Back to Business: A style guide for the modern business woman

Sophia Pesa

After a long time in the home office, normality is gradually returning to our everyday lives. And after many months in the relaxed sweatpants look, we are now even more excited to show our colleagues our latest it-pieces. But which outfits are appropriate at work and what should we rather do without? In our style guide, we explain business dress codes and how you can perfectly combine classic essentials in the office.

The origin of business dress codes

The classic formal costume of a matching combination of jacket and skirt has its origins in England. Towards the middle of the 19th century, this smart outfit could not be missing from any closet of a professional lady. Since then, dress codes have quickly evolved. Pants and culottes as well as blouses gained increasing attention. And thanks to new, modern cuts, we do have a variety of ways to dress for the office nowadays.

But depending on which profession you work in, there are still unwritten rules on how to dress. Basically one could say: less is more. Timeless colors like white, black, grey and navy can be worn for any occasion - whether in a meeting or at your desk. When it comes to jewellery, it's again better to go for filigree and minimalist designs instead of statement pieces.

The classic formal costume of a matching combination of jacket and skirt has its origins in England. Towards the middle of the 19th century, this smart outfit could not be missing from any closet of a professional lady. Since then, dress codes have quickly evolved. Pants and culottes as well as blouses gained increasing attention. And thanks to new, modern cuts, we do have a variety of ways to dress for the office nowadays.

But depending on which profession you work in, there are still unwritten rules on how to dress. Basically one could say: less is more. Timeless colors like white, black, grey and navy can be worn for any occasion - whether in a meeting or at your desk. When it comes to jewellery, it's again better to go for filigree and minimalist designs instead of statement pieces.

When to wear what

Especially with the so-called business dress code, formal clothing is still the most appropriate choice. While men go for the classic suit, women can be better going for costumes or culottes. Closed pumps that match the look top off the outfit perfectly. And remember, a maximum heel height of six centimeters is wise, as comfort plays a big role in the office, too!

In smaller companies or startups, the dress code is usually a bit more relaxed. The business casual look is more about garments such as knee-length dresses, pleated pants, blouses and blazers. Pumps are welcome but can also be replaced by elegant moccasins or high-quality sneakers.

These days, however, women have a lot of leeway in most companies. Thanks to the popular casual dress code, it is fine to just go for a pair of jeans. T-shirts can also be appropriate - but it is important to wear them in an elegant way. Therefore, you should keep in mind that casual clothing can be worn but should definitely be made of high-quality fabrics. Simple essentials should be combined with elegant garments (e.g. blazer, blouse) and modern accessories. This is the best way to upgrade everyday clothes.

Together with Paloma Kalaidjian, we've put together some inspiring outfits that can be worn in nearly every workspace - thanks to their versatile minimalist style. 

Especially with the so-called business dress code, formal clothing is still the most appropriate choice. While men go for the classic suit, women can be better going for costumes or culottes. Closed pumps that match the look top off the outfit perfectly. And remember, a maximum heel height of six centimeters is wise, as comfort plays a big role in the office, too!

In smaller companies or startups, the dress code is usually a bit more relaxed. The business casual look is more about garments such as knee-length dresses, pleated pants, blouses and blazers. Pumps are welcome but can also be replaced by elegant moccasins or high-quality sneakers.

These days, however, women have a lot of leeway in most companies. Thanks to the popular casual dress code, it is fine to just go for a pair of jeans. T-shirts can also be appropriate - but it is important to wear them in an elegant way. Therefore, you should keep in mind that casual clothing can be worn but should definitely be made of high-quality fabrics. Simple essentials should be combined with elegant garments (e.g. blazer, blouse) and modern accessories. This is the best way to upgrade everyday clothes.

Together with Paloma Kalaidjian, we've put together some inspiring outfits that can be worn in nearly every workspace - thanks to their versatile minimalist style.

 

Meeting-Attire: chic and modern 

For a formal and stylish look, Paloma pairs a classic oxford blouse with chinos. Thanks to the use of high-quality materials, these handmade essentials give the outfit a luxurious touch. On cooler days, the look can be complemented by a classic blazer. Depending on the occasion, you can choose either a timeless fitted or an androgynous oversized cut with this look.

Comfortable and especially beautiful shoes for everyday work are moccasins. This type of shoe was invented back in the 18th century and has been available in a wide variety of styles ever since. No matter what color; whether with ornaments, a slight platform heel or a casual pattern - you can find moccasins to match any look. Paloma, too, likes to wear this classic shoe for her business attire.

 

Friday-Look: sporty and casual

 

On warmer days, it's worth reaching for an elegant polo instead of a long-sleeved shirt. Although the polo shirt has its origins in sports, it quickly established itself in the field of business wear. It is now often seen in the office, primarily in summer. The perfect polo shirt is given a luxurious touch by filigree seams and modern mother-of-pearl buttons. The textured tech pique fabric and fine side vents supply maximum comfort and room for movement.

To make the look even cooler, Paloma pairs the sleek essentials with white sneakers. A dark green sweat jacket gives the outfit a slight pop of color and some freshness. However, stay away from bright colors! To maintain some seriousness, the optimal eye-catcher consists of muted colors. A dark green, a deep blue or wine red are good choices.

 

After-Work: feminine and time-less 

After a long day at the office, it's finally time to leave. But it's not unusual for colleagues to invite you for a drink together. In order to make a good style impression, it's best to go for a timeless outfit. Yet, the strict business blazer can now be put aside.

In combination with a light T-shirt, minimalist chinos now look a little more casual and go perfectly with a drink. Depending on your preference, the shirt can be worn figure-hugging or oversized and can be styled individually. If you chose the modern oversized fit, this garment should be in the foreground and combined with tight essentials. Feminine accessories such as a thin watch then give the look its finishing touch.

 

What makes office essentials perfect?

Depending on the occasion, there are many different ways to dress for the office. Nevertheless, some essentials are indispensable for the perfect business closet: classic T-shirts and blouses as well as elegant chinos are versatile can be perfectly combined with each other.

The following infographic shows what you should always look out for when buying new workwear.

Have we inspired your shopping desire for new business essentials?

On our homepage you can shop all the looks shown and find many more sustainable basics. And thanks to an innovative sizing system, we can also guarantee a perfect fit!

What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.’ – Miuccia Prada.