You’ve had the baby, done the maternity leave and it’s time to head back to the office. But what do you wear? After months of maternity clothing followed by months of maternity leave, it can be overwhelming trying to find outfits for the office. You want something that makes you look professional, feel confident and flatters your shape whilst being practical for nursery and school runs, comfortable and easy to look after. Throw in a need for easy access if you’re still breastfeeding and needing to pump and suddenly it feels like a headache.
Returning to work is already stressful enough with plenty of balls to juggle. There are plenty of more important logistical things to organise than your wardrobe but a good outfit can make all the difference to how you feel upon your return. So when Fashion World asked me to take a look at their Spring Summer range, I wanted to pick out some of my favourite styles for going back to the office as a working mum. With these styles in mind, you can find something that ticks all of those boxes; practical, fashionable and affordable with a giant dose of confidence building chucked in for good measure.
A must in any work wardrobe, a decent wrap dress can be dressed up or down depending on how smart your office is. Wrap dresses are usually described as one of the most flattering styles to wear, pulling in at the waste to give some shape without clinging in the wrong places. If you’re likely to breastfeed before or immediately after work, or use a breast pump during the working day then a wrap dress also provides easy access without requiring you to strip off each time. Wrap dresses in a skater style are my go to for office wear; one plain black one for smarter days and a subtle print for general office wear. Wear a vest underneath if you want a little extra coverage or if you’re likely to be sat down all day – no-one wants an accidental bra flash when someone stands next to your desk – and pair with or without tights depending on the time of year. Like I said, a must have!
A Decent Shirt
As someone who didn’t discover wearing shirts until recently, I can hand on heart say that if they’re not in your work wardrobe then you’re missing out. Think less shirt your dad wore and more classy, ‘look at how effortlessly stylish I am’ number. They’re smart without being restrictive and surprisingly versatile as can be worn tucked in or loose and with a skirt or trousers. What’s more, they’re great for those of us need to be able to use a breast pump or feed a baby whilst still in workwear; simply undo a few of the lower buttons and lift up. To keep it smart and tailored, keep your trousers or skirt more fitted to show off your figure. Finally, enjoy the slightly pyjama-esque levels of comfort… honestly, you won’t look back.
As much as I like loose trousers, for the office it’s all about finding a good pair of tailored trousers. Get good trousers and you can pair any number of blouses, shirts or even t-shirts with them and you’ll instantly look office ready. For this time of year, I’d recommend two pairs; a regular fitted trouser and a cropped pair for the warmer weather such as cigarette trousers. Pick plain, dark colours that will flatter your shape and ensure they go with everything else in your wardrobe. In terms of shoes, I’d always wear a slight heel with a cropped trouser just to keep it looking smarter and elongate your calf muscles.
Often the last element of a wardrobe that we think about, after decent underwear, there’s nothing more important that a comfortable shoe. Your feet tend to widen during pregnancy when all of the joints relax which may mean your shoes from before feel a little tight. To combat this, I’ve personally turned to buying wide fit shoes. It might bring to mind thoughts of unflattering styles but this couldn’t be further from the truth these days with stockists such as Fashion World offering a wide range (geddit?!). For office wear, it’s worth investing in two pairs; a flat, pump style shoe for more casual days and a versatile heel that will give you a little lift. For the summer, I’d choose a wedge style heel; it’s easier to wear and more comfortable, plus if you’re not used to wearing heels it’s a nice way to ease yourself back in. For cooler weather; a black ankle boot will work well with or without tights.
A Statement Skirt
Remember how I said to keep your trousers plain and dark? Or to go for a more tailored fit on your bottom half? Throw that out the window when it comes to picking a statement skirt. This should be your confidence piece; the skirt that makes you feel like you can rule the world. Whether it’s animal print (mine happens to be!), floral or just a bold colour that makes your heart sing, here’s your chance to show a little personality. I find midi skirts offer a nice balance between work and home wear, but the right maxi skirt will also work. Pair with a plain vest top and cardigan for a more casual look, a dark t-shirt or a dark long sleeved top and boots for cooler days. The trick is to keep everything else as subtle as possible and let the skirt speak for you…
The Basics Tops
Every work wardrobe needs the basics; long and short sleeved, plain tops that will pair with any outfit. I’m talking jewel coloured sleeveless blouses, long sleeved jersey tshirts to pair with those beautiful skirts, vest tops to go under wrap dresses or just cardigans during transitional weather. I’d recommend finding a couple of each style to start you off; you can’t go wrong with black but if you’re planning on wearing black trousers then it’s good to have a couple brighter colours or patterns to mix things up. Just because it’s work wear, doesn’t mean it has to be boring! The best thing about basic tops is you can also mix them in with your ‘home’ wardrobe taking you from the office to the playground with a simple change of bottoms. Think fitted jersey for maximum comfort and versatility.
Related post: I’m breastfeeding, what can I wear?