The 12 Item Work Wardrobe

There’s a saying, less is more, and what I’ve come to find over the years of refining my wardrobe, is that this is resoundingly true when it comes to style. I may have chosen to give up the capsule wardrobe, but quality over quantity is still at the forefront of mind, particularly when it comes to building a work wardrobe. So today, I wanted to talk through what I call the 12 item work wardrobe; that is, the 12 pieces that combined, make up a versatile and interchangeable collection of outfits for the office (and don’t eat into your budget for more whimsical style additions!).

In addition to talking through each of the 12 items (and why I think you need them for your work wardrobe), I’m also going to pull together 5 outfit examples of how I style these pieces together for the office.

THE SHELL TOP; A luxe silk tank or shell top has been a foundation piece for my work wardrobe for years, in part due to its practicality (perfect for Aussie summers) and in part due to how elegant it looks tucked into a pair of trousers or a pencil skirt, with a blazer thrown over the top. I like to keep things interesting with a little bit of pattern given my closet is fairly neutral, so a nice vertical black and white stripe helps to break up my block colour. As with some of the other items I’m going to mention, this is a great one to do double duty for an evening outfit, or pared back with some denim shorts on the weekend.

A DRESSED UP BLOUSE; Ever since snapping up this white and black polka dot top from Sussan, I’ve been all about the dressed up blouse. This is something that has a little bit of personality, and can inject a bit of fun into your look, which still retaining a polished look and feel. I usually tend to go for a whimsical yet understated print (polka dots are always a winner), and a ruffled sleeve adds that layer of intrigue and whimsy that I’m usually after. Other options could be a mock necked pleated top (this one from Country Road is gorgeous) or an ornately decorated lace blouse (this is a beauty).

THE BUTTON DOWN SHIRT; One of the standard wardrobe classics, a simple button down shirt is a must when it comes to building your work wardrobe. It’s entirely effortless (pair it with pants or a skirt and you’re good to go), and if you go for an oversized cotton shirt, this can also work well for a relaxed weekend outfit. Personally I tend to prefer a cotton shirt just as it’s incredibly low maintenance, but if you’re after something that is a little more elegant or that will ramp your outfit up a notch, then go for silk (Everlane is great and I also love Equipment for their silk shirts).

A SLIM FITTING SWEATER OR CARDIGAN; If you’re a regular visitor on my YouTube Channel, then you’re probably already sick of hearing me talk about Everlane’s cashmere sweater, but it’s such a good staple to have for work and for play. I’ll throw this on with a skirt, or as a layering piece over a shirt during the colder months – essentially, it’s become an indispensable part of my work wardrobe. A fitted style is best, particularly if you’re after a more tailored look, but if you’d prefer a cardigan, this particular style from J Crew is perfect as it can be worn open, or buttoned up like a sweater.

A WELL CUT BLAZER; If there’s one work wardrobe staple that’s worth investing in, it’s a good quality blazer. About six years ago now I bit the bullet on a rather spendy purchase, a classic single breasted black blazer from Helmut Lang, and I haven’t looked back. In an age where trends seem to come and go in a matter of months, this has been one of those timeless wardrobe investments that has held up over the years, and is yet to look ‘tired’. While you don’t have to spend quite as much as I did on a blazer, it’s worth considering the cost-per-wear of what is a quintessential piece for the office.

A KNEE LENGTH DRESS; One of the things I love most about having a dress in my closet, is the fact that it’s an entire outfit in itself – just add accessories. I might work in a more creative industry these days where the dress code is quite relaxed (read: denim all day every day if you really wanted), but I feel like you can’t get past having a chic sheath dress, even if it’s just to wear for important client meetings or events. To keep it looking smart, tailoring is key, and I think knee length is usually a safe bet – you never know where your career will take you, and this allows the piece to have serious longevity in your wardrobe. J Crew is usually a good place to start if you’re looking for something that is tailored and well made, otherwise I’m also quite smitten with this heather grey knit option from Forever New.

A KNEE LENGTH SKIRT; Like a white shirt in your work wardrobe, a classic skirt is not going to be groundbreaking, but it’s such a good staple to have at your disposal. Whenever it comes to making a few new additions to my closet, future proofing my wardrobe tends to be front of mind. I want to go for something that I’m still going to love in the years to come, that’s generally relatively simple (though this doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!), and that will work for a multitude of situations – or workplaces. My current favourite is a little more fashion forward than I’d usually go for, but I feel like it balances out the simplicity of the rest of my choices.

