Words by Nicole Thomsen
June 16th, 2016
Workwear has long been the cause of a deeply pitted sense of dread at the bottom of your stomach. Whether you’re starting at a new office, aiming for a promotion, or it’s just Sunday night and you don’t know what to wear come Monday morning, office attire doesn’t have a good rap. But however frustrating it may be, for most women, how you dress has an impact on your career, making it a necessary battle to be fought.
That being said, dressing for work shouldn’t be a battle. It should be easy, fun and most importantly, be empowering. While there may be strict dress codes to adhere to — which are even more difficult to abide by come summer — that doesn’t mean all sense of style has to be thrown to the wind.
Throw away the chinos and flimsy blazer and redefine your office attire with our summer workwear guide. As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
Refresh the tired shirt and trouser combo by opting for a striped coordinate. Teaming a pinstripe shirt with similar high-waisted pants will create a streamlined look that is both office-appropriate and stylish. Varying shades of blue are the perfect choice for this look but be wary of white and black stripes as it can leave you looking more like Beetlejuice than the office maven. Wear with flat leather slingbacks or mules for a laidback touch to an otherwise formal outfit.
A crisp shirt is not only a workwear classic but also a wardrobe staple. However, a shirt can feel rigid and admittedly boyish at times which isn’t always the look you have in mind. By opting for a shirt with a pussybow you’re not only wearing one of the summer’s biggest trends but also adding some feminity to the look. Choose whichever shade you prefer; as long as you keep the rest of your look basic it allows for more vibrant colours or even prints on top.
Kate Moss might have proclaimed that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” but we’d be inclined to think that nothing tastes as good as confidence feels. And a sure fire way to feeling so is by suiting up. There is something quite powerful about wearing a suit but, of course, that fact is negated during the summer months when you are profusely sweating under the lapels. Instead of suffering through, opt for an all-white pantsuit in lighter fabrics. Style a simple cami top underneath to keep your cool and modesty.
A form-flattering, structured dress is a timeless workwear piece. But as classic as it may be, if it’s appropriate for an office environment, chances are it’s also boring and plain. You can sidestep this by layering a sleeveless dress over a shirt (or roll-neck jumper for the cooler months). This instantly updates your dress no matter how long you’ve had it hanging in your wardrobe. It also allows you to wear the dress multiple times without anyone ever realising you’ve worn the same dress for three days in a row. If you want to keep on trend, style a statement sleeve shirt underneath for maximum effect.
What was once a seasonal trend worn by few and feared by many has become a wardrobe staple. Culottes now make up the bulk of most spring/summer and pre-fall collections and should be a key player in your workwear collection too. The ubiquitous cropped trouser is an easy transition from full-length pants for those who can’t or simply don’t want to wear a dress or skirt into the office. Team with a block heel so you’re not toeing the line with casual wear and a frilled blouse if you want a feminine touch.
Which look will you be sporting to the office?
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