Take your wardrobe from desk to dinner with tips from Red magazine’s Nicola Rose

Nicola Rose, creative director at Red magazine, knows a thing or two about fashion. Her Red-hot wardrobe advice? Shop “smart” for key desk-to-dinner pieces that work beyond the nine to five.

We caught up with Nicola to chat about keeping things simple, working with the season’s new colours and her Smart Edit at Fenwick Bond Street, a collection of her favourite pieces from the store as part of Red’s Smart Women Week.

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Wool-mix Coat, £720, Wool Jumper, £360 and Wool Trousers, £340, all from Carven, available at Fenwick Bond Street, Kingston, Newcastle and York .

What is Smart Women Week?

At Red we’re all about embracing everybody. Smart Women Week is a series of events were running from 21 to 25 September focusing on the smart, intelligent side of women, whether that means helping them with career decisions, fashion and wardrobe queries, wellbeing and health or introducing them to inspiring women that may help them make executive decisions in their life going forward.

Along with Fenwick we’re producing an edit of clothing that could fit perfectly into your existing wardrobe or, if you’re thinking about investing in a few new pieces, would all work well together.

What can we expect from the Edit?

We don’t necessarily believe that you buy a piece of clothing for an occasion. There’s no more nine to five working clothes – it’s got to work all day and night. We’re really conscious of making sure every piece of clothing we put in an edit, whether it’s for the magazine or for this project, is really useful to that woman.

What new colours are trends are you seeing this season?

Every season there’s a palette that consistently can work in your wardrobe and not go out of fashion too much. Basic neutrals are navy, gray, black and white but there’s always new colours to add to that palette. This season I’m suggesting blush, olive, a touch of gray, a new neutral kind of berry/raisin colour and maybe a bit of brown.

That can reflect in all different areas of your life – in makeup, accessories or just in clothes.

What are the staples to any good wardrobe?

A key to the window will be the perfect coat, because ultimately that’s every woman’s dilemma – do I buy a fashion coat? A classic coat? A short coat? A long coat?

Sometimes women prefer to invest in a fun fashion coat and then get something that’s going to last forever. I think it depends where you want to spend your money. There’s so much opportunity in outerwear and that can transform your wardrobe anyway just by updating that piece.

There’s also a focus on what I would call the new tailoring separates – jumpsuits, calottes, sleeveless coats and longline coats. These new pieces are wardrobe building blocks and you shouldn’t be afraid of them, but embrace them. They can sit nicely alongside a great tailored trouser, a pencil skirt, a little black dress or the perfect shirt.

What’s the main advice you’d give to someone trying to build a smart wardrobe?

When you’re smart you’ll buy pieces that work with all of your existing pieces in your wardrobe. You have to focus on what you feel comfortable in. For example, if you’re buying a dress and you want it to work for day, night, the weekend and work, you need to buy something simple that you can update for any of those occasions.

I know that’s the old classic line, but it truly does work if you invest in a great simple piece – you can add jewellery for the night or wear it with a sleeveless coat for the day. It’s no longer strange to wear trainers or flat shoes for a weekend look, but it should probably work with a heel if possible.

You also might find that in your wardrobe you have existing pieces that can work around it – it could be a sunglass that updates a look or a statement handbag that’s a brighter colour than you’re used to wearing.

We’re in a climate where if you’re going to invest in something it really needs to work hard.

By Alison Millington