Spring Smart-Casual Workwear | Men's Style Edit

Dressing smart-casual for the office is without a doubt the hardest or all sartorial challenges and it's because there are choices to be made. Do I dress more casual? Or do I dress more on the side of smart? Are jeans and trainers acceptable? You get my point. My biggest tip would be to dress on the smarter side of casual or on the casual side of smart! Let me explain...

Dressing casually would translate to t-shirts, trainers, ripped jeans etc but for me they are too casual for a smart-casual look. Slightly smarter options are mid-blue jeans with no fades or rips, brogues or boots instead of trainers and layer a t-shirt with a smart jumper. 

Dressing smart would mean a suit, shirt and tie, but for me they are way too smart for a smart-casual look. Although the casual side of this would be a blazer or even an unbuttoned button-down shirt and definitely no tie.

I've styled this weeks men's style edit based on these rules, so what do you think?

ACCESSORISING MY SUIT AT WESTFIELD LONDON

Westfield London and myself believe that accessorising a suit enables a man to stand out from the crowd and put your own stamp on otherwise conventional work-wear. This is why when asked by Westfield to take a £75 gift card, go shopping and personalise one of my own suits, I thought it would be a good little challenge and something that would interest my awesome readers. Accessorising a suit however is not easy, you should have a basic understanding of what colour accessories compliment the colour of your suit and also each other. You need to do this without over accessorising, remember that a suit is a masterpiece of classic tailoring so sometimes less is more.

Last week I headed over to Westfield in London, White City (Nearest Tube - Shepherds Bush) to be precise. Being in the SS16 Spring/Summer season, I decided to accessorise my light grey, double breasted suit from Hawkins & Shepherd. During the journey to Westfield I had to think about what colours would work well with the suit and match my personal style. Colours I wanted to look for were, pinks, greys, peach, mint and blues. In terms of the materials, I was looking for light linens, silks and cotton...nothing with a heavy weave.

One of the first shops I visited was Reiss where I picked up a light pale pink pair of socks for £12. I then spend the next hour or so visiting so many shops such as TM Lewin, Thomas Pink, M&S, Suit Supply and NEXT. However I just couldn't find what I was looking for. The ties and pocket squares were all heavy silk and were all the same old styles that I have seen year after year...I was after something a little different. Finally I ended back at Reiss where I found this semi-skinny grey linen/wool blend tie (£45) and this blue geo-metric print pocket square (£25). Okay so I went a little over budget, but I think it was worth it.

 

MY STYLED LOOK

 

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Photography by Kylie Eyra

*this post was sponsored by Westfield*

3 SPRING/SUMMER FORMAL WORKWEAR LOOKS

After a 12 year career in the City of London, it is safe to say that workwear is well into my comfort zone. Wether it is for an important meeting or to impress your work crush, I know how important it is to look good in the office. Sometimes we can get lazy with our workwear fashion but the chances are we are going to meet 'the one' during a work event or at work, so guys...you should make more of an effort. Plus 5 out of 7 days (for most of us) are spend at work, so you should be buying clothes that have the fabric quality, design and tailoring to last.

In these 3 looks, I have tried to show diversity. Tie, no tie, pocket squares, silk scarves and different spring/summer shirt on-trend colours (White, Pink & Mint). Each look can easily be dressed up or toned down for a #ThirstyThursday or #FriYay (sorry about that last hashtag!). I've used all of these blazers in smart-casual attire for bars at the weekend with skinny jeans, so you are able to justify the investment.

All the looks are available from Hawkins & Shepherd, a small London based brand launched 3 years ago focusing on quality fabrics, design, tailoring and customer care. H&S are traditionally a shirt makers, whose signature shirt is the pin collar and if you have watched Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice you'll be very familiar with this on-trend classic shirt. So if you are after something different to the boring, same old London's shirt-makers (you know who they are!) - shop Hawkins & Shepherd to look unique rather than the same as the guy who you sit next to at work.

