What Can I Wear To Work?

Work Wear Office Fashion
Lately, I realised that I hadn’t had anything nice to wear for work, so a shopping spree with the focus on smart office clothes was inevitable. Usually, the first address that comes into my mind when I look for professional outfits is either Next or Oasis but I feel that both retailers have become extremely difficult to shop in the current sale season with most desired items already gone (unless you fancy queuing from 5am onwards on the first day of the sales). However, after some research on the British High Street an alternative was found and the question ‘What can I wear for work?’ won’t haunt me for a while.

Let’s face it, to reflect our professional persona work outfits have to be smart, neat, sleek and mature. It doesn’t mean though they can’t be fashionable and reflect your style. When it comes to style combinations for the office, I like to stick to my personal fashion preferences. For example, outside of the office, I love dresses. Hence why I prefer a smart work dress over a suit. Though suits make you look extremely professional I always feel a bit ‘dressed up’. Wearing a suit doesn’t reflect my personality, as well as a nicely fitted quality dress, would do. Same applies to a soft blouse from Uniqlo in combination with black skinny jeans, rather than fabric trousers.

With this in mind, I was primarily on the hunt for dresses with a sophisticated cut and shape. Colour-wise they had to be appropriate for the office environment, meaning darker and neutral shades. I found my office wardrobe on a budget at JOY, a British clothing retailer which you may have seen a few times on Style Lingua and who shouldn’t be underestimated in the British fashion landscape.

Today's post is a small anatomy of my work wardrobe which is dependent on the profession and the message you’d like to bring across. I struggle with a very young face which for some unknown reason makes people think I’m a student, hence why I face a lot of belittlement and inappropriate comments. My clothes have to convey the strong message that I’m a professional and as a result, I chose style combinations for work that I feel show me as the adult that I am.

Fit For The Office: A Casual Work Dress With Stylish Ballerina

Office wear
smart work wear
work clothes
what can I wear to work

Here is what I'm wearing:

Miniature Heart Necklace: Buckley London* (current 2015, £35)
Bag: Fiorelli (bought 2015 in the sale, £31)
Murcia Dress: JOY (current sale 2015, £22)
Shoes: Dune London (current SS15, £59) 
Watch: St Mawes Daniel Wellington (current 2015, £160)

The dress is made of polyester but it has a very comfy feeling and I didn’t sweat as much as I thought I would (polyester is usually a material which creates an awkward climate). Through the material, the dress is nicely shaped and the length is perfect for the office. The main feature is the centred woven print surrounded by a simple black. It is an eye-catching but not dominant feature. 

This looks very sophisticated and creates a slimming effect, too. I teamed it up with some basic yet effective jewellery. Rose gold is so on-trend at the moment so I added a bit of ‘fashion’ with my Daniel Wellington and dainty heart pendant necklace from Buckley London. 

To respect the office environment, I wear tights and stylish ballerinas from Dune. I’m in love with pointed shoes as they apply a massive level of maturity and convey the message, that you appreciate taste and sophisticated style. My small Fiorelli crossbody bag picks up the black from the dress and the camel tone works harmoniously with the rose coloured accessories.

Business Smart in the Office: The Blue All-Rounder Dress

smart sophisticated work wear
JOY fashion work wear
Kate Spade handbag fashion
JOY fashion work wear work clothes

Here is what I'm wearing:

Miniature Heart Necklace: Buckley London* (current 2015, £35)
Bag: Kate Spade (via Bicester Village, £199)
Blue Karenz Dress: JOY (current 2015 sale, £24) 
Shoes: Dune (current 2015 sale, £22)
Watch: St Mawes Daniel Wellington (current 2015, £160)

The dress has a lovely shape and the neckline is extremely smart. I fell in love with the entire cut and bodycon design which applies a professional look. It is a very simple dress but works entirely through those details. The dark navy colour signals tranquillity, respect and a great level of seriousness. 

As you know I struggle with my young outward appearance hence why I select clothes that make me look age-appropriate and convey the right message (a young professional). The pointed loafers add a touch of fashion yet at the same time respect the dress code of the office environment. 

