How to rock a smart look at work

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.
Adam Lowe

Featured image: Jade Aucamp (image in full below)

With a new study by Savile Row Company, the London-based tailors of fine shirts and suit, showing that 76% of all Millennials prefer to dress smart for work, even if they’re not required to, we thought it was a good idea to really focus on smart style for the workplace.

Colour is always a good place to start. Handkerchiefs – themselves a huge part of LGBT culture – can add a lick of colour and pattern to formal attire. Paired with a tie that brings out the palette, you can make that suit really flash.

Photo by Dane Deaner

If you’re not a necktie person, you can go for a cheeky bow tie.

Photo by Shamim Nakhaei

A turtle neck is another way to add colour and contrast above the lapels of a jacket, without having to wear a shirt or a tie. Socks and stockings can bring detail and character down below.

Photo by Jade Aucamp

Sporty stripes can bring together formal and informal wear. This is a great way to add trainers to your smart ensemble.

Photo by Alberto Bobber

Layering up with a suit jacket on top can add a formal twist to an otherwise casual ensemble. Back in my clubbing days, I sometimes paired jeans and a vest with a tailored jacket with shoulder pads to great effect. It also means you can stay fashionable even in the bitterest of winters!

Photo by Andrew Neel

Remember the desert scarf? There was a moment in time they were all the rage and they appear to have crept back in fashion again. Technically called a shemagh, which is pronounced ‘shamay’ or ‘schmog’, this is a scarf with added utility. Why not try a desert scarf to give shape, volume and colour to a dressy number?

Photo by angelo mercadante

A bit of neck bling, mind you, can also go a long way, regardless of your gender. You can be bold – with beads, pearls, silver or gold – or you can be restrained, with just a small pendant. Pick something that either snatches colour from the detail of your suit, or else something that will look striking in opposition to it.

Photo by rawpixel

Or take this subdued example, where a gold tie bar adds an elegant touch (just remember not to wear your tie bar too high or too low).

Photo by John Volante

You can forego the neck area altogether and make your shirt a statement piece.

Photo by Joanna Nix

Flowers work whether on your shirt, tie or socks.

Photo by Gregory Hayes

Or even flowers themselves, nearly tucked into a jacket pocket.

Photo by Soroush Karimi

Wear a suit that works with your complexion, eyes and hair. You’d be surprised what a difference a well chosen shade can have.

Photo by Chelsea fern

A stylish pocket watch chain can also add an edge to your outfit – you can go full biker chain if you really want to or you can keep it understated.

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh

And just because you’re wearing smart clothes, it doesn’t mean you can’t wear some kick arse sunglasses too. Go for classic styles, rather than sporty ones, to complement the craftsmanship of your duds.

Photo by Landovan

Finally, don’t forget your bag! You need somewhere to store all your essentials (and accessories), and a decent bag gives you a certain gravitas!

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