When you’re faced with another full working year ahead with a closet full of office attire that puts you to sleep it can make getting dressed for work just that little bit harder. When you feel like you’ve worn the same combinations over and over it’s time to mix things up and get excited about your nine-to-five looks again. And here’s how to do it without having to spend fortune.
Pair things you usually wouldn’t wear together
It’s the year for pushing fashion boundaries. If you’ve had the same work outfits on rotation for the last few years then it’s time to give them a new lease on life. Eschew your usual combinations and start experimenting. If there’s a shirt that you always wear with a particular pair of pants then make a point of trying to team it with a skirt. If there’s a go-to jacket that you wear to death try to make a point of reaching for another topper such as a blazer or trench. We tend to fall into the habit of reaching for the most familiar pairings so by making a conscious effort to do otherwise you’ll likely end up with something fresh and new.
See what you can repurpose from your going out looks
If you’ve got a section of your closet dedicated to going out clothes then it’s time to give them a chance to shine outside of the odd evening out. For example a dress that you’d usually save for a fancy dinner can be reworked by adding a structured blazer on top. As long as the hemline and neckline is still quite conservative (and it doesn’t have sequins all over it!), you can definitely get away with wearing it to work.
A skirt with a button down melds corporate and cool
Borrow from your off duty wardrobe
I’m sure many of us have our clothes for the weekend and clothes for weekdays however have you tried weaving some of your casual clothes into your workday outfits? A simple white tee for example, can be worn with tailored black pants, heels and jewellery for a modern office look. Pop on a jacket on top and it instantly looks more formal. If you work in a more creative environment with a relaxed dress code, your favourite boyfriend jeans worn with a tailored shirt and heels looks chic with an element of cool. If you want a slightly more feminine look a floaty skirt worn back with a button down manages to look corporate whilst still being on trend.
Change up your accessories
We can fall into the rut of wearing the same accessories day after day which can contribute to feeling like it’s office wardrobe Groundhog Day. It’s lovely to have signature pieces that you never take off but sometimes it pays to incorporate something else into the mix whether it be a pair of earrings, a striking necklace or a great watch. A simple addition of something you wouldn’t usually wear can instantly change up a look.
Try having a few more bags in your work wardrobe rotation
Swap your bags around
If you’ve got a trusty work bag that you wear day in and day out try to challenge yourself to swap to another bag more often. It can begin to feel quite monotonous looking at the same tote all the time so switching to another bag such as an over the shoulder number or an oversized clutch can really lift a tired ensemble.
Experiment with your beauty looks
Whilst it’s great to mix and match your clothes don’t forget to refresh your beauty look too. If you wear your hair and makeup the same way most weekdays then make an effort to be a little more adventurous. Try an up-do as opposed to wearing your hair down and vice versa, wear a statement lip or introduce a pop of colour with your nail polish. It’s the little details that can elevate your office wardrobe and lead to it feeling rejuvenated.
How are you changing up your work wardrobe this year?
A brand new year is the perfect excuse to get your work wardrobe in order. I always start the beginning of a new working year by taking stock of everything in my wardrobe so I can identify the key areas that I may need to build on or add to to inject some freshness into my office look. Here’s how to give yourself a stylish start to the year ahead…
Identify your dream work looks
Now is the time to pinpoint your ideal office outfits. Keeping in mind your work dress code, start by pulling together examples of everything from jackets you may like to suit styles you’ve always wanted to try so you can get an idea of how you want your work wardrobe to look. Once you’ve done this you’ll have a blueprint of your style which makes everything from decluttering what you currently own to what you need to shop for so much easier.
Bin or keep?
Pull out everything you wear to work and assess each piece with a critical eye. Does that dress really flatter you? Is that skirt the right length? The aim of this exercise is to make sure that you only keep things that you will actually wear and will help you look polished. Be brutal! Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in awhile or is looking a bit worse for wear. Once you’ve got a pile of clothes that you intend to keep separate them into what you will need to get dry cleaned, mended or altered.
Compile a shopping list
I always tend to go to gravitate towards shirts for work meetings so it’s one area of my wardrobe I make sure I always have well stocked. If you’re like me then now is the ideal time to invest in some fresh new shirts to wear throughout the year. Look at what else in your wardrobe is looking a bit tired and consider replacing it such as the work shoes you wore virtually every day last year or the work bag that’s seen better days. Or if you can see that there are serious gaps in your wardrobe, for example if you have been avoiding wearing particular things because you don’t have the right belt then look into finally buying one.
Look at what can be altered
It’s a pain having to take just one thing to be altered so I always wait until I’ve got a few things that need to be done. What better time than a brand new year? This is the time to get any pants hemmed to the right length and get any jackets tailored to fit perfectly. A little bit of tailoring can really make all the difference and make something old feel new again.
Try on different outfits
Once you’ve got all your key pieces sorted start trying them on to compile a few key go-to outfits. This will not only allow you to get a better idea of how functional your office wardrobe is it’s always great to have a mental cheat sheet for those days when you’ve woken up and just want to go into auto pilot or you are having an “I have nothing to wear day” and need to get out the door fast.
Your nine-to-five wardrobe doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, office wear can easily become fashion forward with just a few key pieces. I know some workplaces are a little more flexible with their dress codes than others but rest assured even in the most conservative, corporate office these pieces will get the stamp of approval. And the best bit? You can easily transition them to the weekend to get double the wear out of them. And if you’re all about cost per wear like I am, this will help justify a new purchase!
Double breasted blazer
Thanks to Balmain’s popularity this double breasted military style blazer has become quite the wardrobe staple. Update your regular blazer with this style for instant on trend cred. Wear it with a skirt, over a dress or with cigarette pants to work and when it comes to the weekend you can easily pop on a pair of jeans, a tee and ballet flats and you’re set.
Gucci’s loafer-style pumps were everywhere at Fashion Week and they’re the kind of style that can just as easily work in any office. If you’re growing tired of your usual black pumps this is a great style to sub in its place. When you’re heading out for Saturday night drinks you can team them with cropped straight leg jeans, a cami and blazer and you’ve got a killer evening look.
The sleeveless blazer is one of those pieces that once you introduce it into your wardrobe you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Team it with a white shirt or cami and trousers or a skirt for the office and you’ll look polished yet on trend. You can easily wear it to Sunday afternoon brunch by using it as a topper over a dress or tailored shorts and a tee.
Wide leg pants
The key to these pants is to ensure that they’re hemmed so they fit you perfectly – you don’t want to be dragging your pants around as the edges will eventually get damaged and look tatty. Keep your top quite streamlined to complement the voluminous silhouette of the pants. A button down shirt that’s tucked is a smart looking combination with these pants. When it comes to the weekend team it with a striped tee for a relaxed French-inspired look.
Top handle bag
Update your regular tote bag for a chic top handled number. One in black will ensure you get plenty of use out of it but if you’re after something a little different navy and burgundy could work as well. Whilst the bag might look a bit too dressy for ducking up to the supermarket it could still get a night time outing by being paired with a dressy evening ensemble.