Last Monday was the first official day of spring — yay! Temperatures are still all over the place in many places for the country, but I thought we’d talk about some easy ways to freshen up your work wardrobe for spring. And, while I’ll get to the seasonal wardrobe switch at the end of the post, note that a lot of these suggestions are a great way to “finish” wearing your cold weather clothes before you launder them and put them away for the season.
Bring on the pastels. Light blue blouses, pinks, mints, lavenders, pale yellows — they’re all a welcome addition to everyone’s wardrobes. If you’re a fan of “Tumblr pink,” the dusty, dusky pale pink that’s everywhere lately, pull it out — I know I have a dusky pink necklace that I just pulled out (and am wearing today with a dark green sweater that’s probably going away for the season in another wear or two.)
Pale gray for the win. I’ve written before of my love of light gray pants instead of white — it’s also worth noting that you can wear very pale gray with darker, wintry grays and have a great outfit. Add a bright lip or a colorful accessory (hot pink feels kind of huge this season), and you’re set for the day.
Here are some of our favorite light gray pants as of April 2021:
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Brighten up. Canary yellow, cobalt blue, kelly green, hot pink — these are fun, happy colors to see now, and as I’m shopping around for our daily workwear reports, I’m seeing more and more blazers, shoes, bags, and more in these colors. If you’ve got dark grays or browns in your rotation for pants or skirts, try adding some crisp, bright colors for contrast.
Make white work for you. If you don’t like white dress shirts, that’s fine — there are a zillion other options for white shirts that work for every woman. Look for an opaque white t-shirt and wear it with a colorful necklace, or find a fancier white top and work it into your rotation.
Here’s a mini-update of some fabulous white tops for work as of April 2021!
Hunting for opaque white t-shirts for work? As of 2021, we’d suggest checking Boden’s double layer line, Universal Standard’s Foundation line (sizes 00-40), as well as great sources for basic Pima cotton such as LL Bean, Uniqlo, Everlane, and Talbots.
One easy trick: if you often wear a camisole for work, either for opacity under any gauzy/slightly sheer sweaters or to raise the neckline of your outfits, switch to a white camisole instead of a black one.
2020 Update: These are some of our latest favorite white blazers...
Pull out lighter fabrics. Linen itself should be reserved for summer, but if you’ve got some linen tees or linen/cotton sweaters (or cashmere/cotton sweaters), start to pull those out. Lightweight, machine washable pants and lightweight blazers are ideal transitional pieces for this time.
Weather permitting, bare your ankles more. Booties and boots are great for winter, but for spring you may want to bare your ankles more — find comfortable heels and comfortable ballet flats, and build from there. If your office is casual enough for a light brown bootie/sandal hybrids (like this one from Isolá or this one from Paul Green), now is a great time to pull those out as well.
Start assessing what needs to go away for your seasonal clothing review. If you’re like me and like to wear clothes multiple times before laundering it (I especially do this with pants and sweaters), now is the time to start prepping your closet to do the seasonal switch. If you’ve got corduroys, tweeds, or thicker wool pants or skirts that are freshly laundered — put those away for the season.
(If they’ve just come back from the dry cleaner, remove the plastic dry cleaning bag, air them out for a bit, switch them to your preferred hanger, and then put them away.)
If you’ve still got wintry pants, sweaters, blazers, whatever that have a few more wears left in them, try to reach for them first on colder days. If you’ve still got sweaters out in fall colors (for example, there’s a red one and a bright purple one kicking around my drawer), think of how you can wear them — in a conservative office I’d try pairing the red sweater with a light blue skirt or light blue blazer — for the bright purple one I’d wear it with a light gray bottom, possibly with a white or lavender blouse beneath it.
Finally — it’s not for your work wardrobe, but consider freshening up your office, also. On the first nice day you can, open the windows to let some fresh air in, consider what clothes you keep at the office may need to be laundered or put away for the season, and splurge on some springy fresh flowers like yellow tulips for you to enjoy while at work.
Ladies, how do you freshen up your work wardrobe for spring? What are you happy to pull out of your closet — what are you sad to say goodbye to from your fall and winter wardrobe?