I’m working as an intern for a PR company at the moment, and the office ‘dress-code’ is ‘casual’…
…But then, we’re often going to events or meetings with clients at the last minute, so I suppose it’s really ‘smart-casual’.
Now, I’ve always hated the ambiguity of this term, but it is the only term that fits: so I need to find a way to bring some ‘smart’ to my everyday clothes, so that I can go to an event at The Guardian, or whatever, and not be completely underdressed.
So, I’ve got three basic looks that I go with for work, and I can mix and match and wear different combinations but I know I always look professional but understated and I’m not over-dressed for a casual day at the office!
I love this outfit because it’s fun, it’s relaxed and soft, but with the silk shirt, heels and blazer it still looks smart. It’s versatile; I can wear some grey suede flats which makes it much more casual, and put on the jacket and boots for an instant lift to the outfit. The coloured jeans add a sense of fun and keep it low-key, but the silk shirt gives a proffessional air, and I think that cardigan just brings the whole outfit together – and it’s cashmere, so it’s been keeping me warm in these past few Autumn weeks!
Jacket: Massimo Dutti Cardigan: The White Company Shirt: Reiss Jeans: Boden Scarf: The White Company Boots: Boden
This is another of my favourite outfits. It’s a little more masculine than the last outfit and has a more ‘stylish’ look, rather than ‘pretty’. It’s a classic combination of jeans, shirt and jacket, but it’s such a great combination with thousands of ways to go. Blue jeans automatically say casual, so the black chelsea boots give it a more dressed up look and the patterned silk shirt, tucked in with a nice belt smartens it further. I specify tucked in because I feel that untucking the shirt immediately brings it back down to casual; another demonstration of the versatility of this outfit! Once again, the cardigan brings the whole outfit together, tying with the black boots where the blue shirt ties with the blue jeans. Then throwing a nice black blazer over the top brings the whole thing to a more professional look, as well as adding those all important thermal layers!
Jacket: Massimo Dutti Cardigan: L.K.Bennet Shirt: Reiss Jeans: Gap Scarf: Crew Clothing Boots: Boden
Once again, I find this to be such a versatile outfit. I would wear it on a lazy sunday around the house, but I can so easily dress it up to be suitable for work and anything else that may come my way! The tan jeans with the simple white camisole and pale jumper are very simple and casual, but with the addition of my favourite boots and a nice necklace the whole outfit has a much more put together and smart look to it. Add the jacket and, although it’s still quite casual, it gives a more polished look to a comfortable and casual outfit. Then add the scarf for a burst of colour to lift the whole outfit!
Jacket: Massimo Dutti Jumper: Massimo Dutti Camisole: Banana Republic Jeans: Boden Scarf: Zara Boots: Boden
As you can probably tell, I’m big on staples. I don’t think anyone can have too many pairs of jeans, shirts, cardigans, jumpers, jackets, boots or scarves. And with a variety of styles and colours in these few items, you can put together a thousand and one different outfits!
I tend to find a good thing and then keep going with it: I love Massimo Dutti jackets, and know they are well cut and fit me well, so I get them in a whole load of varied styles and colours!…I loved the style and feels of the Boden Chelsea boots, so I buy a different colour every season! (Or so it seems; I got the black ones last winter and the grey this summer in the sale.)
I have real problems with jeans; I have very narrow hips, so finding a well made pair of good-fit jeans is tricky for me; 7 For All Mankind, Levis’s, Gap and, I’ve recently discovered, Boden are the only places where I can get decent fitting Jeans. So I buy them in all colours!
With a few staple items: Jeans, shirts, jackets boots and an assortment of accessories, you can create hundreds of different outfits to suit every occasion, whether it be a casual day around the office or drinks event with clients. By mixing and matching, you can suit every need and turn an everyday outfit into a smart, stylish and professional look. A classic combination is classic for a reason!