THE SLIM FITTING TROUSER; Stumbling across the right pair of suit trousers for you can be a little like finding the perfect pair of jeans – an absolute punish, but rewarding when you find the ones. Personally, I like a trouser that has a little bit of room, with a slightly cropped length and a tapered leg that nips in at the ankle. It took me quite a few years to find the right style that work for my body shape, but I’m a huge fan of the smart ankle pants from Uniqlo; not only are they affordable, but they’re easy to care for, and look a lot more expensive than they actually are. These have been a total gamechanger for my work wardrobe – in addition to becoming a key piece for my weekend wardrobe too. Rather than just relying on skirts or dresses, having a pair of trousers that you feel great in really opens up the window of opportunity when it comes to having a versatile work wardrobe. Plus, it feels a little Parisian to wear a pair of trousers with a blouse tucked in, and a killer pair of heels, non?

A SMART JACKET OR COAT; Your wardrobe’s core colour palette will be a huge factor in what styles you opt for, but I think a smart light jacket such as a classic trench for spring and autumn, or a pared back wool coat are the perfect finishing touch to your outfit. It’s going to be one of the first things that your colleagues see as you step into the office for the day, and the last thing they see you wearing as you leave, and you know what they say about first impressions… I’m always one for a neutral colour palette as it tends to be more classic, so my options of choice are usually to go for anything in beige/camel, navy, grey or black – anything that I can tie back into my core wardrobe and will also want to reach for during the weekend too.

THE EVERY DAY HEEL; Again, this is another one of those classic pieces which are generally worth just having in your wardrobe. The type of heel that you go for is going to come down to the dress code where you work, but after years of teetering around on 10cm high heels, the mid heel has become a firm favourite of mine. I love a good classic black pump as is nude (the day heel from Everlane is my shoe of choice), but if you really want to inject a bit of personality, you can have some fun with this, whether it’s a subtle bow detail like my poppy heels from Isabel Marant, or a marbled patent finish.

THE DRESSED UP FLAT; Even if you’re a heels every day kind of girl, I’d recommend also having a pair of dressed up flats that you can reach for, even if it’s just to give your feet a break every once in a while. A chic ballet flat is always a go-to; it’s feminine, classic and generally looks good with most silhouettes, alternatively a modern loafer is a good go to if your style leans a little more on the androgynous side (or if you’re just a fan of masculine tailoring in general!).

THE TOTE BAG; If years of working in both corporate and creative work settings have taught me anything, it’s that the only bag you really need for work is a smart looking tote, preferably something with a little bit of structure to it. I want to have space to carry all my essentials, in addition to my lunch, and still have room to take my laptop home if I need to. It’s also a classic option and will keep your whole outfit looking professional. My preferred bag of choice is the soft tote from Linjer, though if you want to go a little higher end, the lux tote from Prada is another classic option.

FIVE CLASSIC OUTFIT COMBINATIONS

What I love about this tightly edited selection of 12 items is that they’re incredibly versatile, and can have the potential to build on top of each other to create a number of different looks. In addition to having some layering options (like throwing a shirt or blouse underneath the sheath dress), having some strong separates gives you a lot of options – something I love a lot about mismatched suiting. So to start you off, here are five classic work wardrobe outfit combinations that you could reach for, starting with…

OPTION #1Dress + Trench + Heels
A classic combination if there ever was one, and I just love how the grey tone of the dress softens up any structure in the jacket. As I mentioned before, a dress is essentially a whole outfit in itself, all you need to do is add accessories.

OPTION #2Fitted Sweater + Skirt + Flats
I like the juxtaposition of pairing this longer length skirt with a pair of flats, rather than opting for the easy choice, AKA the pointed black pump. This is one of those effortlessly easy outfits that would be perfect for a more relaxed day in the office.

OPTION #3Shirt + Trousers + Blazer + Heels
This has always been one of those go to’s for me; a bit of an office uniform if you will. It’s simple, but it’s undeniably chic, especially when paired with a bold red lip.

