Returning to work – how to upgrade your wardrobe from home to office

Getting ready to return to the office after months of working from home, and not sure what to wear? Here’s how to upgrade your wardrobe for autumn.

It’s been a very strange period for many of us working from home, who have had to find ways around converging personal and professional environments.

And while the early days might have seen us making more of an effort, for many the joggers and hoodies have been steadily creeping in – particularly for those with fewer Zoom meetings.

After finally getting used to the new routine, recent weeks have seen many of us returning to work. Switching from bedroom-office to a real working environment is hard enough without adding in what to wear, but luckily we’ve got some tips for upgrading your autumn wardrobe.

Don’t ditch the tees

Being able to sit around the house in a comfy t-shirt rather than a button-down has been one of the pluses of working from home.

While your favourite graphic tee might not be entirely suitable for the office, t-shirts in neutral colours can be paired up with smarter pieces for a more professional, yet still relaxed look. 

Upgrade a simple white short-sleeved tee with some wide leg trousers for a smart-casual office vibe. Plain tees also work really well with formal bottoms or a tailored jacket to make your look more work appropriate, while still being comfortable and not needing to change up your wardrobe too much. 

Dress to impress

Dresses are a great choice for those adapting from home to office environments because they’re comfortable and easy to move around in – unlike skirts and trousers which can be stiff or too formal.

Button-down dresses allow for greater manoeuvrability, making them another option for those not quite ready to return to more formal shirts. A utility dress is ideal for these in-between-stages, equally wearable on busy office days or relaxed weekends.

Dresses can also be a fab way of injecting some personality into your work wardrobe. Uplift your look with a pop of colour or a bold pattern when the neutral tones become samey. 

Jazz up a jumpsuit

Dressing for the office isn’t all about working. The opening of pubs and bars plus the return of work socials means your wardrobe should contain office-appropriate pieces that can be worn for drinks after hours. Versatility is key, as you don’t want to risk looking over or under-dressed. 

A trendy co-ord or jumpsuit is a great choice – it works equally well for professional and relaxed events, and can be easily made formal with a heel or jacket. For slightly smarter occasions it’s hard to go wrong with black, although don’t be afraid to mix it up.

Dress down a suit

While just the idea of putting on a suit again can cause an involuntary groan, this doesn’t have to be the case. Once thought of as the pinnacle of formality, the casual suit is making a comeback in a big way, and is a staple for any work wardrobe. 

For a return to the office, a casual suit is a great way of maintaining professionalism while stopping short of being stuffy.

Don’t be afraid to be adventurous with the colours; while nudes and subdued tones are popular in autumn, bold colours can brighten up days when you’d rather be working from home.

Dress it down with a t-shirt and trainers, or jazz it up with a smarter shirt and shoe depending on mood and occasion.

Step into a routine

After so long sitting at home in socks, the thought of wearing heels might be jarring to say the least. Readapt yourself to a new schedule and to the office with the right pair of shoes. While your choices might be limited to what your workplace considers appropriate, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be comfortable.

Flats and low boots are a comfortable alternative if you can’t get away with trainers. For those who aren’t willing to let go of WFH ease, pumps are a good option – though slightly more professional than slippers! 

While re-adjusting to change is always difficult, returning to work with the right wardrobe can do wonders for your overall attitude.

Embrace your new schedule with comfortable pieces that balance style with practicality – like Emma Willis’s collection with Next, available online now and in selected stores from the 20 August.