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What the new office style looks like

What the new office style looks like

Remember the office? It's hazy for us too. We have a feeling what to wear to it is even hazier. But it’s official. Many of us are going back into work. The life of shirts on the top and boxers on the bottom is over, and we actually have to wear trousers again. 

To help you get back into the swing of getting up and getting dressed, we spoke to stylist Toby Standing on all the need-to-knows to make your transition that bit more seamless (while still maintaining a level of comfort you’ve become accustomed to). So, no matter what your office dress code calls for, keep scrolling and find the look that’s right for you. 

Super casual

If your office is pretty free in terms of what you have to wear, lucky you – this transition is going to be a whole lot easier. Of course, comfort is key for you, but people haven’t seen you in real life for about a year, so it’s always a good idea to return with your best foot forward, even if it is in a pair of Nikes. 

Small details like a drawstring waist and easy accessories will help you hold on to the laid-back vibe you’re used to, but the trick to ensure your look feels considered and put together is by keeping things kind of tonal. By this we don’t mean wearing head-to-toe brown, but embracing pieces that feel neutral and complement each other chromatically. Think shades like chocolate brown and grey mixed with some lighter browns. Then you can add little pops of colour through your accessories, so you’re not necessarily making a statement, but it’s clear you’ve put the effort in. 

Kind of smart, kind of casual

Smart casual is probably the most ambiguous dress code known to man, mostly because it can mean completely different things to different people. Toby’s advice is to stay true to your personal style and “take some liberties where you can.” 

Subtle layering is a good method to go for here. This way you can take pieces on and off as required depending on how smart you want to feel. The jacket for example, isn’t a bomber, denim or blazer, it’s more of a zip-up overshirt that feels a bit more professional than its casual counterparts, but less stuffy than a suit jacket. Same goes for the shirt – it’s not an Oxford, but it's not a formal cotton either; it just fits in between. It’s the subtle pattern that gives this shirt its personality without being a full-on floral number. 

When it comes to the trousers, this is a great place to add some fun. White might feel a little daring, but in this look, they contrast but still complement and are a great alternative to jeans or suit trousers. 

Strictly smart

If you’re working somewhere that requires a suit, you can still have some fun with it and not look like you’re wearing the same one you have for the past ten years. It’s all in the silhouette you choose. Taking cues from the relaxed clothing we’re now used to, Toby recommends a double-breasted suit with a bigger shape. Then, instead of going for the classic shirt and tie, if your workplace allows, opt for a knitted polo – it’s still buttoned up and smart but just not as restrictive. Consider this your opportunity to introduce a bit of colour, too. 

“Remember it’s about the small details here. Opting for a linen blend instead of a wool, going for a bit more of an interesting shoe than your classic derby – that sort of thing.”

Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing