What to wear to work in 2020

Written by Harriet Davey

Want to say goodbye to daily dressing dilemmas? We’ve rounded up the best trousers, blazers, women’s suits, smart shirts, jackets and blouses for modern office power dressing.

We can spend weeks choosing the right dress for a big night out or what to wear to our best friend’s wedding. Then there’s the question of how to dress at ajob interview. The process of securing your dream job can be stressful enough without piling on the added pressures of what to wear. Generally speaking, interview outfits should be tailored to the type of company you’re applying to – but it’s always best to go smarter than you’d usually dress.

Once you’ve secured said job, it’s important to continue to dress in a way that makes you feel professional, comfortable and self-assured. Spending hours every morning mulling over your outfit choices simply isn’t an option. We’re looking for the effortlessly stylish pieces that can create a confidence-boosting outfit in minutes, that will have you leaving the house feeling capable of taking on the world – andconfidence is an all-important element in getting that promotion you’ve been aiming for.  

So with that in mind, here are six simple power dressing tricks to help you command attention in the boardroom and hold your own in the office. 

1. The power suit

Make a statement in a colour-block trouser suit and team with this season’s hottest animal print: python     

If you work in an office and want to wear a suit, long gone are the days where you had to stick to a simple black or grey option. This season, suits are all about making a statement. We’re talking cord textures, checked and animal prints, and powerful punchy colours.

You can wear the trousers and blazer as separates – the perfect capsule wardrobe additions. You’ll end up getting so much wear out of your new suit that it’ll stretch far beyond strictly workwear. 

Wear your suit jacket over a T-shirt, blouse or high neck top, and flats, heels or boots on your feet. Whatever you choose, the suit will keep you looking smart and show your colleagues you’re prepared to wear the trousers.

Find the best women’s suit jackets and trousers below.

  • Racil

    Workwear: Racil blazer

    A fresh pastel feels no less crisp when work with a sharply tailored silhouette. Wear yours with the coordinating trousers for a spring-ready take on suiting or, if your office feel less formal, layer over a printed midi dress for a smart yet playful look. 

    Shop Racil double-breasted wool-twill jacket at Matches Fashion, £775


  • Racil

    Striking the perfect balance between elegant and empowering, the power of the palazzo pant should never be underestimated. This luxe wool twill style will look just as chic in the office as it will at evening events. 

    Shop Racil high-rise wool-twill  palazzo trousers, £465


  • Topshop

    Workwear: Topshop blazer

    The best part about this rich berry-coloured suit is that it’ll work across all seasons. Layer over a white T-shirt and push up the sleeves for an effortless edge. 

    Shop Tophop petite berry suit blazer, £49


  • Topshop

    Workwear: Topshop trousers

    Struggle to find a suit that fits without having to get it tailored? Topshop has created this same style in mainline, tall and petite so the leg lengths will suit all heights.

    Shop Topshop petite berry suit trousers, £30


  • Acne Studios

    Workwear: Acne Studios blazer

    Update your everyday workwear with an Acne Studios striped suit and you’ll never look back. Try teaming with trainers and a roll neck if you’ve got a laid back office. 

    Shop Acne Studios striped wool blazer at mytheresa.com, £600


  • Acne Studios

    Workwear: Acne Studios trousers

    These are the trousers you can wear for work with the matching blazer, to brunch with a cosy knit and for after-dark with a racer vest. Perfect. 

    Shop Acne Studios high rise flare trousers at mytheresa.com, £360


2. The silky slip skirt

Clash with different bright hues to show extra confidence     

The usual workwear attire of the pencil skirt has been swapped for a floaty, silky slip instead. Last year it was all about that Topshop slip skirt that kept selling out and getting restocked in multiple prints and colours. Now, Zara has updated the slip with pleats and Vince has gone for spring-ready soft hues. 

The power of the slip is clear, and it’ll go with anything from blazers and fine knits to the crisp white shirt. There’s something luxurious about putting on silky fabrics that makes us feel instantly happy, and it’s bound to put a spring in your step when you’re ready for that promotion chat. 

  • Zara

    Workwear: Zara skirt

    This pleated midi in a universally flattering mink colour will go with literally anything in your wardrobe. From printed blouses to high neck tops and printed T-shirts, you’ll be able to style it for Monday-Friday.

    Shop Zara pleated satin finish skirt, £25.99


  • Vince

    Workwear: Vince skirt

    The go-to for satin skirts for the past few years, Californian label Vince is the one to rely on for understated classics. 

