What to wear to work?
What to wear to work? It’s an age old conundrum that I’m often asked about, both in person and sometimes via requests for specific blog posts on the subject.
Here’s the thing. I think I write best about what I know. I mean, you can write about the stuff you’re not an expert on too but for me, the words just flow when I know lots about the subject matter. You’ve read my blogging tips posts right – try shutting me up on that subject!
So when I get a request for a What To Wear To Work piece I start to get a bit fidgety. Then I’ll start scrolling though Instagram, go and make a cup of tea, walk the dog, empty the dishwasher… and so the procrastinating goes on. And on.
You see, if you’d asked me to write you a workwear post some fifteen years ago, I could have written you a novel on the subject! Getting dressed for the office where I used to work was My Thing.
A P O L O G I E S F O R U S I N G T H E W O R D F A S H I O N I S T A . . .
Frustrated Fashionista Working In Finance syndrome? Probably. Sincere apologies for using the word Fashionista by the way.
But back then I wasn’t blogging. And now that I am, I no longer need to dress for going into a formal office environment. Go figure.
My point is… and I think there is still one in there somewhere… I write better when it’s based on my own experience and situation. So I do have a workwear piece for you right here but it’s based more around what to wear when working from home or in an office with a relaxed dress code.
I’ve based it around key pieces I would wear and that I think you might like too, with a few styling tips and some stellar buys thrown in for good measure.
Hopefully, whichever kind of work environment you’re getting dressed for, there’ll be a little something in there for everyone. If you see something you like, just click…
Loafer mules and slingback mid heels or flats are the way forward in spring and they make for work shoe with a subtle twist. I also love block heels, preferably in a round, almond or square toe style. Not only are they great for walkability factor but when worn with the cropped trousers, they look uber cool.
Speaking of cropped trousers, over the years I’ve become a bit of a devotee of the ankle exposure game. I don’t know quite what it is but I think that the whole gap between the hemline and footwear thing just instantly lifts an outfit up one style notch.
Whilst most days you’ll find me in some kind of jeans and sneakers guise, when it comes to being able to change it up a little, I think the flats featured below would work just as well with jeans as they would with trousers.
Now’s the time to opt for a trench or lighter weight duster coat – wherever I’m going for work, I prefer to to layer up underneath the coat as opposed to wearing a heavy winter version… and maybe that’s because I’m just fed up with wearing one by now!
When it comes to a trench coat, as much as I used to favour the fitted, nipped in at the waist styles, (think Audrey Hepburn in the pouring rain looking for Cat and being pursued by George Peppard), I now prefer a longer, oversized version for a more contemporary feel.
Tie your trench belt behind you or throw on a loose fitting duster coat over whatever you’re wearing so that you don’t feel constricted. Let it flow out behind you as you go – or shoulder robe it on your lunchtime stroll for extra style points.
Spring is shoulder robing season!
A word on bags – if getting dressed for work is your bag, then here’s where I think it’s worth investing a bit more. In terms of fashion funds, a beautiful bag would always get my big bucks spend vote. If in any doubt, go for a timeless style that’s big enough to fit in your daily paraphernalia – then buy, love and use it everyday.
Failing that, pick something a little out of the ordinary to garner a second glance – I (still) love circle bags and last summer’s Instagram obsession with the net tote hasn’t quite left me yet either. I like this one by Mango as it has an inner lining – there has to be some practical element here. Unless of course you’re just carrying oranges.
I’m also coming (back) around to the pop-up-every-few-seasons bucket bag. Overall, whether it’s an investment or a super cool high street buy, I’m generally inclined towards the unfussy.
If the outfit demands a smaller bag then I can get on board with this too. I’ve been known to put all the other essentials into a tote (more opportunities for that net bag) and wear the smaller one cross-body.
Why have one bag when you can wear two?
After a few more workwear wardrobe winners for the season ahead?
You know the ones – the pieces that will always bring an instant second glance factor because of the stylish way in which you’ve combined them of course!
Invest in a blazer. Of course it works in a more corporate environment of course but it’s also a goto cover up when the dress code is laid back. My dream combo? Blazer + white shirt + jeans + sneakers.
The slogan Breton (well played Boden!) goes with a full midi skirt but play it down with white Converse. And the Iris & Ink lace skirt demands a pale grey, oversized cashmere sweater, ankle boots and bare legs. Maybe wait for it to get a bit warmer before hitting the faux glow and trying this one!
The Other Stories printed dress teams up with your trench coat, opaques and boots and the Topshop khaki’s were made for leopard flats and an elegant black shirt. And as for the Mango Tee? The options on that one are endless – I just really liked the press stud sleeve detail!
And there you have it – a behemoth of a workwear post but hopefully one that will provide a spot of style inspiration for whatever office environment you work in!
If you’re after some more workwear inspiration, I can recommend the following…
Wardrobe Icons – This site is brilliant for taking inspiration from how Laura and Petro combine pieces to form stunning outfits.
Alex from The Frugality’s Instagram account. She’s taking a break from blogging right now as she’s on maternity leave (Congratulations Alex!), but a scroll through her Insta feed will always provide plenty of workwear inspo.
Who What Wear UK– Keep an eye on their Looks section under the dropdown menu option for Office for plenty of posts and ideas to try.
And if you’re after a slightly smarter vibe then I can highly recommend Anh’s blog – 9 To 5 Chic. There’s hours of posts to scroll back through for inspiration – try creating similar looks with what you already have in your wardrobe.
I have a workwear Pinterest board and of course, if you search this or similar terms within the platform, you’re bound to come up with years worth of daily looks! Just be sure to compile them into your inspiration board for future reference.
My friends Monica and Ella are also pretty deft at combining outfit pieces to perfection too – scroll though their Style sections on their blogs or their Instagram accounts. Monica’s Instagram is here and you can find Ella here.
Someone who I’ve recently found (and I have to confess – I’m obsessed with how she puts a minimal look together!) is Alexis Foreman. Her blog, Style Memos is here and her Instagram feed here… Alexis I’m coming for your wardrobe!
Photography: SarahLou Francis