With office dress codes in flux, here’s how to navigate three of the biggest workwear dilemmas.
Can I wear denim to the office?
If we could, most of us live in jeans every day, and having a business casual dress code makes this denim dream a distinct possibility.
There’s just one very important thing to understand: there are jeans and there are jeans. By that we mean some denim is as smart and stylish as any other garment in your wardrobe, while at the other end there are items that should be sealed in a concrete bunker two miles underground.
With that in mind, here’s how to do denim right. Avoid extreme fits like baggy or
super-skinny, and instead go for a straight or slim leg. Make sure you chose a deep black or heavy indigo-dyed jean. Look for a solid colour with no fading, stone wash or whiskering (where the jean has pre-fades to simulate ware) and of course, absolutely no rips.
It’s probably best not to wear it up top in most offices, and double denim is a
minefield rarely worth crossing. Unless you work in a rodeo, in which case, go for it cowboy.
Gamu’s tip: Try wearing a more formal shoe with your jeans. A shiny brogue or derby will contrast perfectly with the raw denim to create a cool yet still office friendly feel.
Can I wear trainers to work?
There was a time, not so many moons ago when trainers were only ever worn on the field of sport. At some point though – via streetwear and high fashion – they’ve made their way into the working world, but nobody is exactly sure what the rules are.
Let’s set that straight. Firstly, you need to put in a good level of consideration in order to perfectly execute trainer wear at work. We’d recommend avoiding any sports specific models, nothing with flashy colours, techy materials or air bubbled soles and focus on styles with a more luxury, grown-up feel.
It’s also wise to compensate for your super-casual shoes by making the rest of your outfit that little bit smarter; a suit or blazer and chino combo will do just fine. This mix of traditional tailoring and sporty footwear is a surefire way to make a cool but office appropriate outfit.
Grace’s tip: Try adding a bright sock to this ensemble – a red, turquoise or yellow will work a treat.
Are patterns acceptable?
Workwear doesn’t have to be plain and nowhere does that apply more than your
choice of top. Whether it’s a shirt, knit or long sleeved jersey your upper half provides the opportunity to add a twist to your get-up.
Pin-stripes are a classic choice, but why not try taking it a few steps further with a Breton stripe? Underneath your blazer, this solid bit of menswear takes on a new life, one that is ideal for the office.
If florals are more your style, then go for it but don’t go overboard, the aim is to add a bit of interest and personality to your outfit while not becoming an eye catching distraction to your colleagues. Opt for muted or tonal patterns with no heavy contrasting colours and you’ll be fine.
Melissa’s tip: If you’re looking to try something a bit different but are worried it might be a step too far, stick to traditional working colours such as white, navy or grey. This will lessen the initial impact, while you ease in your colleagues to the brave new world of business casual.