It’s fair to say that in the last five years there hasn’t been more of an excuse to invest in a ‘few’ capsule wardrobe pieces, than the big return to work.
I was somewhat under the impression that my brimming wardrobe(s) would be best kept in tact, just in case I ever did go back to work, but in reality, when it actually happened I realise how dated the contents had become. Not only were some items covered in dust and smelling musty, but I even spotted a few pieces that date back to my sixth form days (!).
And so, a major cull had to happen. After all fashion has changed, my body has changed, and most of all, I have changed.
When I think back to my previous working days, I had worked in the same environment for 14 years, working up to management from a lab technician, still requiring to dress practically for manufacturing or lab environments, and barely dragging myself out of the door after dealing with a very young Tigs.
Its safe to say my style then was comfortable, smart casual, with a heavy lean towards the casual. Converse trainers featured all too often, and aside from the last couple of years when I attempted a smarter approach, my number one priority was practicality.
The clear out was five sacks deep, and no one was safe. Dad Muddling Throughs fifteen dodgy suits and shirts once worn to sticky floored nightclub also underwent major scrutiny to make space for the clothes we actually like to wear.
If I had to describe my work style 2019, I’d put it out there as colourful, professional and wearable. I have no time for fabrics that don’t give, heels I cannot walk in or the colour grey (Unless it’s in some kind of lary check or with a colour pop accent!).
In fact, I wasted no time in investing in some work shoes and kitten heel boots, both of which are a bright mustard yellow. Because everyone should have a pair of yellow shoes in their life.
One of the most notable changes in my work style is that I feel a sense of maturity and modesty which I don’t remember thinking about so much in my twenties. I feel I want my shoulders covered and my skirts knee length. As a brilliant colleague said in passing (and hit the nail on the head) “You want to be remembered for the intellectual questions you asked rather than the skimpy clothes you were wearing”. Not that I ever bodyconned it to work, but, well, y’know.
The second major observation this time around is that whatever the weather, I need to be layering for every weather eventuality, because AIR CONDITIONING people! It may be hitting 26 degrees in the shade outside but indoors the chill factor is real and I won’t be needing any of those SAHM summer dresses in the office.
I was lucky enough to be offered a bundle of new clothes from Fashionworld to help me along my way in nailing the work wear situation and here are the key pieces I chose and will be wearing for the spring summer 2019 ‘back to work’ season.
The black jumpsuit
This easy wear crepe fabric one piece is a multi win for loads of reasons… For starters any outfit which requires zero combination analysis at 6am is a winner in my book. Dresses also fit this category but I love the stylish edge the jumpsuit offers. This one has an elastic waist and a wide leg so it’s super comfy and easy to move around in. It also has a button up front as well as back so you can manage your own redressing after a wee (plus has an AMAZING additional inner button at the cleavage which frankly I wish every button font item of clothing followed suit with!.)
The mid length sleeves can be worn down or rolled and buttoned up, and the tie waist adds a little nip in at the waist which we all know makes the perfect finish according to Gok. It’s also black, so goes with any shoes / cardi / accessories I feel like throwing together and can be dressed up or down for office to dinner type occasions. The fabric washes well and when dried on a hanger there is no need to iron…say no more.
This jumpsuit is available in size 10 to 32 and is currently on sale for a bargainous £22.50 from £45.
Polka dot tailored trousers
As I said I’m all for bringing the colour into the office and life is far too short for black and grey tailoring. That said I realise some classic cut trousers are a must have and these stripe trim (with pockets) slim leg trousers have the perfect combination of fun and formal. And man, I love a side stripe.
With subtle elasticated banding at the hips the final experience is ridiculously comfortable, and the button hook and eye front fastening give a neat and tidy shape around the fastening.
The fabric is thick and feels like it won’t sag, stretch or fade, and teamed with a plain white tee this is a smart yet relaxed office outfit that will last all summer long.
Rust floral shirt dress
The shirt dress has already become a firm favourite for the office (refer to point one re one piece outfits). This dress caught my eye because I loved the autumnal tones and how the model had been styled with brown ankle boots.
I really love the bare leg, dress and boots combo and it ticks the boxes of smart, warm and well, full of character. The long light sleeves appealed (air con probs) and I think this outfit will have longevity well into the cooler months with chunky tights and knitwear.
Studded Black Ankle Boots
Given I’m planning this feature around summer work wear, some might be surprised to see a pair of black ankle boots in the picks. The think is that I’ve realised a black ankle boot is an essential capsule wardrobe must have – to be worn with skirts, dresses, trousers all year round, and for the cold blooded folk like me, the option to wear socks is always appealing!
Even in the dizzy heights of british summertime, we Brits know rain can, does and will happen, so a water proof dry toes option will be an all year round staple.
Of course I couldn’t go entirely plain and I loved the studded detailing on these black chelsea boots. They’ll work great with jeans at the weekend too…
It’s all too easy to fill each wardrobe need and move on to the next, and I’m mindful of both recycling what I don’t wear, considering carefully what I really need, and exploring sustainable options.
That said, now I have a regular wage coming in again, the fact I definitely need a couple of cardigans weighs a little lighter on my guilty, bag hiding shoulders…
Disclosure: Items gifted. All opinions are my own.