When it comes to my office style, I tend to keep it pretty simple. I like comfortable casual outfits, and I don’t ever want to feel as though I am sacrificing my comfort while sitting at work. I swear, there’s nothing more annoying than realizing your pants, shoes, or blazer is uncomfortable while knowing that you have a full 8 hours of work ahead of you. I can honestly say that I have made that mistake more than a few times.
And that mistake leads me to one more huge error: purchasing pieces precisely for the look of them and not considering comfort. How many times have we all purchased that “perfect blazer” or the “cutest heels for the office” and told ourselves little lies like “well, I just won’t raise my arms in this blazer”, or “I’ll only be wearing the heels for a few hours – and I’ll be sitting at my desk… So, they won’t hurt that bad”. The truth is that when you buy those items you’re likely buying pieces that will just sit in your closet. Rather than repeating that mistake time and time again, scroll down and read more on how to build a great office-ready wardrobe and the exact pieces you need to master your stylish and practical professional style.
How to Find Pieces to Create a Wearable Office-Ready Wardrobe
Focus on Fit
When I mentioned that example of the blazer above, I know we’ve all had that moment happen. You try on a blazer or a jacket in store, and sure – it looks like it fits perfectly, until you attempt to raise your arms. The fact is if you can’t raise your arms in it than you either need to size up, or find a blazer is a more practical stretchy fabric.
Don’t be afraid of sizes. The numbers and letters that mark the sizes we wear are simply a guide, and often they aren’t accurate. From store to store, the definition of these sizes can really vary so getting overly focused on them won’t help you or your style game. Instead focus on fit, and build a wardrobe based off of the pieces you like on you – not the size you think you should be.
Alterations are KEY
Speaking about fit, don’t think just because something fits you perfectly in one place, and less-perfectly in another, that it’s not a great piece for you. We are all different shapes and sizes, and sometimes that means we need to get things customized for us. If you love a pair of pants and how they fit your legs, but they are too large in the waist, simply get them altered. You can easily take a nice pair of pants and turn them into your PERFECT pair by simply investing a few more dollars into them. It’s easy, and it makes your wardrobe fit you to a T.
My biggest style blunder has been investing in materials that make me feel (and frankly, look) uncomfortable. Itchy, starchy, and unforgiving fabrics simply aren’t worth investing in, no matter how great they look on. Look for materials that make you feel comfortable and invest in those instead. (Because when you feel uncomfortable – it shows!)
Focus on buying practical pieces for yourself. Sure, a ball-gown is beautiful – but can you wear it to the office, or out for a lunch? We could all splurge on the pieces we love, over the pieces we should get, but then we’d all have impractical and unwearable wardrobes. Invest in pieces that you’ll want to wear time and time again, that you can see wearing to the office and then revamping for a night out.
A Few Must-Have Pieces to Step Up your Office Style (comfortably)
Just to clarify, black jeggings and black leggings are different. At times leggings can become sheer which makes them an office an no-no, unless you’re wearing them under a dress or skirt. Jeggings on the other hand actually look like pants but they are more comfortable and have more stretch to them. For example, my white J brand jean leggings are a great example of a pair of jeggings that actually look more like jeans.
Black Jean Leggings (jeggings) will prove to be something you can wear time and time again to the office. If you’re not comfortable wearing them like a jean, than simply pair them with a stylish pair of boots and a long blouse. Otherwise, feel free to style them like a jean – because honestly, they really are the new and improve jean. (Yeah, I refuse to wear starchy jeans ever again)
Rather than torturing yourself in heels, invest in a pair of comfortable flats. Flats are easy to wear, they look great with everything, and they won’t leave you limping in pain like many heels will. Plus, there are so many options to choose from – here are just a few: ballet flats, slip-ons, smoking slippers, and loafers.
Unstructured Button-up Shirts
We’ve all heard about structure pieces, and yes they do look great for the office, but really who wants to wear something stiff and starchy all day at the office? Instead look for button-ups in light flowy fabrics. These sorts of loose fits will allow you to feel more comfortable and relaxed.
A Soft Shell Blazer
Soft shell blazers are a thing of beauty. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and will always make your look appear more professional and office-ready. Do you ever feel uninspired with your office style? Well, simply throw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and add a soft shell blazer to create a look that is sophisticated yet relaxed. In addition, offices can often be over air-conditioned which means we all need pieces that will keep us cozy and a soft shell blazer does that. It acts as a cardigan, but looks like a blazer.
High-waist Loose-fit Trousers
Loose-fit high waist trousers appear stylishly professional but offer a level of comfort that is completely sitting-at-desk-all-day friendly. If you’re like me, and often tied to a desk than these are the sorts of pants you’ll want to invest in. Trousers always carry a professional element, but the loose relaxed fit of these allow you to be comfortable all day.
Like I mentioned earlier, most offices are over air-conditioned. If you’ve followed my blog for a while than you know how I feel about the cold (I’m not a fan), and so sitting in a freezing office just isn’t my jam. Instead of risking being chilly while at the office, I keep a cozy cardigan at my work station as a backup. I typically search out a cardigan in a neutral colour with a professional fit so that it will layer professionally over any outfit I wear.