One of the things I like doing every year is re-evaluating my work wardrobe and seeing what pieces need updating and what gaps there are to fill. Having my own business means I have a little more flexibility in my office attire but I’ve always still approached what I wear in much the same way I did when I was working a full time job at a newspaper and that is to look professional and polished at all times.
If getting dressed for work every day has become a bit of a struggle then you know that it’s time to reassess what you have and think about giving your style a bit of a refresh. Here are a few great places to start when it comes to your office style.
Have the basics
The concept of office basics really depends on what kind of environment you work in. A corporate workplace will have a different dress code to a more relaxed creative environment, but the most important thing is identifying the building blocks of every look. So whether it’s a well tailored suit or jeans and a blazer, you need to ensure that these pieces are front and centre in your closet. Having this in place means you can afford to play around with your looks a little more.
Incorporate new accessories
Accessories are one of the easiest ways in which you can take your look up a notch and inject a little more personality into your work wardrobe. A great pair of earrings, a stylish bangle or a necklace are all simply ways in which you can inject a little new energy into your attire.
Change your work bag
It’s easy to carry the same bag day in and day out but it can also get a little monotonous. Your work bag is one of the easiest places to give your office wardrobe a refresh. This year, why not try something different? If you usually carry a tote, swap to a shoulder bag and vice versa. Push the boundaries as far as your office dress code will allow and have a little fun. After all, it’s the one accessory that you will carry with you every single day so you may as well love it.
Experiment with new silhouettes
Everyone has their go-to pieces for work. I know I have a few that I turn to all the time. However this year why not make a commitment to try new things? If you tend to favour knee length styles opt for a midi instead. If you’re a fan of voluminous pieces try incorporating a few more form fitting items into your wardrobe. A new silhouette can often make your work attire feel new.
Introduce bold accents
It’s easy to get caught up in the wonderful word of wearability that is neutrals but an easy way to refresh your work looks is to incorporate a few bold items into your ensembles. A striking print here or a vibrant shade there can easily lift an outfit and bring it to life. You can also temper this according to your office dress code so it’s easily adaptable.
Good or bad, our office attire is often one of the major things that people use to judge us in the workplace. So it goes without saying that there’s no harm in looking the part with a sleek, polished wardrobe that screams professional.
When I used to work a nine-to-five job I was always looking for ways I could rework my looks without having to splurge on something new all the time, as working as a fashion editor, it was almost written into my job description that I had to look on trend. Even now with a more varied schedule that takes me from my desk to a function to a shoot on any given day, I still try to maintain a certain level of polish whilst still incorporating elements of what’s trending at the moment; and that requires having to think strategically about what’s worth investing in. That said, trust me when I say that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a complete revamp. It’s all about identifying the key pieces that will take your workwear next-level. Here are a few staples that I think can elevate any look whether you work in a corporate environment or a creative space…
It’s pretty much a given that you’ll always have a work bag with you so given how heavily it features in your office wardrobe it pays to go for something that’s chic and classic, with some detail that helps give it a little personality. I find a tote or a structured top handle bag is always a safe bet but you could also try a shoulder bag with a longer strap if you’re not one to carry a lot of things on a day to day basis. Look for extra details such as a gorgeous clasp or handle style, metal hardware or a textured finish. This is one thing I’d recommend looking to buy the best quality you can afford given how often you’re wearing it.
It’s a good idea to have a pair of really amazing work shoes in your collection. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a pair of black pointed pumps. However if you want something a little different you could always try a slingback style for a shoe that’s on trend and guaranteed to get plenty of use.
I’m all for bold accessories but work is one place where it’s a good idea to dial it down a notch. I don’t think you can go wrong with a pair of simple studs or a delicate necklace. If you’re a watch person, a beautiful timepiece is an outfit addition that will feel right at home in the workplace .
I don’t think you need to spend an absolute fortune on your work wardrobe but I would look to invest in the workhorses of your office looks. Pieces like a pair of black pants, a white button down shirt, an A-line or pencil skirt and a wool or cashmere sweater are all things that would be on high rotation so therefore it stands to reason that you’d invest a little more in them to ensure their longevity.
What are some of your favourite ways to elevate your work wardrobe?
Considering that you carry your work bag around almost every single day it pays to get it right. From a cost per wear perspective I’m all about investing in a quality leather bag for the office. Purchasing a piece that’s well crafted and can withstand the wear and tear of having to carry all your essentials around with you—everything from a laptop to your lunch is a worthwhile buy as you’ll have it by your side most days of the week. That said, you don’t have to compromise on style. There are so many gorgeous bags out there that tick the box for both form and function, in varying price points so you’ll definitely find one to suit your budget. To ensure you get maximum wear from your bag choose a classic colour that can work back with myriad outfits—think black, navy, tan or chocolate brown, even burgundy if you want a slightly more fashion forward option. And hey, if you have to head into work every day at least you can have a great piece of arm candy to carry with you!
To get your started on your search, check out a few of my picks below…