Determining what to wear to work is never an easy choice, but it can be even more of a challenge when your job isn’t the typical 9-to-5. In a bid to shake up our own work wardrobes, we sought out the advice of some of the best dressed women working today. First up, Lisa Larsson, the Swedish artist known for her oil paintings of sun-soaked sceneries and appetising tablescapes.
As Lisa juggles a forthcoming exhibition at New York’s Alchemy Gallery, a new clothing collaboration focusing on elevated essentials with A Day’s March, and finding the time to pour her ideas onto canvas, we asked her what workwear means to her, and why Scandi style is becoming fashion’s latest obsession (and hint: it lies in it’s simplicity).
What does a typical day look like for you?
“I wake up around 6:30 but stay in bed for at least another hour. My absolutely lovely partner brings me fresh squeezed orange juice every morning which makes me wonder what I’ve done to deserve this life! Then I digest all the wild ideas for paintings my brain has come up with the previous night and get ready for work. I get to the studio around 8:30, It’s a lovely 20 min walk though Swedish island Södermalm, and I normally I do 5-6 hours of straight painting without breaks, before eating some instant noodles. If my focus is still intact I keep going for a few hours, if not, it’s likely I’ll start contemplating dinner. Fortunately there is a lovely shop next door to my studio with the best local produce and meats, so I pop in to get some stuff for dinner. I cook every day after work, it’s a great form of meditation and it really calms me down (as does a glass or two of wine). I make sure to have dinner together with my person, and afterwards we often end up in front of the TV.”
Style Notes: When it comes to workwear you can really work in, comfort is key. Take notes from Lisa’s laidback approach to the work uniform and make tailored slacks feel fresher with a pair of trainers and an easy white tee.
What makes Scandi style different from anywhere else in the world?
“Perhaps it lies in the effortlessness. Swedish style in particular always looks so natural. I believe that your feelings shine through your outfit, so if you stay true to yourself and wear what you want, it shows. I think Scandis are good at that, and at valuing comfort. But if anything, I hate the fact that everyone dresses quite so well here! It’d be more fun if people experimented and would expanded their horizons.
Who are your style icons and how have they influenced the way you dress?
“It’s ever-changing, but I’m currently inspired by Lauren Hutton, Mick Jagger and Brigitte Bardot. I’m more drawn to the way in which people wear certain things than the outfits themselves. It’s very appealing to see someone strutting around in something stunning, without a care in the world.”
Style Notes: Look through Scandi street style and the Copenhagen Fashion Week runways and you’ll find a foundation of versatile wardrobe staples that can be easily dressed up or down for any occasion. A white shirt will be one of the hardest working pieces in your wardrobe, and it looks just as good with a skirt and ankle boots as it does with baggy jeans and flats.
What do you look for in the clothes you wear to work?
“Comfort mostly. Repurposed clothing is ideal for my line of work, so I mainly thrift my work clothes or use items from my own closet that have been worn out or broken in some way. I love that I’m able to get usage out of clothes that most likely would be discarded otherwise.”
When did you realise your affinity for art and what has been your career journey?
“It’s been a constant presence in my life, perhaps not art specifically, but always “creation”. I grew up in a very creative environment, with a family who nurtured that eagerness to design. I’ve always known I wanted to work with a pen or a brush in my hand but I chose the painting path in my teenage years. I had my first solo exhibition when I was 17 or 18, and quickly decided to go to art school. I studied Fine Arts at Parsons in New York but almost a year and a half in I realised that I wasn’t getting enough out of it. I ended up dropping out of school and writing to my peers instead, making studio visits to the artists I loved and looked up to. I ended up learning so much more over those few months than I did spending a year and a half in art school.”
How has your style evolved since you started out compared with now?
“I’m not really sure it has evolved. I feel very lucky that I’ve always had confidence in my personal style. I listen in to my current state and dress accordingly, and sometimes that might be extra adventurous and I’ll let my ‘freak’ flag fly, other times I have zero inspiration. I’d like to try to keep that sense of playfulness and confidence as I get older and I believe I have so far. Perhaps the main thing that has evolved is my bank account, which has allowed me to focus more on quality when expanding my wardrobe.
What do you wear when you’re off duty?
“Honestly, I spend most of my time in the studio every day, so my workwear has to merge with my off-duty wear. It’s more or less the same.”
What’s your favourite go-to outfit and how does it make you feel?
“I absolutely love black tie. I’ve also dabbled in a little LARPing (live action roleplay), but I’ve always adored floating around in a gown. It always makes you feel like you’re stepping into a new role, and you end up carrying yourself in an entirely different manner.”
Style Notes: Don’t be afraid to introduce colour, texture and print into your work wardrobe to echo your personality. Who says workwear has to be pinstripes?
What does “workwear” mean to you, and how do you interpret it for your lifestyle?
“Most of my work wear wardrobe is made up of garments I wore to the studio and got paint on by mistake! Since I paint large scale I like to be able to move around freely so I live in oversized pieces. Baggy jeans, loose shirts, T-shirts and a pair of espadrilles are my usual uniform that I can slip in and out of.”
What items do you rely on the most in your wardrobe?
“That’s easy. A white linen shirt–if I had to live in one piece of clothing for the rest of my life it would be a classic shirt. My grandmother’s gold necklace–it’s the only piece of jewellery I wear on a daily basis and it feels so natural for me, it’s almost like it’s not there. Blundstones–they always get me through the insane weather Sweden throws my way, and a pair of slacks. If the fit is right they can transform almost any outfit into something smarter.”
SHOP LISA’S WORKWEAR STYLE
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