Office outfits on a normal person’s budget

Spending eight hours a day in an office can often create the kind of sartorial cynicism that stops you from updating your wardrobe.  After all, it’s easy to scan a shop and put everything into one of two mental baskets: stylish -- or work appropriate.

The latter tends to lose out to things that you’re more likely to wear on a night out. It makes sense, right? Who wants to spend a bunch of money on Cruise Collection jumpers only to be reminded of being trapped indoors? Is pant-length crucial when you’re sitting all day? Will the House of Harlow top really get to shine when you’re perennially shielding yourself from the office air conditioning? Yep, you're right to be cynical.

But dressing up for work isn’t just about playing an awkward tug-of-war with the latest fashun. It’s also about acknowledging that you’re willing to look professional – even though you’re not a collared shirt kind of gal in your personal life.

So how best to allocate your hard earned cash to office pieces? The most obvious solution is to invest in staples. Simple pieces will outlast any eye-catching trends (High Top Sneakers, anyone?). And a classic dress or blazer is likely to win you compliments season after season, since they're easy to freshen up with on-trend accessories -- like a boyfriend watch or a statement necklace. 


And always buy online – even if you happen to love browsing in real life. You’re almost always guaranteed a bargain, and sometimes there are online-only items that are perfect for anyone who is extra vigilant about not clashing clothes with colleagues.

Depending on your office dress code, there are other ways to cut down workwear costs. 'Business casual' -- like its party cousin ‘smart casual’ –- can be fraught. But so long as your interpretation of ‘casual’ is within reason, you can always try to shop for office items that might also work for your off-duty wardrobe.

Printed dresses, playful blazers and bright tapered trousers are great for their mix-and-match potentials. If nothing else, spending wisely on your nine-to-five self means you’ll also always look sharp at dinner and after work drinks. What’s not to love?