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How to Stay Chic During Your 9-to-5

by Isobel Wright

Chic is a term heard often amongst the fashion industry. To dress “Chic” conjures images of Parisian style, being synonymous with stylish and ‘effortless’ dressing. When searching the term, we tend to be met with a visual palette of neutral tones and a selection dainty accessories.

Going to work doesn’t tend to be a particularly exciting occasion for most. It is normal that we feel drained of energy and motivation. However, a great way of overcoming this is to start anew. We can implement this into our routine through style.


Style is expressive and, most importantly, individualistic. It can turn monotonous days into positive days of productivity all from simply wearing something you feel confident in. 

Your office outfits don’t need to remain mundane just to be business appropriate.

To start? Basic items of clothing are key - a capsule wardrobe stands the test of time for a reason. 

Basics are the foundation of any outfit and can be mixed and matched with a variety of different items to bring emphasis to statement piece or even just to make life easier by having set items guaranteed to work well together. This includes basic tees, long-sleeved tops, shirts, blazers, and trousers in cuts like peg or wide-leg.


Similarly, basics can be formed of unique items using neutral colours: think white, black, cream, brown, and grey. 

However, despite black being ingrained into our definitions of the term “Chic”, don’t feel constrained by the word. Patterns and interesting tones can be professional too, I promise. 

In fact, those neutral colours are key because they’re accessible. Meaning, yes, they pair beautifully with other neutral tones, but they also work to highlight brighter colours to make them pop. 


Spring is upon us, and so is the most perfect time to establish colour within our wardrobes. 

It can be difficult to dress for spring, as the weather can be unpredictable – layers in this case are crucial.


In a world of Matilda Djerf, blazers are a must. The smart and trendy piece can elevate any outfit for the office. Thrown over a basic top is the best way for a smart-casual look, that is perfect for the comfortable and stylish look we aim to achieve through chic.

Being in an office 8 hours a day can also be strenuous and it is important to prioritise comfort, as well as looking good. 

A good pair of shoes are vital. A go-to for many is a pair of Docs. Once you’ve got past the potentially traumatic break-in period, any pair of docs work both in an office environment and with most outfit choices. 

Forgo the burden of heels, rigid Derbies or flimsy flats, a chunky boot is your best friend. A personal favourite is the “Dr Martens 1461 3 eye quad platform shoes”. No need for awkward ankles just to gain a bit of height.


Wide-leg trousers have also become a mainstream loved item, and for good reason. They radiate elegance and their loose fit is ideal for long days in the office - coming back to our point of comfort being key. 


To step up your style, matching a suit jacket/blazer with trousers is a simple way of looking stylish. If your office implements smart-casual, it can be easily dressed down with a t-shirt and smart trainers too. 


As comes naturally with the warmer weather, we’ll be seeing a lot of midi and maxi skirts again season. They pair perfectly with a thin jumper if you don’t trust the British weather - and, again, a pair of trainers or Docs can ensure they stick to an office vibe. 

From bags to belts to bracelets, accessories can’t be forgotten either!

The smallest item can drastically change the feel of our look – a powerful tool that we must use to our advantage. A watch and simple necklace can complete a look, but then dramatic earrings can add a dramatic and bold edge that shifts your image entirely.

If your neckline exposes your décolletage, layered necklaces or a single statement necklace can elevate this shape. 

Similarly, if you’re having a bad hair day and need to scrape it back, a pair of interesting earrings can make use of this free space or even tie in a colour from your outfit that may not have made sense otherwise. 

It is important to remember that style is an intimate and personal manner of expression.

Although seemingly minor, decisions like whether your necklace is gold or silver, or if you carry a rucksack or tote, can make a difference not only to the aesthetic of an outfit but also to how the wearer feels. 

Embrace “Chic” as effortless and expressive. And, most importantly, don’t let your 9-5 stop you from feeling like yourself. 

Edited by Emily Duff

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