How to dress for the office
Dressing up for work might be more difficult than dressing up for going out. Why? Because you need to stay classy and decent, without crossing the line. Every office has its own dressing code, and while some may permit wearing jeans and a tee, some ask for an office look. Of course, you still want to look your best and maybe even go for drinks after work without changing clothes.
Because we want to help you look your best, no matter where you’re going, we picked some items as examples of what to wear at a strict office. In the following lines, you will find the best tops and bottoms for the office, as well as the accessories to go with them.
The classic piece for an office outfit is the pencil skirt. It follows the lines of the body and it’s knee length. The most common color is black, but you can also wear navy, brown, gray and even white for summer. Check out the high waisted ones from Miss Selfridge and Debenhams, or the one with a lower waist, from J Crew. They fit perfectly with white shirts and blazers, but can be worn in various other combos, as you will see below.
Some examples of tops that you can wear at the office are the pussybow shirt (see Topshop above), the floral blouse (as seen at House of Fraser) and the basic tee (see Reiss). The first two can be worn as are, but the tee should be worn with a blazer on top, for a more elegant effect. Avoid large, eye-catching prints and settle for discreet ones. Also try to avoid strong colors, and go for pastels or neutrals.
If comfort is your thing, go with trousers. Say no to jeans, especially to skinny ones, and go with wide leg or straight tailored pants. You can see three ideas above, and take note of the neutral colors : Marc Jacobs went with gray, Societe Anonime counted on camel, whereas Edit New York picked brown.
Blazers are a must, but because it’s summer, you can choose lighter colors and fabrics. The important thing is that the shape looks classy and elegant. We picked some lightly colored blazers from Topshop and H&M, but you can go with the more traditional black, as seen at G by Guess. You can wear these over a shirt, T-shirt or over a dress, and you can wear them outside the office just as well.
Speaking of dresses, the office etiquette requires decency and class. Avoid deep cleavages by all means and settle for knee length. The fabulous dress from The Outnet can, for example, be worn over a shirt, or with a scarf at the neck. See Jules for an interesting example of a faux two piece, which is actually a two-parts dress, in classic black and white. The Warehouse dress is A-line, with nice details at the neckline, but not too busy, though.
The shoes that you wear at the office have to be comfortable and appropriate. You can wear stilettos if you think you can hold on for 8 hours a day! If you don’t, then pick thicker heels, like the gorgeous Jane Norman moccasin-inspired shoes. Or go for an oxford look, with just a hint of a heel, as seen at Asos. However, if you like flats, loafers might be your new best friends: check Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins for some lovely, affordable shoes.
What’s the bag to bring with you? Definitely not the clutch, that’s reserved for evening! You need a large, even oversized, handbag, that can fit all of your papers and even your laptop. The one from Ben Sherman, although a bit masculine, can fit in well with an androgynous look. You can find good bags at Forzieri and you can even add a bold touch of confidence to your outfit by wearing a red purse, such as the one from Lodis. If you’re a fashionista, you’ll probably want that Mulberry.
Let’s conclude the article with some accessories! You don’t want anything too big or flashy. A pair of small earrings (Debenhams, Dominic Jones or Asos) in a neutral color should be your first choice. You might also wear a discreet necklace or brooch, just not all at the same time! You don’t want all the attention on your neckline, you want attention to what you’re saying! You can accessorise a black and white outfit with a colorful scarf, like that from Juicy Couture.
Have a good week at the office!