Despite spending the majority of our time in an office, our workwear wardrobe rarely reflects our signature style. But just because you’re dressing smart, or even ‘smart casual’, that doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish and playful with your outfits. Take a look at our Editor’s picks of the key pieces that every woman’s work wardrobe needs, from signature dresses and skirts to classic coats with a twist.
Tailoring with a Twist: A Guide to Modern Workwear
1. Classic Coat
If you want to invest in one piece of workwear that will see you through years to come; it’s the classic coat. This elegant single-breasted coat from Joseph uses a luxurious blend of felted wool and cashmere for a soft finish to this clean, slim-fit cut. Plus, the neutral camel shade is a great alternative to the more obvious black or grey, and looks just as good paired with a smart dress as it does with denim and flats at the weekend.
2. Shift Dress
You can’t go wrong with a shift dress, which continues to be re-imagined as brands use new shapes and designs to rework the classic piece. This Hugo Boss checked dress boasts a flattering cut with three-quarter length sleeves so it’s perfect for colder months, and for those who feel more comfortable covering their arms.
A good pair of black trousers is a wardrobe essential. These high-waisted, wide-leg pair from Hugo Boss skim over the legs so are great if you’re not into skin-tight, clingy fabrics. They’re practical too – with handy side pockets and a waist tie that means you can adjust the waist to synch you in for a flattering shape.
4. White Shirt
Everyone should have a crisp white shirt in their arsenal, and as brands continue to reinvent the white shirt in new styles, cuts and fabrics, they’ve come a long way from the dreary school uniforms you may associate them with. We love the peplum shape and playful pink accents of this Paul Smith shirt that proves you can add character to such a timeless classic.
5. Pleated Skirt
Mid-length pleated skirts have come into their own in recent years, with a large number of women adopting the trend as a staple in their wardrobe. Inject a playful attitude to your outfit with a bold print, like this cool yet chic swan print from Victoria Beckham’s AW17 collection. They look great with shirts and jumpers tucked in and a pair of ankle boots, or even stylish trainers (if your office leans to the more ‘smart casual’ side of the dress code).
6. Smart Knits
Investing in good quality knitwear is a smart move, especially considering the Great British weather is likely on the chillier side for most of the year so your cost per wear is going to be low. We suggest stocking up on a number of neutral shades that you can chop and change with skirts, trousers and even smart jeans, but look out for pieces with a fun detail or twist – whether it’s an interesting cut or a tie-sleeve, like this camel knit from Luisa Cerano.
7. Ankle Boots
A great pair of ankle boots will add the finishing touch to a multitude of outfits – from skinny black jeans and a shirt to a shift dress with thick black tights. Not only do they elongate the legs, the chunky heel and ankle support means you can run for your train in the morning and you won’t need to worry about blisters and sore feet come lunch time.
8. Signature shoes
A pair of smart heels is a staple for office dressing, but just because you need a pair of classic and comfortable pumps doesn’t mean they have to be boring. This popular pair from Charlotte Olympia come in a stylish leopard print with Olympia’s signature kitty ears for a fun feline touch.
9. The Work Handbag
Finding the perfect work handbag that’s both stylish and practical can be tricky. Backpacks are a great option for everyday as they can comfortably fit your essentials – laptop, notebooks, purse, makeup bag and more – whilst still looking chic thanks to the sleek designs that a number of brands are now championing, like this black leather rucksack from Kate Spade New York.
Featured Image Credits:
Rail: Joseph New Wool Martin Coat, £595, Hugo Boss Hadena High Neck Check Dress, £350, available at Fenwick of Bond Street; Hugo Boss Tasala Wide Leg Trouser, £220, available at Bentalls Kingston; Paul Smith Peplum Shirt, £165, available at Fenwick of Bond Street; Victoria Victoria Beckham Pleated Skirt, £475, available at Fenwick of Bond Street and Newcastle.
Knits on stool: Theory Kralla Classic Round Neck Fine Jumper, £210, available at Fenwick of Bond Street; Luisa Cerano Tie Sleeve Knit, £229; Joseph Fine Merinos Sweater, £175, available at Bentalls Kingston.
Kate Spade New York Orchard Street Selby Leather Backpack, £325, available at Fenwick of Bond Street; Nine West Cooper Boots, £99, available at Tunbridge Wells; Charlotte Olympia Kitten Heels in Leopard, £495, available at Fenwick of Bond Street.
By Grace Gargini