We’ve already mused over the key pieces that are set to dominate the high street this year, but when it comes to office-appropriate fashion, getting 2019’s biggest trends into your wardrobe isn’t as straightforward as it may first appear. Workwear has come into its own over the past few years, and corporate stuffiness has given way to high-fashion styles that can work well into the evening. This year, we’ll be updating our wardrobes with the main trends in mind, but making them suitable for the 9-5 – and we’ll show you how to do the same. Here are the workwear trends to watch in 2019.

Invest in a Square Neck Dress

This year, square necklines will be everywhere; think of them as the new bardot. And luckily, they’re a little more suited to office environments (baring your shoulders just doesn’t work in a corporate setting). Choose a knee-length dress with a square neckline to stay smart whilst keeping on-trend. If you’re feeling the chill, a blazer will work with this look but be warned; if it cuts off around the hip, you risk going from fabulous to frumpy (remember that corporate stuffiness we mentioned?). At this time of year, lift your look with a printed or boldly-coloured duster coat instead.

Unleash Your Wild Side

Animal prints started to make waves on the high street towards the end of last year, thanks to some seriously fierce 2018 catwalk looks. And guess what? They’re not going anywhere in 2019. Expect to see animal prints on tan, burgundy and biscuit-coloured backgrounds – hues that are conservative enough for the office. Last year’s love of zebra prints is likely to subside in favour of leopard spots and tiger stripes (you know, the old classics). Look out for midi dresses and skirts in animal prints; pair with a chic knit whilst the weather’s cool, then swap you jumper for a lightweight cami or vest top come summer.

Do Utility Chic (The 9-5 Way)

In 2019, wide leg trousers reigned supreme. This year, ‘utility chic’ will be the word on everyone’s lips, and it means our trousers are going to get slimmer again. That’s not to say that we’ll be wearing camouflage at our weekly meetings; this trend is about urbane styles done elegantly. Think flowing trousers, a soft palette and easy silhouettes that can be smartened up with just the tightening of a drawstring.

Pile on the Pleats

Pleats are nothing new but, as the old adage goes, why fix what isn’t broken? Yes, pleats are back for the umpteenth year in a row (which means we’ll be reusing our favourite pleated midi dresses from last year this summer), and this is great news for workwear. Pleats bring texture and movement into any outfit, whether you’re heading to the office or out for dinner. Simply put, they look great against almost any backdrop. And this kind of versatility is just the thing that exceptional workwear looks are made of. Pleated midi skirts have an uptown appeal that’s perfect for the boardroom or the bar (take your pick); simply swap out your daytime flats for a pair of killer heels come evening.

Get a Hard-Working Bag

If there’s one thing you should invest in each year, it’s a new bag. Yes, your 2018 tote may have got you through those last 12 months in style, but everyday use takes its toll on even the sturdiest satchels. When it comes to work bags, it’s best to stick to the classics. Statement accessories may be trending right now, but it’s best to think more practically – especially since you’ll probably be using it every day for another year. Go with subtle and versatile colours like black or brown, and make sure it’s roomy enough to carry all your essentials (which includes your laptop).

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