There are a lot of changes I’ve made to my work wear style since going freelance- one of which is that I’m now wearing a wider variety of print shirts. That’s right, I’ve gone from being a a person who never wore shirts to work to now finding that they are the perfect thing to throw on in the morning over a singlet top (as worn in this post).
The difference is that the shirts I’m wearing are undeniably more casual – softer cottons, silks and the occasional poly that are so much less stiff to wear than the traditional corporate shirt. They also all come in prints that I enjoy and because that means I don’t have to iron them- a winning factor in my books! My favourites have been a mixed Liberty floral print (from J.Crew like this one), stripey shirt in different blues (similar to this) with a contrasting white Peterpan collar and as shown today, polka dots.
A friend gifted me this shirt that she picked up second-hand in an op-shop. It is 100% silk and has mother-of-pearl buttons but the size of the polka dots meant it was a little too quirky for my previous role in Finance. Here’s how I wear it now in my preppy take on the Smart Casual dresscode:
For Smart Casuals like me, pretty much anything goes when it comes to choosing prints to wear to work. We have more freedom to choose what appeals to us and to have some fun with it. Here I’ve paired my polka dots with pinstripe pants and striped-heels; more subtly there are a preppy strand of pearls at the top of my collar to poke fun at those dots 😉
Tips for wearing print shirts in more formal workplace dresscodes
Have no fear, BusiChic! Corporates and Business Casuals can still have funs with the prints, here’s a wee guide on how to choose ’em:
- Size matters. Opt for finer, “smaller” and more subtle prints. Literally this means the smaller the polka dots, stars, hearts or lips, the more likely you’ll be able to get away with it.
- Go for classic colourways. A print in classic black and white is your safest bet. Other timeless colour combinations I appreciate include pairings of either red, white or yellow with navy blue and if you’re brave enough, try leopard print.
- Layer. Bought a shirt in a slightly louder colourway? Tone it down by layering under a lightweight merino wool or cashmere top. I am a fan of rolled up sleeves with a flash of print poking at the ends, similar to what I’ve done above. If you do layer using a merino wool top, consider usinng a skinny belt to complete the look but be careful about placement as the belt may cause rubbing and piling of delicate fibres.
Print shirts to work this Winter
- Push the envelope with this playful lip print shirt shirt Country Road. The lips are a little on the larger side so tone it down with a classic blazer and roll up the sleeves at the elbow for an effortless chic look.
- Uniqlo silk shirts are a pretty good buy at just shy of $80 and come in a variety of colour combinations. Polished enough for work but relaxed enough that you’ll seriously consider pairing it with jeans for Smart Casual Friday or brunch on the weekend.
- Always thought of trying leopard print but found it a little too loud? Oroton’s Royal Print Silk Shirt sees a more subtle re-working of the classic in more neutral tones, check out this post to see how to rock it in a very chic corporate way.
Want more? Stay tuned to the Business Chic board I’ve dedicated to blouses and shirts that I keep updated with BusiChic styles to wear to work! And if you are Smart Casual like me, this is the board for you to follow.
How do you wear prints to work?