How does one crack a conundrum like chic officewear? In my few years of being a link in the workforce chain I’ve managed to decode a few overlooked truths about dressing in the office. One, that power dressing does not always equate to two-piece suits or full-on tailored pieces (on my first interview for my job at Preview, then-Editor in Chief Pauline Juan entered the room in what I’m sure was a pleated maxi skirt she wore as a tube dress, and towering heels—I was blown away by the amount of power she gave off in that look, nary a blazer in sight); two, that but a few essentials are key to make any casual clothing boardroom-worthy, and three, that just because something is “business-appropriate” doesn’t mean it should bore the conference room to death. Someone put it in a memo: Ditch your dull black slacks, and the blandest, most overused pencil skirt in your wardrobe. There’s way more stylish workwear out there.
It doesn’t even matter where you go hunting for chic officewear, it’s more about which pieces make it to your edit. But for the sake of goodwill and a general concern for the corporate population, we rounded up our favorite shops and their top-performing pieces for work.
Can’t Beat the Classics
One successful sneaker line and two branches of its restaurant offshoot later, Harlan+Holden remains sincere to its promise of providing luxurious basics as your daily uniform. Don’t be intimidated by the storefront’s infamous gazelle-like mannequins: There’s a piece for every shape and size.
Making it to our list is a true purveyor of chic classics, celebrating their 30th this year. Iora has as much branches in the Philippines as in its local Singapore, and decades later, the brand still has Filipina power women scouring its racks.
Yours in a Few Clicks
The faceless models on the brand’s Instagram page make us wonder who the Cabo woman is and where she works, but one thing’s for sure—we’d swap office wardrobes with her in a snap.
The shop’s namesake is French for “easy,” which is how we imagine it would be attending morning meetings with their clothes to power us through.
Worth the Store Visit
Araw the Line
Lest mouths run in objection as to why this brand-in-perpetual-summer in on our workwear list, imagine Araw’s slinky linen dresses over a solid turtleneck and heels. Again, it’s all about the styling.
The brainchild of a boho footwear maven and a luxury cake maker, Christiana tackles unconventional basics with their own brand of drama, such as over-pronounced sleeves and gargantuan collars.
To Top Off Your Look
This Dubai-based bag brand was created by Monique Wilson, a Filipina who needed an affordable yet equally durable alternative to her designer bags. Sourcing vegan leather to create minimalist bags in their now-signature vibrant hues, Monique scored Loka Loka coveted spots in elite Dubai souks and has gained praise in Vogue UK and Grazia Middle East.
Those buying into the belief that red is the color of confidence will love unravelling this local brand’s bright red palette case. Commercial director Jelise Chung’s venture into cosmetics has birthed Paprika Cosmetics, launched last year with its flagship product: a highly-pigmented 8-shade eyeshadow palette perfect for that #girlboss beat.