36 Outfit Ideas for What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic

34 Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

I know it’s been a while since most restrictions have been lifted in the UK, but it’s back to the office for many people.

And whether you are going back to the office because you WANT to, or because you’re being TOLD to (I’m not getting into a debate about how compared to those without remote-work access, access to remote work increases employee well-being, productivity, innovation, and inclusion*, but there you go), it seems to be a thing that we’ve all forgotten how to dress for the office.

Or, how to dress for the office post-pandemic (and by that I mean now that ‘normal life’ is resuming to a certain extent, even though we are still living with the virus).

However, I think I have a solution: with a few simple pieces and basic structure, it may be easier to nail a post-pandemic working wardrobe than you think.

Above all, I think it’s COLOUR and a little FUN that should be the main ingredients. Who wants to dress in all navy or black when the world is struggling like it is…?

*London School of Economics, ‘Remote work can boost productivity and curb burnout

 

[6 minute read]

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Now I may not have any experience of working in an office since the pandemic, but a few people have asked me to share my ideas about what to wear to work now.

Have dress codes changed? (You tell me.) Have lockdown zoom calls and now forcing ourselves to get out of our pyjamas made things more relaxed now we are – to a greater or lesser extent – back at our actual place of work where [horror of horrors] real-life people are?!

 

Full disclosure: I haven’t worked in an office for nearly nine years.

So I WILL admit this post is mostly speculation on my part. However, I’ve been quite observant when it comes to people talking about what to wear to the office (and “the office” includes WFH) the past couple of years. Although I don’t miss my old job, I do miss the fact that I was forced (you know what I mean) to get dressed UP every morning. I guess it’s one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place: to record what I wore each day which was, initially, mainly what I wore to the office.

And without wanting to reminisce about the “good old days” of blogging daily outfits (which seem so long ago now…), this is how I think working wardrobes could be structured in the 2020s. I’m not going for anything too corporate and of course I’m excluding ideas for places that require a uniform, but I’m doing this for an office or workplace which doesn’t particularly have any sort of formal dress code. A place where a bikini top and short shorts would be highly inappropriate (unless you’re a lifeguard at a local pool in a hot country I guess), but at least some sense of decorum is.

All the outfits I’ve featured are from my archives and can be adapted to suit your style. You’ll notice I’m sometimes wearing a hat as I tend to feel naked without one, but I’m not suggesting you wear a hat to work. These are all for inspiration so pick and choose the bits you like.

I’ve divided the outfits into sections via key pieces. Your own workplace may be more – or less – relaxed for what I’ve suggested here. I’m imagining what I’d wear if I were to go back to a job in an office. It’s a fairly relaxed one, but one where I’d have to meet with clients, attend team meetings, represent my company on a regular basis, etc.

As it was for me in my office days, I’ve allowed myself a little creativity. Lots of colour, prints and accessories. A dash of fun. Hopefully you’ll allow yourself that too ; -)

Your turn: got any working wardrobe tips for us? Which of my back to the office looks inspires you the most? Has your office dress code changed/become more relaxed? Comment below…

 

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Stay safe, XOXO

Catherine signature

 

1. Accessories

Probably the quickest, easiest way to zhuj up any outfit.

I’ve amassed a great collection of accessories over the years, and to some extent accessories don’t date very much (a lot less quickly than on-trend clothing does, anyway). If you have a collection of belts, scarves, bags, jewellery and other things like collars and neckties in a variety of colours you’ll find you can wear the same basic outfit in a multitude of ways all by switching up the accessories.

I’ve talked before about how accessories can breathe life into an old outfit (also meaning you can rewear the same clothes again and again and thus helping your wardrobe habits become more sustainable), and it’s true.

Here are a few of the way I’ve added accessories to my outfits, which wouldn’t be anywhere nearly as effective without the key accessory:

Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Accessories: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

Some of my favourites are scarves, belts and detachable collars (or neckties). My collections of all three – not to mention my jewellery – are made up of items in every colour under the sun. Or rather, every one of “my” colours: orange, red, yellow, pink, gold, coral and of course the neutrals like olive, brown, tan, black and grey. If you prefer cool colours, do the same but swap the oranges and reds for blues, mints, teals and purples.

Search Etsy or eBay for vintage or preloved – don’t just look for what’s on-trend. A vintage scarf in your favourite colours will go with all your outfits forevermore (as I always say, vintage doesn’t date – it’s already dated…!)

