Our Ambassador, Rachel Broome, tells us how her wardrobe has evolved over time to reflect a more flexible work routine:
My working wardrobe has shifted over recent years. My suits of dark grey and navy blue have hung unworn for a long time as I linger over clearing them out completely. The shift has come gradually, as working from home days have replaced days in the office, and finally a more relaxed workwear seems to be the norm.
Finding the balance though, can be tricky, and it’s taken me a little while of conscious effort to meet this new blend of smarter-casual.
For me, there are two winners in my new wardrobe stakes. Firstly, trousers, whether cropped length in the summer, to give an air of informality, or longer in the winter, an on-trend trouser is a versatile staple that can be dressed up or down accordingly. Black jeans make the grade as the ultimate smart-casual must have. Team up with a crisp shirt and jacket and you have an outfit you can feel equally comfortable doing the school run as working in the office.
The second winner for me is the comfy smart dress. I’ve managed to acquire a few knee-length fitted dresses, with a enough stretch in the fabric which means they don’t need ironing (yes I’m ever practical!). I’ve managed to find good ones from Zara, Phase Eight and Long Tall Sally. If you get the dress right and throw on a classic jacket, you are ready for anything.
For footwear – I am loving my flats having invested in a quality pair of loafers from Russell & Bromley that I can stride about in, jump on a train to London for a day of meetings, then straight back to running children to clubs, supermarket trips, without skipping a beat. As winter descends, I’ll be swapping these for my suede ankle boots, which always give jeans that bit of finesse.
The Allta jacket has been a welcome addition to my smarter-casual wardrobe this season – the light grey matches with virtually everything, and the classic tailoring means you can go more casual underneath with a plain t-shirt or v-neck jumper.
For me personally I love the more casual-but-smart working wardrobe. I do lots of presentations and training delivery, sometimes for a whole day at a time, and have found that being able to move properly (writing on flip-charts and white-boards), and feeling comfortable standing in front of my audience for the whole day helps me to relax and do a better job than if I was wearing something constricting and wobbling on high heels – but maybe that’s just me!