23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces (Ideal for a Creative Office or Relaxed Dress Code)

23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Are you struggling to put together a workwear wardrobe? How about creating 23 office chic work outfits with only nine key pieces?

As someone who used to work in an office many years ago, I know all too well how difficult it can be to dress for the office. Many places of work have a much more relaxed dress code these days, so unless you’re in a strictly corporate environment there’s less call to wear a skirt/trouser suit. Four years ago I wrote a post that addressed what to wear to the office for a corporate dress code and it’s always remained one of my most popular posts. I thought it was long overdue to write the same type of post that covered a more relaxed dress code – and one that could also give you ideas if you work in a creative office as well.

I’ve started with exactly the same format as last time and picked nine key pieces. I thought I’d skip skirts altogether and just choose trousers as I know when I was in an office I always felt smarter but also a little more restricted when in a skirt or dress… trousers are just generally more comfortable, I guess. So that’s three tops (shirts), three toppers (blazers/coatigans) and three bottoms (trousers). The nine pieces can all be worn in any combination of topper/top/bottoms; if you look at the “grid” picture above you can see that they work across, down and a combination of both.

What colours to choose

Colour palette: if you’re buying a work wardrobe from scratch I’d recommend choosing a cohesive colour palette. I steered away from black and chose navy and camel as the dark neutral colours. Navy is softer and more forgiving than black (especially to older or pale skin) and has a warmer feel to it, as has camel of course. The bolder colours I chose were yellow and burgundy with a splash of white for good measure.

However, YOU can choose the colours that make your heart sing. Choosing just nine pieces means an almost endless number of combinations – even more so once accessories (shoes, bags, jewellery, scarves, etc.) are added. Accessories have the power to transform a basic look, so don’t underestimate how much you can change the feel of an outfit… it can go from “suitable for a meeting” to “dress down Friday” when heels are swapped for trainers and sleeves are rolled up (stylishly of course!), for example.

Now I’ve said there are 23 combinations here… please don’t quote me on that, or pull me up on my maths(!). I started to work out what the SPECIFIC total number of combination was and to be honest it made my brain hurt. (It might be 27? I’m so confused as to how to work it out.) I stuck with the same number as I quoted in the last post which turned out to be very popular – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, as they say!

This time around I’ve put together some outfit combinations for you so you can see how the pieces can be styled to create some very different looks, adding in those accessories I mentioned.

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And finally: I went with just one retailer – Marks & Spencer – because they do a great range of office-suitable separates, fashion pieces and accessories, all at very affordable prices and very good quality. Not a sponsored post, I’m just a fan.




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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission at no cost to you (click here for my full disclosure).

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23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office: Smart - Not Boring - Navy Suit | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

1. A smart – not boring – navy suit

Navy blazer | Yellow/white shirt | Navy trousers | Belt | Bag | Heels

Let’s start with the suit separates: the navy blazer and coordinating trousers. Although “a navy suit” sounds pretty dull, this one has beautiful burgundy piping and lining to tie it in with the the other burgundy pieces. Rather than pairing the suit with just white (and =yawn= black shoes), add punches of colour in abundance. The burgundy heels and belt pick out the detailing in the suit, and that gorgeous yellow print of the blouse will stop any boring-ness (my word) creeping into this outfit. Smart enough for meetings, edgy enough for a creative environment.


23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office: Neutrals for Every Day | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

2. Classic neutrals for every day

Navy blazer | White shirt | Camel trousers | Earrings | Bag | Shoes

Navy, camel and white is a classic combination you simply can’t go wrong with. The soft tan colour of the bag is a piece that goes with countless outfits, as are the shoes and the soft, collarless white shirt. It’s a preppy combination that has flair.



23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

3. Bold and creative

Yellow blazer | Yellow/white shirt | Navy trousers | Bracelet | Necklace | Bag | Shoes

Take the navy trousers and pair it with the yellow patterned shirt. Add more yellow in the form of mustard loafers AND sunshine yellow blazer, and you’ve got yourself the brightest of chic, smart, office-ready looks. The yellow gets ‘toned down’ by the classic crossbody bag (in navy) and the bold, ethnic-inspired jewellery. The ultimate look for a creative environment – made partly from a [corporate] navy trouser suit.



