We’ve had a few rather fashion-trend-led looks on the blog of late so now it’s back to looking at classic, timeless workwear.
Now long-time readers will know how much I like classic work wear. Whether it’s a Little Black Dress, great pair of work shoes or The Perfect Work Trouser; I get excited because having great quality core basics that you love makes it so much easier to get dressed for work. Not to mention how much more confident you feel when you can easily pull together looks that you feel great in. If you are organised, you can create a matrix to help you easily mix and match the core basics and jazz things up with accessories. I find that a ratio of three tops to two bottoms plus a cardigan/blazer/trench coat can create at least six different outfits for the office. My personal styling clients among you will know how one of the first things I do after auditing and sorting a wardrobe is define these key pieces.
Are you wondering whether you have ’em?
UK brand Boden invited me to experience their range and I thought it was the perfect way to start illustrating a basic work wardrobe set up for Spring/Summer. The British retailer has set up an online shop for Australian customers and is full of preppy takes on classic workwear. This means modest tops and hemlines that are work-appropriate but available in fashionable prints, colours and fabrics so that you can put your own stamp on things.
The Boden Outfit Maker
The Boden online store has a very fun feature that also facilitates financial transparency. Have you ever grabbed a few items in a store and headed to the change room and then started mentally adding up all of the items that you like? Boden makes it easy through the Outfit Maker function where you can dress a model and the price of each item is tallied in a total just above her head!
So. Much. Fun. A really great way to experiment with work looks as you play with your own work wear style!
The Boden Capsule work wardrobe
Here is a basic guide to creating your very first work wardrobe – great for new starters as you get working on accumulating some pay checks!
- 1x formal work top. I chose the Textured Silk Blouse. FYI you will need a camisole for this (the blouse is sheer) and I’ve since found that it is a little long in the sleeve for me and hope that Boden soon re-work in their Petites range. That said it’s still a beautiful item that I’ve easily layered under things or simply rolled up the sleeves. If you’re not short like me, you should be fine!
- 1x dressy but easy-to-move-in work top. I chose the Ravello top in leopard print which strikes me as being the perfect kind of staple top for Spring/Summer.
- 1x cardigan. Unless you work in a very formal Corporate dresscode, you can get away without a blazer. I chose the Cropped Cashmere Cardigan in Citrine.
- 1x pencil skirt. I chose the Printed Cotton Skirt in an abstract leopard print that matches the top at 2.
- 1x work trousers. Boden sent me the Chelsea Trouser.
- 1x work bag. You need something structured, that can fit in the essentials plus some work documents. The Draycott Bag is perfect for this.
- 1x shoes. Formal and that you can walk in. If aren’t accustomed to heels, start with a polished flat. Pointed flats look a little bit more formal than a round toe; I chose the Fashion Pointed Pump in Tan Leopard but if they were still available in my size, I would have loved the pump in Beetroot Patent.
If you like you can also add a belt, stud earrings and trench coat. However based on the above 7 items (8 as you will need to add a camisole for the blouse!), you can get at least six different looks which means that you can start each work week with a *new* look that wasn’t seen the week before!
Each of these pieces are in great fabrics and timeless styles meaning that you’ll get lots of wear over the course of your career. I found that I quickly started mixing and matching Boden clothing into my existing work wardrobe:
Would you like to see how I’ve styled the other pieces?
If I had to pick, I would say that my favourite pieces are the Draycott bag and the Cropped Cashmere Cardigan. The cardigan is seriously such a delight – I think that everyone needs this. While our days are getting warmer, it still gets a little chilly here at night in Melbourne which is when the cardigan is such a soothing treat to throw on. And I must say that I’m also really enjoying the Ravello top and Cotton skirt too!
Disclaimer: This post features affiliate links to help you re-create these looks. If you purchase via an affiliate link, I receive a commission that goes towards the operations of this blog. And for that, I thank you!