Ditch the loungewear! How to reinvent your workwear for back to the office style

Working from home seems to have been a pretty mixed bag for everyone. Some loved it, some hated it, some loved parts of it and hated others – regardless, the way we work is changing. With in-office hours starting to become an option for many of us now, we’ve started to rethink our work-from-home uniform of loungewear, messy buns and sudocream. It’s time to get back into the office – and back into real people clothes.

Side view of cheerful female employee in formal outfit sitting on office chair with crossed legs on desk and stretching while resting during work with closed eyes

But going back to the office doesn’t have to mean going back to boring basics – if there was ever a time to reinvent your work wardrobe, it’s now! We’ve picked out our favourite pieces from this season’s collections to compile the ultimate back to work Boss Lady capsule wardrobe, full of stylish neutrals and elegant silhouettes with lots of room for your own personality to shine through.

Shoes

Start from the base upwards! Your shoes are what get you through your day, so they better be comfy – but they also better look good. These selections from Stradivarius and Warehouse are your dress up and dress down options – depending on whether heels are still a part of your post-Covid life. Many women have ditched them entirely during lockdown, but plenty are still dying for opportunities to wear them after weeks in slippers.

The Stradivarius heels are available in beige, tan and black, any of which will work well within your neutrals and they also feature a padded strap, meaning that comfort is key here. The Warehouse flats are a modern take on an office classic. The squared-off toe on these loafers gives them an edgy, contemporary upgrade and the golden chain adds a stylish detail that will tie in well with subtle gold accessories.

Skirts

Skirts can be tricky ones to get right in an office setting. The shorter ones can often feel a little too short, the long flowy ones feel too holiday-y or old-fashioned and the ones with the slit are a no-go. This draped faux-suede number from Vero Moda is a handy in-between, as the dipped hem offers a little more coverage than the average short skirt. The tan faux-suede also adds an interesting texture to any outfit, upgrading it from an average office look to an elevated outfit.

The Sonder faux-leather skirt is similarly neutral and therefore able to fit in with a range of colours but is also a statement in its own right. The faux-leather look is again, an unusual texture and the light cream is eye-catching and elegant. The length makes it totally office safe, while the cinching belt still allows you to cut a striking figure.

Trousers

A handy staple for those days that you just can’t be bothered with a skirt or dress, your trousers are the base of your office outfit. Clean lines and comfort are key here so don’t be afraid to switch things up a little from the typical, stiff, polyester trousers.

These paperbag trousers from Tiffosi are a dreamy sage green that is really in right now. The wide legged bottoms and cinched waist also allow for maximum comfort and style, with a gorgeous soft material and plenty of room, without looking sloppy. Alternatively, if you want a neater look, these cigarette pants from ASOS are a level up from typical work trousers, with a clean, tailored silhouette and a chic cropped length to the leg, the perfect trousers to take you from the office to after work drinks.

Tops and shirts

Beige zebra print puff sleeve top | River Island

Your top half is where you can get a little creative with patterns and styles and still maintain your professionalism. This utterly funky puff-sleeved top in a striking zebra print from River Island is the perfect example of keeping it work appropriate while still letting your personality shine through. The high neck and volume make it fun but sophisticated.

This shirt from Miss Selfridge however, is another twist on a classic – the oversized white shirt has an adorable spread collar and balloon sleeves that contrast with the pin-tucked waist that allow you to add shape to the oversized look – a must for any bustier girls out there. It all adds a little bit of glamour and femininity to a staple that you’ll use again and again.

Dresses and jumpsuits

Dresses, Jumpsuits & Skirts - COLLECTION - WOMEN - Massimo Dutti

Another one that can be hard to get right, you want an office dress that can go from day to night and ideally from autumn to spring to get the most out of it. This Massimo Dutti blazer dress is the ultimate office-chic look that is definitely on the sexier side of office wear. In classic and statement black, we can picture this in winter with tights and knee-high black boots as easily as we can picture it in spring on a night on the town with a pair of strappy heels.

The Paisie jumpsuit is definitely a step in the more casual direction as it’s made out of a soft denim. This would usually be a formal office no-go, but the soft charcoal grey and sleek silhouette of the jumpsuit makes us think you could get away with it if styled properly.

Cardigans and coats

The backbone of every transitional wardrobe, cardigans and light coats will be lifesavers for chilly spring days and warm autumn ones when the weather can’t seem to decide what it’s doing. This houndstooth number from By Clara is majorly in right now but also brings in a  classic pattern that won’t age. It gives us major Blair Waldorf/ Audrey Hepburn vibes and is the last word in Parisian office chic.

This seasonal coat from Only is an unbelievably handy number to have for the commute to and from the office and for lunchtimes. A beautiful neutral beige with lots of clean lines, it transitions through lots of seasons and will go with virtually anything.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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