Checks are easily identifiable, and remain as one of the easiest prints to wear to the office. They instantly denote a sense of business, and you look pulled together and professional.
- Mix around different checked pieces to get unexpected results.
- Wear it with denim for a fast way to dress it up.
- Wear a jacket that’s too small. Because of how neat checked patterns are, any garment that fits too tightly will only highlight the pulling marks.
- Wear head-to-toe checks, unless you’re confident enough to pull it off. Instead, break it up with neutral pieces like a beige skirt or white pants.
While this print is historically more popular in menswear, it’s a great way to spruce up your office attire. Not only does houndstooth command your attention, it plays into the power dressing territory when accessorised properly.
- Try houndstooth in different pieces, whether it’s a houndstooth skirt or bag. This lets you decide how much pattern you want to wear.
- Keep to a single houndstooth pattern. Mixing two types of houndstooth could potentially look messy.
- Avoid over-accessorising! Stick to the basics like black pumps and a minimalist handbag.
- Don’t forget to tailor! The miniature nature of this pattern means that if your suit is too roomy, it might overwhelm you.
Floral prints may not be groundbreaking for Spring, but they make great alternatives for work-friendly patterns. They introduce a sense of femininity and whimsy, and given the sheer amount of florals in the market, you are certain to find a pattern you will love.
- Stick to simpler colours. Given how busy your floral patterns are, you might want to avoid looking too summery by going for a monochromatic colour palette instead.
- Dress it up with your handbag. A structured handbag will always let people know you’re ready for business.
- Steer clear of mini floral prints, as those tend to carry an air of casualness with them. Instead, opt for artsier and bolder floral patterns.
- Try not to mix florals with other patterns, as you might end up looking like a visual mess.
4. Polka dots
Yes, polka dots may not always come across as office-ready, but it really comes down to how you style it. On their own, dots are a versatile print that you can use to add a bit of fun to your look.
- Opt for a two-coloured approach when picking out your polka dots. There is such a thing as looking “too fun” for work.
- Pair your polka dots with more tailored options like a blazer or a pencil skirt.
- Do not pair with anything too “dressed down”, like jeans or sneakers. Your goal is to make your polka dots more presentable for HR.
- Don’t be afraid to try polka dots of different sizes. They suit different style personalities.
Another classic in the realm of workwear patterns, stripes have the ability to get you looking polished in two quick seconds! Plus, the proliferation of different stripes available today ensures that everyone will always find something that they’ll love.
- Opt for vertical stripes instead of horizontal ones. They look more polished, and they help you appear slimmer.
- Mix different stripes together, as long as they fall into complimentary colour schemes. Otherwise, you end up looking clownish, which is not ideal.
- Don’t forget to feminise your tailoring. Striped jackets tend to look a bit mannish, so finding one with a nipped in waist will flatter you better.
- Don’t go crazy with accessories. Keep to simple, classic jewellery and let your stripes do all the talking.
The difference between plaid and checks is that plaid tends to have a bolder appearance, given the strong intersecting stripes in its pattern. For that, only attempt plaid if you’re comfortable and confident with such a head-turning pattern.
- Stick to neutral colours. Camel, grey, blue or black base colours all get the professional green light.
- Wear only one plaid item. Too many and you look like a Scotswoman lost in the CBD.
- Don’t mix it with other patterns. Given how strong a plaid pattern can look, you want to stick to solid colours as a safer bet.
- Avoid plaid items that are too roomy, as the pattern only makes you look bigger.
We love abstract prints, because they give you a way of adding some fun to your look in a way that makes people do double-takes. While not all abstract prints should be worn to work, a large number of patterns out there can be office-appropriate if you know how to style it well.
- Opt for safer colours such as jewel tones or darker hues. Anything that’s too bright will only make this print look casual.
- Stick to simple accessories, so you’re still keeping things looking classy.
- Do not mix with other prints. Given that abstract prints are already bold enough, introducing another pattern looks clumsy.
- Don’t put on too much makeup. Let your abstract pattern remain in the spotlight instead, and rely on a classic red lip if you need some colour on your face.
Here’s where most people have divided opinions. Some say that animal prints should not be used at the office, while others believe that you can. Our verdict? It all comes down to how you’re styling it.
- Dress it up with tailored separates. Pieces like a sharp blazer or a pair of leg-lengthening pants will help your animal print look more tame.
- Keep the print to one item. Our preferred way of wearing it is with an animal print skirt and a white blouse. Classy, HR-approved and chic.
- Don’t work more than one animal print at a time. You’re not the crocodile dundee.
- Don’t wear it with fitted silhouettes. It may get you plenty of side-eye from your colleagues.