9 May 2018

Working 9-5: What A Way To Style Work Wear

How Do We Re-Work The Work?

Each morning whether it’s work in the office or work at home we open our wardrobes and oftentimes struggle.

More often than not, we go back to the familiar and pull out our usual workwear options.

How can we refresh the 9-5 wardrobe essentials?

We get stuck with the thought that dark shades and conservative styles are the only way to dress. Not so much these days. Classic styles are being interpreted in more interesting ways and work time and place has become more relaxed in many professions.

It becomes a challenge to dress each weekday morning and feel you are getting it right.

We want to be well presented for the professional environment yet stay faithful to our individual styles. It simply takes a moment to stop, re-think and try some new variations.

Try one, repeat, try another. Practice makes perfect.

Refreshing the 9-5 look

Keep the office essentials
Essentials are always necessary when considering a workwear wardrobe, but they can begin to feel mundane. Conforming to everyday black and pinstripe suits becomes boring. Choose staple pieces that work well together yet can be mixed and matched with others.

*This time we are adding colour, like this fabulous pastel suit we can mix and match with our neutral and more classic wardrobe pieces.

Add new accessories
Styling new shoes and jewellery pieces help transform old into new. You can wear the same suit day in, day out but with a new shoe on the scene, everything can change. Build a ‘shoedrobe’ that intertwines your footwear with a whole range of workwear outfits.

*We like the idea of a mix and match with these and these.

Perfect excuse to purchase a new bag
Office friendly bags are a favourite. Sourcing the best one to hold everything and is comfortable to ferry around justifies a growing collection. Ensure to find one that is practical for your laptop and notebooks yet looks amazing with any chosen outfit.

  • Add a new classic tote with the pastel; add an embossed basket with the wardrobe staple.

Should we only wear black / navy suits for work? Or should we mix it up?

You know the answer.

Classic with a twist and a wardrobe that adapts to suit us.

Working 9-5: What A Way To Style Office Wear

this goes with that

mint double-breasted jacket  ||  cropped trousers  || lafayette 148 new york cotton blouse  ||  kristin cavallari mule  ||  mansur gavriel satchel

goes with this

rose blazer  ||  magda butrym pleated pants  ||  manolo blahnik slingback pump  ||  topshop straw tote

goes with that

anne klein long boyfriend suit jacket  ||  anne klein suit pants  ||  saint laurent large tote

images, glen luchford for charles & keith, cass bird for wsj

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Particularly when I had to travel a lot to international high level conferences, where the official opening ceremony was always in the presence of the Head of State or Government, we always had to dress smartly and well. My formula was usually black pants, white button down shirt and high quality coloured jackets with a French or Italian designer silk scarf that worked with jacket colour. Shoes you will be horrified by – black leather lace-up sneakers (I had to be on my feet quite a bit), a black leather shoulder or crossbody bag and a black leather briefcase. It worked really well. The emerald or fuchsia or red etc jackets stood out so people could easily find me – and they were happy colours. There was never time to change for evening functions which could be in palaces (like the Elysees in Paris or a royal palace as in Copenhagen where we were hosted by the Queen of Denmark) so would just change sneakers to heels, workbag to evening bag and maybe different earrings. All outfits planned in advance, no time in the morning to dither, my workday was go go go. But I loved it.


Good morning Vicki! You always hit the topics spot on to where I’m at for the moment. Now that spring has finally arrived here, the conundrum of WHAT TO WEAR as begun. My work wardrobe is basically winter-focused, but now that the days are longer, brighter and warmer but the building still COLD, it’s hard to decide what to wear. I don’t have a lot of “professional” looking clothing that is in lighter colors or textures, but you are so right; dressing up the mundane with new accessories or shoes does wonders. I wore a new pair of GOLD FLAT SHOES the other day with a flaired steel gray silk skirt and a crisp white shirt. Oh my….everyone felt the impact! My students adored my shoes and I felt refreshed. Then yesterday, I took a 10 year old black party dress (that I only wore once) and put on a long sleeved laced tee shirt under it. Black flats toned down the party look of the dress (just a plain black dress but flaired) and I instantly had a 1950s, Audrey Hepburn look.

Changing little things makes one very, very happy.

Michelle à Détroit

I tend to reserve bright colors for bags, shoes, scarves jewelry and blouses/tees. I love my white, black, beige, navy and gray too much to depart from it too frequently. People really notice a big pop of color in accessories when you are wearing neutral clothing. I do own one red dress that I wear very infrequently.


This is such a great idea for mixing up the look
And making your look more modern and versatile
I don’t work anymore but I still like a good jacket
And pant option for many occasions.


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