The new rules of workwear as we transition back to the office

Workwear, Work wardrobeThere’s a new approach to workwear. In comes a softer look focusing on comfort and colour, and sustainability.

As we restart the commute and head back to the office, it’s time to think about which key pieces you can add to your existing wardrobe that can take you from home working to being in the office. Invest in a combination of smart and comfortable staples that feel effortless and easy to wear, and will last for years to come.

Elevate the basics

Sustainability has been growing in both the fashion industry and consumers minds for some time now and the pandemic has accelerated this.  Right now it’s about buying in a more considered way.  Put simply, we need to buy less and buy better.  We don’t know what each working week will look like so we don’t need a rail of new season pieces.  We just need some well thought out additions to help us transition from work from home style to back to the office wear.  It’s about finding a few pieces that will gear us up for returning to work and breathe some life into what we currently having hanging in our wardrobes. Pieces with great cut, fit and fabric are essential because we want to wear garments that are flattering and comfortable all day.  So opt for great basics – tailored trousers, timeless jackets and silk tops – and you won’t go far wrong.

Easy everyday tailoring

Tailoring is back but in a much more feminine way. Out are power suits that are based on a men’s suits and in its place are softly tailored pieces, which give the wearer presence but in an authentic way.

Tailored trousers are a must-have addition to your work wear capsule wardrobe. Transitioning out of loungewear must feel daunting but a perfectly fitting pair of tailored trousers will be just as comfortable and smart. Whether you wear them with a T-shirt in a casual workplace, or you team them with a blouse and heels for a more formal environment morning dressing will be easy to get right.

A perfectly fitting blazer is the perfect way to elevate any outfit. Pop it on over the jeans and T-shirt you have been wearing at home and it will look as though you’re ready for any meeting. If you have a client meeting where first impressions really matter then a jacket teamed with tailored trousers will show you mean business.

Statement fabrics

For a Zoom-call or a face-to-face meeting, a luxurious fabric is an easy way to add interest and elevate your look.  Natural fabrics will feel better, look better and last longer than synthetics – and are better for the planet. Superfine wools, silks, boucles, tweeds, viscose and cottons are just some of the fabrics you should consider.  Right now, we love some of the bold colourways of boucle and tweed.  A classic ‘Chanel-style’ staple but modernised in a bold and bright colour.  Or nothing says luxury better than velvet – a fabric that works just as well for workwear as it does for weekend style.  Rich plums, deep blues and soft greens can actually make velvet more daywear friendly.

Flexible styles

Maybe you’re in the office for two weeks out of the month and on other days it’s back to working from home.  Wherever you are, its business as usual but with flexible working comes a more flexible approach to office wear.

You want styles that easily move between the formality of the office but that work equally at home.  Get the basics right and find pieces that flatter, make you feel put together each day and that are most of all comfortable.

The wide leg trouser is having a moment right now and with good reason. The fluidity of a wide-legged palazzo pant means that this softly tailored trouser is breezy and easy to wear.  Wear with a trainer or a ballet flat for added comfort but know that this is a style you can dress up for evening wear.  Again, fabric is key as you want them to drape and flatter.  We love this trouser in a fine wool or even velvet.

Colourful pieces for video calls

Since lockdown people have started thinking about how colour affects their mood as well as their appearance.   For the desk worker, it’s always been about your upper half and this is especially the case now that we’re all spending so much time on screen.  Colour looks far better on screen (just look a TV presenters and news readers, they very rarely wear black) and if you wear a shade that suits your skin tone; you’ll look better too!

Opt for a silk blouse in a fabulous jewel-shade.  Silk is a great option as it’s more flattering and feminine, it doesn’t crease and it will sit well under a blazer or jacket.  If you do dial up the colour, keep the silhouette classic so that you’re adding just the right amount of drama.

The key watchword above all else is comfort.  Aim for wear-forever classics with an easy to wear attitude.  Stick to quality fabrics, great colours, interesting textures and key pieces to suit your shape and you’ll look the business.

Jill WhiteAbout the author

Jill White is the founder of Distinctively Me.  A successful business women in the financial world, Jill left the corporate world and started to plan her next move.  It was whilst looking, and failing, to find the perfect pair of trousers that the idea for a made to measure clothing business came to her.

Jill is passionate about helping women build a smart, elegant capsule collection of pieces that make life easier and effortless when it comes to workwear. The Distinctively Me service goes way beyond having the perfect suit made to measure, it’s about giving the professional women the confidence to look great whilst feeling totally comfortable throughout the day and into the evening.

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