By Gem - 15:01:00

Do you work in a corporate environment? Do you have a more laid back work place? Do you live in fear that your trousers will get covered in book dust (maybe just us library workers), or do you get to work from home and force yourself out of pyjamas?

I never really know what I should be wearing to work. I'm a lot younger than the rest of the full time staff at the library who like to wear black trousers and a blouse. Most staff my age work part time because they are still students and they obviously dress like students. I feel stuck in the middle, I want to look professional but also not age myself prematurely by wearing smart but dull clothing. I find myself wearing a smart dress one day then my converse and Fred Perry dress the next. I try and tell students to be quiet during exam time and want to have a bit of authority but don't feel I can when I'm wearing a Horrors band t-shirt.

I do a fair amount of lifting and I'm always under the desk pulling cables and things to fix computers but I also work at the information desk and attend conferences. It really is very tricky. There is a great blog where you can check out all the cool things that librarians and library professionals wear here and I've even submitted an outfit myself but I'm still stuck.

I've had a bit of a search and started to put together a capsule wardrobe for work, what do you think?

workwear 1

workwear 2

Dress: Reiss Shoes: bonprix Jacket : Dorothy Perkins Skirt: Warehouse Bag: Zatchels Shirt: eBay

I would probably add a a nice bright coloured t-shirt to this to wear with a cardigan and the skirt and I already have a few block coloured dresses I can wear with a blazer. I think the key thing I need to do is add some print and colour so my personality comes through and I wont end up looking like a corporate bore.

Hours of googling 'workwear' and 'What should a twenty-someting wear to work?' have led me to believe that the following are office necessities:

  • A dark suit - Great for interviews and meetings or those days when you have important visitors at your work place.
  • A white shirt - You can wear this with some smart jeans to dress down on a Friday or pair it with a pencil skirt for a super smart look.
  • Black trousers - You can never have too many of these and cropped ones look great in the summer with some heels.
  • Smart shoes -  The shoes I picked from bonprix (above) are perfect for work; smart, practical and a great price. If you stand a lot during the day or walk around a big building then you might want to stick to a low, chunky heels or flats. 
  • Structured handbag - You need a nice big hangbag to fit your diary in, lunch and and files or folders that you take home with you at the end of the day. A shabby tote bag isn't going to give off a good impression but you can really have some fun with your bag and go for bold colours.

What do you wear to work? Anyone got some advice for me?

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*collaborative post

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  1. one day I'll wear black trousers, smart shoes and bright coloured top, the next I'm in a short dress with love heart tights and knee high boots, and then I'll wear skinny jeans with purple fat face shoes and a lumberjack shirt...I have almost no authority with the students!
    I think its important to be comfortable, but afraid I'm wearing too casual clothes as I find I can't make an outfit that does not remind me of work! My earrings let out my personality though, so maybe I should stick with smart clothes, jazzy ears?

    1. it's just so tricky! Especially because I'm a library assistant and not a librarian so I'm technically not a professional. I don't need to wear a suit but don't want to look like a student.

      You're right, I think comfort is key when you are pushing trolleys and shelving.

  2. I work as a LA in an academic library too, & I also struggle. Everybody else working in the library is at least 20 years older than me, so of course dress completely different to me. As such I don't really have any inspiration & never know if my colleagues think some of my outfits are ridiculously inappropriate. I'm fortunate that it's an art, fashion & design campus, so quirky looks are very much appreciated, but I know that students don't always realise that I'm a staff member if I'm working away from the front desk.

    But on the plus side, students & lecturers always compliment my dresses - so at least I'm dressing well, if not necessarily appropriately!

    1. Thanks for the feedback, just check out your blog. We are really similar :)
      I work in the Humanities library so people can be a little wacky here too so I feel like I blend in with my leopard print.

  3. I LOVE what you have picked out here! You are totally right - you need to show your personality in your clothes even in an important office-y tyype job! xx

  4. I love the polka dot jacket! I always feel much more comfortable in the clothes which I like to wear so don't make that many changes with what I wear to work. I'm quite lucky as I can get away with wearing jeans!

  5. I love your picks here! I am lucky that I can wear what I want to work but I like classic shapes (like shift dresses or trousers) in bright colours, it makes me feel much less like a corporate drone!

    Maria xxx

  6. Love the jacket!

    When I worked in our local public library, me and a couple of the other girls who were in their 20/30's always tried to make a point of not looking like your typical librarian. Obviously we didn't go down the low-cut top/high heels route (although we may have got a few extra customers if we had!) but we did try and wear bright colours, cool dresses, patterned tights and cute flats.

    I agree though, it is really difficult to know what to wear! x

    1. haha sassy librarians might bring the crowds in. So tricky because our job has manual aspects x

  7. Argh I just wrote a huge comment and then the box refreshed, hate that!! ANYWAY haha, us physios just have a set uniform which is boring and uncomfortable too! But we get to wear trainers, yay?

    LOVE the first outfit <3


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