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3 Actually Cool Outfits To Wear To Your Corporate Job

Dress codes are made to be interpreted, right?

Working in an office environment that doesn’t adhere to a strict dress code is both a blessing and a curse, depending on who you ask and when (me after a rare shopping spree VS. me on most days when I’ve *literally* got nothing to wear). Crippling indecision—combined with a love of snoozing, debilitating laziness, and proclivity for buying statement pieces that make absolutely no sense in the context of my wardrobe—means that I mostly wish I could just wake up and throw on a uniform, à la the golden old days of school. In lieu of a uniform, I really like to push the limits when it comes to informal office dressing. Take for example the pool slides I frequently house my feet in as if they aren’t a shoe made out of plastic, intended to be worn only in such circumstances as their name would suggest; or my legs, which are rarely introduced to a fabric outside of denim.

At age 10 I decided I wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. While I truly hope the following is untrue, Legally Blonde came out around this time and was probably the catalyst behind this particular career aspiration. I courted the idea for about five years, before realising that there were people out there who were willing to pay people like me money to write, which seemed infinitely more appealing to my magazine and blog-obsessed teenage brain than being a noble upholder/protector of the law. Since this brief dalliance is about as close as I’ve come to working a corporate job, I wasn’t too sure just how deeply these dress codes ran. Had I followed through with the lawyer idea, I probably would have rolled in on my first day wearing a hot pink leather suit like my 10-year-old hero, Elle Woods. To acquire the necessary qualifications to be scheming up these office-appropriate outfits, then, I turned to my IRL friends who work in the corporate werld, and also leaned a lil’ bit on my other pal, The Internet.

The first friend I consulted with works in government policy and gave this response: “Most workplaces have a ‘wear clothes appropriate to your tasks’ type vibe to avoid negativity from prescriptive dress codes, so really anything goes at my workplace.” A good start. Another friend, who recently started in a similar role, believes she has struck the perfect balance between #fashion and #seriousemployee with a collection of blouses and trousers (like these here, here, here and here). I can vouch for this, having watched her try on her newly-acquired workdrobe with the kind of glee usually reserved for young children watching their mum put on makeup for a night out. My friend (who I’ll call Sorrel, because that’s her name) gave me a list of all the rules of dressing a corporate lawyer might encounter: high waists, lots of black grey and beige, only one fun piece, no big jewellery, jeans on Friday, and no cut outs. But perhaps the best reminder came from a friend who works in marketing, who reinforced the idea that the “the office is not a nightclub” so “don’t wear anything too short or revealing.” Noted! All of the friends I conferred with mentioned casual Friday (the importance of which is usually lost on me, ’cause you know, to me that is every day), so expect a follow-up post strictly reserved for TGIF dressing…

But in the meantime, and with the above counsel behind me, I bring you 4 outfits that say both, I take this job very seriously, and, It’s called fashion sweetie, look it up. 

Words: @madw0n

Image: Valeria Lazzarini for STREET365 by @carmengracehamilton


1) Sarah & Sebastian
Gold Earrings

Checked Blazer

Wide-Legged Trouser

Iris & Ink
Metallic pouch

Black Slingback Pumps

2) Cornelia Webb
Pearl Hair Pin

Puff Sleeve Blouse

Iris & Ink
Midi skirt

Iris & Ink
Black Slingback Kitten Heel

Simon Miller
Bucket Bag

White shirt

Striped Trousers

Fine Ring

Alexander Wang
Tote Bag

Sam Edelman
Hot Pink Sling-Back Heels