This post is written by a member of the Debut Student Publisher Network. Read on for Beth’s ultimate office-casual guide:
Once upon a time I walked confidently into an internship at a magazine, in snazzy cigarette trousers, cute floral top, blazer and loafer combo. I’d managed the early commute with flair, tucking a metro under my arm on the platform and feeling like an absolute boss. Later, in a chat with the Editor, she says “you look lovely, really smart, but you don’t have to be so formal every day! Casual is fine.”
My office fairy tale came crashing down around me. Hillary Clinton was no longer my ultimate fashion role model. Whereas formal office wear is obvious, and casual wear easy (you do it every day), the in-between can be tricky. Never fear, here’s how to bring it everyday with your office-casual wear, so you can concentrate on excelling in your workplace.
Switch it up
The secret is to take a completely formal outfit, then swap out one or two elements for more casual pieces. One example is to take the classic shirt, skirt and blazer combination, and play around with it. A black denim skirt will still look smart, but cool at the same time, and less stuffy than a tight and itchy pencil skirt. A cool white or blue shirt is your best friend, (this one is cool) as you can dress it up, down, wear it open, with a few buttons undone, or done up all the way to the top.
Dress to impress
Dresses are easy to wear to the office, as long as they’re comfortable and appropriate. They provide an easy outfit to put together, especially if you have to get up really early in the morning to commute! You can make it casual by pairing with some snazzy trainers, which could come in handy if you happen to be running late. A well-tailored black blazer is a work-wear staple that you can wear over and over, making any outfit just that little bit more professional. This River Island jacket is a classic.
Work your quirks
Chances are your company is interested in what fresh ideas you can bring, so don’t be afraid to show your personality in the way you dress. I absolutely love pinafores, because they’re quirky, cool, and give off a slight uniform vibe, so you feel ready to work hard. Roll neck jumpers are an office-casual staple, especially as the weather gets colder. Dress for the job you want is good advice, but if you dress for the employee you already are (the hip intern obviously) then you can’t go wrong – unless you steal someone’s favourite mug from the kitchen. Don’t do that.
Office-casual Friday anyone?
Working at a new job can be absolutely exhausting, but choosing what to wear doesn’t have to be. On lazy days, you can sometimes get away with jeans, especially if they’re dark in colour. Jeans? To an office? Well I never. Pair them with some smart, flat, office-casual perfect shoes, like these suede loafers which work well with trousers, dresses and skirts. (Nobody wants to be walking around all day with heels on.) Just be careful not to get too comfy in your relaxed clothes on the tube, you don’t want to miss your stop!
And when all else fails…
Throw on a big power coat and a blanket scarf and head out into the cold, scary world of work. Remember every office is different, so feel it out, look at what your colleagues are wearing, but most importantly, remember it’s what you do there that counts, and not how you look while doing it.
Images © Angeli Bhandal