To match the mature style of the outfit I teamed it up with my classy Kate Spade bag. Timeless and sophisticated does it do the talking. Jewellery-wise I kept my rose coloured combination of Daniel Wellington and dainty necklace.  

Friday Out Of Office: A Chic Work Dress 

office fashion work wear
what to wear for work?
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professional office clothes

Here is what I'm wearing:

Miniature Heart Necklace: Buckley London*
Geoprint Karenz Dress: JOY (current 2015 sale, £24)
Watch: St Mawes Daniel Wellington (current 2015, £160)
Zerah Shoes: Aldo (current 2015, £50)
Bag: Mischa Barton (via ASOS, bought 2013, £40)

Though the dress has the same style as outfit 2, the waistline has a clever detail which makes the dress sophisticated and different. The print is classy yet fashionable and appropriate for work. The dress has a wonderful length and I feel it would have been a harsh contrast to wear it with black tights. 

With the other outfits I played it safe through the tights and rather simple accessories, whereas with this outfit, I experimented a bit. I know the shoes are a bit of a risk as their studded detail may be a bit too much for the office. I still feel they work well for a professional look as the combination with the neutral bag (that picks up the gold and black from the shoes) balances the combination.      

How To Dress For Work Style Summary:

My style combinations for work have always the same fashion elements but with a little twist. 

- A dress, but with different shapes. For me, the bodycon shape works best. I would never wear skater dresses as they are too playful and cute for the office environment. Look for dresses that are simple but have an outstanding feature such as the neckline in outfit 2 or the waistline in outfit 3. You will be amazed by how well an unusual cut and shape can work for your work looks. JOY is worth a look, so are L.K. Benett and Ted Baker if you want to invest more £.   

- A classy watch. To me, it has to be a Daniel Wellington watch. The timeless and classy designs convey the message of a sophisticated and mature person who will be treated with respect and taken seriously as an adult. As much as I love my Olivia Burton (too girly for work for me) and my MK watch I feel the MK is too much into-your-face, can cause envy at the workplace and unless you’re a businesswoman in Canary Wharf are not suitable for the office.

- Simply pointed shoes. It doesn’t have to be heels; a pair of neat, quality leather flats with sophisticated details can work, too. Personally, I prefer a comfy and stylish pair of flats instead of heels in which I can’t walk anyway. I would also advise you to not invest into £10 Primark shoes. First, one can tell they are Primark as they look tacky and cheap (which make your colleagues think you don’t respect the dress code and questions your work ethics) and secondly, Primark shoes fall to pieces very quickly. Shoes are the manicured nails of an outfit, so to me, they have to be spotless and flawless and I rather invest a few £ more to achieve that look. 

- Dainty jewellery. Jewellery that works in the background for you has a greater impact than any loud and dominant statement piece. Keep those for the weekend. Please find more tips on how to wear dainty and statement jewellery in my dainty or statement jewellery accessory post.

-  A timeless bag. Though I love a wardrobe on a budget I feel you should invest in pieces with a high level of longevity (watch and bag are the ones for me). Most women tend to invest into a designer bag which is something to consider when your salary allows it. It is not a competition and you don’t have to turn up at work with a Mulberry, Givenchy or LV. Michael Kors, Prada and Kate Spade, as well as DKNY, have affordable collections. Fiorelli and Longchamp are worth a look, too. There are great deals at Bicester Village if you’re after a handbag, so is ASOS. Can you believe I picked up the Mischa Barton bag in outfit 3 for £40?

- If you prefer an office look without wearing a dress, I've got a skirt and smart shirt combination in my Smart Casual with Gant outfit post. 

Yeah, you’ve made it through the entire post. Thank you so much for reading and I hope I could give you some insights into my smart work fashion. Does your workplace have a specific dress code? Do you have a ‘casual Friday’ where people can dress how they want? Where do you shop workwear? Do you love workwear or can't you wait to get back into your casual joggers once your back home? Let me know which outfit is your fav. 

Till next time, 
*PR sample

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