Dressing for work throws up a HEAP of complexities for many women.
You want to look cool but professional. You want to be ‘office appropriate’, whatever that means, but you don’t want to look so bland you lose your sense of style and identity and end up looking like Margaret Thatcher’s more conservative and ‘less fun’ elderly Aunty…
Which brings me to the title; I have had to deliver this phrase and the presentation that accompanies it in a number of workplaces. It gets a laugh, and APPLIES TO BOTH SEXES, and is true.
If I’m looking at your boobs or your hairy chest (I have both clearly, well I don’t have the boobs), then I am not thinking about the quality or gravitas of what you are saying; I’m thinking please can you put your man chest/tit’s away I don’t want to see them at work.
Sorry if you don’t agree with this on a feminist “I want to wear my see through blouse in the office level”, but its just not professional.
This does not mean you need to dress to conform to an office ‘stereotype’. You will want to and SHOULD dress for you without feeling the need to spend a ton of money on something you would ‘only wear to work’.
If I have heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times… “It’s ok for work”. Well that may be, but consider another option. One wardrobe with clothes that you love and wear all the time, whether to work or on weekends. I think it’s entirely possible. I have done it, I have lived it and I have loved it.
If you remove the misconception that there should be a ‘work wardrobe’ and a casual wardrobe, it opens up new possibilities to the individual pieces you invest in. Unless your work requires full on uniform with safety clothes then there is no reason you couldn’t invest in the ONE amazing blazer for example that you were as delightedto wear to an important business meeting, as you are to throw on over a dress for a black tie or over a t-shirt for lunch with friends….
By ‘one amazing blazer’ – I don’t mean EXPENSIVEI mean one you LOVEabove all else, which makes everything else in your wardrobe pale into comparison and that you LOVEto wear. Investment pieces don’t have to be expensive, but they do have to be AWESOMEto you.
The setting in which you work has a huge impact on how you dress. I recently got a text from a client who had started a new corporate communications job; “what do you wear to work when your colleagues look like a team of professional hound hunters…?”. Hmmm…
I believe you can get by on 10 items, which you might consider your ‘work capsule wardrobe’ but that would ALL function equally in other aspects of your life and I can demo as we go.
None of these items are white trainers – while I agree these look shit hot with a suit and a white t-shirt, for many people who work in corporate settings, trainers are for walking to work not wearing while at it. So lets concentrate on the more formal office environment.
I have selected 10 items from H&M, all current available stock and all coordinating with each other and all totally usable with a white trainer or rock t-shirt for a more fun night out. Or as show in the 10 x 10 outfit suggestions, yes folks that's 10 items, 10 outfits - you could literally go on a work trip with only these 10 things for 10 days, or even 5 days... you decide!
As you can see I have stuck to a co-ordinating colour palette and all items, yes all can be used together to create 'office appropriate' outfits and also could be worn at the weekend. You might prefer navy, paired with white and I could well do a go at creating the same 10 x 10 with a navy base palette.
I stuck to H&M because of the great choice of the premium quality and cheaper items, and theoretically it you are sitting reading this you could be adding it all to one basket right now. This total basket is £531.90 for the 10 items that I have selected. An average of £53.19 per item (yes folks I am that clever, I did that in my head you know) but you can chose some of the cheaper items below which I have also linked, the cheapest basket of 10 items from below comes to a staggering £176.91. I couldn't feed my kids for a week for that but I could create a 10 day workwear capsule! Outstanding H&M!!!!
I have illustrated how I would wear them over 10 days below and linked everything below the image with alternative items. Some of the items I have selected are the cheapest and some are premium. In each section the first item is the one selected.
1. Black Trousers - £69.99
2. Black Long Line Blazer £34.99 (go for a longer line, its more trendy than the short single buttons and a special mention to this H&M check, lovely!).
3. Midi Dress £24.99 (special mention to the black pencil, last link, its outstanding).
4. White t-shirt £6.99 (I've linked one, its £6.99, you don't need a cheaper alternative!).
5. Print blouse £79.99
6. Printed Midi skirt - £79.99 (special mention to the a-line leather, that is totally work appropriate).
7. Fine Knit Cashmere (Camel) £79.99
8. Crew Neck black £79.99
9. Black Knee High Boots £49.99
10.Snake, leopard or fancy kitten heel courts £24.99