Summer is over and the school year has started again, and with it the return of that Monday morning ritual: a pile of clothes (none of which now seem to go together) and only an hour to get ready and out the door.
If you’re bemoaning the loss of lazy summer days, then listen up: workwear fashion should be as fun as weekend fashion, with no evidence of that uncomfortable fitted black dress or white fitted shirt with cap sleeves (yes, you know the one). As the world wakes up and heads back to work, be bold in prints and statement accessories, opt for oversized bows that cinch you in at the waist, and don’t be afraid to don those leather look jeans and killer heels. This year, back to work also means back to being you!
Best Back to Work Pieces
The ‘back to work’ season is a great time to invest in new business wear. Hit the high street and you’ll find the tail end of the summer sales (kerching!) as well as covetable new autumn collections. Work clothes for women are so varied these days; one size definitely does not fit all. So what have our favourite shops got to offer right now? Take a look below and choose your faves – there’s something to suit every style and personality.
Our Top 12
Workwear Style: Dress to Impress
Now is the time to invest in new autumn/winter workwear. If your office is on the formal end of the spectrum, embrace a slightly more muted colour palette focusing on classic blacks, whites, greys and navy blues, but with some autumnal shades such as burgundy, burnt orange, and mustard yellow thrown in.
Something that you won’t be able to leave the house without in the months to come is a warm winter coat. The chic, slightly relaxed fit camel coat with a sharp collar was the go-to trend for the UK winter 2016/17, suiting all body shapes and instantly smartening up any outfit. Keep an eye on the high street stores over the next few weeks to see what style will be dominating our wardrobes this winter.
Black chelsea boots, over the knee heels and shoe boots are classic styles that will take you from work to the weekend and back again. Pair with different dress lengths and cuts, and the corporate environment will be your catwalk in no time.
Winter doesn’t mean that your only cover up option is a blazer or cardigan. Slightly oversized jumpers can still be smart – it all depends on what you pair them with. Go for a deep shade with a high neck against a checked pattern or black leather skirt. Or try a more fitted style with a collared blouse underneath. It’s the little details that will really make you stand out from the crowd. Jumper dresses are also a great investment and real transitional pieces from autumn into winter. You’ll find that fitted, longer lined styles make great go-to work clothes; then just drape that relaxed fit coat over your shoulders, don the shoe boots, and you’re good to go!
Although the summer is drawing to a close, the end of season sales represent a great opportunity to pick up a whole new work wardrobe for next year (if you are disciplined enough to wait six months to wear your purchases, that is!).
Summertime is the perfect excuse to inject some colour into your workwear, so look for stripes, florals or plain brights to boost your business wardrobe. High-waisted culottes are genius in their comfortable and forgiving nature, but are also so easy to dress up or down; simply pair with a white shirt or complementary fitted tee and blazer and you’ll win many cool points.
Midi skirts and tailored shirts with heels exude confidence in the workplace, whilst delicate, lightweight blouses tucked into flares or cigarette trousers are really flattering and perfect if you’re into more classic tailoring (but with a twist, of course).
Finally, if you’re looking for a bit of a cover up, lightweight macs and duster coats in pretty pastel shades are most definitely the answer – and many can be found for half price (or more) if you scour the sales.
Workwear Style: Smart Casual
Despite feeling sad about the end of the summer, we’re so looking forward to the new autumn collections: high-waisted flared trousers, straight leg denim styles, knitted midi dresses and long sleeve cowl neck tops are just some of the highlights on our must-have smart casual clothing list.
Oversized blazers are also a fashion favourite, oozing the smart-casual vibe. And if oversized is your thing, big statement sleeve shirts with skinny jeans and long sleeve shirt dresses will suit you down to the ground. Fashion has never been so comfortable during office hours.
Stripes are a great transitional trend and remain as much of a must-have for the winter as they did over the summer. Tucked into jeans, trousers, skirts or pinafore style dresses, this is a trend that is showing no signs of going out of style and can easily be dressed up or down to suit the occasion. Leather-look skinny trousers or jeans could also come under the ‘never go out of style’ category. Flattering, warm, fashionable workwear – what’s not to love?
Ruffle wrap skirts have been a big hit this summer – go and grab them in the sales while you can! Gingham is the pattern you’re sure to want. It’s fashionable, flattering and ever so pretty.
Lace and sheer fabric tops are great for the summer months, with cigarette trousers and ballet pumps or loafers finishing off the look nicely. They also work beautifully with classic blue jeans and court shoes, ideal for a casual working environment (or on dress down Friday).
Celebs Do ‘Back to Work’
How wonderful it is to see some of our favourite celebs rocking the smart trend. From the daily delights of Holly Willoughby’s outfit choice for TV, to the oh so chic Victoria Beckham who just nails the dressed up look every time – these women are certainly ones to look up to if you’re wanting a 9-5 style shake up.
We love this white shirt and bold pencil skirt combo from Holly, who knows how to use classic pieces to perfectly complement her curves. Nude heels are also a great investment for office days as they go with everything.
Such a gorgeous take on the traditional suit, Laura Whitmore rocks her tailored trousers and blazer with a relaxed, patterned blouse. The pop of red in the heels gives the look that extra edge.
Mollie’s love of fashion really shines through in her styling. Proving that the cropped jumper isn’t just for a dress down day – rock it with floral fitted trousers and stylish court shoes just like her and you’ll be sure to banish the Monday morning blues.
Not only ‘Posh’, but also a fashion icon. Gone are the days of the strapless ‘little Gucci dress’ – Victoria Beckham now totally oozes sophistication in structured pieces that embody her growing brand and, in a way, her growing up. This striped jumpsuit ticks all the chic workwear boxes.
Workwear to Suit You
Gone are the days of pinstriped, ill-fitting suits and dresses. Work clothes for women in 2017 make weekdays something to look forward to. From patterned midi skirts to cropped trousers, oversized white shirts to statement sleeves, there is something stylish to suit both corporate and creative environments.
Take inspiration from fashion bloggers, your favourite celebrities, or someone that you just happened to spot on the street who was rocking their workwear look. But above all, be carefree, be glam, be sophisticated, be comfortable – be you.
Read more great articles on women’s fashion here at alexie.co.
Last reviewed and updated on September 6, 2017