The Officewear Style Edit: My Essentials

It’s time to get profesh….


I might not have a traditional office role currently, but in the past I’ve had my fair share of ‘smart casual’ dress codes. I’ve worked in the offices of a call centre, a PR firm and once upon a time I spent a summer doing data entry with my best mate, where we spent about 50% of our contracted hours typing in numbers and 50% on the work version of MSN. The only thing that was consistent between these places were that any kind of office party generated enough gossip to last at least two months. STAY AWAY FROM THE PHOTOCOPIERS PEOPLE. Office appropriate attire however, differed between them all. So although I thought I’d spend today’s post dishing out points in the right direction when it comes to officewear, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ shopping list here. I’ve worked in places where open toe shoes are frowned upon, whereas an eyebrow would barely be raised if I turned up in jeans that were slashed to pieces at my other job. This is more just me thinking aloud that if I had to open up my wardrobe this morning then head to the office, what I’d like to see in there. I reckon my uniform would consist of these items…



I mean it’s an obvious choice and although the majority of offices I worked in were pretty lax on the denim front, it’s still nice to have a smart pair of trousers in your line-up for if you fancy taking your attire to the next level of formal for a special occasion. They also come in handy for jobs interviews too, so although they might not end up being totally necessarily for day-to-day, they’re a multi-functioning piece that I surprisingly get a lot of wear out of. I have a pair from Whistles, but from taking a look around the high-street Weekday have my favourite selection and offer these Tapered Trousers in a selection of colours, although navy is my favourite. To mix it up from your usual black and cigarette pant style, I’d love to have the Mango Tailored Suit Trousers hanging in my wardrobe as well, because the slight wide-leg fit would make me feel like a proper badass I reckon.



In the warmer months I’m a strict silk shirt wearer, whether I’m working in an office or at home, but when it’s cold they can get a bit nippy (quite literally). So I’m proposing a bank of chic, but cosy knits to protect you from the arctic conditions that get pumped out of the office air conditioning unit. Seriously – why are they ALWAYS so cold?! Here I’m wearing the Acne Studios Deborah Oversized Knit which basically acts as a gigantic blanket. 10/10 would recommend. However, this & Other Stories Criss Cross Sweater has caught my eye because it’s a slightly cheaper dupe of the Sézane number that I wear all the time. If you feel like something closer fitting would be a better choice for you then check out this & Other Stories Nautical Sweater that you’ll be clambering to find in your drawers for weekend brunch too, or this & Other Stories Green Knit Sweater for some jewel-toned flavour.




Right now I’m living in UGG Boots (fuelled by extremely chilly weather and this Man Repeller piece), but I completely understand they they might not necessarily fly in a workplace. When I commuted to and from London each day I had a pretty hefty walk on either end of the train journey, so I needed something that was comfortable and speedy to walk in. On the handful of days I did wear heels to work, I ambled in late and had to sneak off mid-morning to buy blister plasters. Instead, I’d recommend the humble loafer. They’re basically like wearing slippers. TICK. Plus they look smart and the slight exposing of the ankle can be a good leg lengthening move. Here I’m wearing my Gucci Horsebit Loafers which were a ludicrous purchase, but one that I practically wore everyday of summer. Although I do have my eye on these Tommy Hilfiger Blue Velvet ones – SWOON. Or these Vagabond Frances Black Leather Loafers, which are a nice alternative to the fancy pants Gucci ones.



I’d say that purchasing a tote bag is much like buying black vest tops, or replenishing your sock drawer. It’s not a particuarly exciting one, but it’s a necessary decision and you’ll be left wondering ‘How did I carry around stuff before?/How did I walk around in socks that are SO DAMN HOLE-RIDDEN?’. I got the Saint Laurent Tote Bag early last year and have worn it to practically every London day out I’ve had since. It holds a hell of a lot and is basically a Mary Poppins bag dupe. Sure the open top makes it a pickpocket’s dream, but I navigate my way around the tube with a clamped down elbow in lock mode. This was an investment purchase for me, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d stick to a textured leather (nice and hardy) and with straps that are wide enough not to tear your shoulders to shreds when your bag is at full capacity. We bought my Mother-In-Law this Whistles one for her birthday and she loves it and this & Other Stories one looks like it could easily fit a laptop, your files and all the rest in it.




Whilst I was scouring the web for pieces to include in this feature I found a load of items that didn’t slot into the traditional officewear capsule wardrobe, but were items that I’d want in there just to add a bit of variety and give the option to don something different if I was in the mood. So here we have exactly that. Bonus points for the fact that many of these buys would double up as wedding/fancy event attire too. I’m traditionally not much of a skirt wearer but there were two on & Other Stories that caught my eye; this Poppy Print Midi Skirt – stunning and a great piece to transition into the warmer months with – and this Asymmetric Leather Skirt – which at a midi length looks very smart indeed. I also like the look of this Whistles Print Dress that would look great paired with Chelsea boots and thick tights, or this Tile Print Jumpsuit if you fancied ditching the classic trouser and top combo for the day. Right, time to hop back to the work MSN, right?


Photos by Lauren Shipley

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