A smiling woman with her hands touching her forehead

As someone who once looked forward to coordinating office outfits, I’ll admit I was quick to conform to the daily sweatpants and hoodie ensemble during quarantine. I found the first two weeks of strictly following an athleisure dress code to be rather liberating. In the mornings, after slowly waking up without a rush to catch the train, I’d consider which pair of sweats to swap out for the pajama pants I had just slept in.

It was during these months that I truly began to appreciate the oh so obvious nuances between sleepwear, loungewear and workout clothes. Rotating through the same three pairs of leggings for weeks on end is justifiable when they all serve a specific purpose, right?

Well, once the winter months turned into spring and then spring became summer, I knew it was time to step up my sartorial game. For me, a return to the office wasn’t yet in sight, but that didn’t mean I had to forgo a sense of style for the foreseeable future.

Instead of reaching for the cozy pullover on a cloudy day, I went for a colorful cardigan. Instead of turning my camera off during Zoom calls, I made a point to look the part of an ambitious employee. Whether you’re now commuting back to work or still clocking in on the couch, here are some tips for gently easing back into your girl boss wardrobe.

Plan ahead.

My typical morning routine is often a drowsy and chaotic attempt at motivating myself out of bed with just enough time to apply minimal makeup, make breakfast and order a coffee before 9 a.m. In an effort to feel confident and look at least mildly presentable, I’ve found that the habit of choosing an outfit the night before can make the day ahead less stressful. Before getting some shut-eye, sift through your closet and pull out a few pieces that you’d be most excited to wear the next morning, taking into account weather, of course! 

The habit of choosing an outfit the night before can make the day ahead less stressful.

Make it effortless.

Who else has stared at their drawers filled with clothes and uttered, “I have nothing to wear?” Just me? Sometimes, dressing ourselves can feel overwhelming, especially when we’re busy and perpetually running late. (Also, just me?) There are a couple of key items to have, especially during the warmer months, that can help us avoid the dreadful analysis paralysis: midi dresses and jumpsuits. They’re great because they only require one thought—whether or not you want to wear them! 

Another way to make getting ready as effortless as possible is to construct a wardrobe based on neutrals. Colors like beige and black are staples, and they are the easiest to mix and match. (I personally love a warm chestnut shade.) No matter which pieces you choose, your outfit will come together seamlessly without having to think twice. If you’re in the mood for venturing beyond the hues of tan and gray, try color blocking—a trend that involves pairing solid colors to make a vibrant statement.

The good news? No rules apply! Orange and blue, pink and green—the color combos are endless and are sure to brighten up your day.

Keep it comfy.

As we transition back to wearing real, “I-can-be-seen-in-this-outside-of-my-living-room” clothes, the number one priority should be comfort. But hey, if we happen to be just as fashionable as we are comfortable, we should count that as a win.

If we happen to be just as fashionable as we are comfortable, then we should count that as a win.

In my opinion, there’s nothing better than pants that don’t feel like pants, aka legging pants. A cropped pair for the summer can be especially flattering. Complete the look with a soft blouse or silk t-shirt, and you’ll barely feel like you’re dressed for work.

Put it all together.

It’s amazing what an accessory or single pair of shoes can do to elevate a seemingly simple outfit. Find a pair of flats that can be worn for miles yet look sophisticated, or a tote that stores your office essentials while making you feel put together. A hair scarf, statement necklace or even a bold lip can give personality to a more minimalist look. By keeping it basic while adding just a hint of flair, rediscovering your inner fashionista will be easier than ever.

Are you working from home or have you transitioned to working in-person? If so, what has it been like updating your wardrobe? 

Image via Ben Cope, Darling Issue No. 19

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