Because who hasn’t been late for work at least once due to a massive panic about having ‘nothing to wear’…
Among the many useful things that our education system fails to teach us – consent, how to cook healthy meals, what the heck you should do about mortgages and pensions etc – is something that while not life-changing is still pretty needed if you’re turning up for work in an office. Sartorial knowledge.
And I’m not talking how to put together a capsule wardrobe with items that most magazines claim are affordable but in fact cost the earth. (And frankly, never believe the articles that seem to think that of course you can wear that sparkly tulle dress to work as well as to a party – unless you work as Cinderella’s fairy bloody godmother, don’t do it. Nothing says smart and reliable to clients than turning up looking like you’ve just rolled in from an all-night party… said no careers advisor ever.) I’m talking about actual practical, unsexy and affordable shopping and styling advice.
Buy cardigans in a range of neutral colours
So you’ve got nice blouse and skirt/trouser combo or a striking work dress but lo and behold we live in England and it’s cold. Or it’s vaguely hot and someone in the office has turned the air con up to relive England at its coldest. The point is, you will want an extra layer. And an extra layer that still allows you to show off your great blouse or dress, so here, my friends, enters the cardigan. Get them in black and white and grey – in fact several in each colour, so you’re not panicking in front of your wardrobe because your only black cardigan cannot even be rescued by Febreeze and you now need to put together a whole different outfit.
If you have found a comfortable shoe – buy it in every colour
Because having to hobble to your local Boots to buy another box of plasters is not only a painful experience, but the pennies also add up. And, you end up with lots of boxes of plasters with only those small round ones left, which have as far as I can tell have no discernible use unless you are perhaps Thumbelina and want to improvise a fascinator.
Watch out for black
Black comes in different shades and textures. I recommend when buying a black blazer (which every woman should have in her wardrobe) that you buy it as part of a skirt or trouser suit, so when you want to look super smart and matchy, your blacks actually are the same, and, you have smart separates you can jazz up as per my next point…
Embrace colour and accessories
Business settings can often look like fifty shades of grey and not the fun kind, which is just depressing. Being at work doesn’t mean losing your individuality. Unless you have super important meetings where you need to be in a full-on suit, just incorporate one smart tailored item into your outfit, whether that’s the blazer or skirt/trousers and pair with a colourful shirt/dress/trousers (a black blazer with printed trousers is one of my favourite work looks). You immediately stop looking like a sixth former experimenting with tailoring for the first time.
If patterns seem a bit scary for work stick with a block colour for the top/bottom and pick a chunky necklace or big earrings or rings in different colours. You’ll be instantly doing a master class in colour blocking that upgrades your outfit to smart and chic.
Dresses are a time-saver – invest in at least three
Because you’re a millennial and therefore highly likely to have been pointlessly up until the wee hours on social media, you will love having outfits you can just throw on in the ensuing panic when you oversleep the next morning. And, what fits the bill more easily than a dress? Have at least three of them to avoid the ‘argh its in the laundry basket dilemma’ and make sure that they a) comfortable b) aren’t hideously short and c) don’t show sweat stains easily. You don’t want to waste precious seconds in the morning agonising over whether your dress will embarrass you, you literally want something that is a no-brainer to throw on.
So, when trying on the dress remember to lift your arms up and sit down and bend over in the dress to check for comfort and likelihood of flashing. You’ll just have to work out for yourself through trial and error whether some materials make you sweat more than others.
Just throw laddered tights out
Again. It will save you so much time in the morning. That small ladder which you think will be hidden by skirt length will grow. It’s a fact.
And always go to M&S for your tights.