Corporate chic: Style strategies for dressing for work

I have a love-hate relationship with dressing for work; most days, I revel in creating a look for work that’s casual-corporate yet chic, but there’s other days where I feel uninspired and end up pulling something out of my closet just minutes before I have to head out the door! While these occasional ‘off’ days are inevitable, I try to minimise them by using work wear as an opportunity to get creative and experiment with clothing. In my efforts to do so, I’ve discovered some styling tips along the way that have helped me to keep the process enjoyable – as well as affordable. Here are some of my strategies for dressing for work.

Work wear, play wear

Ever since I began my ‘corporate’ career a few years ago, I’ve refused to get sucked into buying too many clothing and accessory items specifically for work. While this is undoubtedly helped by the fact that I’ve never been required to wear full corporate attire, with the exception of a few well-tailored blazers, the majority of my wardrobe can be styled for both work and leisure. This not only helps save money, but also forces me to become imaginative with my styling. For example, a recent black playsuit I bought from Sportsgirl was made work-appropriate with some creative layering (think a crisp white shirt underneath and a blazer to finish the look), while the lace-up Topshop shoes at the top of this post have been worn with a cropped tailored pant for a casual corporate look.

High end to high street

Pairing brands of different price points is another way to save money, but also an experiment in creativity and resourcefulness through the mixing of high end classics and high street trends. For example, those who know me from Instagram will know that I love Australian brand Scanlan and Theodore (their tailoring and material are just divine), but unfortunately the price points mean that I can’t wear as much of it as I’d like. So I’ve invested in a few key pieces over the years (think blazers, knit jumpers, white shirts and trousers) that I style with more affordable brands such as Uniqlo and Asos. I’ve found that while a well-cut high end piece really lifts an outfit, the addition of moderately priced trend pieces means the look is kept fresh.

A stitch spend in time saves nine

When it comes to fashion and styling, the old ‘mix and match’ mantra is thrown around a lot and it’s not hard to see why – after all, surely a wardrobe filled with versatile pieces would make it super easy to get dressed in the morning?! While this is often the case (see above for my take on it), there’s times when this seems to make dressing for work – and dressing in general – just that much harder. Too many times I’ve found myself picking out a pair of pants or a shirt or blouse to wear and confusedly staring at my wardrobe wondering what I usually pair it with. So recently I took the plunge and spent money on a complete outfit (in my case, a skirt and blouse from French Connection). While this meant a little more money up front, the investment paid off as I now have at least one ‘go-to’ outfit when I stand bleary-eyed at my wardrobe wondering why it seems like I never have anything to wear.

Flats are where it’s at

Although flats often get a bad rap for not being corporate enough for work, there’s some days where just the thought of heels makes me want to groan with the effort of it all. While heels can be a great confidence booster, sometimes a classy pair of flats will do the trick just as well as heels (if not better, because they mean you don’t end up finding yourself walking precariously on cobblestones when you go out for that obscure Melbourne-laneway coffee run. Or is that just me?). My picks for the perfect work flat are simple styles in patent leather, as I find they not only go with everything but also look a touch more corporate than a matte finish.

I’d love to hear your tips on dressing for work! Please feel free to share them below x