Workwear is usually considered a practical and essential “grown-up” purchase (just like mattresses, kitchen knives and insurance). Granted, there are a million other things you’d rather spend your hard-earned money on, but like the aforementioned mattress, you spend a lot of time in the clothes designed to see you through the workweek.
That said, it’s easy to want to scrimp on daily essentials. However, a brilliantly cut pair of trousers or a tailored jacket have the power to boost your mood and in turn, your performance at work. Acquire a few key staples from the experts, take good care of them and you won’t have to replace a threadbare blazer after just a few months (which will save you more time, energy and, hopefully, money).
We’re lucky that in 2018 there are so many homegrown brands with a passion to create appealing pieces for working women. Consider this your handy guide to where to call if you need a new shirt, suit or bag. Scroll through the gallery below for the no-nonsense workwear directory.
Find a pair of trousers that you love (and that love you back), and dressing becomes a pleasure. Samantha Cameron describes her label, Cefinn, as one that offers a “hard-working urban uniform.” Whether you’re a wide-leg follower or a tapered-leg believer, Cefinn’s trousers are meticulously pored over from design to production to ensure the happiest of legs.
This high-street brand has been delivering the most reliable outerwear for as long as we can remember. Whether you’re after a versatile trench, a punchy-hued overcoat or something with a little extra design detail, Hobbs will have your back.
Another British high-street label you could pluck your entire work wardrobe from is Karen Millen. We love its super-practical, supremely covetable bags, which have been designed with the office in mind. The brand’s bags feature discreet logos, oodles of pockets and quality leather—nailing all our requirements.
Founder Libby Hart worked in investment banking before setting up her label from scratch, so dressing for a professional setting is something she knows firsthand. Hart excels in creating versatile dresses, but her skirts and coordinating tops are Monday-to-Friday saviours. The sets are understated enough to be mixed and matched with everything else in your work wardrobe (blouses, trousers—you name it), and every piece is beautifully assembled in London.
This London label operates with a conscience—one that is mindful of sustainability, diversity and equal pay. Its designs are engineered to last years (not seasons), so its suits are a savvy investment. You’ll be hard-pressed to pick just one jacket style (choose from tuxedo, drape, single-breasted, cropped, collarless or tailored), but whichever you chose, you won’t regret it.
Everyone needs an arsenal of chic but hardworking tops—the sort of pieces that exude a quiet elegance. Enter Reiss, the British success story that has a mighty offering of professional tops. From satin button-down blouses to silky V-neck wrap tops, there’s something for everyone.
Mid-heel courts in dark pink, suede kitten heels in mint-leaf green, jacquard slingbacks… The choices at L.K.Bennett are dazzling. And like designer brands that cost three times as much, they nearly always offer half sizes. So regardless of what shoes you choose, you can be confident that this label will have you looking arrestingly chic.
If the Duchess of Cambridge deems The Fold’s frocks to be worthy enough to wear for a public appearance, then they’re good enough for us. The Fold’s dresses are loved by the city set for the brand’s premium fabrics and smart cuts. This piece is a savvy investment you can easily take from the office to dinner.
Opening Image: @handinfire