If there is one thing I miss about my old job (apart from all the rad people I used to work with) it’s the dress code. As much as I love a little bit more freedom in choosing what I wear, there was something really satisfying about getting up everyday and putting on a blazer and a pair of heels. It also made my slightly quirky sense of style stand out a bit more.
We all know I’m a fan of basic blacks, but its great to mix it up with some cheap and cheerful pieces like this green blazer. I love the matchy-matchy feel with this blouse and classic black pants, but I have been known to rock it with a red skirt and festive tee come Christmas time.
When I started working in the corporate world I quickly sourced my go to brands for affordable, stylish and flattering clothes. But I think my hands down, absolute favourite brand is Review. It may not be super affordable, but they have several outlet stores in Melbourne (at DFO and on Bridge Road) where you can get a bargain price for these top quality pieces.
I purchased this pencil skirt (along with a jacket that matches) in a shopping spree when I got my first corporate reception job in 2012. I had scrimped and saved and worked every extra shift I could so I could have a little spare cash to get a new wardrobe for this exciting new chapter of my life. My mum came down to Melbourne and we spent the day on Bridge Road stocking up on suits.
This jacket is from another Review skirt suit, courtesy of my mum. I didn’t own a matching black suit and mum tracked this one as it got reduced at her local Myer and eventually bought it for my birthday a couple of years ago.
I find Review has the right cut for me, they always fit my waist and aren’t too tight around the hips. Off the top of my head I can think of 2 suits, 2 skirts, 3 tops, 1 dress and a pair of pants that I have from Review and I love the days that I wear any of them, and even better if I can wear two!
I just returned to this post to find two words I had hurriedly typed when I uploaded these photos; “best pants”.
That’s honestly how I feel about them. They are the best. I picked them up for a cool $20 at Myer about a year ago and when I did I never thought I’d love them this much.
Firstly, I love that they are completely different to anything else I own (ie. they aren’t black). The slim cut is very on trend right now and the seam down the front of the legs give them a tailored-and-pressed look. I wasn’t wholly convinced they would be for me when my mum suggested trying them on, I was worried the white background would lend itself to all kinds of messes as well as the always dreaded visible panty line (VPL), but I was surprised to find that the fabric was thicker than expected, eliminating VPL and making them extra comfy and warm.
If all that wasn’t enough, I started looking closely at the pattern (some muddled combination of paint, flowers and fireworks) and could immediately see them working with my wardrobe in a myriad of ways. I’ve worn them with black, white, dark & light blue and red, like I did here.
This red long sleeved top can be a little over powering, but with the additional of my simple black blazer and booties it becomes a totally acceptable, and fun, office look.
I was feeling extremely good about my early morning outfit choices as I left the house this day, but was solidified in my decision when half the marketing team at work commented on it, which is always a good sign in my books!
Tokito Paris Waterfall Jacket SALE $44.97
Tokito Paris Essential Straight Leg Pant SALE $34.97
I talked about how wonderfully versatile a black blazer and pencil skirt are in my Back in Black – Work post. The same can be said for a flattering, classic pant suit. Whether you prefer wide leg like here, or a slimmer style like here, they are a staple in the office wardrobe.
I would love to invest in a custom tailored suit (shame they aren’t as affordable as jeans), but I’ve found plenty of affordable options by keeping my eye out for a bargain. I’ve found awesome suits at places like Portmans, Review (check the outlet stores for big discounts) and Myer. The Tokito range at Myer has heaps of options at great prices and the Jacket and Pants shown above are currently ON SALE, making the suit under $80!
Pair the suit with a crisp shirt to feel like a boss in the office or you use them as individual pieces to mix and match within your wardrobe and create a range of looks. My only fully matching pant suit only made it’s first appearance recently (here), but I’ve done this heaps with the skirt suits in the past, like in the examples below. (whoa! my photo game has seriously improved.)
Grey Portmans Blazer
Grey Portmans Skirt
Red & Black Spot Review Jacket
Red & Black Spot Skirt
Three outfits for the price of one? Sounds good to me!
I always think going black is a practical choice (is it obvious yet that I wear ALOT of black?), but there are heaps of options out there in different cuts, colours and patterns. Find something you know you will wear for years to come, that makes you feel fabulous and works with your wardrobe.
Need a bit more inspiration? Click below to follow me on pinterest.
Dressing for work can be hard at the best of times. You want to be professional, but you still want to be you. There is a fine line that can be a little blurry in some office environments.
I remember my very first day in a super corporate office at the tender age of 20. I was expecting to walk into an office of 40+ year old males, so I played it safe and turned up in a matching grey suit with a crisp white shirt. From day one I knew this wasn’t the level of dress expected from me. I started to mix it up with trendier pieces and bright colours and 4 years down the track I was constantly pushing the envelope with what I wore to work.
If you are new to the corporate world I believe it’s best to start conservative and slowly suss out what is acceptable in your office and there is nothing safer than all black.
It’s definitely worth investing in a great black blazer and pencil skirt – whether you currently work in an corporate office or not. They are truly timeless and can be worn with a myriad of things to a range of occasions. When I say “investing” I mean taking the time to find the one that’s right for you, not necessarily money. This black Cue blazer has been my go to for many years now and was given to me in a bag of hand-me-downs from a family friend (the same one my leggings were from in my Sporty post) and the pencil skirt I picked up in an opshop for $6 when I first started working.
Once you have these two items there is so much you can do make it work all year round. Check out this pinterest board for some inspiration.
I’m a huge fan of a satin frill front shirt (examples here and here) over a traditional button up shirt. I love the flow and the contrast of texture, making an all black outfit like this feel a little less mono-toned. It’s also the easiest part of this look to add a bit of a colour or pattern to. I have quite a collection of this style of top in a range of colours and patterns that I have collected over the last 5 years, but depending on your work environment you could switch this up with anything from a cute jumper to a cool vintage t-shirt.
After spending over 4 years doing 9 to 5 I have amassed quite a substantial work wardrobe with blazers and pencil skirts in a range of colours and patterns. Find what works for you and your specific environment and make it yours.