Style

10 new staples for a casual work wardrobe refresh

A stylish but comfortable approach to your back-to-work looks.

A stylish but comfortable approach to your back-to-work looks

(Source, left: madewell.com; middle: frankandoak.com; right: zara.com)

Whether you're back to the office or just need a break from doing video calls in your sweats, this month's the time you might be thinking about a subtle style refresh. 

After all, there's likely a gap — and a range of possibility — between what you might have worn to work pre-pandemic and what you've been wearing to work from your home, especially if your office has a dress code. Without giving up comfort, it's possible to incorporate new fits, shapes and colours so even your everyday looks feel updated and exciting again. 

Ahead, 10 fresh picks that showcase some of the top workwear trends of the season. 

We've been raving about preppy knit vests for a while, but they're everywhere this fall, in both the men's and women's departments. Look for a slightly oversized fit — and a round neckline will be easier to style than a V-neck, which can look more retro or collegiate. 

Purl Knit Vest, $59.90, Zara

This machine-washable cotton dress looks more tailored than the housedresses and nap dresses that have been selling out in the past year, but is equally comfortable thanks to its roomy fit. Bonus: Noémiah designs are made in Montreal using organic and sustainable fabrics.

Coco Cotton Dress, $245, Noémiah

Available in sizes XS/S to 5XL/6XL, this versatile denim shirt-dress can be worn two ways: as a dress and, when unbuttoned, as a top layer. You could even tuck it into a full skirt or loose-fit jeans and style it as a shirt.

Strip Oversized Denim Dress, $228, Oge Ajibe

Dressy-looking trousers that feel like pyjamas? That's the pitch for these Lezé the Label pants with a removable belt. Plus, they're made with 15 per cent recycled nylon from old fishing nets. 

Haven Pant, $139, Lezé the Label

This top looks great on its own, but where it may come in especially handy is as a colourful layer to jazz up your basics. Wear it under a sleeveless dress, with another top that has cut-outs, or under a classic blazer or cardigan. 

The Printed Long Sleeve Mockneck, $59.50, Frank And Oak

You'll find a veritable rainbow of flannel shirts at Uniqlo for a nice price. This patchwork one is fun and different and perfect if you're ready to channel the '90s sartorially. 

Flannel Checked Long Sleeve Shirt, $29.90, Uniqlo

Part polo top, part heathered knit, this sweater mash-up is one stylish way to stay warm this fall. Wear it with a classic wool blazer or over a sharp white turtleneck. 

Tames Ls Mouline Polo, $255, Ted Baker

Cargo pants, in both twill and athleisure fabrics, are trending again this year. This version from Levi's is more office-ready thanks to sleek cargo pockets and a tapered fit. 

XX Chino Cargo Taper Fit Men's Pants, $118, Levi's

A poetic blouse in a rich autumnal hue is always a good idea, and this viscose-and-wool one will look great both on Zoom and for in-person meetings. Be sure to try it tucked in for maximum impact. 

High Neck Blouse with Tie Detail, $129, Massimo Dutti

This floral corduroy jacket, available in sizes XXS to XXL, offers a dramatic, boxy shape and cozy, padded feel. Perfect for brisk fall walks, whether you're headed to the office or just getting some air during your WFH lunch. 

Corduroy Dumont Quilted Jacket, $286, Madewell


Truc Nguyen is a Toronto-based writer, editor and stylist. Follow her at @trucnguyen.

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