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Suit-able attire

Thirty-three years after opening its first store in Christchurch, Kiwi suiting experts, Working Style, has launched its new womenswear range here, too. The colourful array of blazers, pants and shirting offer New Zealand women a unique experience to select the fabric, fit and detailing of a custom suit.



The launch of W, a new custom suiting range for women, coincides with the retailer relocating from Merivale to a modern new store next to Riverside Market on Oxford Terrace, designed by award-winning local architecture firm, PRau Studio.

Founder and Managing Director Chris Dobbs and Christchurch-raised creative director Karl Clausen told Metropol how W is an extension of its bespoke tailored suiting offerings, but now, for women.

The idea for the collection was sparked when staff member, Amanda Vine, had a men’s suit tailored for her to wear to work in the Christchurch store about two years ago.

“That was the catalyst for the women’s collection,” says Chris. “We’ve been working on it for about 18-months now.

“We set out to learn what women wanted from suiting, we didn’t want to dictate to them what we thought they wanted, but we wanted to learn.”

The resulting collection is impeccably tailored suit pants, jackets and shirting, which can be custom made for wearers in an array of luxurious fabrications selected from the in-store library of leather bound fabric sample books, before being made in Portugal.

Every detail of each garment is entirely customisable – from collars to lapels, buttons, pockets, cuffs and leg width.

Karl says Working Style’s philosophy of personalization endures in W.

“Everything we’re doing now is personalized, it’s very, very important. As a company we also value comfort – everything has to be comfortable, easy to wear and can be worn in different environments.”

Current offerings also reflect a more casual approach to suiting – with the garments making their way into more relaxed aesthetics.

“We’re not as formal as the garments we started our life with,” says Karl.

“It’s a contemporary take on a classic, we’re making items which gives the wearer options.”

The launch of W coincides with the recent opening of the new central city store, a fitting milestone for the business – which started its life door knocking Christchurch businesses offer shirt tailoring.

It also follows a challenging period for the world’s retailers, with Covid-19-induced global lockdowns rendering bricks and mortar retailers – and office attire – off limits for many.



New season men’s styles: Working Style

Working Style’s new collection celebrates the continued softening and evolution of men’s wardrobes, with emphasis on garments that transition from work to play. We spoke to Creative Director Karl Clausen about inspiration for the collection and key styles and colours for the season.




What are the main inspirations for the new collection?
This season, a tonal, fresh palette of Mediterranean blues, sage greens and earthy shades dominate the collection – it’s really evocative of the season’s essence.

What are some must-have items from this collection?
Our cotton suit separates are a genuine must-have. They are light-weight and breathable, which helps you stay comfortable during formal occasions in summer. Plus, they can be worn independently, adding flexibility to your wardrobe. You could wear the jacket with chinos or jeans or the trousers with a linen shirt or a t-shirt. As professional attire is evolving, there are fewer people buying complete suits. Guys can buy separates and it gives them the opportunity to get creative. You almost get five different outfits from buying just one.

The other must-have items from this collection are the linen chinos and drawstring trousers. Linen is a fantastic natural, breathable fabric for summer. Our linen trousers are cut easy in the leg offering a relaxed fit, but can be styled more formally with a jacket and tie if required. They are an easy piece to transition from being sharp to being laid back – allowing you to be stylish and comfortable at the same time.

What can men wear to a formal summer occasion?
Summer allows you to be more adventurous with colours: grey with green, or highlight a navy suit with a mustard shirt. Our range of half-lined pure linen suits allow easy movement, and bring a textural quality with their natural wrinkling. Wear them with loafers and keep cool from head to toe.

What’s the new work dress code?
Modern work places are more casual – the traditional suit and tie is transitioning to a smart-casual look. It’s still important to look smart at work and an easy way to dress up a casual look is to incorporate a tailored item: a tailored jacket with jeans, or a linen shirt with dress trousers.

Any styling suggestions for creating a smart-casual look incorporating sneakers?
The idea is to strike a balance between quintessentially formal pieces and their polar opposites. It’s about how you pair the two. Sneakers have evolved into a bridge to instantly soften a formal look. They are easy-to-wear and our is range is created with the same attention to detail as our dress shoes. They are a sleek and contemporary design which look very sharp styled with chinos and dress trousers. The best part is they are extremely versatile giving you the freedom to style them as you wish. A pair of white sneakers is the new modern classic.








The Winter Wrap Up: Working Style

Four distinct and beautiful seasons (sometimes all in one day) are as synonymous with Christchurch as a view of the rugged snow-capped mountains across the plains. You don’t need a trip down memory lane to geography class to know us Cantabrians experience both a high annual and diurnal temperature range.



A clear crisp winter’s morning can see Ōtautahi shiver in the minus degrees, only to be basking in brilliant sunshine, cobalt blue skies and temperatures in the balmy late teens for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Other mornings dawn calm and mild, only to develop into a ripping easterly, a delight for the estuary’s superhuman kite and windsurfers, but threatening to flay the skin from the bones of mere mortal citizens.

The team at premier men’s fashion atelier Working Style, understand that this spicy variety in Canterbury life can mean one thing: layers! Working Style’s Creative Director Karl Clausen is now Auckland-based, but remembers with great fondness his Christchurch years. “There are some very brisk days when you wake up and it’ll be zero degrees outside and a bit of frost, but blue skies. You know that you want to wrap up, but you won’t be worried like in Wellington where the rain comes in sideways.”



Karl’s local knowledge ensures that Working Style embraces our delicious variation and caters to local men’s layering needs this winter. “Adding layers brings an element of comfort and joy – putting on your favourite coat and scarf; it’s something that I haven’t been able to do living in Auckland,” Karl says.