OPTION #4Shell Top + Skirt + Blazer + Heels
I like the fact that there are some stripes to break up all the solid colour, yet it’s still very sleek given the darker colour palette.

OPTION #5 Blouse + Trousers + Trench + Flats
The spotted blouse with the ruffled sleeves makes a real statement with this outfit, and pairing it with a nice pointed toe flats helps to offset the look and give it a bit of balance.

So there you have it; the 12 item work wardrobe. I’d love to know, what are some of your workwear essentials? x

#DOSEETHEWONDERFUL

pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle
pandora jewellery doseethewonderful mademoiselle

images 1-3: classic hearts of pandora ring, fairytale sparkle ring, lavish sparkle ring, two tone signature open bangle, essence collection silver bracelet with pandora signature heart charm & patience essence charm, cascading glamour small hanging earrings, cascading glamour necklace

images 4-7: classic hearts of pandora ring, sparkling droplets ring, radiant hearts of pandora ring, teardrop silhouette ring, hearts of pandora halo ring, two tone signature open bangle, essence collection silver bracelet with pandora signature heart charm & patience essence charm, hearts of pandora earring hoops, hearts of pandora collier necklace

I’m all about those subtle statements; small accents that help to finish off a look, whether it’s a classic watch you reach for everyday, a simple wedding band, or a delicate diamond necklace that sits on your décolletage just so. Depending on how much of a rush I’m in before heading out the door, it’s not unusual to see me just sporting my wedding bands (or if I’m in too much of a rush – not even at all!), so when I got the opportunity to play dress ups with Pandora’s newest collection, I couldn’t really say no.

As someone who not only works a full time ‘9-5’ job and also spends about 99% of any spare time working on my YouTube channel and blog, I’m always on the hunt for inspiration, whether it’s a new concept for a blog post, a new trend I want to incorporate into my otherwise ‘classic’ wardrobe, or a new creative idea. Perhaps without surprise, it’s often the little things that I find myself drawing inspiration from; the promise of a new day, the excitement of a new adventure, or the sparkle of a pretty pair of earrings.

#DOSEETHEWONDERFUL serves as a reminder to see the wonderful in the subtle details of every day, recapturing that magic and wonder with which a more youthful eye would take in the world around them.

Taking inspiration from the essence of Pandora’s new campaign, I wanted to play around with some – new to me – jewellery styles, keeping everything else paired back and minimal. A slinky black slip dress and a make shift studio in our living room set the scene, while trying to play off the light streaming in through the windows that frame the front of our home.

Unlike 95% of the photos you see of me online, I self-shot all these photos – something that takes a hearty dose of perseverance, combined with trial and error just to get the perfect shot, and i couldn’t be happier with how they turned out – I mean it’s hard to complain when you’re working with a generous selection of dainty, sparkly jewels.

I’ve narrowed it down to some of my favourite picks from the new collection, so if there’s anything in particular that catches your eye, I’ve provided details of every piece I’m wearing above. But if I could only pick one piece? Hands down it has to be the cascading glamour small hanging earrings; not only are they incredibly elegant (and comfortable to wear), but they have this timeless old world feel to them which I am absolutely smitten with! x

wearing Grana silk slip dress throughout – use code JAMIEXGRANA for 10% off

My First Chanel Bag

chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag
chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag
chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag

the investment purchase: a chanel bag

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this rather spendy wardrobe addition with you for the last week… but in case it wasn’t completely obvious, I bought a Chanel!

Suffice to say, it was a pretty big decision – these days I scoff at the idea of paying full price for a pair of designer shoes. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a classic Chanel bag for the last few years, and after stumbling across my dream Chanel at their Castlereagh Street boutique (and getting the thumbs up from Luke), I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet. If you recall my blog post featuring some bags I’d been wish listing from earlier this year, then you might already have a pretty good idea what I came home with…

chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag
chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag
chanel chevron caviar leather small boy bag

the reveal

Rather than opt for a classic flap, I decided to go for the Chanel Boy Bag, which I’ve had my eye on since it was released in 2011. I’ve got a bit of a penchant for small sized bags, which in part might be due to the fact that anything other than a tote bag during the week is redundant for me, so it probably goes without saying that I decided to go for the small. While I do also like the medium – and it’s certainly a more practical size for day-to-day – personally I find that anything larger than the small can look a little boxy against your frame if you’re not careful.