Accessories mean your “standard” officewear can be boosted at the drop of a hat. Add a statement chunky necklace or Chanel-inspired necktie to elevate your plain cashmere sweater or shirt. Pair with loose, comfy wide-leg trousers and smart trainers (loafers if you prefer) that peek out from underneath those long pant legs and you’ve got a super smart but super comfy outfit for the office.

 

You might like these accessories for your office workwear…

Necklaces

Scarves

Belts

Bags

Neckties & collars

 

 

2. Blazers

Some women are blazer-obsessed {cough}, and quite rightly so – they work with just about anything (the blazers, not the women)…!

I don’t think it really matters WHAT you’re wearing (jeans, maxi dress, jumpsuit, tailored trousers), a blazer will make it look smart without necessarily looking corporate. I have mostly neutral blazers in navy, camel, grey Prince of Wales check and I think a black one, and then a few in my favourite colours of emerald green, red, orange and pale pink which work with just about everything in my wardrobe (see a few examples below).

Blazers: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Blazers: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Blazers: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Blazers: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

Blazers are SO versatile – how many other pieces of clothing will elevate any outfit to make it both suitable for work AND for the weekend? Depending on where on the casual ⇒ creative ⇒ corporate scale your workplace (and any subsequent dress code) is, you can, within reason, make your base outfit almost anything you like and then just add a blazer over the top… voilà: you’re smart enough for work.

 

You might like these blazers for the office…

 

 

3. Dresses and jumpsuits

Who doesn’t love the ease of dressing that comes with a dress or a jumpsuit? Just add shoes and go, basically.

Whether you want to go for a plain or a print (or even a small, subtle print), dresses and jumpsuits are foolproof for work. (Except, maybe, when you’ve added a sweater and coat over the top of your difficult-to-get-on-and-off jumpsuit and you need a wee like, NOW. Then you’ll begin to question your life decisions. Believe me, I’ve been there.)

Dresses and Jumpsuits: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Dresses and Jumpsuits: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Dresses and Jumpsuits: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Dresses and Jumpsuits: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

In winter, add boots, an optional roll neck for layering and a belt in coordinating colours to dress up your chosen one-piece. In summer, all you really need is shoes (and a belt adds that extra something but you may want to stay cooler round the middle) – in warm weather I tend to swap belts and layering for lots of jewellery instead. Fabulous necklaces (see no.1 accessories above!) tend to get hidden in winter but summer is the time to go for it jewellery-wise.

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You might like these dresses and jumpsuits for the office…


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4. Shirts and sweaters

No matter how plain your bottom half, a brightly-coloured or bold print shirt or sweater will forever look good, especially with tailored trousers or skirts.

It’s probably my most common go-to on a day I want to dress one stage up from jeans: people tend to see the top half of you more than the bottom half (think Zoom calls and meetings!), so it makes sense to wear colours and prints on your top half.

Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Shirts, blouses and sweaters: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

I’m really rather into my vintage shirts at the moment (the patterns are unrivalled) and most of my sweaters are in bright colours. The two black exceptions (above) have either texture or detailing. If black HAS to be your go-to, I can’t recommend collars, necklaces, scarves or other jewellery enough.

 

You might like these shirts and sweaters for the office…


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5. Smart trainers, loafers and brogues

More acceptable due to the pandemic perhaps, but they don’t need to be your dirty walking-the-dog-in trainers. Loafers and brogues will always be your work best friend: smart, comfy and almost never date. I’m still wearing brogues I’ve had for over 12 years.

Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Trainers, loafers and brogues: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

I so rarely wear heels now I don’t think I’d wear them if I went back to work in an office, despite me wearing them regularly when I did. The choice of fashion trainers (not the sports ones, in other words) these days is bigger than ever, and I don’t doubt the pandemic resulting in so many people WFH has made shoe retailers realise that fashion trainers are big business.

People want COMFORT, it’s that simple.

My favourite look is, undoubtedly, a pair of flatform trainers poking out from underneath a pair of loose wide-legged trousers. Adds height to your legs (if, like me, you want that) and doesn’t kill your feet. And as mentioned, brogues and loafers just never date. You’ll get so much more wear out of them (than you will heels) and your back and feet will thank you later in life.

 

You might like these smart trainers, loafers and brogues for the office…


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6. Longline blazers and duster coats

A forever-favourite of mine, a longline piece of outerwear is like a stylish safety net for me.

Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion
Longline blazer: Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

This is absolutely what I go for every time I’m feeling like I want to cover up a bit. Or even just stay a bit warmer. Whether it’s more of a coatigan or a literal longline blazer, it’s the ultimate outerwear cover-up.

It also should, I imagine, do the job of a coat in a cold air-conditioned office [all the Brits reading this are going Air-conditioned office? What sort of crazy-ass luxury is that?!] or even one that’s just cold in winter. For 11 years I worked in an office that was freezing in winter and boiling in summer. A longline blazer or duster coat was always how I got around the problem of wanting to wear my coat to keep me warm, but not wanting to look like I’d just walked in from outside.

Nothing helped in the summer though…!

 

You might like these longline blazers and duster coats for the office…


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36 Workwear Ideas, What to Wear to the Office Post-Pandemic | Not Dressed As Lamb, Over 40 Style and Fashion

Linking up to… Monday: Stylish Monday, Inspire Me MondayMy Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Style With a Smile, Trend Spin/Walking in Memphis in High Heels, Turning Heads Tuesday, Spread the Kindness, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: WowOnWednesday || Thursday: Chic & Stylish, Ageless Style Linkup (third Thursday of the month), || Friday: Neverending Style, Fancy Friday, On the Edge, Fabulous Friday’s Link Up

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10 Comments

  1. 17 June 2022 / 12:44 am

    Girl you are slaying in all outfits. I am so amazed to see so many different styles in one post. Round of applause on your hard work.

    • Catherine
      Author
      22 June 2022 / 2:51 pm

      Thank you Mendy 😀

  2. 9 June 2022 / 6:04 pm

    So many fabulous outfits in your archives! I worked all the way through the pandemic – a combination of working from home and in the office. I almost always wear trainers or flat sandals to the office now, but that’s because bunions make it so uncomfortable to wear heels. I like the freedom of being able to go for a walk at lunchtime without being in pain or having to take a spare pair of shoes with me.

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

  3. 1 June 2022 / 2:51 pm

    All these outfits are so fabulous that it is difficult to pick a favorite. Thanks for these inspirations!
    xoxo
    Lovely

    • Catherine
      Author
      5 June 2022 / 10:44 am

      Thanks Lovely! x

  4. 14 May 2022 / 2:28 pm

    I adore them all!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    • Catherine
      Author
      26 May 2022 / 12:45 pm

      Thanks Danielle <3

  5. 10 May 2022 / 10:05 pm

    I’ve never worked 8n an office but have enjoyed wearing an office look in the past which now seems like a non thing lol.
    Funnily enough Mark had this dilemma last week when after 2 years of remote working he’s been asked to go back to a relaxed office environment.
    Jeans are ok they said! Can you believe that?
    Times have changed alright.

  6. Liz P.
    10 May 2022 / 8:55 pm

    I was suddenly overcome by a wave of nostalgia reading this post and looking at the photos, seriously. I want to keep this and read it over and over again. When my employer said I had to “go back to the office” I applied for and got a permanently remote job with a firm that no longer even has an office. I save a lot of money on gas and every morning I literally thank God that I get to work from home. But, being a clothes horse (and shoes and accessories) I basically don’t need all my decent clothes anymore. They used to call me a snappy dresser at work! Now, I confess, I wear mostly (a) robes until noon is (b) sweat pants and T-shirts (3) caftans and house dresses. I do spritz on some perfume and wear a watch most days, but I can’t remember the last time I accessorized. On Sundays I do wear a dress or skirt and sweater to church with heels, but most of the time I am in a rush to get there and I give no thought to putting together an outfit.

    Would it be weird if I got “dressed for work” and then commuted from my bedroom to my computer in my living room? Nobody sees me but the birds at my feeder and the occasional delivery person or mail lady?

  7. 10 May 2022 / 1:49 pm

    What a delicious post, Catherine! It was a real treat to see all these looks from your archives, and I confess, I do really miss the frequent outfit posts…I’ve worked in my higher education admin office through the pandemic with only 2 months of WFH (which I hated), and I just went right back to my regular clothes – just fewer high heels. Feeling “dressed” is part of what gets me through a pressure-filled day – it’s like my armor. And yes, a cardigan, blazer or at least long-sleeves is required all summer in my hyper-air-conditioned office here in the energy-squandering US of A!

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