The New Workwear According To Women Who’s Otegha Uwagba

Clean slates, fresh starts and that back-to-school feeling – September is the perfect time to rethink your workwear wardrobe. Need some expert guidance? Look no further than Otegha Uwagba. Founder of Women Who and the author of The Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women, Otegha truly knows what it means to dress for the office now. Here she talks to Topshop about her main workwear rules…

“When it comes to dressing for the office, we’ve come a long way from the Thatcherite power-dressing looks of the 1980s, or the plethora of Roland Mouret knock-off dresses that dominated the early noughties (and were spotted on 9/10 of The Apprentice’s female contestants). Workwear has become more relaxed and individualised than ever, and not a moment too soon.”

“There are few things that influence your mindset as much as your wardrobe choices – feeling comfortable and confident about your appearance translates to your attitude, and can definitely help you work better. As a writer and entrepreneur, I’m lucky enough to spend most of my time in more creative environments where dress codes are undeniably more relaxed, so for me ‘dressing for work’ is more about standing out than blending in. Like many women these days, the lines between my ‘professional’ wardrobe and my day-to-day wardrobe are pretty much non-existent.”

“My main workwear rule is that whatever I’m wearing has to be supremely comfortable – constantly readjusting a too-tight skirt, or hobbling around in heels you can’t walk properly in is never a good look. If you’re constantly being reminded of what you’re wearing (for all the wrong reasons), that’s only going to steal your focus away from the task at hand, so when trying on clothes for the office imagine how you’ll feel after wearing them for a few hours. Personally if I know I’m going to be running around town all day, I’ll stick to a pair of low mules or trainers – which as long as they’re crisp white, can look smart even in a fairly formal setting.”

“Still, if I’ve got an important meeting in the diary or I’m hosting a Women Who event, I’ll generally wear a pair of heels – they just make me feel more pulled together, which I find translates to my mindset and gives me an extra boost of confidence. The same goes for smart tailoring – I love a two-piece suit, although I’ll usually mix and match either the blazer or the trousers with more casual pieces for everyday wear.”

Shop Otegha’s workwear edit here…