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Steve Jobs may have made a shiny block of metal, glass, and plastic the world’s ‘it’ accessory, but to us his greatest style achievement will always be his minimalist work uniform. You know the one: the black mock-neck, the dad jeans, the round spectacles; this style formula is as pervasive in tech offices today as standing desks and fridges stocked with kombucha.

Though we respect the heck out of Steve’s no-BS approach to dressing, we’re here to challenge you to put a bit more effort into your own professional look. The office is after all where you spend the bulk of daylight hours — reserving your best style moments for the weekend is a waste of your taste. To help shake you out of your workday style rut, we’re sharing some easy tips for livening up your look. Because it’s time you impressed your co-workers with your sharp dress sense, not just your killer PowerPoint skills.

Rewrite the rules

The line between on- and off-duty styles has faded recently, meaning you’re no longer restricted to dark suits and brogues in your day-to-day. Today, it’s all about incorporating unexpected (yet still entirely appropriate) style elements into your wardrobe in ways that even Don Draper would greenlight. If a suit and tie is your default style, swap in a simple tee and some leather trainers for a more relaxed take.

For those of you who like to keep things business casual, swap your chinos for smart joggers. You can easily dress them up with a crisp button-down and a blazer, and they’ll make sitting at a desk infinitely more comfortable. And if you’re a creative type (or simply not afraid to mix things up), consider the workwear suit – essentially a chore jacket paired with wide-leg canvas trousers. You’ll never think of tailoring the same again.

Reach for more colour (and pattern)

Take a look at the stark white walls you’re likely sitting in – your office is practically begging for colour. If head-to-toe colour isn’t your look, keep your outfit balanced by styling a colourful blazer with neutral trousers. Even a pair of crimson socks, a blue backpack, or an olive button-down can be the flash of pigment your outfit needs. And while you’re at it, embrace more pattern too, whether it’s via a striped shirt or a polka dot pocket square. Or both. Pattern makes a drab Monday more fun, so lean in.

Embrace the layered look

Layers are not only sensible in the workplace, they’re also a strong style choice. Acing a thoughtfully layered look – think a cardigan over a patterned shirt or a button-down beneath a crewneck jumper and a blazer – requires attention to detail and an understanding of how to harmonise different types of pieces. This signals to others that you have confidence in your choices and aren’t afraid to take risks. It also gives you the luxury to add or remove a layer throughout the day, depending on your mood, the formality of your meeting, and that one notoriously frigid conference room.

Pay attention to detail

The little details tend to be the most neglected, which is a shame because the right cufflinks or trainers can add up to a sartorial slam dunk. (Yes, people notice these things, and you’ll start to too.) Spending an extra 20 minutes selecting the right pair of glasses for your face, for example, can lend your look a sophisticated, even scholarly edge. Something else we think you should start getting into? Watches. They’re a low-maintenance way to jazz up your look, and a solid collection of them will instantly elevate your accessories game. Opting for a more wallet-friendly Timex or Seiko means you can continue building on your assortment over time and experiment with different styles. But you’ve been warned, collecting them can be incredibly addictive.

Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Chris Howlett
Styling: Brooke Philips