While men’s workwear doesn’t vary much over the years, women’s workwear can take a few ‘twists and turns.’ However, for the most part, it also can also remain rather static. That is, when you consider women’s workwear fashion with other types of women’s fashion. For example, casual wear can change a lot in women’s fashion. It seems like every season there is something new to be had. But in the ‘world’ of office workwear, there are certain standards that remain ‘true’ to the category, even over long periods.
So, with fall upon us, and vacations coming to an end, it may be time to assess back-to-work wear. Or, perhaps your child is now entering school, and you’re ready to re-enter the workforce. If your old work clothes don’t fit, or don’t suit your style anymore, you may want to rehash them with longer-lasting, classic and elegant professional pieces.
Below, we’ll explain how to pick classy, elegant and professional back-to-work wear fashion for women - the kind that won’t go out of style. These are mainly ‘timeless’ pieces that can ‘stay,’ while the trendier clothes get changed out.
Traditional workwear may be turning on its head, but women’s fashion can still look professional and beautiful
No doubt, lately we’re seeing workwear blend more and more into casual wear. Offices are no longer the ‘suit up’ kind of place that our parents’ generations were used to. Showing up at work in jeans is commonplace at many companies.
However, that’s not to say that traditional workwear is completely ‘out.’ Many organizations still aim to present a professional, ‘put together’ and ‘smart’ look. Some may argue it has to do with brand image. Or, it may be for ‘uplifting’ the work atmosphere. Others may say that how we dress is how we feel; if we come to work looking ‘spiff,’ we can feel productive, and do an upstanding job (even if we’re only impressing ourselves, as entrepreneurs).
Regardless of how posh, or how casual, your workplace is, women’s fashion can still look professional and fantastic in the office. Just because others show up in jeans, or in polyester suits, doesn’t mean you have to (unless your boss says so, of course). You can bring together practical, but nice clothing to meet any dress code, with a few smart ‘tricks’ up your sleeve.
For example, in a semi-casual workplace:
Instead of torn or baggy jeans, choose tailored, dark wash and ‘stiff’ jeans that maintain their shape. They look much sharper, and can be ‘dressed up’ better than rugged jeans.
Instead of a cotton dress, choose a polyester or acrylic blend that extends below your knees.
Instead of a jean jacket or bulky sweater, go for cardigans, blazers and tweed jackets to keep warm.
Instead of long-sleeved t-shirts, choose button-down oxford shirts or well-made turtlenecks. Work shirts in Tencel fabric can give great ‘hang.’ And, they feel soft, too.
Instead of sneakers, choose comfortable loafer flats.
Instead of rain or snow boots, choose sturdy, warm leather boots.
Instead of cargo pants, choose pleated or flat-front khaki trousers or shorts.
Instead of yoga pants, try linen or cotton cigarette style pants with a comfortable, elastic waist.
Instead of fleece or flannel plaid in a top, bring plaid into your bottoms with high-waisted polyester trousers or pencil skirts.
Keep classic workwear items in your closet; you can’t go wrong with clothing that stays in style
How do you always look good, yet fit in at work without ‘breaking the bank’? With classic women’s workwear that rarely goes out of style!
Before we list items you can’t go wrong with, keep in mind that while the cuts on classic pieces can change from time to time, they generally last longer than the ‘loud’ and ultra trendy, one-season fashion choices.
For example, women’s work blazers used to have shoulder pads and were baggy. They were made to look more like men’s power suits. These days, women’s blazers may not have shoulder pads, and they may be tucked in more at the waist, to look more feminine.
Oxford shirts are sometimes made to be slim at the waist and cut short at the hip. Or, they can be long and loose, so they can be tucked in at the waist for a ‘relaxed’ fit.
That said, you may find that you’ll want to replace some of your ‘classic’ clothing from time to time. But, to avoid this, you can also stick to the patterns and cuts that can outlast trends, too. Usually, this means sticking to the ‘original’ designs that these pieces came in.
For example, opt for an original Burberry-style, double-breasted, solid-colour trench coat. Don’t choose a new version of it.
On that note, keep in mind that classic cuts don’t have to be expensive. Remember: appreciate your clothes, not your brands!
With the above out of the way, here are our top picks for classic, professional office workwear to keep in your closet:
- A beige trench coat (of course!).
- A tweed-bouclé, Coco Chanel style cardigan-jacket (it’s usually cropped at the waist, and uses a ‘boxed’ shape).
- Solid-colour cardigans in various textures (fuzzy wool, soft knits, etc.).
- A black blazer.
- Flat front or pleated, cropped slacks in black or grey polyester (they may be called ‘cigarette’ pants).
- A black pencil skirt. Keep a gray one on hand if you want more variation.
- A ‘flowy’ or pleated acrylic or cotton-blend skirt that reaches below the knees (florals and some prints are ok!).
- A shift dress or fitted ‘suit’ dress with a pencil-skirt bottom.
- A white oxford shirt and a baby-blue oxford shirt.
- A black, leather handbag.
- Leather black shoes (either loafers or heels). Keep brown ones on hand if you want more variation.
Always go back to work in style with the right wardrobe pieces at your fingertips!
No matter what your company’s dress code is, you can always look professional and beautiful with the right wardrobe choices. Keep the ‘classics’ handy. This way, you’ll only need to switch out a few extras to remain ‘in vogue.’
The good news is that women’s workwear offers plenty of options that don’t often go out of style. Plus, with casual wear becoming more and more acceptable in offices nowadays, it’s easier to get creative with fashion choices, while still looking polished.