BLANCA World / Smart Casual for Work? (Absolutely) Groundbreaking

Smart Casual for Work? (Absolutely) Groundbreaking

Smart Casual for Work? (Absolutely) Groundbreaking

Consider this your smart casual for work attire guide, with tips from renowned stylist Nicole Bonython-Hines 

We've felt the dilemma of office wear: where is the opportunity to show off your winning personality and great style? As trends in the way we work have shifted, so too has the way we dress. Hard pants to soft, rigid and formal to elasticated everything, and body-sculpting silhouettes to oversized (our fave). While comfort is having a major moment – one that we are making sure is here to stay – it's almost made the act of getting dressed for the workplace more difficult. The unspoken rules of a smart casual workplace wreak of conflicting opinions.

Consider the smart casual office wardrobe a polished and put-together look, where formal separates are balanced with those more casual. Industry stalwart Nicole Bonython-Hines offers her take on the look so that every day is another opportunity to tell your story and have a little fun. 

Smart Casual Work Attire Trends & Tips

Find your comfort

Above everything else, we prioritise comfort – after all, how are we supposed to endure the day and work hard if we're concerned about the restrictive waistline of our pants?

Although what is work-appropriate varies depending on your job and workplace, comfort is not elusive. "Comfortable doesn't need to mean track pant. You can wear a pleat front pant with a knit and flat shoe, and that's comfortable."

@laurennburns in the Carmen Coat

A few rules apply, as told by Nicole:

  • For work, you need to dress as though you respect your workplace; therefore - clean/ironed/unscuffed/not pilled!!!
  • Jackets and heels usually make workwear look more polished, but not everyone needs to wear either of those items (or can't do a heel for a whole day), so there are other options that still look polished enough for work. [Consider] a great (clean) flat or even a trainer if that's what your workplace can accommodate.
  • A knit can be good so long as it doesn't look stretched out.
  • [Add] a great coat over the top to clean things up.

@angelafink in the Carmen Coat in Brown

Find your style

In terms of trends, "A more defined shoulder is here to stay," says Nicole. "I've always been averse to a matching suit prior to now," suggesting a 'broken' suit with individual jackets and pants instead, "but a matching suit feels modern now." As is the Blanca way, she steers away from your bog standard, preferring tailoring that has a point of difference. Look for contemporary takes on classic designs, with broader shoulders, double-breasted, textured fabrics or frayed edges to add something extra. 

Pair your Blanca shirt with wide leg pants (your office-friendly best friend) and outerwear that is as intriguing as your suiting. Search for an exaggerated shoulder on your coat, too, she recommends – a diaphanous utilitarian trench coat or a statement check blazer, perhaps.

Even if you play safe with your silhouettes, colour is the key to adding personality and showing off your unique style. Try interesting combinations using neutrals as a safe starting point, then injecting a popping hue – like a beige trouser paired with a vibrant shirt, taking the edge off the formality.

Accessories are an avenue allowing you to dress your look up or down. Nicole suggests "layered jewellery in a low key way" – think: petite chains mixed with a chunkier alternative, a dainty earring stack with huggies and hoops, or an elegant smattering of rings (all the better to type with).

@dearnaeaton in the Dana Blazer in Blue

Images via @dearnaeaton, @angelafink and @laurennburns.