What To Wear To Your Uptight Office

One of the perks of working in fashion is being able to wear culottes and glittery loafers to the office without giving it a second thought. We realize the same isn't true for those who work in corporate settings that adhere to a more traditional set of sartorial guidelines. That's why we enlisted a few well-versed workwear designers — from Reiss, Judith & Charles, and Atea Oceanie — to walk us through spring's biggest trends and how to translate them into your 9-to-5 wardrobe. 

Professional attire doesn’t have to be stuffy or boring. Reiss' head of womenswear design, Louise Palmer, challenges us to keep an open mind to pastels, pussy bows, and cutouts at the office. "A pale suit is a must for spring workwear. Choose a boxy, double-breasted jacket and pair it with slim-leg trousers for an updated, but still office-appropriate look," she recommends. As for tie-front blouses? “A silk, pussy-bow blouse teamed with high-waisted trousers nods to the season’s '70s trend. The loose fit will help you stay cool without showing a lot of skin," she says. 

If you're worried about where the cutouts come in, look no further than your feet (and breath a sigh of relief). Palmer suggests wearing cutout-detail flats as a creative alternative to open-toe shoes at more conservative offices. On the subject of shoes, Atea Oceanie's designer Laura Myers isn’t above wearing sneakers with suits, when it's acceptable. "Designed to be worn with heels or sneakers, Atea’s suiting is easily dressed up or down — making your commute or change for after-work drinks super easy." Myers pretty much read our mind: We're all for comfy in-transit shoes — and we know you are, too. 

Footwear and clothing silhouettes aside, one of the most important factors in assembling our spring and summer wardrobes is fabric. Materials, like tweed and linen, are "very well adapted to a professional environment in the spring and summer months," the team at Judith & Charles notes. "The qualities of linen, its lightness and adaptability, allow the pieces to have a smart and conservative allure."

To take full advantage of the tips we gleaned from our experts, we pulled together 30 wardrobe updates to pair with your existing, HR-approved duds. Your closet will be in business in no time at all. 
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The Crisp, White Suit
The cropped pant and the wrap-front blazer are a fresh update on the two-piece suit for spring. And, it won't feel too out-there for the corporate world.
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The Wrap Dress
A simple silhouette is the key to passing a vibrantly colored frock by HR.
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The Structured Shoulder Bag
A #girlboss bag, to be sure.
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The Pussy-Bow Blouse
Team your tie-front blouse with high-waisted trousers for a chic, '70s-inspired ensemble.
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The Pleated Midi-Skirt
Pleats lend this midi-skirt a professional edge.
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The Slingback Block Heel
The mid-heel and slingback are details your arches will sincerely appreciate. Shop even more comfy shoes here.
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The Sleek Timepiece
Skagen's uncluttered design is sleek enough to pair with the rest of your bracelets and cuffs.
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The Updated Trench
Boasting all the markings of a classic trench, this relaxed and roomy fit makes the silhouette feel fresh.
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The Eyelet Layering Piece
You can potentially get away with crop tops at the office — try layering Banana Republic's eyelet top over a short-sleeve, button-front shirt. It's plenty appropriate.
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The Printed Shirtdress
Give your shirtdress some subtle interest with a small, allover print.
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The Not-So-Basic Blazer
Layer a structured blazer over one of your many breezy sundresses for a truly effortless approach to 9-to-5. Or, you can scoop up the matching pant if you'd rather sport a coordinated set.
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The Never-Take-Them-Off Studs
Everyday studs you'll never want to take off, regardless of your work schedule.
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The Tweed Topper
One of the many reasons to consider reinvesting in tweed this season.
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The Wide-Leg Trouser
Trade in straight-legs and thick fabrics for flares — your legs will sincerely thank you in warmer temperatures.
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The Printed Pencil Skirt
If patterns aren't entirely encouraged where you work, try J.Crew's pencil skirt: It's an understated way to work a graphic design into your wardrobe.
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The Two-Tone Pump
While fashionably two-toned, Ganni's pumps are still modest enough for the office in gray-blue and navy.
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The Flared Skirt
Every women needs a solid black skirt in her wardrobe — it goes with everything.
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The Holds-Everything Tote
The perforated leather will add edge to your two-piece suit.
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The Corporate Matching Set
The matching set need not apply exclusively to suiting in an office setting. Boxy eyelet pullovers and full skirts are a choice swap for that printed, wrap dress.
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The Sleeveless Tank
Hoot's versatile, sleeveless blouse is clutch for summer workdays or weekend strolls.
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The Token Office Cardigan
Make your "leave at the office" cardigan a colorful choice.
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The Quirky Wallet
Quickly running outside to grab a bite to eat? Instead of lugging your entire work tote for the trip, a wallet as cool as this one is all you need.
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The Sleek Eyewear
Why not choose lilac frames?
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The Sleek Waistcoat
Waistcoats are a chic layering piece. Style yours over a long shirtdress or a classic, button-front shirt and pants.
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The Colorblock Top
Use colorblock pieces as a subtle way to incorporate unexpected colors — like cobalt blue and pastel pink — into your outfit.
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The Tassel Belt
Instantly add structure to your shift dress and cardigan getup with a not-so-basic belt.
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The Menswear-Inspired Loafer
Be sure to put coins inside these fringed beauties.
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The Three-Piece Outfit
If your office partakes in casual Fridays, test out a slightly more forward look — like Topshop's three-piece set.
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The Edgy Choker
Chokers are a polished accent to almost any outfit.
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The Bell-Sleeve Coat
Give off mod vibes in a topper that's brimming with charm.

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