Fashion: Building a Workwear Wardrobe

Disclaimer: I have a LOT of clothes. Despite sending off a total of five binbags to a charity shop over summer, selling another bag full on Ebay, and chucking more than a fair few odd socks, baggy knickers and bobbly bras, I have far too many clothes. I’ve taken over more than my fair share of the wardrobe, I have three under-bed boxes. Yet all the things I currently own do get worn.

 photo Workwear Outfits 5_zpsldfjftmh.jpgAs you might be able to tell, this isn’t about building a capsule workwear wardrobe.

Now, I work in the City. Whist I’m not expected to be in a ‘full suit’ everyday, I am expected to wear business attire, carry a jacket, look smart etc. The point of reference I tend to use is whether the guys where ties; they do in my office, so I dress smart(er) to reflect this. My usual go-to is a miss-matched suit, or a tailored dress and light-weight jacket. I also have a few floatier skirts which I tend to through on with more structured jackets, likewise I have a couple of smarter outfits for days with important meetings. I also have my go-to ‘Friday outfits’ – whilst my office doesn’t have formal dress-down Fridays, I have already noticed things do get a bit more casual for the last day of the working week.

 photo Workwear Outfits 2_zpsm49egudq.jpgThe key for me is the fit. If an item isn’t fitting right, it will never look smart, no matter how hard I try. Nothing used to bug me more at interviews, seeing guys in too-short trousers, girls in too-tight skirts. Good workwear doesn’t have to cost a fortune; I’ve had some excellent suits from ASDA & H&M over the years, and I think getting a good fit is far more important than spending a fortune on a pricey label. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since buying a good half of my workwear wardrobe, so it’s bugging me that some pieces (particularly the jackets and grey dress) are a little too big. I’m hoping to gradually replace those bits – but for now I’m finding M&S great for petite-length tailored pieces that don’t break the bank. Machine washable too is a big bonus!

 photo Workwear Outfits 1_zpsybvrfppg.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 4_zpsogvom8nx.jpgThen there’s colour. Even if I’m wearing a black/grey outfit I need some colour in there. Be it a bold lipstick (I haven’t dared postbox red in the office yet though), something from my satchel collection or more ‘out there’ shoes (I have a pair of gorgeous oxblood stillettos, slip them on once I get to my final tube leg and I’m good to go!), I can’t be all in neutrals. My go-to way of adding colour is a cardigan. I can’t go to work without one (damn you air conditioning!), and I have one in every possible shade. Duck-egg blue, navy blue, royal blue, burgundy, fuschia pink, shell pink, cream, black, grey, red, orange, mustard yellow, white…Another way to add colour (and one that I really wish I could pull off more) is jewellery*. Think chunky bracelets, bold necklaces. The perfect way to jazz up a plain shift dress!

 photo Workwear Outfits 7_zps5fwvtccv.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 8_zpsze97qcct.jpg photo Workwear Outfits 9_zpslcorsys5.jpgMore casual Fridays are what fill me with dread. I’m okay with my usual ‘uniform’ – it’s comforting having limits in place. But on Fridays things get a bit more casual. One of my go-to styles for smarter weekends has always been a shirt dress, so I decided to take this to the office too. This dress from JD Williams* is a little longer than I’d like, but cinches in nicely at the waist. It doesn’t gape (essential for work – gaping shirts are the main reason I stick to dresses!), is lightweight (a godsend over the last few weeks, the tube commute has been rather warm!), and goes well with a plain black jacket.

 photo Workwear Outfits 6_zpshkxv7wpj.jpgNow all I need is this tweed pencil skirt (serious heart-eye emoji going on, I love it!). And to stop getting W to take outfit photos at 7.15am, when I’m bleary-eyed and with only half my makeup on…

What is your workwear wardrobe like? Any inspiration for where to shop?