How To Dress Corporate and Still Feel Like You


I’ve had a few emails and messages on Instagram over the years from flustered girls trying to build a corporate wardrobe that isn’t A) self-sabotaging, or B) made up entirely of pencil skirts and ill-fitting blazers.

I take particular issue with pencil skirts. I used to have nightmares when I was a teenager at high school that I would one day grow up and land a job that required me to wear a pencil skirt every day. Like, that’s it. The pencil skirt was the nightmare. You see, my thighs just don’t allow them. It doesn’t compute.

Let’s start with the basics. Try to fill your wardrobe with high quality, neutral pieces that Go. With. Everything. It saves time when outfit planning and means you’re more likely to wear it outside of the office too. I love Kowtow for their ballet cardigans like this and smart denim for casual Friday’s like this. You can’t go past Bassike for layering pieces and Jac + Jack or Elle + Riley for cashmere (cashmere is always going to be expensive so just bite the bullet and invest in one sweater). If you don’t want to spend on cashmere – I don’t blame you – I love the chunky knits by Ganni like this cream dream or this cardigan. Just avoid anything “slouchy” because it’s hard to look polished in a garment that is oversized and the old men in suits won’t appreciate it (snore). Speaking of polished, Anine Bing does good blazers and Chosen make cute slip skirts.

I also love the Copenhagen-based brand for it’s wrap-around dresses which are conservative enough for the office but don’t compromise on femininity. This one is cute, and so is this little number! If Ganni is a little steep price-wise, I’m obsessed with Pixie Market. It’s an affordable take on trend-focused pieces like this ivory coloured midi skirt. This dress means BIZ-NESS, as does this polka dot midi that you could pair with sneakers on the weekend.

My gut instinct has always been to avoid spending a lot of money on expensive shoes for work, mainly because the commute for most twenty-something’s is still pretty ugly (buses, trains or by foot). But if you do want to spend, do it wisely and invest in quality and versatility. You’d be hard pressed to find an It Girl that isn’t obsessed with Maryam Nassir Zadeh for summer shoes. These ones have my heart and aren’t (??) inappropriate for a boardroom come December.

Lastly, let jewellery be your quiet rebellion against the patriarchy (no one can tell you off for a pair of earrings) or at the very least a personal stamp on an otherwise boring outfit. My favourite affordable jewellery labels include F + H, Bagatiba, Amber Sceats, and Reliquia. P.s. take advantage of the fact that pearls are back in fashion and buy this!

Header image by Holly Burgess for The Twenties Club