Mamas, we salute you. Not only are you a star for birthing new life into this world, we salute your courage and the sacrifices you make for your family - and now, you’re ready to come back to the workforce! #SUPERMOM. Knowing this, we thought long and hard about how we could come alongside and journey with each #werkingwoman, mummies included, equipping you with all you need to step into a new career with renewed confidence - beginning, of course, with the clothes.
Last week, we collaborated with Mums@Work (a support platform for working mothers) and Facebook to co-host a special workshop for all mamas getting ready to rejoin the workforce after taking time off to have children. Alongside resume-writing skills, practical interview tips & much more, Love, Bonito came in for a styling segment to share about dressing for success: the 5 main things every #werkingwoman needs to have in their closet; especially useful for mamas who need a wardrobe refresh, but don’t want to spend a whole lot on trendy pieces. Function and versatility were the main criteria here.
Read on for the must-have staple pieces for any work wardrobe!
No matter how long you’ve been away from the workforce; a crisp, button-down shirt never goes out of style. Made for any day of the week, button it all the way up and pair with a fitted skirt or wide-leg pants for your 9 to 5 duties, or leave a few buttons undone with sleeves rolled up for the weekend.
Although button down shirts are classically structured, they need not be paired with equally tailored, fitted pants. Try pairing button-down shirts with the trendy, contemporary pieces in your existing wardrobe (like the plaid printed skirt as styled on Elsie, above). The shirt instantly elevates these fashionable pieces for a more refined style.
PRO-TIP: Put together a quick and fuss-free morning outfit with wrinkle-resistant shirts. Look out for shirts made of polyester blends and try to stay away from 100% cotton.
2. The High-waisted Pants
For mamas out there afraid of adding pants to your workwear wardrobe: our advice is to try a high-waisted pair that skims over your hips. High-waisted pants don’t just give you the illusion of a smaller waist, it also elongates your legs. The right pair should show off your natural curves while keeping your body proportionate.
When it comes to pairing, you’d want to choose a top that can be easily tucked in — keeping your look professional. Heels may not be the most practical choice, so finish off your complete #werkingwoman look with a pair of pointed-toe flats; they help to make your legs look extra long!
Things to look out for when shopping for high-waisted pants:
The perfect pair should flatter YOUR body — don’t be afraid to try out different cuts and lengths until you find the one that shows off your favourite assets e.g. ladies who love their toned calves could try a more tapered cut.
Opt for darker colours: dark coloured pants draw attention away from the hips and bring balance between the upper and lower parts of your body, creating a more flattering silhouette overall.
3. The One-piece Wonder
Our life-hack to looking impeccably well-dressed early in the morning (even when you don’t feel like it, or just overslept): JUMPSUITS. They are eye-catching and comfortable to walk in, but our favourite part is that you don’t have to spend a second thinking about styling or pairing! Simply throw them on with your favourite pair of shoes and you’re instantly work-ready.
Things to look out for when shopping for work-appropriate jumpsuits:
Choose the right length: make sure that the jumpsuit you buy has an elongated leg (rather than a midi cut), yet not so long that it sweeps the floor. P.S. Our retail stores now offer alteration services to help you get the perfect length every time!
Find a suitable neckline: the right neckline should frame the neck area, flattering your upper body and torso. V-neck jumpsuits are a safe choice (pictured above on Kareen).
Wide-leg over tapered: for mamas worried about their hip or thigh area, choose a wide or straight leg silhouette — it creates the illusion of slimmer thighs.
4. The Cocktail Dress
Cocktail dresses are a worthwhile investment because they tread the fine balance between formal office wear and more casual, occasion pieces. These party-ready dresses can take you from desk to dinner seamlessly - and we seriously encourage all working mamas to find some time to meet your girlfriends for a drink, or the hubby for a nice meal even after returning to the workforce. Don’t forget to take time out for yourself.
Cocktail dresses can come in every way, shape and form. We’ve given our fabulous real-life working mama, Pare (pictured above), a bodycon dress because she loves showing off her curves, but no two bodies are the same. The right pieces should be made to fit you, and not the other way around. Our advice? Find a dress that flatters what you love about your body.
PRO-TIP: Afraid that the dress might be too attention-grabbing for work? Throw on a blazer over your dress to look professional during office hours.
5. The Versatile Blazer
A true investment piece for any workwear wardrobe. We’d go as far as to say that the blazer is the most important item a #werkingwoman should own. It has the magical ability to transform any outfit (casual or dressy) into a sharp-looking, professional one. Have a casual dress that you’re not sure is smart-casual enough? Pair it with a blazer! Still unsure about the new jean culture at work? Pair your denim with a blazer! You get the point.
If you’ve already retired your power blazer for good, you can opt for a relaxed-fit blazer that we’ve styled for Kareen (pictured above). A cross between a kimono and a tailored blazer, it still has the knack for elevating any outfit, with way less restricted arm movement for all-day comfort!
One last note to all mamas out there:
You are unique and gorgeous in your own special way — there’s absolutely no need for comparison!