can be higher to cover the shoulder. It is also the best choice for work trips because the fine Italian yarn is non-creasing and easy to pack.

The Shirt Dress

This striped dress comes with a necktie that can become a bow or a belt. At the office, for a formal look, wear the belt for a cinched waist and roll the sleeves down. If you are stepping out for a fun dinner with your girlfriends later, add the necktie, sparkly heels and a brooch and roll up the sleeves.

the Jumpsuit

The grey jumpsuit is very versatile—long fabric belts can be wrapped around your waist or tied as a sash that moves with the pleats as you walk. You can add a cardigan to layer for the air conditioning at the office and add jewellery to take it to a formal dinner with a perfect pair of strappy heels and a beautiful clutch.

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