Returning to an office environment entails a lot of re-adjustments in your daily life. After a few years of work-from-home mandates, maybe you’ve gotten used to working in your sweatpants or having client meetings on your couch. Indeed, the remote work setup gave many professionals like you the freedom to be a professional in your PJs. But now that it’s time to return to the office, you have to put in a bit more effort to present yourself in the best way possible.
Fortunately, dressing for work has become less formal and restrictive through the decades. Most modern corporate dress codes give employees enough leeway to express themselves and stay comfortable while working a desk job. So, even if you have to re-orient yourself when it comes to working in a professional setting, you can still opt for a wardrobe that exudes comfort and personal identity outside of the home.
Are you about to step back inside the corporate jungle? If so, here are some tips to help you create a killer work wardrobe and dress like a boss:
Invest in Structured Cover-Ups
Cover-ups are great layering pieces that are worth investing in, especially if you have a lot of basic shirts, dresses, and pants.
For example, suits and blazers are sure-win pieces that should be mainstays in your corporate capsule wardrobe. Apart from giving you an air of authority, these pieces also serve as great layering items that provide structure to basic dresses and tops. Blazers, in particular, are versatile items that can make you look polished yet stylish enough to fit more casual settings. Black, navy blue, tan, and gray are all great blazer colors that are easy to pair with dresses, tops, and bottoms.
If you live in colder climates, you may also want to include a coat in your wardrobe. Coats are timeless pieces that can instantly pull together your look, even if your top, bottom, or accessories may not exactly match perfectly.
Include Comfy Bottoms
As the name implies, a desk job entails having to sit for prolonged hours at a desk. As such, you need to make sure that your bottoms don’t restrict your movements and allow you to work comfortably and efficiently.
With that in mind, you can always go for tights and leggings. Both are bottoms that exemplify comfort, after all. The best part is that you can incorporate them into your work wardrobe quite easily. For example, you can pair opaque tights with a shift dress for a sophisticated yet casual look that’s perfect for a typical workday. Black tights go with almost everything, but you can add a pop of color to your outfit by going for unusual hues like red, pink, or blue.
Trousers are another type of work-appropriate bottom piece that’s increasing in popularity, primarily due to their versatility and effortless-chic appeal. Aside from allowing your legs to breathe, trousers also look great with almost any kind of footwear including loafers, sneakers, and heels. Having this level of comfort and versatility can be useful for your return to work, especially if your average workday includes a daily commute.
Don’t Forget Your Basic Monochromes
In general, plain shirts and tank tops, particularly those that come in black or white, are must-haves in any type of wardrobe. Crewneck tees and ribbed tanks can serve as layering pieces as well as second undergarments that you can wear under blouses or shirts that are too thin or transparent to wear on their own.
On a related note, you should consider including button-downs in your corporate staples. Collared blouses and menswear-inspired shirts can make you look stylish yet work-appropriate for daily meetings. You’ll want to own at least three button-downs that you can wear with trousers, jeans, or a mid-length skirt.
Add Some Edge with a Statement Piece
There’s a common misconception that dressing for work means going for stuffy outfits devoid of any personality. But even as you establish your worth as a professional, you don’t have to give up on wearing statement pieces that speak to your soul. Don’t be afraid to wear eye-catching items such as a personalized pendant, gold hoops, vintage aviator shades, a quirky carryall tote, or a chunky belt.
Think about it this way: wearing out-of-the-ordinary items can add a bit of fun to your outfit, therefore sparking some joy in your daily tasks. Just make sure that your statement piece harmonizes with the rest of your outfit to retain that sense of formality.
Final Word: Be Yourself and Don’t Overthink It!
At its core, fashion is all about having fun. Just because you need to return to a more formal environment doesn’t mean you have to disregard dressing based on what makes you happy.
That being said, the best way to go about establishing your office style is to work with the vibe you naturally gravitate towards. Then, you can imbue your personal style with tried-and-tested tips for professional dressing. As long as you’re well aware of how to make your style work for you and your office environment, you can exude the confident air of a stylish professional who’s ready to take on the world.