Dress for success has a whole new meaning.
If looking at your pre-pandemic work clothes is more depressing than the thought of commuting in the winter, it’s time for a refresh. We’ve grown accustomed to doing our jobs in joggers, leggings, and sweatshirts, and the thought of returning to stiff shoes and heavy fabrics just isn’t appealing. Thankfully, the fashion industry is ready to deliver, with reasonably priced work essentials designed with convenience and comfort in mind. We’re talking machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, breathable fabrics in flattering cuts, waterproof bags and shoes, and subtle elastic waistbands. In other words, clothes you’ll actually want to wear. With companies rethinking pretty much everything about how we work, there’s absolutely no reason to go back to the same old, same old.
We had trouble narrowing our list down of comfortable work clothes and accessories, from backpacks to button-downs. Read on for our top recommendations for comfy work clothing for women (but don’t blame us if your wallet takes a hit). And don’t forget to stock up comfortable work clothes for men, too!
Comfortable Work Clothes for Women
Ministry of Supply Women’s Kinetic Pull-On Pant
Ministry of Supply is on a mission to rethink the clothes we wear eight hours a day, five days a week. Their fabrics are engineered to be breathable, machine washable, wrinkle-resistant, and stretchy to give you all-day comfort from commute to desk.
M.M. LaFleur Noho Skirt
For a go-to piece as polished as it is practical, go for M.M. LaFleur’s Noho Skirt. The female-founded company aims to make workwear actually work for women, with machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant styles that eliminate the annoyances we’ve come to expect with women’s clothing. This pencil skirt is “hips-friendly” so you don’t have to worry about it riding up or twisting.
Dudley Stephens India Bell Sleeve Tunic
This tunic from Dudley Stephens is the perfect weight: Thick enough to be opaque but light enough to wear layered beneath a sweater or blazer. The recycled fabric feels more like an athletic, moisture-wicking material to keep you cool and comfortable. It looks equally great tucked into a skirt or worn over tighter pants.
Nisolo Emma d’Orsay Oxford
Say goodbye to sore feet, blisters, and their clunky alternatives. These striking slip-ons from Nisolo are a modern, slimmed down spin on the classic oxford silhouette. The waterproof uppers are made with Leather Working Group Certified leather, which is sustainably and responsibly sourced, and after a brief break-in period they fit like a glove. Pair with jeans and work pants alike.
Caddis Miklos Reading/Blue Light Glasses
If you’re a fan of Katie’s Instagram Lives, you’ll recognize these blue light-blocking specs from Caddis, a California-based company changing the way we think about aging. Available both with and without a prescription, these glasses have blue light protection built right into the lenses and prevent the color distortion you see in cheaper pairs. They come in a wide range of colors to suit every taste, from classic black and tortoiseshell to gradient blue and pearl.
Caraa Studio Tote
Between your laptop, water bottle, coffee cup, and extra sweater, work totes can quickly become uncomfortably heavy and annoyingly cluttered. Enter Caraa’s nylon Studio Tote, which can be converted into a backpack when needed and solves the problem of the black hole bag from which nothing ever escapes. It has a water bottle sleeve; a separate internal shoe pocket; and other side pockets to keep your keys, phone, and makeup separate.
Everlane Easy Pant
Everlane’s Easy Pants come in five colors that seem to go with literally everything, and they’re a KCM staff favorite. They’re a breathable cotton twill material and have an elastic waistband (thank heavens) so you can pull them right on before your morning commute. Our favorites are the black and fern colors that look good in every season.
Sorel Wedge Sandals
We’re deciding right now that you’re allowed to wear tasteful sandals and wedges to the office, if that wasn’t a thing you were doing before. These Sorel wedge sandals are as comfy as they are chic, and are a fan-favorite here at KCM. If you’re down to have a higher heel with a slightly cleaner look, we love the 3 in. option from Sorel as well.
Everlane The Put-Together Pleat Pant
Yes, pleats are back. They’ve been back, baby! If you crave a pleat with your work wardrobe we recommend this pair from Everlane that comes in toasted coconut and a versatile black. They pair easily with sneakers, flats, or loafers.
Everlane Modern Loafer
You can’t go wrong with a pair of buttery soft loafers. We love this pair from Everlane that comes in camel and black and go with most things in your closet, regardless of your style. Dress them down with some no-show socks or up with some light dress socks.
Dansko Professional Black Box Clog
These have to be the highest-rated clogs by almost everyone we know. Dansko clogs are perfect for work, whether you’re commuting to an office or to a hospital — they’re the most comfortable work clogs you can own. We love the professional black and white styles that go with almost everything. Did we mention that even make styles for nurses in mind?
The ReNew 15 Inch Transit Backpack
If you’re more of a backpack work commuter, that’s cool too. But you definitely want to do it in style. The ReNew transit backpack from Everlane is great for those bus, train, and subway commutes or if you’re a frequent traveler. The best part is it looks sleek (our favorite is the Peat color) and is made from recycled water bottles.
J.Crew Chino Short Coveralls
To say shorts aren’t meant for the office is in our opinion so outdated. You can wear shorts in a way that make sense (and don’t leave you shivering in the office air conditioning). We love these chino short coveralls from J.Crew that’ll keep you cool during the warmer months and look stylish and classy for a work meeting.
Everlane Italian Leather Day Glove
When we say these fit you like a glove…we mean it. Why wear uncomfortable work shoes when you don’t have to? They come in nine colors and are meant for those long days in the office and then some.
Rothy’s Chelsea Sneaker
Rothy’s is one of KCM’s favorite brands and it’s because they truly care about your comfort when it comes to shoes. We love their take on the classic Chelsea that is a modern, updated fit and the definition of business-casual. And don’t even get us started on the Rothy’s loafer style — every woman should own at least two pairs of these.
If you’re not yet going back to the office but still need to look semi-professional for Zoom calls from home, your apparel prayers have been answered with the WorkRobe. Long gone are the days of throwing on a sweater that’s been sitting on a chair for months. You can now throw on a robe and keep your camera on! The WorkRobe is business on top, comfort on the bottom. But really, it’s comfort all over! There are three styles, and all of them look more like a belted dress, less like a robe. But, we promise, they feel like robes! We recommend the button-down robe. It has a work-ready collar that no one will suspect is anything but that of a dress shirt, it has a really soft lining that no dress shirt has, and it’s the perfect weight — not too heavy but not as light as a typical dress shirt. It’s long and cozy, you’ll have no problem keeping it on all day.
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