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Styling and style

Dressed for Success

Menswear blogger Carl Thompson provides your essential style guide to the modern workplace

New to working in the city of London? Just got your first job out of university or college, and struggling to know what to wear to the office? I’ve been there, and had to work it all out for myself. So here are my tips on what to wear to work – so you don’t turn up with a Simpsons novelty tie, and thereby ruin any promotion opportunities for the next few years!


Invest in a good, well-tailored suit; it makes a big difference if you invest in something that will last. A cheap suit will wear out quicker, and the fabric will not wash as well as a higher quality yarn. When choosing a suit colour, avoid black – although it may feel like your first day in the office is like a funeral, it is not. Instead, opt for more warming, approachable colours like navy or grey. You’ll find that these colours will also be easy to style with different colour ties, shirts & pocket squares.

Have your suits on rotation. It is always best to have three suits, rotated so that you avoid wearing out the fabric and for hygiene reasons. I mean, wearing the same suit everyday on the Tube is bound to kick up a little bit by the end of the week. Don’t iron your suits, or you’ll be left with a shiny look to them – and when that happens, it’s time to get rid of them.

Carl Thompson in The Duke Lion


Keep colours simple. If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with white and a variety of different shades of blue. Pattern, check and striped shirts are acceptable, although they are harder to match with ties, and better worn with the collar undone. A general rule would be that if you are wearing a check, pattern or striped shirt, then match it with a plain tie.

Join a shirt subscription service, so you never running low on shirts and keep up to date with new trends and fabrics. Hawkins & Shepherd offer a variety of different shirt subscriptions at discounted prices.

Always have a spare shirt and tie in the office. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had after-work drinks and had to sleep in the office; so having a crisp shirt, toothpaste and toothbrush on hand is critical. Or what about that time when you had your yearly appraisal, and spilt a whole mug of coffee down your favourite shirt? And make sure you have a Friday shirt – one that has a foot in formal and a foot in casual, so that you can keep things professional in the office then let it all hang out (the shirt, that is) after work.

Carl Thompson in The Duke Lion


Wear something comfortable as chances are you’ll be doing a lot of walking to and from the office (and once you are there, walking too and from the coffee machine). I absolutely love these slippers from Donhall & Bell. My footwear tip would be to have a pair of these to wear around the office, and use a hardier, cheaper pair to walk to and from work. Wearing these powerful, striking shoes, you’ll stand out for all the right reasons.

If you are wearing leather shoes, make sure they are polished regularly – or if you are wearing Donhall & Bell suede slippers, invest in a suede brush and give them a brushing every time you have worn them. This will help keep them looking pristine.


Wear a watch. A watch will complete any outfit, and they don’t need to be expensive. There are many fashion watch brands out there, producing affordable but stylish watches. I’ve recently found this brand called Kartel from Scotland, and every single one of their watches are modern yet classic – but, most importantly, cost only around £90.

Don’t be afraid to accessorise with socks and pocket squares, but keep things simple. Sartorial touches should be discreet. For example, don’t wear a bold red tie, red pocket square and red socks all together – it’s too much.

Carl Thompson wears The Duke Lion.

For the full article please visit Carl Thompson’s Blog.