I was recently asked by blogger A Girl I Know if I would consider doing a post on what to wear to the office, and although my work dress code is very slack (i.e. I can wear jeans), I decided to rise to AGIK’s challenge.
I hope it might give those of you who need an office wardrobe some inspiration on how to build one up with existing items or the addition of just a few accessories!
My approach was to imagine that I had a new [office] job where there was a more traditional dress code, but with allowance for at least a little creativity. I wanted to prove that I could create a working wardrobe out of what I already owned, rather than buying everything new.
I’ve chosen and photographed 16 items from my own wardrobe: 4 tops, 4 bottoms, 4 pairs of shoes and 4 accessories, and arranged them in a grid:
By arranging them this way, I can make up at least 10 outfits I could wear to work: select a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally and you have the basics for a “complete” outfit.
You can probably can see that by mixing across different rows there’s actually a lot more than 10 outfits here. With the odd addition of a few more accessories (belts, necklaces and scarves are the main ones that can transform your basic look), you’ll have a huge variety of outfits to wear.
Want to see them on…?
Left: With the addition of an extra belt, this outfit is given balance with the strong black belt coordinating with the black shoes.
Right: A metallic scarf adds some sparkle to a monochrome look.
Left: If you have a good quality but slightly outdated pair of trousers from a trouser suit (as my ten-year old pair are), try turning up the hem to make them more on trend.
Right: Jersey blouse/shirts (blirts?!) are an affordable, easy care alternative to cotton shirts – I have about four in my wardrobe in different colours because I detest ironing.
Left: A patterned midi skirt provides both colour and enough modesty for an office environment.
Right: I’ve broken the “never wear brown shoes with black trousers” rule by wearing a pair that coordinate with both the black trousers and the colours of the rest of my outfit.
Left: If you’re brave enough, I don’t see why pattern mixing can’t be worn to the office. It’s a good idea to pair up patterns with similar colours to ensure the outfit looks pulled together rather than thrown together.
Right: Two bold colours making up the main part of the outfit will look less garish if paired with neutral accessories.
Left: A black and white blouse with neutral suit trousers is always a smart combination, and red shoes add colour.
Right: Another style of black and white blouse, this time with bold colours on the bottom half.
So the possibilities with this set of 16 items are endless – as I said, using the grid gives you ten outfits, but there are many more with these items alone!
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So that’s my work wardrobe concept; I hope it’s given a little help and inspiration to those of you who struggle to work out what to wear to the office!
I’m now wondering whether this concept could be applied to other occasions that people need to dress for on a regular basis. For example: date nights, shopping with friends, walking the dog…?!! If this is something you’d like to see in another post, please make your suggestions in the comments – I’ll see what I can do!