What I Wore To Work Wednesday: Alternatives To A Smart Shirt

One of the big challenges when it comes to dressing for work is dressing smart, whilst keeping your own sense of style. A great way to show a bit of your personality is by showing what’s under your blazer. Hold the phone – I’m obviously talking about the top you’re wearing underneath. 

In the City, every other workwear outfit  involves a plain, boring shirt underneath the jacket. Don’t get me wrong, a crisp white shirt can sometimes be the absolute bees knees when it comes to looking smart in that sexy Parisian, minimalist way but there are lots of other options other than a shirt.

I’m talking pretty patterns, decorative collars, metal finishes, luxe fabrics – ANYTHING THAT ISN’T WHITE! I sometimes think that life would be easier if we could just wear a uniform but of course, it wouldn’t be as fun right? To make your shopping inspiration more easy, I’ve picked some examples to show you.

In the absence of any time to take any actual photos of myself, I’ve chosen the five shirts which caught my eye this week.

Seen any you like? Scroll down for more info on the fab five!

1. Dorothy Perkins Ivory Heart Print Sleeve Top £28

This heart-print beauty is following the lead of THAT Burberry heart print shirt and it’s a great nod to the designer version at a snippet of the price. Bargain!

If that wasn’t enough, Dorothy Perkins are doing 25% off with the code DPFW25 until Sunday 23 Feb!

2. Boohoo Evie Collared Blouse £15

I love this blouse, for both work and also weekend wear! The collar on this blouse smartens up the look, and the colour is perfect for spring. I love the boxy cut, I’d wear it with slim black trousers or tucked into a pencil skirt for a sport-luxe vibe.

This Evie blouse also looks great with a tan so you can rock it all summer too, . HIYA MULTI-SEASON SHIRT-ALTERNATIVE.

3. H&M Silk Blend T shirt £24.99

I am a huuuuuge fan of a smart t-shirt under a suit – perfect for those of you whose firms don’t let you do REAL casual Fridays (it aint a casual Friday if you can’t wear jeans!). 

This H&M silk-blend t shirt isn’t just any t-shirt, it’ll add a touch of elegance and chic to any outfit.

Check out these examples of how I match a t-shirt with a suit.

Left: Katie Eary & Clique Magazine

Right: Burton Menswear Boyfriend-Fit Business Casual

4. Topshop Drape Front Blouse  £36

A lovely little nod to Spring, this Topshop pastel pink wrap blouse is an absolute do-it-all. 

This Topshop blouse can be worn tucked into smart trousers at work, loose over leggings with a big cardigan at the weekend OR even with shiny leggings and ridonkulous heels on a night out-out! Now THAT is making the most of a purchase eh?

Finally – my absolute fairest of them all. My favourite stylish-not-serious shirt of the week!

5.  Urban Outfitters Cooperative Penny Collar Lace Blouse £45

The star of my show! Isn’t it a beaut? Not a boring serious shirt, but this Cooperative Penny blouse has definitely got the potential to be super-sharp in a smart outfit. 

It IS the most expensive of them all but if you’re rotating this with your workwear you’ll wear it once a week for at least the next 2 years. This blouse is a classic colour, a timeless cut and… it’s just soooo god damn pretty!! NEED IT IN MY LIFE.

So what do you think? Which is your favourite serious-shirt alternative? 

How would you jazz up a boring suit whilst still looking smart? Do you have a favourite top you wear to work?


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Zoe Bayliss Wong
Zoe Bayliss Wong

Zoe is a Forbes ’30 under 30′ finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.

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    • Zoe Dubs
      February 23, 2014 / 12:37 pm

      Exactly – simple but elegant – and at all prices too! x

  1. Lola Lafortune
    February 20, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    Love the heart print shirt, Patterned shirts are stylish but still smart, thank you for sharing xx.

    • Zoe Dubs
      February 23, 2014 / 12:37 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it 🙂