 

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Photography by Ella H. Photography

LITTLE TOUCHES THAT MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

The first thing many of us think about when putting on some formalwear for the office is what suit, shirt and shoe combination shall I wear today. We all fall into that trap from time to time. We forget about the small touches and little details that can transform a plain blue suit and white shirt into an outfit that will get people talking.

With that in mind, I decided to wear my favourite accessories that I have brought in December and style them with my most normal plain suit and shirt combo. My goal is to remind you that the smallest modifications to your everyday workwear can seem like you are wearing a completely new outfit.

First off, the blue striped socks are from MEN:Ü - I actually brought these as a present for someone but decided I actually quite like them myself! The socks are made from bamboo...yes thats right bamboo! I can not believe how well they stretch and how soft and comfortable they are. You can buy the gift set here and at only £11.95 it is such a bargain.  

Moving up the outfit, towards the waist and you'll find this brown tan plain leather belt from GANT. It is perfect to wear with your suit as it is not too thin or thick and the classic gloss buckle oozes class. At a mid-range price of £60, it is the perfect gift for that sartorial someone in your life. You can shop all the GANT menswear Christmas gifts here.

What dapper work attire is complete without a great watch. This swiss-made slimline rose-gold with a black leather strap watch from ROTARY is my buy of the month. I cant stop looking at it. Classic and classy, feels and looks great. More importantly for just under £200 (with a lifetime guarantee) it is worth every penny and will be one of your staple items that you wear with absolutely everything. You can shop the ROTARY watch collection here.

And my final accessory to finish off this workwear look is a plain white, with small navy polka dot pocket square. The navy polkas match the suit and gives an understanding of what subtle sartorial dressing is all about. This pocket square was a steal at £8 from ASOS. 

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

SMART CASUAL WORKWEAR FOR AUTUMN

Many more companies these days are allowing employees to dress in smart-casual attire which has its ups and downs. The up-side is that you can invest in your everyday wardrobe and utilise clothes that you wear inside and outside of work together. The down-side is that you now have to think about what to wear, rather than just wearing the same navy suit and 5 shirts that you ironed on Sunday evening whilst watching the X-Factor.

What does smart causal actually mean? Are Jeans, T-Shirt and trainers allowed? For me I would always side on the smart side of smart-casual. In the look above, you could always remove the tie & blazer to make the look more casual if needs be.

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Photo Credit Sophie Milner

CASUAL WORKWEAR WITH ASOS.COM

These days when dressing for work, it is much more than just putting on a crusty pair of trousers, an over worn white shirt and your only blue tie. You need to think about the type of work environment you are in, where your office location is, if you have any important meetings and the weather of course - as we are living in England! ASOS.com recently asked me to style 3 different workwear looks, a smart, a smart-casual and a casual look and the above look is a modified improved version of my casual look.

Firstly I have worn khaki cropped trousers with no socks and my brogue chukka boots which are the perfect combination. The top half, I have worn a slightly oversized white Granddad shirt done up to the top button, as I think these shirts don't look great undone. Paired with my DKNY Jean denim jacket which I have had since I was 18 and still in great shape (the jacket not me!). Keeping with the causal theme, I have chosen a military style backpack again from ASOS in a burgundy colour which classically goes well with the other dark tones in this outfit.

 

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PHOTO CREDIT SOPHIE MILNER

SMART CITY WORKWEAR LOOK

It's that time of year when we all feel a little bit depressed - our summer holidays have been and gone, its raining more, colder and getting darker earlier. This is the perfect time to give yourself a confidence boost at work with a completely new look this autumn. Putting on a crisp shirt and pressed suit should give you confidence for the day ahead.

In this classic yet contemporary smart city office look, I have kept things simple with a navy 3-piece suit from ASOS and added some finer details with a navy check pin collar shirt and copper/coffee pin bar from Hawkins & Shepherd shirtmakers. 

Match the ASOS grey skinny tie with some grey socks. When choosing footwear, both black or brown shoes work equally as well. Keep the pocket square simple with whites or navy however if you are comfortable adding some bold colours you cant go wrong with oranges or yellows.

 

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Photos by Sophie Milner