Hands up if you always plan your workwear wardrobe on a Sunday night for the week ahead… Hands up if you set aside your outfit the night before… If you’re anything like me, you’re already running seven minutes late, so you grab pieces from your bedroom chair and throw them together hoping to look somewhat presentable.
In an attempt to make mornings less manic (read: to ensure you don’t turn up at the office looking like you were dressed by a 4-year-old), I decided to do some research. With the help of some seriously smart, stylish women, I think I’ve cracked the work capsule wardrobe code—and on a budget, too.
Style notes: If external meetings are a big part of your job, you need to make the right impression from the initial meet, which will likely be while you’re still sporting your coat. Worn over everything from pencil skirts to suit trousers, a checked style will make anything glossy.
This coat looks like it could be designer. We predict a sellout.
The classic camel coat gets a directional twist with this chic grid motif.
Style notes: Picture this—you have coffee in one hand, your laptop in another and your phone’s just started to ring. Think how thankful you’ll be in that moment when you don’t have a top-handle bag to contend with too. Look for leather styles for a more formal take on arm candy.
Burgundy makes a sleek alternative to black arm candy, but it’s still glossy enough for the office.
Use your bag to inject subtle colour into a monochromatic look.
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Style notes: Every work wardrobe should feature at least one blazer, and our pick is double-breasted. Formal but stylish, it’ll elevate all your office attire to chic new heights. Keep one sling over your desk chair for last-minute meetings with your boss.
Throw this blazer over a silk blouse and checked trousers, and you’re 9-to-5 ready.
Try a pastel hue for a playful take on the work-appropriate blazer.
FLORAL WRAP DRESS
Style notes: Chances are you’ve lived in wrap dresses for the majority of the summer. Now, in place of linen and cotton, a new wave of weightier wrap frocks have arrived—meaning you can take your obsession into autumn too. Simply throw on and dash for the bus.
This dress will look just as chic with opaques and ankle boots when the big freeze hits.
Layer this dress with a roll-neck underneath for extra style points.
WIDE LEG CORDS
Style notes: Don’t be fooled—cords might be your new downtime go-to, but they can still look the workwear part if you choose them well. Look for concealed fastenings (exposed silver buttons akin to those found on jeans are too casual for the office) as well as a high-waist fit. Tuck in a blouse, and finish with block heels.
Probably the best £25 you’ll spend this season, or any season for that matter.
This cropped pair will look elegant with heeled loafers.
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Style notes: Skirts don’t come much more elegant than the pleated midi, and right now we’re buying into colour-blocked incarnations. Match a shirt or jumper to one of the skirt’s hues for a flawless ensemble.
This will look just as elegant with heels and a camisole after dark.
Ideal for petite frames, the clever block panelling on this skirt will help elongate and flatter the body.
BELTED WHITE SHIRT
Style notes: Okay, so you probably already have a white shirt (or five) in your wardrobe arsenal, but the tie-waist variation provides the perfect excuse to invest in another. Adding definition to your fame, wear untucked over your favourite checked trousers or A-line skirt.
Look for collarless shirt styles for a modern approach to the wardrobe staple.
Pretty pearl buttons help make everyday staples look special.
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Style notes: If your jobs calls for you to be on your feet for a lot of the day, pointed flats will fast become your fashion BFF. The pointed toe makes them glossy enough to wear for high-profile meetings and business lunches alike, but the flat sole makes them easy to walk in. On-trend shoes minus the risk of blisters? We’re all in.
Inject your workwear wardrobe with a print hit, courtesy of these gorgeous shoes.
It may surprise you, but the blue hue of these velvet flats will go with every colour you pair it with.