Do you dream of being described as an immaculate dresser but, when it comes down to it, shrug and consign yourself to ill-fitting, mismatched separates? Or perhaps you stick to a failsafe formula which works for the office but never fails to make you feel a bit drab? Then it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and invest in the new working wardrobe staples you really will wear forever. Whether you opt for snappy tailoring or a chic ‘n’ sleek midi, classic cuts or a statement silhouette, invest in a few key pieces from the brands those ‘polished-to-perfection’ women swear by and you’ll soon be able to count yourself amongst them. Dress well enough and you could even earn yourself a bigger pay packet. Not convinced? Read more about the science behind dressing for success.
Reiss specialises in classic tailoring with a contemporary twist. Sick of skirt suits? Try teaming your blazer with a tapered trouser or culotte, instead. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even try a jumpsuit…
The elegant sleeve and neckline detailing which characterises Cecily’s sweet-but-smart shift dresses will have everyone looking – for all the right reasons – whilst their flattering sleeved midi cuts conceal arm and knee-related bugbears. Holly Willoughby is a fan.
3. The Fold
One look at The Fold’s collection of premium workwear and you’ll never be able to dismiss the grey suit as ‘boring’ ever again… Proving that looking feminine and looking like you mean business are by no means mutually exclusive, their tailored separates, arm-concealing dresses and statement trench coats will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about dressing for the office.
Whistles bring a fashion-forward edge to workwear with playful cuts, quirky detailing and unusual colourways. Team a tie-waisted pinstriped shirt with pink culottes for an off-to-the-office look even Victoria Beckham would covet. Add nude court shoes for the boardroom and white trainers for running about town. Prefer a tougher edge? Team a crisp white shirt with a leather midi skirt.
5. Me + Em
UK brand Me + Em specialises in slinky, tummy-flattering dresses and beautifully cut separates. If you’re the elegantly understated type (or wish you were), you’ll be in seventh heaven.
All of this London brand’s pieces are British made – and their heritage is echoed in the subtle quirks which make them stand out from the crowd – like the salmon-toned hem on this burgundy shirt dress. Not a fan of frocks? Check out their mix ‘n’ match tailoring collection…
This German brand is a go-to of those in the know. Seeking beautiful silk blouses, wear-anywhere pleated midi skirts or a throw-over-anything maxi coat? Time to get to know…
8. Rose & Willard
Femininity and boldness are the watchwords at British brand Rose & Willard, and their tailored separates, sharp shifts and silken blouses prove that romance and business can successfully co-exist. Need a crease-proof blouse for a business trip? Look no further. Most of their pieces can also be be made to order.
Is a stylish laptop bag an oxymoron? Not according to Knomo, whose stylish range of totes, backpacks and tote-backpack hybrids is designed to contain and protect all the technological devices your working day may require in designer label-worthy style.
Laptop Bag, £229, Knomo
10. & Other Stories
The most important part of any woman’s working wardrobe, though? Shoes, of course. If you’re fed up of hobbling in heels and squeezing into toe-crushing flats, look to the canny businesswoman’s best kept secret. & Other Stories churns out beautiful, comfy flats and statement-making work-safe block heels faster than you can clear your inbox. And the best bit? With change from £150, you could snap up an entire outfit, to boot… Sold.