Cast your mind back to around two years ago. It’s a dull midweek morning and you’re standing in front of your wardrobe thinking… what shall I wear to the office today?
Various workplaces have different dress codes. If you worked in an environment where jeans n’ tees were the outfit of choice, then lucky you!
Others did not fare so well – suits and blazers or tailored dresses were workwear staples.
And then, the pandemic.
And suddenly, those suits and blazers and dresses were hanging in the cupboard and you felt the liberty of wearing pyjama bottoms under your desk.
At first it was amazing! Freedom! Sweet release!
But then… another feeling crept in. And you started to realise, you missed dressing up for work. It made you feel pulled together, capable, productive.
With lockdown ending on July 19, many companies are preparing for employees to go back to the office.
Whilst there may be more flexibility to the working week, and hopefully genuine attempts by employers to protect workers’ wellbeing, we’re still left wondering…what’s the future of workwear?
Do we just… go back to the same old suits and blazers like nothing has changed?
The only problem with that, of course, is that, well everything has changed.
Whilst we now realise the joy in dressing up, our old stuffy corporate attire seems outdated. It’s going to be weird going back to old ways after the CEO accidentally wore his dressing gown on Teams that time, or you spotted Brian from accounts picking his nose in a Zoom meeting.
Dressing up makes you feel good, which increases your presence at work. But your old clothes don’t speak to the person you are today. Of course you’ve changed! You’ve lived through a global crisis.
And hopefully you have a new-found appreciation for life and the joy of dressing.
But if you’re struggling to dress for the office, here are my top 5 tips:
Create a moodboard
Yes. Think of this chance as a refresh. Who do you want to be when you step back into that office? What do you want to convey? Creating a moodboard of looks you like will not only give you inspiration, it will give you some direction when creating your looks.
Mix up your colours
One of the easiest ways to get a fresh look without spending a penny? Dare to wear your colours! I see inside a lot of women’s wardrobes. And lots of them have beautiful items in a rainbow of colours… which they never wear. They opt for black because they lack the confidence to go bright.
If you aren’t sure how to wear colours together, try going for those opposite each other on the colour wheel. Green and pink work well together, for example, because they’re opposites.
If the thought of colour with colour is a bit too much right now, try it with cream (if you’re a warm) and crisp white (if you’re cool toned). It will make the colour appear sharper and brighter than black would.
Update your accessories
Bags! Remember those! Alongside shoes, they are surely the most neglected items in our wardrobes nowadays. So I say – bring out the bags!
If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive way to update your work wardrobe with the best return on investment, a bag is the way to go. Add a pop of colour to your otherwise muted office attire, or try a pattern. Try one with a cross-strap design for hands-free commuting comfort (gah, remember the commute?!)
Who cares that the inside is full of your old receipts, pen lids and fluffy lipsticks when the outside looks so fantastic?!
Ease back in with smart-casual
The smart-casual options available on the high street have elevated over the last couple of years. And no, I’m not talking wearing your yoga leggings for a business lunch!
However – you could pick a pyjama-style co-ord or suit in a satiny or velvet material.
And why not try pairing wide-leg trousers with trainers, a shirt and blazer?
Plan in advance
Some people are planners, some people are mood dressers. I am very much a mood dresser, but planning has been a game-changer for me. It helps me use more of my wardrobe. If you’ve got room, get a portable rail and on a Sunday, take a bit of time to get the items you’ll need for the week out and place them on the rail. VOILA! You’ll be looking super stylish in a snap. Of course you can’t roll out of bed 5 minutes before your meeting like you could when everything was online, but it should save you some time at least.