“There is no doubt that layering up now can be more colourful, diverse and put together. Rather than a heavy overcoat it can be a puffer or down coat, colourful and well-designed giving the wearer the opportunity to be more expressive. Other guys will be more comfortable making a more considered purchase of an outerwear piece that will last them a long time. In recent times we’ve tried to make those items a little more interesting without detracting from their longevity.”



This season at Working Style includes a beautiful heavy basket weave overcoat in navy. While contemporary, it is not so fashion-forward that it will be out of style next year. It will also transition through your wardrobe if you wear it over tailoring, or wear it over something a bit more casual.

The scarf range includes the interesting and playful as well as classic colours, and there are stunning heavy-soled boots this season. It is a gum-soled desert boot, giving comfort and durability against the elements. “We are in tune with what winters mean across New Zealand and where our stores and clients are based. We develop our collections to cater to clients’ lifestyles and what the season throws at them too.”



Visit Working Style Christchurch at 242 Papanui Road.

Adding Fun to Fashion: Working Style

A new collection is arriving at Working Style, featuring strong textures matched with beautiful colourways: chocolates, green and plums, to complement those core colours of blue and grey.



“They’re really easy colours to wear – not fussy, but interesting,” Creative Director Karl Clausen says. “This season everything is a little softer, more understated. So we’ve taken all that corporate edge of our clothing and made it a bit more fun. It is stylish and there is a focus on interesting details, easy to pair with what you already have in your wardrobe.”

At Working Style many of the pieces are interchangeable and easy to dress up or down. Karl says it is easy to give those items a whole new look and feel depending on what they’re paired with. You can adapt them to your environment or to the occasion. “There is definite shift in how men are wearing formal wear and how formal wear is defined,” Karl says. “A suit and a jacket doesn’t have to look corporate or overtly formal – you should be able to wear your formal wear on a variety of occasions with the appropriate accessories.”

The fabrications always offer a dynamic, polished appearance if it’s required however, a lot of men want something a bit more understated and this season the fabrications provide an opportunity for guys to wear tailoring that’s softer and adaptable to a more informal way of dressing.
“This season the flannel suits stand out for me,” Karl says. “I love their ability to be worn as separates; the trousers look great with a jersey; the jackets look great with a pair of jeans. They look awesome as a suit together. It just adds so much breadth to your wardrobe.”

Karl is from Christchurch originally and opened Working Style in Christchurch after meeting Working Style founder Chris Dobbs. The store began in Colombo Street, then moved to Merivale and grew into what it is now. After five years, Karl spent another four years in London before coming back to New Zealand to rejoin Working Style as its Creative Director.

Karl loves his involvement with the evolution of Working Style and playing an intricate role within that. “With every new collection the quality is never compromised. We are always in search of the finest fabrications and the best possible make. Our standards in service and attention to detail are something we pride ourselves on, along with our ability to appreciate our clients.”

Find Working Style in its distinctive building on the corner of Papanui Road and Murray Place, at 242 Papanui Road, Merivale. There is on site parking and you can contact the store on 03 355 8493 or visit


Working Style

Casual & Coastal: Working Style

A stylishly put-together casual look, encompassing soft textures reminiscent of summer spent on an Italian coast, is this season’s look which continues to celebrate the continued softening of the modern man’s wardrobe.


Working Style


Fashionista and Working Style store manager Leisa Falconer explains this season’s collection takes influence from a summer spent on the Amalfi coast showcasing blues, beiges, soft greens, raspberries and highlights of melon and white. “Tailoring is centred on a variety of blue; checks are as subtle as they have been for many seasons. The shoulders are soft and the lapels broad – all a nod to southern Italian style,” she says.

Linen is the hero cloth of the season both with shirting and tailoring, generating a casual yet smart look. Using a variety of blended and natural fibre-rich qualities, linen will be a popular choice for tailored coats. This season’s Working Style suit collection is the first to be entirely produced in Portugal with suit silhouettes featuring softer shoulders, gently tailored sleeves and trousers.

“The collection is heavily influenced by blue. The directional blue shade of the season is the Atlantic bird’s eye, which has a hint of green. The grey highlight suit of the collection is a black and white bird’s eye.” Sports coats paired with chinos in fresh white or soft neutrals and pops of colour will be in upholding the continued casualisation of men’s dressing.
Footwear continues to be led by the slip on, with a structured loafer offering a cross over to both tailoring and smart casual, and a variety of shades in a suede moccasin to be worn more informally.

Checks are less prominent with soft textures and neutrals showing, shoulders are soft and natural looking. The fashion colour palette has again blue tones which are complemented with shades of camel, moss green and raspberry. With New Zealand Cup and Show Week around the corner, Leisa says men shouldn’t leave organising their outfit until the last minute. “If there’s any advice I can give it’s to be more prepared. Creating beautiful bespoke pieces takes time.” As in previous years, half-lined coats will be a “go-to” choice for race day.

“Half lined items are lighter to wear in the warmer months and a perfect choice for race day; paired with tropical quality pure wool trousers or chinos.” Made-to-measure experts, Working Style (situated at 242 Papanui Road) have an extensive array of fabrics from the finest mills across the world. “Our highly skilled team work with clients in a unique beautiful environment to create beautiful pieces. We make sure our suits fit the client properly and work with them to design a one-off creation.”

As far from a “typical” retail store as they could be, Working Style’s showroom offers its clients a personalised and exclusive experience. “When we are putting an outfit together they can take their time to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while sipping on a whisky or G and T.”