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THE NEW RULES
OF WORKWEAR

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.

Shop women’s workwearRead the summer jacket guide

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS

Women’s single-breasted blazer
A checked single-breasted blazer
£69
Women’s white cotton shirt 
An outfit-building oversized shirt
£25
Women’s dark-blue jeans
Straight-leg cuts keep jeans looking smart
£39.50
Women’s cashmere short-sleeved top
A short-sleeved sweater is super versatile
From £15

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.

Shop women’s work cardigansSee the summer tops edit

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS

Women’s beige crew-neck cardigan
A great-value crew-neck cardigan
£17.50
Women’s black midi skirt
This side-split pencil skirt is a modern twist
£29.50
Women’s grey marl merino wool polo neck
A luxurious merino roll-neck top
£35
Women’s navy cropped Mia trousers
Navy trousers always look office-ready
£22.50

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.

Shop wide-leg trousersShop all women’s trousers

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS

Women’s khaki knitted vest top
A knitted vest top for layering
£49.50
Women’s gold hoop earrings
Understated-yet-chic gold earrings
£30
Women’s wide-leg trousers
A pair of comfy wide-leg trousers
£15
Women’s black leather tote bag
A roomy leather tote bag gives off classic vibes
£79

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.

See all dressesSee the summer dresses edit

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS

Women’s blue shirt dress
A pure cotton shirt dress
£110
Women’s flat leather sandals
Commute-friendly flat sandals
From £20
Women’s khaki utility jumpsuit
An outfit-in-one jumpsuit
£69
Women’s black dress by Autograph
A simple black midi dress
From £25

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!

Shop women’s loafersRead the summer shoes guide

WOMEN’S WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS

Women’s blue denim belted dress 
Try a button-down denim dress
£49.50
Women’s leopard-print loafers
A pair of eye-catching loafers
£45
Autograph women’s denim jeans
These dark-wash jeans work with any top
£55
Women’s patent platform loafers
Patent loafers add elegance
£49.50

Words: Dulcie Emerson and Miranda Eason

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