By Kim Izzo
With how and where we work at an all-time flux, shopping for work attire can be a struggle. What do we really need to look the part these days? And if it’s a free for all, what do we want to wear that says something about who we are? The upside to all this uncertainty is in its flexibility and versatility, two words that have come to define the new Workkit. In other words, what you grab from your closet for an in-person meeting (they still have those right?) can do double duty picking your toddler up from daycare or sipping a Pinot Noir with your bestie, while you look equally put together for all of the above + more. A feat that is especially coveted when the world as we know it having an epic meltdown.
“Comfort and style are queen. We no longer sacrifice looking great for feeling uncomfortable or constricted,” says Kirsten Bowen, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for WHBM. As for the latest looks for the brand, Bowen says fabrics were chosen that moved and stretched when worn, can easily wash in the machine and do not wrinkle. “We also know that everyone has one closet, and this closet needs to work from morning to evening and everything in between,” she adds.
So, what are these magical pieces that we all need in our one closet?
A GREAT FITTING BLAZER
Blazers are the workhorse of working girls everywhere. But just because it’s a classic doesn’t means it boring. There are many different fabrications and cuts to suit your style and your body type. From double or single-breasted, to blazers made from denim to ones with nautical detailing, or even a relaxed fit style with a self-belt in lieu of buttons, there’s no limit on looks you can create.
For Bowen, that means a fitted look, but with stretch for comfort. “I live in our Signature Blazer.”
How you decide which blazer is up where and how you want to wear it, but there is no shortage of fabulous blazers.
THE HIGH-RISE DARK DENIM FLARE
If you’re still wondering if jeans are acceptable for the office, enough now. Jeans are essential business casual attire. And as fashionistas and influencers everywhere decree, stick to darker rinses to ensure you always look polished. As for silhouette, Bowen is a flare fan. “A high-rise dark denim rinse flare, this jean takes you everywhere,” says Bowen. “It acts like a very stylish pant. It also makes me taller and slimmer so what’s not to love?”
THE PRINTED DRESS
There’s a lot of buzz in the culture about casual looks for every occasion. Leggings, jeans, joggers, they’ve all been adapted to the office in one way or another since the pandemic began. And this isn’t a bad thing, it’s allowed us all to feel comfy when WFH, and this trend shows no signs of abating. However, there comes a time when a girl just wants to dress up. “After a year of leggings, I am ready to feel pretty in a dress,” Bowen admits. “It is the ultimate expression of femininity and exudes confidence in an effortless way.”
That’s right, while dresses never went away, many of us hung them up for better times and hunkered down in our cashmere joggers. But now that we’re feeling optimistic again (we are, right?) it’s time to consider our dresses again. It doesn’t get easier in the morning than slipping on a dress, it’s that one and done garment that looks elegant all day. And you can easily wear you dress to work with flats or books, then kick it up for cocktails with heels.
WHBM has always been on the frontlines of the prettiest dresses with exclusive prints designed in-house, bold colors, and flattering fits. Long-sleeve dresses give you the blouse effect that’s femme and sophisticated, but also looks like you mean business. The classic sleeveless sheath is of course the go-to for news anchors everywhere, and that’s because its lines are simple but elegant, and arms can easily be covered by a blazer. Make sure the one you choose as some stretch in the fabric for 9-5 comfort.
As for hemlines, there is no hard and fast rule no matter your age, height, or body type. It’s all about what you feel confident in – and at work, confidence is key. If you prefer to cover up, then a maxi-dress is for you, it’s a casual, elegant look that will not detract from your presentation. The WHBM Jetsetter Maxi Dress comes in an uber chic satin + knit version that is comfortable for all day and will always ensure you’re ready for anything.
THE BLACK TROUSER PANT
For those of us who prefer a more classic look for work there is always the iconic black pant. Bowen also admits she’s personally investing in WHBM’s new black trouser pant. “A black pant is always a staple and I love our new fit.”
Whether it’s the still-on-trend wide leg pant, or the best-selling slim ankle number, either pair of black trousers will get you through your day, week, and even your year (we’re sure Rachel and Monica had a few pairs).
Bottom line is, no matter your work style of choice it’s about creating a look that makes you feel like you. “Dress to feel confident,” advises Bowen. “When you feel confident you can accomplish anything. Always feel comfortable to express your personal style, you own it.”
THE SOFT SHIRT
Not sure about you, but if the last two years have taught me anything about work dress codes, is this: what was once a traditional piece of a working woman’s uniform, can be found today in a softer, and more comfortable form. Behold the WHBM soft shirt, it looks like the most polished tailored shirt your mom (or dad) wore to the offices of yore, but this one is soft with a super relaxed fit that says you’ve got it under control, but you aren’t a stressed out button-down type (even if you are). My personal fave, hands down. And it comes in black, white, pale blue, and soft pink, among other hues.