Must have workwear items

Taking a leap into full time employment last year was a big change for me. I went from a hybrid working set-up at university to jumping into the public sector and a corporate office. Although it is still a hybrid routine and a smart causal dress code, it is a new way of dressing all the same.

Almost a year later and I think I have cracked the code having built up staple pieces that have carried me through the past 9 months. Gone are the days of chucking on my comfy clothes to sit and write an essay or attend a lecture. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to carry through the same principles with my work wear. You’re sitting at a desk 9-5 so comfort is key.


Trousers were probably my most sought after piece when I joined work, which took me a while to find. But now, I have three pairs of trousers that are exactly my style and are comfortable. Wide legged trousers have become a common shape in my wardrobe as they add simplicity and a modern edge to any outfit. I find they offer a good alternative to your classic straight legged silhouette.

One of my most worn pieces are these Mango Pleated Culotte Trousers. With a side-zip and clasp, these are sleek and affordable. Don’t be fooled by ‘culotte’ though, these are long enough for my 5’11 self.

If you’re looking for something similar but more on the causal side, then these linen blend trousers from H&M have been a firm favourite for me. Great for summer because of their light weight fabric but not so great for their ability to crease. I have to iron these a lot which is not so convenient when you’re rushing to get ready. I have however never had so many compliments on a pair of trousers, so worth it if you ask me.

One of most recent purchases has come in the form of these Because of Alice Relaxed Straight Leg Trousers. Well made and fantastically long, I am already considering getting another pair. The beige tone means it adds something different to my wardrobe while still being smart.

If you’re on the hunt for a specific leg length, then I’d highly recommend Marks and Spencers. They offer petite, tall and regular so if you’re struggling for the right fit, then this should solve all your problems!


We are still in winter here so jumpers have become a staple in my wardrobe and I must confess, I have quite the collection. You can add something quite interesting through adding a quirky cut or detail to your jumpers as well as easily adding a pop of colour that still aligns with smart work wear.

I don’t usually go for red but in a visit to Marks and Spencer, I fell in love with the detail on this jumper. It’s comfortable as well as smart – perfect for work! They also have it in green and white,

In my opinion, stripes should be built into anyones work wear wardrobe. It’s timeless and a classic for a reason. It’s also a highly reliable piece which can be chucked on easily. This striped jumper is perfect for working from home and is a relaxed for fit a smart causal office.

A polo knit is another office staple for most men and women, and this grey marl soft knit is similar to one I found in TU from Sainsbury’s last year. As they are relatively thin, they go perfect with skirts and can transition you from winter to spring with ease.

Finally, we go to probably one of my most worn knits this winter both for day-to-day use and the office. A good turtleneck is hard to come by but this Monki jumper is a firm favourite. Plus, if you’re looking for something to keep you warm, then this is exactly what you need.

Base Layers

This is where simple is key. From good t-shirts to thermal layers, you’ll need some good base layers to meet the smart casual dress code. I love going as minimal as possible with these as a good black t-shirt with the wide legged trousers is a fantastic combination in my eyes.

Uniqlo is a fan favourite for basics, and although I am yet to get some myself, they are next on my list for t-shirts. I’ve found the crew neck t-shirt a good shape where you get a certain amount of structure while still being relaxed. Plus, they are well-made but affordable.

COS also do heavy-weight t-shirts which I am adding to my wishlist. They offer staples which will last, which is exactly what you want when it is a piece you’ll be wearing regularly.

You’ll often find that you may have to spend a bit more, but similar to these AND/OR John Lewis tops pictured, it is worth spending it. Quality is only possible with investing in this case, so its worth shopping around.

My mum will be excited that thermal clothing is included in this but my turtleneck has been a lifesaver in the cooler months and has been perfect to pair with my trousers and skirts.


Ah.. shoes. This is probably the one thing I have found very frustrating to get right as I am not a heel wearer. So a simple pair of trainers and some handy pumps have come in use.

A very plain pair of trainers that only get worn to the office and back has become a life saver in my wardrobe. The white contrasts well and still makes it look office appropriate. Additionally, if they are only for office wear, they should avoid wear and tare. I bought these bog standard pair a month ago and have found them to be the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

When I started work I bought a pair of Clarks loafers which I am not going to lie, have hardly come out the box as they are taking a rather long time to break in. But once I have cracked them, I think they’ll be a unique but highly convenient pair of shoes to have in my wardrobe.

If you’re looking for pumps, I just bought a tan pair and a black pair from Primark to slide into once I arrived at the office as largely pumps are extremely uncomfortable to walk to work in. So if you want something accessible and easy, this might be what you’re after.


A bag is probably going to be your most used item as well as your most expensive purchase. So, if you’re going to do anything when considering buying a bag for work, I would advise going with practical and look at reviews. When you’ve got a laptop, notebooks, lunch etc. to take with you, you need to find something that is going to carry just what you need. It’s also a good idea to consider your journey and what’s comfortable.

I invested in this Kin Sia Large backpack as I knew the brand was good quality and would be suitable for what I have to carry. If you take lunch to work this might not be your best option considering it is wide and long but there is no depth to it. It was a more affordable option for me but still will last long.

On the other hand, you may be looking for something water-tight and slightly larger, in that case, this bag may be more up your street.

If you’re looking for a carry-on/handbag then I’d definitely look for something sturdy with elaborate straps. I see this Longchamp bag everywhere as its durable and large. On the other hand, this John Lewis leather tote would be perfect for fitting all your work things while still looking sleek.

Workwear can be incredibly overwhelming and most films and TV shows put an insane amount of expectation on what you should look like going into work, especially for women. Finding some confidence and personal style within this open-ended dress code can be difficult, it often contributes to a first impression when you join a workplace which is no small feat. That’s why its important to stick with what makes you comfortable and don’t shy away from showing your personality at work, like you would outside of it through your clothes, they are an expression of yourself at the end of the day.

I am aware I haven’t touched on tops, dresses and skirts. This is something I plan to tackle more in my own wardrobe in time for Spring/Summer so once I have some key pieces, I’ll come back and share them!

If you’ve got any places you think people would love to know about for workwear staples, let me know below!

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