Office wear – how smart/ casual can you go?

Good morning from a chilly day in London,

For this weeks entry I wanted to clear up the confusion surrounding the smart/ casual dress code in the workplace and also my staple pieces that I like to wear to the office.

In my industry Monday to Thursday we are instructed to wear smart dress. As I have quite a boyish, athletic figure I tend to steer towards fitted shift dresses with heels or tailored skinny trousers with buttoned up shirts and ankle boots at this time of year. One of my favourite dresses you can see me wearing below I find perfect for work as it is knee length, has an elegant neck line revealing the collarbone area which i think is very attractive on women and also I love wearing colourful patterns or block colours so this dress makes me smile whenever I wear it.

Office Wear

On cold days which are fairly frequent this time of year, I tend to wear fitted trousers, a shirt and blazer for work usually which looks formal but also i can make it my own by wearing statement jewellery or a nice belt. I have found that the best fit for trousers for me are from Pull and Bear. Recently when i was in Spain over New Year, I found a black pair that fit me like a glove, so perfect in fact that I preceded to buy five pairs in various materials and colours! I absolutely adore the tailored shirts from Uniqlo which again fit my wide swimmers shoulders perfectly and come in some wonderful pastel shades as spring is approaching. Even though I usually button my shirts up to the top, if you are worried about looking a tad masculine, a statement necklace over the top softens the look. In terms of blazers/ jackets I covet the styles emerging from Gap, Massimo Dutti or Zara which are all padded shoulders with nipped in waists reminding me of the power dressing, androgynous 80s era.

Blazer beautiful

I am extremely lucky on a Friday to be able to wear smart/ casual attire although surprisingly this causes me some distress. I find it harder to pick an outfit for Friday then I do the rest of the week as I am faced with the conundrum of how casual is “too” casual! I have my work week wardrobe which usually I can just fish something out with ease but Fridays is a bit trickier. Over the years I tend to stick to the adage of when in an office, it is best to be a bit too smart then too casual therefore ruling out football or rugby shirts and scruffy paint splattered jeans which you usually wear when decorating at the weekend! You really cannot go wrong wearing dark, well fitting jeans – my current favourites are the Levi skinny fit which are the perfect length for tucking in ankle boots and the dark denim imitates the look of trousers. I pair my jeans with one of my abundant selection of jumpers – I love the cable knit and cricket styles frequented in the Ralph Lauren and Jonathan Saunders catwalk shows. One of my fears when I first started wearing oversized jumpers was looking too “top heavy” but I counteract this by wearing a fitted leather jacket or cropped bomber. In my view it doesn’t get cuter then a flash of beautiful knit or cashmere from jacket cuffs merging wonderfully with a gorgeous pair of leather gloves.

I would say the final point with office dressing is learning the art of mix and matching. As much as we all would love to have an infinite wardrobe with a different outfit to wear every day this is not feasible for most of us. I find that investing in classic pieces like a well fitting jacket, pair of trousers or that ever faithful little black shift dress you can wear a different shirt or pair of shoes and it looks like a completely new ensemble. Whoops – I think i have just revealed my secret to my colleagues reading this – I wear something different every day i promise 🙂

Until next week, take care

Keya x

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