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Celebrity Stylist Ilaria Urbinati’s Formula for Business Casual Gold

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Ilaria Urbinati’s clients Donald Glover, Ryan Reynolds, and Rami Malek. / Getty Images

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September 20, 2018

Getting dressed for work in 2018 isn’t very complicated, especially if your office is actually a co-working space, studio share, or even just your local coffee shop. Not only are suits not required in most industries anymore (thank God), but jeans, sneakers and sweatshirts are now fair game, too. But here’s the thing: looking good never goes out of style. So even if you’re dressed down, even if your office is the floor of the restaurant you own, which closes at 2 a.m., it’s still worthwhile to pay attention to your appearance.

 

So take some modern advice on building a solid work wardrobe—no matter what line of work you’re in—from Ilaria Urbinati, stylist to Donald Glover, Ryan Reynolds, Rami Malek and countless other best-dressed stars. While Urbinati is no stranger to formalwear, she also dresses her clients for more chill affairs like Comic-Con and Cannes, so she has plenty to say on the stuff that exists between sweatpants and tuxedos. Here, four tips from the expert that’ll transform your workwear game in no time.

The Office-Friendly Brand to Check Out

“For casual clothes, I really like Sandro. I keep going in there and every time I do I’m like, ‘God, this place is killing it.' Everything is really simple, but they’re still doing some great printed shirts. And all of the proportions are really good. And all of my guys, even the ones that are not super adventurous, like it.”

The Work-Appropriate Pants That Look Good on Everyone

“The main request I always get from my guy friends is, 'What pants should I buy?' I have two pants I use on pretty much everybody, shamelessly. I’m like, ‘Too bad you’re all wearing the same pants because I love them.'

 

"One is J Brand’s Tyler cut. It’s slim-straight so it’s not too skinny, not too baggy, it’s just the perfect pant that looks good on everybody. And then they do a chino in a similar cut called the Brooks chino, which they just discontinued. I literally emailed J Brand in the middle of the night and was like, ‘Um… What do we do about this guys?’ because I love them so much. It’s the best pant I’ve ever put on anybody, everyone is obsessed with it.

 

"The other ones I love are Rag & Bone’s chinos. They have three fits, just called One, Two, and Three. Two is kind of my go-to because it looks good on everybody, or sometimes I’ll do the One. Like Ryan Reynolds will either wear a bigger size of the One or a smaller size of the Two. But it’s just a nice cut. It’s really slim without feeling like a legging. I just like chinos. I like chinos better than jeans. The guys are way more comfortable in them and when you find that right one that’s slim and cool, I think that’s the best look. It makes a casual outfit look a little more put together than just jeans.”

How to Get More Mileage Out of Your Suits

“If a suit has a lot of texture to it, like if it’s linen or woven, I’ll use the pants on their own. You can wear them with a sweatshirt or a T-shirt and a belt. A guy in a T-shirt and jeans is whatever, but a guy in a dope trouser with a nice belt, well, that’s just a great look. It’s elevated but it’s still casual. I think about that kind of stuff a lot because I’m always doing press tours where my guys need to look casual but can’t look like slobs. You can make any top look nicer if you have a good trouser.”

The Button-Down Alternative You Haven’t Tried Yet

“I’ve been doing knit polos on everyone. You don’t necessarily want the sporty pique ones, which make you look like you’re going golfing. But a nice cashmere or merino polo looks so sharp and is flattering on everyone. I get guys that are in shape, out of shape, and everyone looks good in them. Maybe go with a darker color if you’re a little out of shape, but seriously, you kind of can’t go wrong. I love COS’s knit polos—I use them pretty religiously. They have nice colors like dusty pink and mint green. You can do short or long-sleeve but I’m partial to long-sleeve. You scrunch the sleeves up and it just looks a little bit dressier than a short-sleeve.”