Get to Work

Risk taker or play-it-safer? Build an office look that’s to die for

Words: Rosie Goddard | Photographs: Andy Reeves | Stylist: Mandy Nash

Switching your pool lounger for an office chair, and eggs benedict for oats doesn’t exactly inspire change, but nothing lifts the back-to-work blues quite like a wardrobe refresh.

Gone are the days of shapeless pant suits and mandatory heels – your 9-5 is now an opportunity for you to explore and celebrate your sense of style, rather than watering it down. And with fashion’s new-found eclecticism set to envelop our love for minimalism in a flurry of prints, embellishments and metallics, there’s never been a better time to add a light-hearted touch to your look.

Whether you're a risk taker or a play-it-safer, these mix-and-match pieces will rejuvenate your 2017 wardrobe and make long days at your desk seem a little bit lighter.

 Best foot forward

All hail Alessandro Michele, the Gucci designer who almost single-handedly reworked colourful granny chic into the most luxe, coveted look of the season. Another comeback kid he’s responsible for? The 80s block heel. Ok fine, you can thank Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana too. Exaggerated shapes, bold colour clashes and open mules are of the moment but not necessarily over-the-top – when worn right, they’ll err on the classic side of cool.

For the maximalist: Channel the best of decades gone by and elevate your shoes with bold prints or silhouettes. Metallic block heels with Lanvin-inspired striped flares? Now that’s a pairing we can get behind.

For the minimalist: Let your shoes do the talking and keep the rest of your outfit simple. Not only will they have more of an impact, they’ll have more of a timeless feel when paired with a blank canvas.

Dress best

Considered the ultimate throw-on-and-go staple, the dress will cut morning stress in half. It has the power to make you feel instantly pulled together and requires very little extra work. Grab a bag to match, some perk-me-up shoes, and you’re sorted.

For the maximalist: Try out this season’s new take on the stripe. Attention-grabbing with a decidedly retro twist, mixed-width, multi-colour stripes add a touch of Studio 54 to an otherwise ordinary work day.

For the minimalist: Opt for a subtle ruffle. It’ll create some vibrancy within a simple look without shouting too loud.

Play blouse

Pastel shades are having yet another moment, and we’re certainly not complaining. This season, they’ll provide a neutral base on which to build the rest of your ensemble. Simple designs won’t lose their lustre as trends change, meaning you can pair them with everything from jeans to A-line skirts throughout the year. Feel like standing out? A flared sleeve will make sure your look is bang on trend. 

For the maximalist: swap your jeans for trousers in the same (or a similar) pastel hue as your top. Not only will you nail a Solange Knowles-esque statement, the pared-back sophistication of your ensemble will earn you a nod of approval from even the most discerning of dressers.

For the minimalist: make a classic silhouette current by adding texture: the more you loop, knot or tie your tops, the better. Look to Leandra Medine for guidance.

Bottoms up

When it comes to getting more for less, versatile skirts and pants are a safe but savvy investment, as they cost slightly more but will certainly outlast the majority of trend-led tops. Look to power dressing’s most prominent decade, the 80s, for a little outfit inspiration, and play with structure and proportion where you can.

For the maximalist: elevate the everyday by getting clash happy. A success of a print-on-print combination will inspire you to bring your love for offbeat style into the office.  

For the minimalist: explore structural 80s workwear and tie your outfit together with a blazer. Opt for one in a simple shade such as navy and swap it out with anything from a skirt to tapered pants.

Win best desk

Create a little home away from home with decor accessories that’ll perk up even the most uncreative of corners. But first, you’ve got to decide what kind of space you want: do you prefer tonal palettes, neutral shades or an array of candy shop colours?

For the minimalist: find a colour and explore its tonal variants, whether you’re grabbing a notebook, pens, or paper trays. Finish off your ultra-stylish desk with some kind of frond – perhaps a monstera leaf – placed nonchalantly into a beaker of water.

For the maximalist: eccentric desk accessories are your calling – grab novelty highlighters, cute-as-a-button pen toppers and pop culture-inspired post-its. A plant pot/pen holder feature will also work wonders as a mood-brightener.
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