23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

4. Winter warm for the commute

Navy coatigan | Burgundy shirt | Burgundy trousers | Snood | Bag | Boots

If you have to wrap up warm for your commute in the colder seasons, or if you have to work in a cold office (like I used to), a coatigan is your friend. Warmer than a blazer, it’ll cover you up (providing warmth to your bum and legs!) but won’t look as sloppy as a cardigan. The burgundy (print) blouse with burgundy trousers will, being one colour, elongate the body. Wearing smart ankle boots means you can wear two pairs of socks and, for extra warmth, layer a roll neck under the blouse. Merino wool is good because it’s thin but warm – this merino roll neck comes in blue, black, red and grey marl and does wonders for keeping you warm at your desk in winter.

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23 Workwear Outfits From 9 Key Pieces Perfect for a Creative Office: Dress down Friday | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

5. Dress down Friday

Yellow blazer | White shirt | Camel trousers | Earrings | Bag | Sneakers

Finally: what would a post about office workwear be without a Dress Down Friday outfit? Swapping heels or loafers for box-fresh trainers keep it casual without looking scruffy. The crossbody bag is less formal-looking than a tote. The earrings add just enough sparkle to prevent it looking too boyish,  and all the yellow items are this wardrobe’s “fun” pieces, so a big splash of sunshine from the blazer is a prerequisite.


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I hope you liked how many different types of looks you can create from just a few key pieces – what are your thoughts? Can it be done with just nine key pieces…?


  1. Mia
    28 October 2020 / 2:27 pm

    Love this.

    I have also just read your ‘influencer look’ blog, and tbh I couldn’t agree more.

    As somebody who is within that age bracket who doesn’t look this way, I can say it’s almost shoved down your throat that you should look this way – if your forehead moves and your lips aren’t pumped up then you’re not traditionally attractive.

    ANYWAY! On to a lighter note, I looooove all of these and love a bold blouse for work. Recently purchased a few from Saint Genies that are also bodysuits – so no slipping out your trousers!!xxx

    • Catherine
      28 October 2020 / 10:25 pm

      Thanks Mia… I find the whole influencer look just WEIRD. I see so many girls who are naturally gorgeous make themselves look strange – I mean, I’m all for #iwillwearwhatilike and yes, that includes things like surgery or enhancements if it makes you happy – but so many do it just to look the same as everyone else?! It makes no sense to me: who wants to look like everyone else rather than like yourself/an individual?!!!!

      • 2 November 2020 / 3:26 pm

        I agree 100%!

        Thanks for getting back to me, forgot to leave the link earlier.


        • Catherine
          4 November 2020 / 6:35 pm

          Your name is already linked to it Mia! I always remove double links to save me admin down the line x 🙂

  2. Mary Katherine
    5 November 2018 / 1:35 pm

    What a great post, Catherine! And BTW, I love the new look of everything. Your new re-energization (new word there) is coming through in every detail – I’m very happy for you. Thanks for keeping me inspired over here in the US.

    • catherine
      5 November 2018 / 1:45 pm

      Oh Mary I’m so glad you love the new colours and rebrand – as do I!! Thank you xx

  3. 5 November 2018 / 10:36 am

    This is such a great idea, Catherine and gosh, I love your choices. That white blouse with the mustard print is gorgeous, as is the navy and burgundy one. I’d wear ALL of this! A good modern navy suit is so chic and such a perfect foil for brighter statement shirting like you chose. I also think those camel cord trousers would get a LOT of wear in anyone’s wardrobe. I always think capsule wardrobes are boring, but this one is anything but! Thanks for the inspo, lady. xx

    • catherine
      5 November 2018 / 1:46 pm

      Thank you Lisa! M&S always seem to come up trumps, and I agree about that yellow/white blouse… I’ve got one waiting in my basket, hmmm….!!!!!

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