Dressing 'appropriately' for work has always been a bit of an issue for me. I just don't get the 'so long as you are wearing some sort of heels and some sort of skirt / trouser suit (preferably black) than you're ok in the corporate world'. That is so tragically boring. Why can't we just accept that decent jeans with a nice pair of heels and a pretty blouse can look incredibly elegant? The whole workwear code is just so hypocritical. And honestly I would rather walk into the office in jogger pants than wearing some TM Lewin corporate suit.
So I often find myself in an awkward position in front of my wardrobe when I set off for work in the morning. And I regularly end up shocking the conventional, politically correct City workers by wearing denim and trainers outside Fridays. I only seem to be able to get away with it because I am French so obviously intrinsically weird. How retrograde that in our day and age this should still be considered improper and rebellious. Talk about evolution! And of course, irony of ironies, jeans obviously used to be the workers's uniform only a few decades ago...
Anyway, when I do manage to channel my insubordinate and career-limiting instincts, there are a few brands I call to the rescue and which I rely on to look work-legitimate without trashing my own fashion ethos. To reconcile these conflicting objectives, I tend to opt for preppy outfits. Bon Chic Bon Genre (BCBG) would be the French way of describing my workwear style.
Claudie Pierlot has an amazing range of shirts and blouses with a bourgeois (read upper middle class, am trying but not too hard) feel that you can just slip over a pair of dark pants (preferably cigarette) to look super classy and stand out from the work crowd. Here is a selection from their new Spring Summer collection.
1. Badaboum Top, £165
2. Bertille Bis Top, £165
3. Chemise Cachou, £199
Your survival brand in Winter. ME+EM just take the art of cosy superposition to a whole new level with stand-out collar and/or sleeves details. And for someone like me, who cannot stand temperatures below 15 degrees (I know why live in London...?), their layering range is my ultimate safe haven whenever I feel threatened by the London chill. Their leather pants are also worth a detour. Currently in love with these bordeaux leggings which would work wonders with their nude / pinkish knits and tees.
1. Pleat Trim Collar Layering Shirt, £99
2. Side Panel Leather Leggings, £599
Another indispensable brand for the perfect white shirt, blouse or knit that you will wear through the week to the weekend. Just succumbed to this Volpi Jumper (nb 2) and it really is a thing of beauty. So much softness, it should not be allowed. Check out my insta profile (@Cover_Mum) if you want to discover more about this jumper.
1. Bianca Shirt, £80
2. Volpi Jumper (wool & cashmere), £85
3. Eve Blouse, £85
J.Crew is a bit like H&M for me. It features both the best and the worst of fashion (except obviously at a much higher price). Their dresses, for example, are generally everything I don't like about mid life fashion: tedious cuts that make you look instantly like you are a hundred years old. But amongst the vast ocean of very conventional stuff, there are some jewels to be found. Their shirts for example. And I could also totally see myself wearing this striped cardigan or denim trousers.
1. Perfect Shirt With Eyelet Trim, £96.50
2. Jackie Tie-Neck Cardigan, £89.50
3. Collection Preston Pant in Japanese denim, £99 (on sale)
And finally, my most corporate looking brand, Theory. You have to try it to adopt it. Even I, who has some sort of workwear allergy, must confess that I am an absolute fan. The white jacket and denim peplum top I am wearing on the featured photo at the top are from Theory. Very work appropriate but still contemporary looking I think.