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What to wear to the office

Are you struggling to know what to wear to the office?

Many of you are finally leaving the sweat pants behind and heading back to the office. Whether you are embracing your return or dreading it, one thing for sure is that having ready to go outfits will make the transition easier.

My recent clients have told me that today’s office outfit has to work hard. Your ‘day in the office’ is probably packed with face to face meetings, video calls and even drinks after work. In other words, you’ll be visible and there’s no hiding behind your desk anymore!

The good news is that there are solutions out there. To help you look great and dress with confidence on your return, here are answers to the most common workwear questions I am asked:

What replaces the power suit?

A blazer is the ideal replacement for a suit in a smart casual wardrobe as they make even the most casual outfits look well put together. They look fabulous with jeans, dresses. skirts and trousers as well as being versatile enough to wear with heels or flats.

Suits are making a comeback so you also buy the matching trousers if you are a fan of the two pieces. Just be sure you can wear them separately too. A word of caution! Don’t be tempted to dig out your old suit from the naughties as the cut is very different now and you run the risk of looking frumpy and out-of-date!

A blazer will be in your wardrobe for a long time so invest some time and money in choosing the right fit and quality. There is a style to suit all figures so be prepared to try on a few before you find your ideal style.

Here are three of my ‘go-to’ brands for blazers across the price points

Anine Bing                                       Massimo Dutti                         Zara


How can I inject personality into my work wear?

The positive aspect of a more relaxed dress code is that now you can bring your personality to the workplace. I’m not suggesting that you turn up to your next board meeting in your band t-shirt, but adding your unique style to your outfits will make you feel comfortable AND confident.

what to wear to work
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I often meet people who have a colourful weekend wardrobe yet feel they need to dress in drab colours at work. Whether it’s wearing colour, some accessories, a beautiful printed scarf or a snazzy pair of shoes, putting your unique stamp on your outfit is a way to ensure you are visible.

what to wear to office

Sandro                                                Russell and Bromley

How to add brighter shades to your work wardrobe

Wearing colour has been proven to lift your mood so if you are someone who loves wearing colour then there’s definitely room for it in a work wardrobe. The key is how you combine it. Bright shades with solid black can look harsh. Instead, mix brighter shades with softer neutrals such as camels, greys and blues. Wearing tonal shades is a great way to create a sophisticated look, see below.

How to look professional, yet senior level in a relaxed dress code.

This is a dilemma faced by many team leaders. You want to project an air of authority without looking stuffy and overly formal. It’s worth remembering that the term smart casual means exactly that, you need to be smart as well as casual. For example, if you are wearing jeans, always ensure the rest of the outfit is smart. If you are wearing trainers ensure you’re wearing smart trousers and/or a smart top and not sweatpants – you get the gist! If in doubt always opt for the smarter option.

Attention to detail is another key way of looking professional. Don’t neglect grooming by ensuring your hair is always clean and tidy, shoes are not scuffed and you don’t have today’s breakfast on your top.

Is there a smart alternative to heels?

Many of us discovered well before lockdown that heels are no longer practical for our lifestyles. Thankfully so have the retailers and there are now lots of smart and chic flat styles out there.

Ballet pumps and loafers are making a comeback but unless you have legs like Alexa Chung they don’t always look good with dresses and skirts. Ankle boots on the other hand work brilliantly with dresses, skirts as well as trousers so are a useful addition to any wardrobe.

My pick of the most useful flat styles around

what to wear to officewhat to wear to officewhat to wear to office
                                              M&S                                                   Russell & Bromley

If you would like some help to know the styles that work for your unique figure you might be interested in my quick and easy to follow ‘Style your shape with confidence’ guide. Using my thirty years of experience in dressing women of all shapes and sizes, I show you my tried and tested way to style your figure that focuses on your proportions – not what fruit you resemble.


Sally Smy is a personal stylist and founder of Queen Bee Styling. Prior to setting up her business ten years ago, Sally had a successful 18 year career in fashion buying working for leading high street retailers.

She now specialises in helping professionals dress with confidence and create a wardrobe that plays to their strengths. She also speaks and hosts workshops for many women’s networks both online and off including several government departments (The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and the Women In Economics Network).

If you would like further information on Sally and her services please drop her a line. You can also sign up for her free monthly style subscription which includes seasonal style tips and discounts offers.

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