‘Sort of’ Smart Clothes For Work

This is a request post from my friend Jo at work. She wanted some ideas for ‘sort of’ smart work clothes. Unlike me, Jo has what I consider to be a ‘real’ job. She is a lawyer. She knows about legal stuff. She can read the small print AND tell you what it means. I, on the other hand, just try and get Pop Stars on the telly. I don’t have any real qualifications, I never went to University, I just talk a lot and send a few emails. Jo sometimes has to be smart to meet with other lawyers and important type people. I don’t really have to be smart, but I do like a good dress up, so I’m happy to accept this work-wear challenge…


As you all should know by now, the easiest way to immediately look smart is to throw on a blazer, so let’s start with that. Most of us don’t need to go the full suited and booted, a blazer and a reasonably co-ordinated pair of trousers or smart jeans will suffice. I have recently discovered J Crew (I know, late to the party), but they do a really good blazer in various colours that won’t date and will be a good investment for your wardrobe. Don’t scrimp on a Blazer, it’s a classic and deserves to be of high quality so it lasts.

Smart clothes - the blazer

1. J Crew Regent Blazer
2. Mango Ruffle Print Blouse
3. Mango Metallic Handle Bag
4. The Outnet Rag Bone Dre Jeans
5. Gucci Princetown Loafers 


The next thing you need is a decent pair of trousers. I think that Cos do the best trousers, although maybe not for shorter ladies as they are quite long. Whistles is also very good and my faves & Other Stories. Don’t discount M&S too, as they can also be a little goldmine for slacks plus they do their trousers in varying lengths, which is great for any of you smaller ladies. That said, I would go for a front-creased, slightly cropped pair, worn with a slip-on trainer or a brogue and good quality shirt.

Smart work clothes- trousers

1. Vivienne Westwood Krall Shirt
2. New Look Navy Trench Coat
3. Cos Tailored Wool Trousers
4. Vans Slip On Classics
5. Whistles Soft Tote


This is a very easy option for work, it’s just one item of clothing you need to think about of a morning and everyone looks smart in a dress. I would always go midi length. No-one needs to see my thighs these days. I like to wear my dresses with trainers as I feel too dressed up with a heel, but a low heel or a nice sandal would work well if you can’t rock a sneaker at work.. Shirt dresses are a great option for spring, the buttoned-upness feels smart…

Smart clothes - the dress1. Somerset by Temperley Cotton Dress
2. APC Leather Shoulder Bag
3. Links of London Watch
4. The Outnet Vince Sandals
5. & Other Stories Leather Sandals



Skirts, I find skirts can be tricky sometimes. You have to get the fit right so they don’t cut you in half. Also those circular full-style skirts won’t work if, like me, you don’t have a discernible waist anymore post-children. I really should think about doing some exercise. I caught a glimpse of my backside in the changing room at H&M the other day. Gave me a terrible fright. I know the lighting is universally unflattering in there, but Jesus, it just wasn’t pretty. I  just don’t like exercising though. It’s boring and it hurts. If I ever have a free evening, I’d much rather watch Broadchurch and eat a Wispa than go to the gym. I find that pencil-style skirts work best, they must have pockets, can’t be doing with a skirt without pockets.

Smart work clothes - the skirt

1. Boden – Classic Shirt
2. Monica Vinader Diamond Hoop Earrings
3. J Crew Cotton Midi Skirt
4. Gucci Original GG Bag
5. & Other Stories Sandals


You must have at least one really decent handbag in your arsenal. A grown-up business woman needs a quality bag. A grown-up ANY woman needs a quality bag. Just please, please, please don’t get a Michael Kors one. I can’t see the appeal of them at all. I know the price is on point, but they are just so, so basic. You know what I mean? Step away from the crowd and try something else. Here’s a few of varying prices that I love…


Please do let me know if you have something you would like me to do a blog post about, I’m always open to new suggestions.

K x

17 thoughts on “‘Sort of’ Smart Clothes For Work

  1. I feel like I’m kindred spirits with your friend Jo and you as a lawyer too. For years, I was lucky to be a lawyer and never have to wear a suit to work – which confused the crap out of people (how can you be a lawyer and not wear a suit and all that?). The top outfits in the “blazer” section were all me! That being said, now I’ve moved to London and need to find a lawyer job – one that doesn’t require a “lawyer uniform.” *sigh*

    1. Just steer clear of anything that any of the contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ would wear… x

  2. If you could do a blogpost about what to wear to a wedding (in October, in Cornwall) for someone (i.e. Me) that doesn’t do pastel separates or dresses from coast, that would be amazing as I am truly stuck!!

    1. Remind me closer to the time, you shouldn’t buy this far upfront or you might not like it by the time you have to wear!

  3. Hi Kate, please would you give me a bit of an idea about sizing at Cos and at Other Stories, I’ll need to order online and have never bought from either of them before so not sure whether they are true to size etc. I’m looking for some smartish cropped black trews and both of theirs look good. I ordered a load from Mango but they’re were too long, a bit big or material a bit cheap so back to the drawing board!


    1. Hi Vicky,
      Cos I would say is really good for being spot on with sizing. I am 5’7 and a bit and their trousers are the perfect length for me. Tops I go for a medium (I’m standard size 12).

      & Other Stories I find comes up on the small side so I tend to size up one. The cropped trousers are great form both of these shops, but if you love something and it’s just too long, then maybe take to the tailors – our local one does a hem for £7. I’m lucky as my husband is good on the old sewing machine so I’m always getting him to alter things for me for free! x

      1. Thanks Kate, that’s really helpful, I’ll stop the pfaffing and just order some! Love your blog and Insta feed, witty, inspiring and useful, thank you ! Have a good week xx

  4. Just want you to know that you are ace. Your blog is spot on and such a great read. Your clothes, (and shoes) are fab. You are inspiring to read and follow on IG.
    I am an academic (very late 40’s) and have adapted my wardrobe to include several of your ideas, and, I feel great when I do.
    Thank you.

  5. I would love a post on how to dress for summer if you’re not a “summer girl” – I am never going to be able to wear little dresses and sandals with acres of bronzed limbs on show. My style is pretty similar to yours, so my usual warmer weather outfits are midi-dresses with bare legs and trainers, or rolled up trews with sandals. Is there a trick I’m missing?

    1. I’m totally with you – high summer is not really my ‘thing’ either, so I’ll definitely do a post about that soon! x

  6. Just want to say, I love your blog too Kate – so refreshing among a sea of sponsored bullshit blogs -I’m always so pleased when I find you’ve posted something new!

  7. Second Cat’s comments. No one’s seeing my knees, summer or not! Love your posts x

  8. Kate, is that dress you are wearing from Zara?? I missed out on 🙁
    If you wish to sell it I’d buy it!
    Love your blog x

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