As timeless as the classic Chanel quilting is, when it comes to the Boy bag I’m much more drawn to the chevron leather; it has a fresh and modern feel which I think gels a lot more with my personal style. The leather is the caviar leather, of which I finally understand the appeal – a lot of the lambskin bags I looked at in store had some minor visible marking – plus I love that it’s incredibly carefree and (relatively) low maintenance, two things I often look for when investing in a new handbag. The final detail is the ruthenium hardware, which I absolutely adore – I think the aged silver chain works perfectly against the rich black leather of the bag.

In case it isn’t obvious, I’m pretty smitten with my new bag purchase, and chances are that I won’t be able to help playing favourites when it comes to picking which bag to wear every weekend.

While I haven’t been able to find this exact model pre-loved online, I’ve pulled together some similar alternatives in addition to some other classic bags which would be equally lovely in any bag lovers closet! x

The elevated classic earring

mademoiselle mejuri loop earrings

Mademoiselle X Mejuri loop earrings

I’m fairly minimal when it comes to my jewellery game, for me, I like something that is an elevated classic – a modern take on a style that has stood the test of time. And since partnering up with Mejuri to design the loop earring, no other earring has simply come close to embodying those characteristics, while pairing effortlessly for day and for night. My wardrobe inclinations clearly sway my jewellery choices; subtle, understated, minimal. As far as I’m concerned, nothing quite beats an elevated classic.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: What’s the Big Deal, and Where Should You Start?

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It’s that time of year again… the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (or #NSale) has begun, and with it, the opportunity to save big on some of their newest arrivals. Personally, this is one of my favourite sales to browse each year, as there are so many gems to be uncovered, and unlike your typical end-of-season sale, this is new stock rather than end of line.

WHEN CAN I SHOP THE SALE?

Early access to the #NSale opened up on Thursday 13 July, but for those of you like me who aren’t Nordstrom cardholders, public access kicks off tomorrow – Friday 21 July. The Anniversary Sale runs right through to Sunday 6 August, with sale prices going back up to full retail on Monday 7 August. You can find it a little more on the website here, including a peek at the entire catalogue.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

What makes this sale a little unlike any other is the fact that while it might be summer in the Northern Hemisphere (for all you lucky ladies living in the US and Europe!), it gives you the opportunity to snap up a bargain – or few – for your upcoming autumn/winter wardrobe.

It’s an incredible opportunity to invest in your wardrobe if you’re missing a pair of boots (these Stuart Weitzman’s are a classic!), or a heavy wool coat to beat the winter chill; personally, this double faced wool beauty is my pick.

It’s not often that you stumble across new season arrivals on sale with markdowns up to 40% off. Alternatively, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere (hands up!), it’s a chance to maybe add something that your winter wardrobe has been lacking, if you spy something that catches your eye, that is.

WHAT TO BUY

Like with any new wardrobe addition, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you have before diving head first into the sale; with thousands of new autumn arrivals marked down, it’s safe to say that it can get a little overwhelming very quickly. For me, there’s usually a few key items that I’m after each season – for autumn and winter, I like to get a new chunky knit sweater or two, an everyday skirt, and assess whether I need a new coat or a new pair of winter boots. I’ll also usually throw in a trend piece or two which will work with the rest of my closet. Right now, I’m loving ruffles, and this floaty ethereal blouse is at the top of my list, and I also think this floral number is a gorgeous option for a dark romantic winter dress.

Some of the best bargains to be had from the #NSale are definitely sweaters (a must for Autumn!), coats (this is a lovely and classic looking trench), booties (I still can’t get over what a bargain these are), and jeans (my fave are these from Frame Denim). I’ve had a bit of a browse (the joys of being sick!), so I thought I’d share some of my favourites from the sale with you which you can shop down below. I’m on a little bit of a self-imposed shopping ban right now so I have a feeling I’ll mostly be doing a bit of ‘window shopping’, but if you end up coming away with anything from the sale, please let me know what you bought in the comments! x

TOPS

JACKETS & COATS

SKIRTS & TROUSERS

DRESSES & JUMPSUITS

SHOES

HANDBAGS