I was asked twice over the summer, (which is quite a lot for me), about back to work clothes for the modern, go-getting woman (who also possibly has a couple of kids and hasn’t seen inside an office for 5 years).
I had no clue at the time and indeed wrote back “Don’t have a clue, mate” but just recently a few visions have popped into my mind as to what I would be wearing, if I had an office job. Don’t laugh! Okay do, but quietly.
With any luck, this trend for wearing giant flowery dresses everywhere, including the office, will soon die. My prejudice against them is that I don’t feel like me in them, I feel like I am in drag, which has lead me recently to wonder if I am indeed this thing people talk of, “gender fluid”. I’m going with it, as it’s exciting to feel relevant.
Instead, or perhaps, also, if you are going back to the office – or have already returned – and haven’t done so already, look for a blazer or a couple of blazers. Not just a blazer, maybe even a jacket. The key thing here is to try a few on as different shapes will suit you, all the while falling under the category “blazer”.
(Sorry, I know I am so boring about the try-lots-on thing but it really is the only way to get the right one. Be organised about returning things as if you don’t return things promptly it means the man has won and we don’t want that.)
You must try on lots of things because style and shape is so hit-and-miss. I look absolutely hideous and wrong in anything double-breasted or too long or oversized. I had to sit out the trend for the belted, oversized blazer. Though to be totally frank, I think some other people ought to have done, too. You, on the other hand, may look bloody excellent in just this style and it’s really impossible to tell until you’ve got it on.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Fashion people will start nattering on about getting a pink blazer or a flowery one or clashing prints or something equally frightening and that’s fine for them but they will also, these fashion people, also have one excellent black blazer, one navy and one grey somewhere and a they will wear them a lot. Don’t write any blazers off that you currently own, unless you put them on and the shape feels genuinely bad. My best and favourite blazer is from Tophsop RIP and is probably twenty years old. Still fine.
John Lewis, god love it and preserve it, has a million and one black blazers in all styles. I like this one from French Connection, which still has plenty of sizes left. This navy one from Gerald Darel is also good, although only sizes 10 and 12 left 🙁
Skipping over to Me + Em, this “puppy-tooth” blazer is acceptable as a basic because from a short distance away it looks grey. This website uses very slender models, so you can’t really see how good the pattern cutting is, but really this brand is incredibly forgiving and cut to fit an actual woman, so buy with confidence. I have got things from Me + Em that I have worn probably 400 times, which justifies the slightly higher cost.
Hang on, while I’m here I’d like to try to persuade you into a knitted vest. I have mentioned this before – to wear over shirts or long-sleeve t-shirts or even a blouse. Very forgiving around the middle area and extremely now. If you want to get one elsewhere, make sure it is reasonably thick otherwise it rather falls into “tank top” area, which is not what you want.
Back on jackets, I’ve got a slight crush on this one from Paul Smith via The Outnet. Also later in the season, keep an eye generally on Iris + Ink, which is the Outnet own-brand offering. It’s always very good quality but at the moment it’s still stuck on high summer wear.
Another grey one, from Cefinn. Cefinn’s pricing is a bit high in my experience, but it’s all undeniably good quality and very well cut. All the clothes are machine washable! Please don’t rag me about it being by Samantha Cameron, Brexit is not her fault.
I know that “just wear a blazer” sounds like really stupid advice, but what I’m trying to do – what I’m always trying to do – is reassure you that getting dressed is not hard. It is contrived to be complicated by an industry that wants you, always, to buy more stuff all the time. You don’t need to, you probably have all the clothes you need in your wardrobe right now, you just need a clear 10 minutes to really look at what you have and maybe sling one or two things to the dry cleaner. Looking great is all in the details – a jaunty earring, rolled cuffs, neat shoes.
Lol! I’m talking like I’m not writing this in my pyjamas.