Style cheat: How to look smart at work and stay comfortable

Who says smart has to equal stuffy? That you can’t dress for work and for comfort? Read our tips for workwear that you won’t want to take off.

When it comes to dressing, some of us feel most at home in our weekend clothes, when we can pick whatever we feel comfortable wearing.

However, if your office has a workplace dress code, you may not get away with Converse and jeans in the week. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the cliched stiff suits, tight pencil skirts and uncomfortable shirts though.

With a little imagination and careful tweaking, you can easily put together a work wardrobe that will please your boss and make you feel comfortable and like ‘you’.

Pick the right shoes

It’s pretty miserable being stuck all day in shoes that don’t fit properly, or are just plain uncomfortable. And unfortunately many ‘smart’ office shoes (especially heels) aren’t built for comfort. So what, if the mere thought of a day in high heels causes you palpitations, are your alternative options?

The trick to comfort is to find flat shoes that tick both the comfort and the smart boxes. Brogues are very in season at the moment and a slim leather Oxford, for instance, will match perfectly with nearly every silhouette.

Too boyish? Try an upscale black ballerina flat from a specialist like French Sole or a square-heeled ankle boot instead – the main thing is to be sure that you pick a slim-fitting style that doesn’t appear clumpy.

Smarten up long sleeved t-shirts

If you find shirts and blouses too stifling, but you don’t want to compromise on formality, long-sleeved t-shirts can be a safe middle ground.

Stick to neutral colours, such as black, grey and white, and opt for round or high-necks to keep the look tasteful. Need to dress a long sleeved t-shirt up a little? Add a statement necklace, pair it with high-waisted trousers or skirts, or add a soft blazer.

Pick good quality clothing

Sometimes, cheap clothing shows. It doesn’t matter how good at your job you are, wearing clothes that’s cheap or ill-fitting won’t deliver a great first impression.

If you want to be taken seriously in the workplace, consider upping your ante to go for quality design and superior fabrication from a site such as Peter Hahn, which also deals in a range of plus-size styles to ensure you get the best fit possible – whatever your shape.

Choose fabrics wisely

You can still wear the same ‘office-like’ silhouettes of blazers and smart trousers, but up the comfort factor by replacing clingy and tough man-made polymer fabrics, for more natural, forgiving materials such as wool, linen and silk.

Being premium fabrics, these items cost a little more than your average suit from a standard department store, but they will make up for their worth in comfort and appearance.

Better still, if you really want to get full value for money, key items of premium clothing can be worn in among your regular attire outside of work, too. A silk shirt looks just as great tucked into wool trousers as it does tucked into your vintage Levi 501s on weekends.

Need more workwear style tips?

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