office wardrobe part 2b

How to create an office wardrobe on a budget? Part 2.

Unless some of you might think, you don’t need tons of clothes to create an office wardrobe or any wardrobe at all. The fewer clothes you have, the easier it is to see what you really need and mix and match the items you have. Nobody needs 10 white blouses, although mine come in handy at this moment, since I’m breastfeeding and my baby has reflux, and I need more than one top in a day.

Since my previous post, how to create an office wardrobe on a budget, part1, there has been a “miniskirt gate” in Amsterdam. Civil servants were asked by their team leader to stop wearing (mini) skirts. Since there is no official dress code on skirt length, there was a twitter riot after this became public. As I already wrote previously, modesty is a touchy and debatable subject. Not only in liberal Amsterdam this is a topic as can be read in the Business Insider UK and on the blog dress for success.

Back to how you will create an office wardrobe on a budget! If you followed the steps in my previous post on this subject, you have now an office wardrobe with office appropriate items that you already owned, a new blazer and a pair of classic pumps in your color scheme. You can start looking now for a coat and a bag. Finally, a bag!

Step 1: Evaluate your climate and choose a coat

Choose a coat type that will serve you the most seasons. Since the weather is not that warm now, or most of the year, at least here in The Netherlands, you’ll need a coat. And as it is something that you wear almost daily and is part of a first impression, you’ll need an elegant one. One of the classiest outerwear to wear over your work outfits in spring and autumn is a trench coat. Select one in your color scheme. If you know for sure that you’ll stick to your accent colors for some years, you can even buy a trench in one of those, but if you’re planning to follow with your accent colors the fashion trends, than it is safer to stick to one of your basic colors. Personally, I’m favoring light wool coats as I can wear them more often with our climate and stick to blazers on the warmer days. A fashion faux pas, understandable when it’s really cold or raining, but not recommendable, is to put on your down filled winter sport jacket. It’s something I do as well in winter when I take my bicycle to do groceries. But it’s not something you wear to an office.

Burberry lace

A lace trenchcoat by Burberry, if you have a larger budget and this pale blue is your accent color.


An affordable trench by McGregor available at de Bijenkorf in a classic neutral color

Step 2: Choose a structured everyday bag for the office

Another everyday item that you can and will use daily for years to come is a laptop or other bag that you carry to the office. First you have to determine how big, or small it should be. When you start selecting one make sure that you buy a structured bag, meaning that it will hold its form and won’t collapse into a pile when put down. Furthermore it needs to be a high quality one and in one of your neutral colors. As bags can be quite the investment items, you can also rent some beautiful pieces from our collection. This gives you the opportunity to use different colors, to save for an expensive one or to “test drive” a bag, before settling for a size, color or brand. I’m still saving for a Delvaux.