Spring smart/casual workwear updates

Spring is such a great time to review your workwear and have a little update. Decluttering to start with is always the best way to make sure you are not hanging on to clothes you didn't even wear last season, that might be looking dated or that might be making you look like an old librarian. Whilst we don't want mutton, we don't want librarian either! Also something to consider is your position at work and where you want to get to this year. Have you been promoted in or are you aiming for a more senior position? The old saying 'dress for the job you want' is still relevant. The bosses are always watching and it's a clever tactic to stand out from your peers by being the best dressed, it's much easier to strut around with confidence when you know you look fabulous. If you already are the boss then it's absolutely essential to dress with gravitas and an organised wardrobe with easy practical and stylish outfits is a must-have.

A smart/casual work place requires the tricky mixing of separates to create an outfit, a headache for lots of people. Far more creativity is required than just throwing on a corporate suit 'uniform' every day. It feels good (and looks good to others) to show some personality and flair, especially if you are client facing.

If you're just not sure where to start with refreshing your look then a wardrobe edit and personal shopping session will solve that problem. In the meantime, I've curated a few core pieces here that will help to get your work wardrobe looking en pointe for 2017.

Workwear Heroes

First up are Theory trousers. I can honestly say that even my shorter pear shaped clients who really struggle with fit on trousers love these. In fact, most of my clients are curvy because that's far more normal than being a size 8 or 10 beanpole and Theory works for me and my clients time and time again.

At the moment cropped and straight or cropped and wide legged are the contemporary choices, and look good with great shoes. Wide legged work well with flats and heels. If you don't have the ankles for cropped styles then Theory have full length too and do a high-rise cut which is great for comfort on curves.

Theory Straight trouser

Straight cut cropped


Theory high rise crepe trouser

High-rise crepe trouser

Theory wide legged trousers

Wide-legged wool trouser

Tops seem to present a problem for a lot of us. Many women are curvy on top so the right cut is important - no gaping, the right neckline etc... Even though the wardrobes I pull together are practical (washable) it is always nice to have a few good quality silk tops. Good quality fabrics feel nicer and look a lot better on anyone over 30!  Order a silk bag from Lakeland on Amazon to wash your silks gently in the washing machine. I never dry clean anything and all my silk and lace tops have lasted.

Here are my current favourite work wardrobe staple tops. I've avoided pattern because that dates quickly and you'll get more wear out of plain tops:

Jigsaw silk top

Jigsaw amber silk| Jigsaw deep rose silk/jersey| Whistles fluted sleeve knit | Whistles orange silk tie top | COS electric blue high neck top | The Fold grey asymmetric detail jersey/silk mix


The third piece

Going to and from the office or for smartening-up to see a client, jackets and cardigans are a wardrobe staple and the 'third piece' of an outfit. BUT, a scruffy, cheap, ill-fitting cardigan can kill an entire outfit. Unstructured jackets are a great addition to any smart/casual business wardrobe and not 'corporate' like your classic tailored suit jacket. For something smart and somewhere between a cardigan and a jacket head to Jigsaw or Massimo Dutti, both always have a good selection.


Jigsaw Cardigan


Jigsaw knitted jacket | Massimo Dutti burgandy unstructured jacket | Massimo Dutti grey tweed

So far, so plain Jane - it's how you style it and finish it that makes an outfit great. Jackets, trousers and tops are your base then it's time to ramp it up with shoes and accessories.


Leopard print pony courts, pretty neutral and easy to match with outfits whilst providing some BOOM! by Dune 


Dune Court shoes



Red lady - always eye catching, always cool. Also from Dune.

Red shoes


Finish with accessories from Stella and Dot - they have brilliant statement jewellery, only available online:


statement necklace



Lisa Gillbe is an image consultant and personal stylist based in London UK.