Refresh your workwear wardrobe

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New trousers, shoes and a jacket – Stacey Duguid celebrates the wardrobe benefits of back-to-school month

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By Stacey Duguid on

September, without wishing to sound all hashtag blessed, is a good time to make a few life goals. My ultimate life goal? To own nice clothes to wear to work (aim high, eh?!). I hate all that wardrobe faff in the morning; it’s so bloody boring. The main faff, I’ve found, is figuring out which shoes go with what trousers. So, I’d like a new pair of both. God, it sounds so simple, finding the right shoes to go with the right-length trousers. It should be. But it isn’t… 


On the subject of trousers, I love them and hate them in equal measure, hence why I’ve worn the same navy blue pair continually for the last two years. Trousers that fit are the bloody Holy Grail, but mine are looking a bit shabby. Now, please don’t shoot the messenger, but there’s a new level of hell in town and it’s called the paper-bag-waist trouser. Imagine a paper bag; now imagine scrunching your forefinger and thumb around the middle. Et voilà – that gathered paper at the top is your new chunkier waistline. Amazing! I think I’ll pass.

The first whiff of a chill – no matter how faint or even if I’ve imagined it – is the green light to start “researching” ankle boots and coats as far as I'm concerned 

Pre-partner, kids, house, dog, cat and car, during an era otherwise known as The Rave Years, I spent money on clothes whenever I felt like it. And, even if the back-to-school marketing campaigns went totally over my pre-kids head, early September was always a time for, er, more shopping. But, unlike the freedom years, when I’d wear five trends in the space of one week, I’m looking for pieces, not faddy trends, this autumn. Note I didn’t say "key" pieces – they’re only key if they work for you. You may have noticed jackets with more defined shoulders are back in the shops. Shoulder pads aren’t as dreadful as they sound (just don’t wear them with the paper-bag trousers – too Dynasty). LOLS aside, a longer-line, double-breasted jacket with higher (rather than wider) shoulders is on my back-to-work list. As is a banker-style striped shirt, which I know is all beginning to sound very Annie Hall, but oh to look like Diane Keaton in that film…

The first whiff of a chill – no matter how faint or even if I’ve imagined it – is the green light to start “researching” ankle boots, coats and all things wintry, as far as I’m concerned. But, before you do, consider the dresses you might wear to work and how they’ll look worn with the coat and boots you have your eye on. There are loads of longer-line, quite roomy dresses in the shops that will look great with pea coats, shorter jackets and flat boots. But, if that’s not your thing, or if you work in a formal office, there are tons of longer-length coats on this high street this autumn. Warm and a lot like wearing a duvet to work, they’ll work well over neat work dresses.

I love this time of year and all the cosy clothes arriving in the shops almost as much as I love the fact the kids went back to school this morning. Ah, #blessed.

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Photo: Getty Images
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