Getting reacquainted with your workwear? Make a stylish return to the office with relaxed tailoring, smart tops and commute-friendly footwear
Discover a fresh take on tailoring
Post lockdown, many of us will be aiming to work more flexibly: spending part of the week getting dressed in workwear for an ‘outing’ to the office and the other half wearing loungewear to work from home. While tailored jackets, shift dresses and crisp cotton shirts may feel an alien concept after a year in pyjamas, a more formal outfit for an important meeting or lunch out with clients can boost your confidence and help mark the transition between work and home time. Ease yourself gently back into wearing formalwear with a smart blazer styled with an oversized shirt and indigo jeans, or try a pair of smart black trousers teamed with a cashmere sweater and box-fresh white trainers.
Elevate your workwear basics
Timeless staples are the smart workwear investment for now. Think lightweight layers that take office air-conditioning in their stride: funnel-neck tops to layer under blazers, fluid silk blouses, luxe T-shirts in premium fabrics and, of course, an elegant trench coat in a wear-forever shade of stone, camel, navy or black. Versatile separates will earn their wardrobe weight in gold, working just as well for after-hours drinks when your social calendar starts to fill up again (and it will) and for presentations.
Try this season’s cropped fitted cardigans teamed with a high-waisted pencil skirt and kitten heels for an effortless desk-to-dinner outfit. Keep accessories simple – a delicate gold chain necklace is all you’ll need to complete the look.
Switch your joggers for a pair of comfy-yet-chic trousers
While luxe loungewear is acceptable attire when working from home, a day at the office calls for something smarter than tired tracksuit bottoms. Luckily, wide-leg trousers offer a tailored look without compromising on comfort. Look for a pair that sits high on the waist to avoid restriction around your middle when sitting at a proper desk again. Fluid fabrics like eco-friendly Tencel, pure linen or viscose feel soft and breathable against your skin while pairing effortlessly with an oversized cotton shirt and this season’s on-trend flat shoes and sandals.
Flattering on all figures, wide-leg trousers come in a variety of lengths at M&S, so that you can find the perfect pair for your proportions: full-length trousers look great with heels whereas ankle-grazers are ideal for pairing with leather sliders.
Dress to impress (yourself)
Take the stress out of weekday mornings with a throw-on-and-go midi-length shirt dress (or even an on-trend utility jumpsuit). Choose lightweight fabrics to make heatwave dressing a breeze in warmer weather. Whether you choose a printed or plain work dress, a great design is bound to break the ice with colleagues and start a conversation around the water cooler.
Collars and button-through fronts make shirt dresses a winner for work video calls, while a midi length is weekend-appropriate, too – giving great cost-per-wear potential. Add a pair of this season’s practical flat pumps and sandals for a polished look that is perfect for the return to the office.
Step out in something other than slippers
Step aside, fluffy slippers. It’s time to say hello to loafers, the flat footwear option of choice, as seen on the feet of some of the most fashionable street-stylers globally. Flatform loafers with a chunky-grip sole are a great option for the office as they tow the tricky line between comfort and style and are a practical option if you’ve started cycling or walking to work post-lockdown. Pair with a puff-sleeve blouse and peg trousers for a sweetly sophisticated look or keep things preppy with a sweater vest and corduroy trousers.
Loafers look great with voluminous maxi dresses, almost every style of jeans and, as Gucci has proved time and time again, they totally work with dresses and pleated midi skirts, too. Take your pick from penny loafers, tassel loafers or patent loafers to complement your personal style. Just don’t forget to stock up on cute ankle socks!
Words: Dulcie Emerson and Miranda Eason