As we celebrate the start of October, it’s officially the end of summer.  European vacations in the Mediterranean South and exotic travels to far-flung locales are now a thing of the past, and it’s time to buckle down at work until Christmas comes.  Going back to work after a summer away can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.  One of the things we look forward to each morning is getting dressed.  If you approach your return to work as a way to start afresh and bring some newness to your work wardrobe, we guarantee it will be a lot easier to head to the office each morning.  Here’s Milk Shirts‘ guide to heading back to work, with a few 2017 trend updates.

The Freelancer


Even if you’re freelancing from home or your favourite cafe, it’s always a good idea to dress the part for work.  Although you may have the luxury of being able to forgo a suit and tie, putting some more work-appropriate attire on can help to get you in the mood to get work done (hanging around all day unshaven and in your pajamas is generally not conducive to getting work done).  For freelancers, we suggest a comfortable white shirt in an oxford or poplin fabric, cotton chinos or corduroys and a stylish shawl neck cardigan to keep you comfortable in cafe air-conditioning.  Don’t forget to comb that hair, too.


The Young Executive


You know what they say, ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’  That’s why, as a young executive, it’s so important to take care of how you look in the work place.  Taking care in how you look shows that you take care in how you do your job.  That’s why investing in several well-tailored suits and about a dozen or so tailored shirts is a great way to help make sure that you turn up to work every day looking like you’ve made an effort each morning.  If you want to be up to date with the fashions (which, regardless of your industry, we suggest you do), opt for a suits in a slimmer cut and shirts with a medium spread collar.  Aside from your classic white and blue shirts, get a few made in a checkered or striped fabric to add instant style to your look.


The Corporate Warrior


Corporate head-honcho style has changed a lot since the 80’s, when contrast-collar shirts and bold wide pinstripes reigned supreme.  Although we’re always up for a spot of nostalgia, these days, the corporate look is a little more subtle, with the focus on quality tailoring and interesting fabrications.  Black and navy suits are a perennial favorite, however, we’re finding these days that a lot more men are opting for shades of grey and brown, as well as other more adventurous colors.  Tailoring is the name of the game here.  It’s all about an immaculate fit and little details that make your look individual.  If you’re working in a conservative environment, stick to white or blue shirts and classic tailoring.  For industries that allow a bit more creativity, use unexpected details in your tailoring choices to personalize your look.


The Creative


If you work in a creative environment, such as graphic design or advertising, you may not be required to wear a suit to work.  However, out of respect for your job and the industry, it’s always a good idea to turn up to work looking sharp.  We suggest sticking to one or two softly tailored items and pairing them with other more casual pieces.  For example, a softly tailored blazer, paired with a white tee.  Or a tailored shirt paired with cotton chinos.  Accessories are a great way to bring your personality to your look; a watch, a pair of glasses or even your socks can speak volumes to your creative style.  You can leave the leather shoes at home, if you wish, and opt for sneakers instead.  Just make sure they’re clean.


The Academic


Whether your studying for your Masters or Post-Doctorate, or teaching at a university, academic attire should not be sloppy.  Show up to class as you would to work.  You can opt for a more relaxed take on classic tailoring, choosing a soft blazer over a structured suit, and matching it with a pair of cotton chinos instead of the same tailored suit trousers.  A club collar shirt is an excellent nod to Etonian education.  Come to class dressed to impress and you’ll be more likely to land that summer internship or teaching assistant position than the slob in the back in his sweatpants.


The Intern


As an intern, you may not be required to wear a full suit and tie to work.  However, that doesn’t give you the freedom to come to work dressed in shabby clothing.  A tailored collared shirt in an oxford or poplin fabric, paired with cotton chinos and brown leather shoes is an excellent choice for an intern.  Showing up to work in a smart-casual look like this will impress your boss and leave a positive impression on them when considering whether or to hire you upon applying for a job after graduation.  If you really want to step up your game, add a tie to your look or come to work in a suit, even if it’s not required.


Co-Working Chic


As co-working spaces gain in popularity, unfortunately, we’ve noticed more and more people turn up to work in shorts, sandals and a tee shirt.  Although a co-working space is absolutely more laid-back and casual than your typical corporate work environment, that shouldn’t mean you should turn up looking like a slob each day.  Invest in some comfortable tailored shirts (you can opt for more casual tailoring choices, such as a striped or checkered fabric, contrast buttons and a button collar) and cotton trousers.  Sure, you can feel free to leave the tie at home.  However, we suggest investing in a classic blazer that you keep at your desk and throw on over whatever you’re wearing that day, in case a last-minute meeting comes up.


The Corporate Sartorialist


Often, working in a corporate environment can mean you’re faced with staring at the same navy suit and white shirt combination on just about everyone at the office each day.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Even in a corporate working environment, you can get away with something a bit more adventurous.  The general rule of thumb is that if you’re sticking to the suit, shirt and tie formula, you can play around within that framework with color, texture and pattern.  A full suit is not always necessary; try mixing things up with a mismatched blazer and trousers.  If you’re at a new job, test the limits gradually and see what you can get away with.  Just remember: just because everyone else is dressed like a lemming, doesn’t mean you have to, too.