Landing a promotion or even looking for a new job are common New Year’s Resolutions. But why not make yours sprucing up your work wardrobe – it could even help with the other two.
After all, freshening up your look might just get you noticed and move you to the top of that promotion pile.
We bet that if you look closely, your shirts won’t be as crisp or your trousers as black as you remember, so we’ve rounded up some of the best investment pieces to smarten up your act at work that with care, should last you until 2020 and beyond.
The first thing people see when you walk into work is your coat. So it’s worth investing in one that looks professional and wears well. PS by Paul Smith’s wool blend overcoat is a great choice as it’s a substantial wool-blend with touches of soft cashmere, making it look luxurious.
It's tailored in a regular profile with classic notch lapels, making it a classic coat that won’t date. It’s also fully lined so you can easily pull it on over blazers and knitwear – handy if you need something smart for the weekend too.
James Bond wears Tom Ford and we bet he carries any top secret documents in a bag like this. The full grain leather briefcase is a bag that’s as beautiful as it is practical, made in Italy from supple yet durable full-grain leather and with a multitude of pockets to keep you organised.
There’s plenty of room for your phone, wallet, tablet, book and work papers – and a weapon if you’re 007. The briefcase has a detachable shoulder strap so you can sling it over your shoulder on your commute or carry it by the handle and place it powerfully on the board room table to wow clients. At £2,290 it’s a big investment, but if you have a bonus on the horizon or want an heirloom piece for your baby business mogul to-be, it’s the bag to die for.
Clean-lined and classic, Paul Smith's cap-toe Oxford shoes are the perfect partner to your best suit for work. Made in Italy, this pair has leather uppers and linings that will only become more comfortable and supple with wear, which is good news if your job involves pounding pavements.
As you’d expect from Paul Smith, there are some playful design flourishes and this pair of shoes have flowers embossed on the soles – just enough to add some interest, but not enough to look garish. It's a good price for an accessory that will make the rest of your work wardrobe look smarter and more stylish.
If you look closely, some of your favourite shirts for work might be looking a bit tired after enduring so many meetings and commutes. The New Year is the perfect time to freshen up your look for the working week and a crisp new shirt will certainly do the trick. This version of Sir Paul Smith's 'Soho' shirt is printed with signature rainbow stripes on the inside of the cuffs.
The designer says bright colour is important because it adds a little fun to his simple pieces. This style is cut from blue and white pinstriped cotton and fastens with mother-of-pearl buttons. It would look equally great with jeans if your workplace has a laidback dress policy, or with a navy suit.
Smart but relaxed pieces like this 'Solms' blazer are Oliver Spencer's specialty. And it’s a great addition to your work wardrobe, especially if you have to embrace the tricky dress code of smart casual. The jacket is tailored for a slim fit from mélange wool and just lined through the sleeves.
It even has hidden buttons under the notch lapels, allowing you to fasten it all the way up for extra coverage during the colder months – ideal if you’re layering it over a thinner knit and using it as a coat in autumn.
You may not have a license to kill but you will be dressed to kill in this Tom Ford Shelton suit, that’s a little like the one Daniel Craig wears as Mr Bond. The Shelton suit is cut from fine stretch-wool that will keep its shape and has a smart Prince of Wales check that’s particularly on-trend this season, but always a classic.
For an extra flattering cut, the jacket is designed with peak lapels that help broaden your frame and fully lined in smooth satin for a structured feel.
If you work in a trendy office where smart casual if the dress code is de rigueur why not consider upgrading your trousers. The chances are that your chinos might be looking a little tired and jeans on the shabby side for work, or you might just fancy a new style.
Norse Projects is a covetable brand when it comes to smart causal clothing and its Aros heavy tapered cotton-twill chinos will upgrade your workwear look. As the name suggests, they are made from weighty cotton-twill and have a regular rise and slightly tapered legs for a neat fit. The trousers would look great teamed with a flannel shirt and sneakers, or a lightweight jumper and blazer.
Corduroy is one of the most fashionable fabrics du jour and Oliver Spencer’s cord trousers are particularly stylish. Cut in the signature straight 'Fishtail' fit, these cotton trousers are a rich forest-green shade that will develop a unique pattern of wear over time. This might render them useless in the boardroom, but if you work in a more relaxed or creative environment, they’ll look great for seasons to come.
The colour and tactile fabric adds interest to a basic work uniform of trousers and shirt or jumper, while the cut lends them to be paired with either shoes or boots, depending on how casual you can get away with being.
A checked blue or grey shirt is a staple in most men’s work wardrobes, but this one from Net-a-Porter’s own brand, Mr P. stands out. The tonal checked number is made from a wool and cotton blend that is not only soft and a little cosy, but possesses time-saving qualities.
How? Well, its texture means you won’t need to iron it – a godsend on a Monday morning when your weekend’s been too much fun and you’ve let things slip. This shirt will look just as good with black skinny jeans as chinos do for a meeting giving you plenty of bang for your buck.
Scandinavian brand Norse Projects knows a thing or two about how to brave the cold and its knits are as soft as they are covetable. The Sigfred sweater is made from brushed-wool and is the perfect thickness to wear under a blazer a work, or layered beneath a gilet or puffer jacket at the weekend when the wind is particularly chilling.
At just £115 it’s a great price for a quality jumper that looks fashionable, but goes with everything and will serve you well for years.
Switching up your specs is an easy way of updating your look. And if you’re a fan of a vintage style Oliver Peoples’ OP-506 D-frame tortoiseshell acetate and burnished gold-tone optical glasses might just be for you. Based on an original design from the company’s vault, the style is designed in a slightly squared D-frame that evokes the spirit of "early machine age craftsmanship,’ according to the brand.
The burnished gold-tone arms and bridge are filigreed for an authentic vintage-inspired look. You get vintage-style details with the modern convenience of ordering online, which is particularly handy if you work in a pressurised job where time is particularly precious.