It’s time for my outfit of the week. Today I’m tackling probably the most difficult aspects of clothing. Workwear. It’s five days a week and there is no dressing down (unless you have casual Fridays) nor do you have the option of going in your pyjamas (not that I would ever leave the house in my pyjamas anyway!). You’re constantly judged on how you look (depending on profession) and you have to make an impression to clients. Now how do you put an outfit together that’s not considered ‘power dressing’ (we don’t want to scare our colleagues off and just prefer to save this look for important occasions) or too casual (we need to be taken seriously and look professional) and be modest, all at the same time? I sometimes envy those with a uniform because that’s five days in a week where you don’t have to think about your outfit!
Unfortunately, for workwear there is no one size fits all. As every office/ workplace has different rules for example creative work places, non-client/customer facing work places, tend to have a more casual approach to dressing. It is quite difficult to say if all the suggested outfits will be permitted as they are occasion and office type, dependant. I’ve mostly suggested smart items that would be allowed in most work places. The nice thing about work wear is that there are some staples which you can use repeatedly to ensure you look smart instantly. Please note this post contains affiliate links. Feel free to read my disclaimer for more information.
There’s nothing like a crisp pair of trousers! This one item immediately elevates any blouse/top/ shirt worn, into professional territory. Be it tapered, straight leg or wide leg, trousers are the ultimate go to in a work wardrobe. Most workplaces are quite relaxed about colours so why not experiment with bright blouses or shirts. Stay away from palazzo style pants or unstructured type trousers in a more formal environment as they give a very casual feel. Jeans are also quite casual and should mainly be worn in work environments where the dress code is a lot more relaxed or on casual Fridays. Trousers are also perfect for maintaining modesty and keeping cool/warm in the appropriate Seasons.
The collar and cuffs on a shirt make it the top of choice in any work outfit. The shirt is an emblem for workwear. The fitting and shape of the shirt makes it flattering for most figures. The high collar and long sleeves also make the shirt perfectly modest. Depending on your work uniform, there are numerous hi-lo shirts available from different retailers. If you find tops slightly too short for your liking, then shirt dresses are also widely available. Inayah produce some beautiful work pieces which are modest and flattering.
What is it about a blazer that instantly transforms the silhouette? The sharp shoulders and slim fitting, flatter any figure and makes any top (or even t-shirt) look a lot more work friendly. Wearing a blazer to work is the best option (especially in cooler months) as most tops/blouses underneath will look less casual. Make sure the shoulders fit perfectly as this is difficult to alter later on! Finding the perfect blazer fitting is quite difficult as standard sizes vary greatly from store to store. So this is one item I definitely recommend you try on. Luckily there are a lot of cheaper options for blazers now, as all high street stores have a huge selection for both casual and workwear. The longer blazers (covering the lower back and bum) are also a good option for those of you who prefer to wear longer lengths.
This is probably the least strict category from all the staples. A work bag can consist of anything from a phone pouch to a large oversized rucksack! There are certain bags which are highly popular with working women. Usually the bags are large enough to carry any daily necessities (not as big as nappy bags though/ think makeup top-up and maybe a snack or two and maybe even a laptop or ipad) and have easy compartmentalised sections, which allow some form of organisation (you really don’t want to be rummaging at the bottom of your bag for important business cards/paperwork or even your lipstick). Depending on your work environment, structured compartment bags which are easy to organise are usually the best option for an efficient bag. Lightweight bags (which are fully zipped/can be buttoned close) are also helpful, especially if you commute.
Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since the days where women were required to wear heels in the office! There are gorgeous flat alternatives to the regular pump, which used to be the most popular work shoe. Pointed flat shoes probably present the most professional look after the heeled pump, although loafers and flat pumps are also a sensible work choice (especially if you are on your feet all day). Footwear is very varied and I’ve known people who freely wear FitFlops to work! Make sure you know the dress code and dress appropriately.
This short workwear guide will help you plan your work outfits in the future. Remember you only need one of the five staples to transform your outfit into a more professional, smart look. If you have any questions, or comments feel free to comment below. Have a great week.