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6 Things To Wear When Returning To Office Life

Returning to work after maternity leave or a career break can be a big shift, and many new mums feel their confidence suffering as they prepare for their first day back – it’s like that first day of term all over again!

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There are a few things you can do to prepare, including catching up with your workmates on what to expect. But there’s also something else which might make more difference than it should – A kick ass wardrobe! Obviously you don’t have to buy lots of new things, just planning good outfits in advance (and laying them out the night before) and choosing a few key work-pieces can make all the difference.

As one of our mums recently said:

“Buy yourself something nice as a Back to School present (or even better convince your other half to buy it?!) It's a big change for you too, and a new pair of shoes/bag/non-maternity top that you probably wouldn't wear home alone is just the sort of thing to help you feel like returning to adult life.”

- Carrie

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1. Items that don’t need to be ironed

From left: Next Boxy T-shirt, Joules Francine Printed Pique Skirt, Dorothy Perkins Ochre Floral Print Blouse.

After a long day in work, and going through the bedtime routine with your little one, you won’t want to move on to a pile of ironing. Plus beware those items that look gorgeous on the hanger, but by the time you’ve dropped your little one at creche and travelled to work, have turned into a crumpled mess. Wherever possible choose clothes that don’t need to be ironed at all (and that are easily washable!) or that stay looking good. A great test while shopping is to crumple the fabric in your hand, to see if it creases.

Top tip: A black leather skirt (real or otherwise) looks fancy, doesn't need to be ironed, and spillages can be easily wiped off! There's a wide range of different styles and lengths out there, so you're sure to find one that feels like you!

Read Next: 5 Gorgeous Shirts To Make You Feel Fantastic

2. A great cardi/blazer to cover a multitude of sins

From left: Zara Shimmer Thread Peplum Blazer, Dorothy Perkins Charcoal Ribbed Hem Cardigan, Next Grey Neppy Texture Double Breasted Blazer.

Whether you’re allowed smart casual, formal businesswear, or have free reign, it’s great to have go-to items like a great blazer that can pull items together and look like you’ve thought about things. You can choose a more boxy oversized fit or something tailored, but make sure it hangs in a flattering way, and that it’s something you could be comfortable in. Zara, Next, and Dorothy Perkins often have some great reasonably priced options.

3. The Dress

From left: Marks&Spencer Twisted Detail Short Sleeve Swing Dress, Joules Rosamond Printed Woven Blouse, Dorothy Perkins Emerald Knot Front Shift Dress.

Sometimes you’ll be going into the office after no sleep, feeling dreadful, and worrying about a big presentation that’s due. For these moments you need that item that instantly makes you feel a bit better. The sort people compliment you on, but preferably one that is also comfortable. For me that’s a dress from Marks&Spencer that’s twirly, but long enough to not have to worry about inadvertently flashing. For you it could also be nice earrings or a pair of shoes. Just know what makes you feel good, know where it is, and get it clean and ready to go!

4. Statement Jewellery

Clockwise from top left: Betty&Biddy Double Red Tassel Earrings, New Look Gold Filigree Coin Chain Link Necklace, Dorothy Perkins Crystal Double Ring, Topshop Pastel Wave Face Watch, Betty & Biddy Blue Valentina Necklace, Topshop Unicorn Hoop Earrings.

While off on maternity leave, you probably avoided jewellery that could be chewed or tugged by your baby. But heading in to the office is a time when your statement jewellery can be celebrated. It draws the eyes away from areas you’re not a fan of, and brightens up even the most functional outfit. Plus you could always keep a piece or two in your handbag or desk drawer, so that favourite necklace never has to come near those tiny grabbing hands!

5. A dressing gown

No, not into work (as much as we’d love to stay in our jammies sometimes.) A dressing gown is great to wear over your work clothes while you feed and dress your children, to minimise the amount of food and baby sick you get covered in. Yes, you might still spill coffee on your shirt as soon as you’re out of the door, but every stain you avoid still counts!

6. Slip on shoes

Clockwise from top left: River Island Green Backless loafer, Clarks Edenvale Page boots, New Look Coral Suedette Tassel Front Loafers, Toms Clare V. Honey Leather Women's Classics.

Especially while you get into your new routine, you might find yourself rushing for EVERYTHING. Minimise what you need your hands for, by wearing shoes that you can put on while holding your baby, handbag, and/or coat. You’ll also love being able to slip them off immediately when you get through the front door at the end of the day (or under the desk when no one is looking.)

What are your go-to outfits in the 'work wardrobe'? We'd love to hear.


About the Author

Emily is our Digital Editor. She has three awesome nieces, and has accidentally worn the same outfit as them on at least one occasion. Emily likes making things, including hand-drawn cards, and a darn good chocolate cake. She still sounds very English, despite living in Dublin for the last nine years. More insight into the workings of her brain can be found on dancingcakesandsilence.blogspot.com.

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