A Guide To Curating An Office Wardrobe
As the late and unparalleled Dame Vivienne Westwood once said, "When in doubt, overdress." We couldn't agree more, and nowhere is that more applicable when in the office as you start a new job. What's more, the better you dress, the better you think, act and perform. That's not just our opinion; that's science.
At Northwestern University a decade or so ago, researchers studied how specific articles of clothing can influence our psychology and how we approach certain tasks. They wrapped it into the term 'enclothed cognition'. The brains behind this research asked equally adept students to wear various garments – from lab coats to pyjamas – before setting them a handful of tasks. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the students wearing lab coats outperformed their peers who wore casual clothing by some distance.
New Year, New Job, and unsure where to begin? Look no further than this guide which will help you curate the optimal office wardrobe.
The foundational garment of the office wardrobe is the single-breasted navy wool suit. Its versatility and practicality can't be matched, for it allows a great deal of interpretation and experimentation with what's worn beneath whilst providing an undeniably formal appearance. In Monday's case, we suggest the classic route with a head-down-get-to-work approach, which points towards the thinly-checked Mayfair shirt that will effortlessly anchor a dark green woven silk tie, the latter two of which gently complement each other via their similar tones. Overall, the ensemble has character and substance that is consistent with your ambition to do your best work.
With the first day of the week in the rearview mirror, Tuesday allows one to inject more character into your ensemble whilst still retaining a formal appearance. One such way is by opting for a blazer cut from a textured and patterned fabric with a corporate-based tone, such as our Navy Plain Wool Single Breasted Blazer. Such a blazer opens the floodgates for further experimentation with colour and pattern. For instance, a bold, multi-coloured striped shirt, namely the Chelsea Shirt, wouldn't go amiss here. Pair with a pocket square combination that harmonises all the colours that are present, it's a pleasingly eye-catching look that will keep you focused on the day ahead with a spring in your step.
Now that you are halfway through the week, lose the suit, and opt instead for a look consisting of a navy jacket with grey trousers, which is an undeniably fail-safe and timeless combination. Cashmere is a noble and virtuous material to wear; it's noticeably elegant whilst also understated and incredibly comfortable, and the charcoal wool flannel trousers with a single pleat will sharpen it up. To bring the two together, we suggest wearing our Merino wool polo shirts in a grey marl. Finally, add some considered flair to what would be regarded as a subdued outfit with our pattern silk scarf.
You wouldn't be out of line to forgo a tailored jacket on Thursday, and you can still maintain a formal appearance that will have you firing on all cylinders by turning up in a smart overcoat and with a combination of sophisticated knitwear, shirt and tie beneath. A cashmere crewneck in navy or grey is the obvious port of call. However, our V-neck jumpers – with or without sleeves – will do more in framing your face and helping display the shirt and tie combination. Not only that, but such a combination makes it known that you've made an effort for your peers and yourself.
It's likely that you have social plans beyond your desk, and it's an easily traversable path from one to the other regarding office wear. From a corduroy blazer to the Chore jacket, such garments impart a stylish utility that more formal garments perhaps don't, whilst still being able to be worn with a shirt and tie if you're so inclined. All can be worn easily with the James Trouser, but in the shirting department, we suggest our Richmond Shirts featuring a classic Kent or Dorset collar to start your weekend right. It's smart enough for the office, but the contrasting off-cut fabrics add a touch of Friday evening playfulness.
As with all style advice, this guide is open to personalisation, and we hope it's helpful to you as you embark on your working week ahead.