    You’ll be able to make this blush midi for round the clock by switching your accessories. 

    Shop Vince hammered-satin midi skirt at net-a-porter.com, £240


3. The roll neck

Layer a printed roll neck underneath a cardigan for a fresh spin. 

We would like to introduce you to the hardest working fashion piece you probably already own: the roll neck – or turtle if you’re feeling retro.

Not only is it an extra layer that everyone needs come the chillier months, it also adds that certain je ne suis quoi to any look. Add it under a jumpsuit or cardigan, or team underneath a dress or blazer. Audrey Hepburn was a firm fan of the high neck top, and it’s the perfect level of smart casual we’ve been looking for. 

  • Cos

    Workwear: Cos roll neck

    For simple, long-lasting wardrobe classics look no further than Cos. Its knitwear selection will never date and you’ll be able to layer it according to seasons/the air con in your office. 

    Shop Cos merino roll neck, £59


  • Ganni

    Workwear: Ganni roll neck

    To add a splash of fun to your 9-5 looks, layer a printed roll neck top underneath shirts, cardigans and suits for a fresh new 2020 look. 

    Shop Ganni printed turtleneck top at net-a-porter.com, £100


4. The belted shirt dress

Layer your crisp shirt dress over another shirt for a cool way to layer that’ll beat the winter (and office air con) chill

We all know that a shirt is a simple step to looking smart. But as it gets colder, lengths get longer – so this season, it’s all about the shirt dress. Whether you go printed, bright or neutral, just make sure it’s belted. There’s something about belting up that makes your wardrobe look instantly more professional.

Layer a midi style shirt dress over sleek knee-high boots, or opt for a mini and wear over tailored trousers. Trust us, it works.

  • & Other Stories

    Workwear: & Other Stories dress

    You don’t have to shy away from animal prints in the workplace – in fact, you should wear them loud and proud.

    Wear a cream roll neck jumper underneath this shirt dress with chic knee-high boots to keep it work appropriate. 

    Shop & Other Stories belted animal print dress, £79


  • Tibi

    Workwear: Tibi shirt dress

    Working a bit of leather (real or faux) into your office looks is easier than ever. Spotted all over the designer and high street collections, it’s not just about boots and bags anymore – the dress is a sure-fire win. 

    Shop Tibi belted faux leather midi dress at net-a-porter.com, £585


5. The faux leather blazer

How to make an outfit immediately look lavish? Throw on a structured faux leather blazer. If you’re a fan of more minimalist dressing, a sleek black blazer will quickly elevate your daily uniform, especially when coupled with square-toe boots and as aforementioned, a roll neck top. Extra points if you weave in a statement bag and dainty gold jewellery.

  • Nanushka

    Faux leather blazers are the new leather shirts. The catwalk solidified the return of suiting and tailoring, so in order to adhere to the trend we’d suggest teaming a boxy jacket with the aforementioned roll neck and smart trousers. Come spring, we’ll be pairing them with a 90s-style satin slip dress or skirt.

    Shop Nanushka vegan leather blazer, £460


  • Baum Und Pferdgarten

    Add a tinge of colour to you’re wardrobe without making an OTT statement. Maroon has a long-stemming history of adding just the right amount of edge to an outfit. Despite the fact we’re pretty much getting dressed in the dark each morning (spring, when will you arrive?!), this autumn appropriate blazer will add some much needed oomph to your wardrobe in the midst of drab weather. The sartorial possibilities are, well, endless.

    Shop Baum Und Pferdgarten faux leather blazer, £349


6. The Waistcoat

Waistcoats mean big business this season. We’re gearing up for the impending return of short suits by slotting any and all smart suiting into the mix. Buttoned up or left open, the waistcoat is here to wake your workwear up from its slumber.

  • Victoria Beckham

    Just you try keeping us away from this beauty of a waistcoat – courtesy of Victoria Beckham, obvs. We can always count on VB to deliver seamless tailoring that will transcend seasons. If the sharp cut wasn’t enough to lure you in, the front panel pockets and invisible buttons will surely do the job.

    Shop Victoria Beckham waistcoat, £150


  • Gucci

    Surely, this is what dreams are made of? Hitting us strong with this buttery soft waistcoat, Gucci is giving us major sartorial inspiration for days. Our suggestion? Layer over a white billowy shirt complete with beige trousers and thank us later.

    Shop Gucci orange waistcoat, £1,800


Opening image: Getty

Images: courtesy of brands

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