Hi guys! So I got a request from one of my lovely readers asking me to do a guide on the basic workwear wardrobe and I found this incredibly exciting to compile. These are the BASIC items I think every lady should have, obviously you can have a much wider range in terms of colours and silhouettes but this is my opinion on the basic and timeless workwear wardrobe. I hope its very helpful and do let me know your thoughts and if there is anything you would specifically like me to post and I’ll try my best to do so. Oh and if you are in a rather chilly country like I am, it does tend to be difficult to look fashionable as you probably just want to throw on layers of chunky knits and wear your Uggs, not to worry! I will be doing a guide on how to look fashionable even when its cold.
Monday: Jacket: Zara | Shirt: HM | Trousers: River Island | Belt: Asos | Shoes: DKNY
Tuesday: Dress: Zara | Shoes: Topshop | Bag: Dune
Wednesday: Jacket: Zara | Cami: New Look | Skirt: River Island | Shoes: DKNY
Thursday: Dress: River Island | Neckpiece: BHS | Shoes: Topshop
Friday: Tshirt: Zara | Trousers: River Island | Belt: Asos | Shoes: DKNY | Bag: Dune
1. The White Shirt
The white shirt is very versatile and timeless. In my first year in uni, I wore a white shirt at least thrice a week, some days with a corset(they were soo in then! Don’t judge lol) and others with a waist coat or maybe just tucked into a pair of trousers. It is appropriate for almost any occasion; from a job interview to date night. Choose a white shirt depending on your preferred silhouette and what you are looking to flatter. H&M do a nice range of white shirts (and affordable too) as seen below.
2. The Pencil Skirt
The pencil skirt is another versatile item as it works for any and every occasion. It could be paired with anything from blouses and shirts to crop tops and bralets. High waisted pencil skirts help to flatter slimmer waists and long torsos, for shorter persons, people with shorter torsos and thicker waistlines, normal waist lines are more flattering. In terms of length, Knee length skirts are flattering for shorter persons whereas both midi and knee length skirts are flattering for people with longer legs. The basic colour to have on a tight budget is black, if not, navy blue, burgundy and nude are lovely colours to have as well.
1. Asos.com || 2. Asos.com || 3. Missguided.co.uk
3. Cami Tops
Cami tops!! Another versatile piece, starting to think everything I’ve put on the list is versatile(good for a tight budget anyway). Cami tops can be casual with pants, jeans or a pencil skirt but can also be worn corporately with a blazer over it. They come in a range of materials and textures such as chiffon, woven, lace and jersey. I would advice the woven and jersey ones for work as the chiffon and lacy ones tend to be quite transparent which is a tad bit unprofessional. This is also very appropriate for dinner or drinks after work as you can just slip off your blazer leaving just the cami top and your bottoms. My favourite camis are from New look and Zara, and they have a wide range to choose from as well as Asos and Dorothy Perkins. Basic colours: Cream/White, Black and Blush/Nude.
4. Basic Black Blazer
Literally everyone wears a blazer to work at least thrice a week and hence you want to make sure your blazer suits your style, bodyshape and is versatile. Avoid buying blazers with distinct designs such as a peplum if you are on a tight budget so you can wear them as often as possible without being tagged as ‘that chic that wears the black blazer’ if you know what I mean. When selecting a blazer, you need to know what works for you; shoulder pads? long line? Short blazers? etc. For people with longer torsos, like me, I would advice a long line blazer because it tends to look quite silly when the hem just hangs above your hip. Petite and shorter ladies should avoid long line blazers as this will make you look shorter. Shops such as Zara and H&M have a wide variety to choose from. Other colours to have include Tan, Red, Navy Blue etc.
1. Zara || 2. Missguided.co.uk || 3. Zara || 4. Missguided.co.uk
5. The Structured Bag
Personally, I am not a fan of hobos and bags that depend on their contents to take shape(they are just like blehhh). Structured bags look much smarter and professional. When buying one for work, you need to make sure it is big enough to accommodate your daily needs. I would advice black and brown first then nude, burgundy and any other colours you fancy.
1. Zara || 2. Zara || 3. Russell and Bromley || 4. H&M || 5. Russell and Bromley || 6. Zara
6. Shoes! Shoes!! Shoes!!!
So if you guys are like me and can’t wear heels for more than half an hour literally! You want to have your heels and work flats as well. I think court shoes are the most appropriate work/happyhour/party shoes and the basic colours to have are patent black and nude and maybe brown and red(oh I could go on). In a work environment, you don’t want to look too casual or relaxed so when shopping for flats, try to get a dressy pair that have a bit of a heel(and maybe a sound lol) to avoid looking sloppy and maybe a little embellishment.
1. Kurt Geiger || 2. Kurt Geiger || 3. Kurt Geiger || 4. Zara
1. Single shoes: Russell and Bromley || 2. Paired Shoes: Dune
7. Waist Cinching Belt
This accessory is a life saver always! Sometimes when the waist of a top, skirt or dress is a wee bit loose and you want your curves(existing or non-existing lol) to pop out, the waist belt is your go-to accessory. Asos stock a wide range of thick waist cinching belts, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t find one that catches your eye.
8. Basic Pencil Dress
These are very chic, smart and work well on their own or with a blazer. However they are not as versatile as the others, you may want to have them in a variety of colours such as black, red, grey, white and many others. Asos, Dorothy Perkins, Next, Primark, H&M etc have large workwear sections.
These should always be kept minimal. Simple earrings, studs or small hoops are always appropriate, elegant neckpieces, bracelets and rings. Avoid large, colourful earrings and neckpieces, countless bracelets and rings as they tend to appear unprofessional and tacky. Dorothy perkins have a fabulous and very affordable jewelry line.
Jewelry: Dorothy Perkins
Work pants should depend on your style, comfort and body structure. For my structure, because I have a rather long torso, I tend to wear only high-waisted bottoms to make my legs appear even longer. Palazo, peg legs, flared, cropped straight and cigarette pants are silhouettes that flatter my body structure. Cropped wide leg and bootcut pants suit fuller and curvier figures better as well as the others. Zara have a lovely and extremely large variety of pants, however, Zara’s clothes are mainly for straight figures. If you are curvy, you could go to H&M, New Look, Next or River Island instead.
1-4. Zara || 5&6. River Island
The same rules apply to jeans. Selection should be based on your style, comfort and what areas of your body you are looking to flatter. When it comes to jeans, Topshop is definitely your go-to place. Unlike other stores, Topshop sell jeans according to waist size and height. This is definitely a life saver for people like me with long legs and a very small waist because most times you do not find long jeans for a small waist. Topshop jeans also come in a wide range of colours, you will undoubtedly find one to suit your body shape.
1-5. Topshop || 6. Dorothy Perkins
Oh! Ever wondered the difference between mom jeans and boyfriend jeans? Mom jeans are highwaisted, whereas boyfriend jeans are low rise. Thank me later
Photos: Jessica-Jane Wearing