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[Lifestyle] Can you wear the same thing to work two days in a row? Our experts answer your fashion dilemmas


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From how to find comfy tights to what to wear on your commute, our fashion team is here to solve your style problems
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Jess Cartner-Morley, Morwenna Ferrier, Chloe Mac Donnell, Melanie Wilkinson, Lauren Cochrane, Helen Seamons and Roz Donoghue
Fri 20 Jan 2023 11.00 GMT
Where are we at with boots?
I am so pleased you have raised this crucial issue. If you ask me – and you have – getting footwear right counts for about 30% of having a good day. Wear the wrong shoes, especially at this time of year, and your day is a bin fire before you’ve walked out of the door. This is why you always need a pair of black boots.

Comfort and walkability are non-negotiable, but life is too short to wear ugly shoes, so they need to be a bit fabulous. Ankle boots rather than knee-highs, because you are now wearing loose-leg jeans rather than skinny (please tell me you are wearing loose leg jeans rather than skinny) and knee-highs only work with skirts and dresses.

The key to boots that are cool as well as comfy is to find something chunky and with a bit of flair. A plain, flat black boot with a thin sole looks blah. A beefed-up boot, with a ridged track sole and some kind of jazzy fastening, has attitude. My most beloved boots are a previous-season purchase from Jigsaw, but basically identical to the Maldow boot (£200), and have a gold front-zip fastening that elevates them from dog-walking boots to the sort of thing Camille from Emily in Paris might wear to the boulangerie.

Hiking-style lace ups are another detail that can really lift a boot. I love the Barbour Fairfield boots, with silver D-ring eyelets for the laces and a soft padded top edge for extra comfort. I’ve seen them discounted in a few of this month’s sales. If you like the look of a laced-up boot but can’t be bothered with the actual lacing, I’d strongly recommend the chunky lace-up boot from M&S, which has a concealed zip fastening at the inner ankle. I swear by M&S for the most affordable decently made shoes on the high street, and these have an elegant silhouette that looks much more expensive than the £45 price tag.
Jess Cartner-Morley

If I don’t have a uniform, is it OK to wear the same thing to work two days in a row?
Obviously this is a trick question. You can wear what you want. But there are ways of recasting your wardrobe so no one realises you’ve worn the same thing four days in a row. I do it all the time.

I think of getting dressed like making soup – start with the broth, then just add different flavours each day. You wear a few base pieces, ideally in dark fabrics, which act as your “suit” – then rotate tops, shoes and accessories. For example, I have two dark, slightly oversized jacket/blazers (one from Acne Studios via Vestiaire, and one from Reformation). I prefer jackets that hang below the bum because you can wear them with any trouser shape. To these I add dark trousers made from crepe, viscose or Tencel as these won’t lose their shape – I like Ganni’s viscose trousers because they’re also easy to clean. I prefer my “suit” to be navy or black, but the shades don’t need to match.

Then come the changeable parts: a bright V-neck T-shirt or a print blouse, and sometimes a belt, as this changes where the same trousers sit, and whether you tuck or not. Shoes-wise, it’s all up for grabs. One day I’ll wear this “suit” with black Asics. Another, I’ll tuck the trousers into socks and wear with heeled boots.

Avoid repeat-wearing light-coloured shirts (dirt builds up in the collar) and avoid silk and linen (they crease in an hour, let alone two days). Simple things like switching your earrings from hoops to studs is a great distractor. Same clothes, different styling.
Morwenna Ferrier

What can I wear in winter if I don’t like tights?
The laddering, the itchiness, the constant need to adjust – there’s a lot to hate about tights. Thankfully the hosiery industry has started paying attention, so it’s worth trying them again.

First, sizing. Most tights use generic S, M, L etc. If you’re between sizes or at the upper end of a range, always go bigger. Tights are typically made smaller (it’s cheaper) and there’s nothing more uncomfortable than a waistband that digs in. If you’d rather skip a waistband altogether, hold-ups are a good option.

On laddering there is welcome news: Hēdoïne has a ladder-free guarantee; the Legwear Co has tested its products to last 100 washes with a 60-day warranty; and Canadian brand Sheertex (from £38 and XS to 3XL) comes with a three-month guarantee against ripping, laddering or snagging, thanks to fabric used in bulletproof vests. I realise you probably won’t take them back if they do ladder – who has the time? – but some of these brands really do work.

If tights remain an absolute no, just try a longer hemline. Team a mid-length skirt with knee-high or chunky boots, and wear with a pair of Uniqlo thermal socks or add a fleece insole for extra cosiness.
Chloe Mac Donnell

What should I wear for my commute?
Moving to Kent has added an extra train journey to my day, so I am confident when I say that layers are your friend. Things you can slide off easily, shove in a bag for the journey, and put on again still relatively crease-free at the other end. You don’t need to bring a change of clothes for the office.

Start with a pair of wide-leg tailored trousers (my favourites at the moment are from The Frankie Shop). Comfy for sitting through delays, they look good with a long-sleeve bodysuit (Everlane’s are sustainable and long in the body) to form a smart/casual “base”.

An oversized shirt can be layered on top followed with an unstructured blazer, or a soft chunky knit with a slouchy bomber jacket. A trenchcoat is the ideal top layer as it’s light enough to be stowed on a luggage rack. I also carry a large-ish tote bag with shoulder straps – it will sit upright on the carriage floor.


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