Looking for a smart back-to-work wardrobe? We’ve rounded up the best trousers, blazers, women’s suits, smart shirts, jackets and blouses for modern office power dressing.
It’s not unusual to buy an outfit specifically for a particular setting, or for a certain date in your diary.
We can often spend weeks choosing the right dress for a big night out, and months mulling over what to wear to our best friend’s wedding. Then there’s the question of how to dress at a job interview. January is already a tough month, (Christmas is nothing but a distant memory at this point and the sales are calling to us) without piling on the added pressures of interview attire. Generally speaking, interview outfits should be tailored to the type of company you’re applying to – but it’s always best to go smarter than you’d usually dress.
Once you’ve secured said job, it’s important to continue to dress in a way that makes you feel professional, comfortable and self-assured. Leaving the house in a confidence-boosting outfit can make you feel capable of taking on the world – and confidence is an all-important element in getting that promotion you’ve been aiming for.
So with that in mind, here are three simple power dressing tricks to help you put your best foot forward for 2020.
1. The power suit
If you work in an office and want to wear a suit, long gone are the days where you had to stick to a simple black or grey option. This season, suits are all about making a statement. We’re talking cord textures, checked and animal prints and powerful punchy hues.
The best part is that you can wear the trousers and blazer as separates to enhance other outfits too – the perfect capsule wardrobe additions. You’ll end up getting so much wear out of your new suit that it’ll stretch far beyond strictly workwear.
The best part about this rich berry-coloured suit is that it’ll work across all seasons. Layer over a white T-shirt and push up the sleeves for an effortless edge.
Struggle to find a suit that fits without having to get it tailored? Topshop has created this same style in mainline, tall and petite so the leg lengths will suit all heights.
Update your everyday workwear with an Acne Studios striped suit and you’ll never look back. Try teaming with trainers and a roll neck if you’ve got a laid back office.
These are the trousers you can wear for work with the matching blazer, to brunch with a cosy knit and for after-dark with a racer vest. Perfect.
2. The silky slip skirt
The usual workwear attire of the pencil skirt has been swapped for a floaty, silky slip instead. Last year it was all about that Topshop slip skirt that kept selling out and getting restocked in multiple prints and colours. Now, Zara has updated the slip with pleats and Vince has gone for spring-ready soft hues.
The power of the slip is clear, and it’ll go with anything from blazers and fine knits to the crisp white shirt. There’s something luxurious about putting on silky fabrics that makes us feel instantly happy, and it’s bound to put a spring in your step when you’re ready for that promotion chat.
This pleated midi in a universally flattering mink colour will go with literally anything in your wardrobe. From printed blouses to high neck tops and printed T-shirts, you’ll be able to style it for Monday-Friday.
The go-to for satin skirts for the past few years, Californian label Vince is the one to rely on for understated classics.
You’ll be able to make this blush midi for round the clock by switching your accessories.
3. The roll neck
We would like to introduce you to the hardest working fashion piece you probably already own: the roll neck – or turtle if you’re feeling retro.
Not only is it an extra layer that everyone needs come the chillier months, it also adds that certain je ne suis quoi to any look. Add it under a jumpsuit or cardigan, or team underneath a dress or blazer. Audrey Hepburn was a firm fan of the high neck top, and it’s the perfect level of smart casual we’ve been looking for.
For simple, long-lasting wardrobe classics look no further than Cos. Its knitwear selection will never date and you’ll be able to layer it according to seasons/the air con in your office.
To add a splash of fun to your 9-5 looks, layer a printed roll neck top underneath shirts, cardigans and suits for a fresh new 2020 look.
4. The belted shirt dress
We all know that a shirt is a simple step to looking smart. But as it gets colder, lengths get longer – so this season, it’s all about the shirt dress. Whether you go printed, bright or neutral, just make sure it’s belted. There’s something about belting up that makes your wardrobe look instantly more professional.
Layer a midi style shirt dress over sleek knee-high boots, or opt for a mini and wear over tailored trousers. Trust us, it works.
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You don’t have to shy away from animal prints in the workplace – in fact, you should wear them loud and proud.
Wear a cream roll neck jumper underneath this shirt dress with chic knee-high boots to keep it work appropriate.
Working a bit of leather (real or faux) into your office looks is easier than ever. Spotted all over the designer and high street collections, it’s not just about boots and bags anymore – the dress is a sure-fire win.
5. The faux leather blazer
How to make an outfit immediately look lavish? Throw on a structured faux leather blazer. If you’re a fan of more minimalist dressing, a sleek black blazer will quickly elevate your daily uniform, especially when coupled with square-toe boots and as aforementioned, a roll neck top. Extra points if you weave in a statement bag and dainty gold jewellery.
Faux leather blazers are the new leather shirts. The catwalk solidified the return of suiting and tailoring, so in order to adhere to the trend we’d suggest teaming a boxy jacket with the aforementioned roll neck and smart trousers. Come spring, we’ll be pairing them with a 90s-style satin slip dress or skirt.
Baum Und Pferdgarten
Add a tinge of colour to you’re wardrobe without making an OTT statement. Maroon has a long-stemming history of adding just the right amount of edge to an outfit. Despite the fact we’re pretty much getting dressed in the dark each morning (spring, when will you arrive?!), this autumn appropriate blazer will add some much needed oomph to your wardrobe in the midst of drab weather. The sartorial possibilities are, well, endless.
6. The Waistcoat
Waistcoats mean big business this season. We’re gearing up for the impending return of short suits by slotting any and all smart suiting into the mix. Buttoned up or left open, the waistcoat is here to wake your workwear up from its slumber.
Just you try keeping us away from this beauty of a waistcoat – courtesy of Victoria Beckham, obvs. We can always count on VB to deliver seamless tailoring that will transcend seasons. If the sharp cut wasn’t enough to lure you in, the front panel pockets and invisible buttons will surely do the job.
Surely, this is what dreams are made of? Hitting us strong with this buttery soft waistcoat, Gucci is giving us major sartorial inspiration for days. Our suggestion? Layer over a white billowy shirt complete with beige trousers and thank us later.
Opening image: Getty
Images: courtesy of brands