September has come in hot and as we’re waving goodbye to summer (although not weather wise), we’ve turned our out-of-offices off – for now – and settled ourselves firmly at our desks. These are our back to work essentials.
Here, the CF team share the products they’re buying to make going back to work a seamless – and more stylish – transition including new season workwear, technology and super-chic stationary.
Sheena Bhattessa, Founder
Gemma Louise Deeks, Contributing Fashion Editor
Despite being eternally chic, ballet flats are really having a moment and this pair from The Row will go with everything from tailoring to off-duty denim. They’ll be comfortable for the commute and for running around London to meetings. I wouldn’t be a fashion editor if I didn’t treat myself to a new jacket each season, and this cropped wool-blend style in khaki from Me+Em is perfect for office days and work events when I want to look a bit more polished. I’ve been on the hunt for an aesthetically pleasing-looking coffee cup and Huskee’s recycled style is perfectly formed, ideal for my morning matcha. On the days I’m working from home, this Manifest candle from August & Piers boasts an empowering scent for my clearest intentions. There’s something about September that screams new jewellery and this pair of gold earrings from London-based brand Otiumberg are both elegant and sculptural. After a summer of lazy lunches (i.e Pret most days) it’s time to get back into my cooking routine and bring my lunch to work. Plastic tupperwares remind me of being a child in school, so I’m excited to bring this much more sophisticated adult version from black+blum.
Lucy Halfhead, Content & Partnerships Director
Autumn is my favourite season and I absolutely love a September reset when it comes to work and my wardrobe. I’m ditching my tatty summer tote for this Italian leather studio bag from Everlane that’s perfect for carrying my laptop to the office in style. Speaking of tech, I’m really impressed by this printed laptop case from Mango, which I think looks so much more expensive than it is. I also still like to write things down by hand so am stocking up on stationery like this pretty scallop spine notebook from Matilda Goad & Co, available in five different colourways, and I can’t resist Bridie Hall’s Alphabet Brush Pots, great for all your pens. Finally, now’s the time for transitional dressing and Zara’s double-breasted oversize blazer in this soft khaki colour has caught my eye, plus their soft leather loafers with a cute buckle.
Katie Silcox, Managing Editor
First things first: coffee. This reusable cup from Circular&Co is made from the recycled material of previously-used takeaway cups and is ideal to keep my homemade brew hot on the commute. I need to make sure my phone stays charged throughout the day so will be buying this Apple MagSafe Battery Pack. Heading back into the office is a great excuse to top up the wardrobe, and this Tory Burch dress is ideal for days where I’m heading straight to after work restaurant reservations, I’ll probably pair it with some simple stud earrings like these from Monica Vinader. To help keep WFH days organised (and comfy) I’ve got my eye on this metal desk organiser as well as this office chair.
Alexandra Carello, PR Director
I still love to write meeting notes and ideas. I find the action therapeutic and the information seems to make more of an impact on my memory, so I’ll be using this beautiful Swarovski pen. In much the same way as a pen, there is no clearer way to signal new beginnings than writing on the first page of a notebook. I have a personalised one from Smythson and am contemplating my first thought as we speak… A new back to work bag is essential and Marina Raphael does the most classic bags, perfect for a laptop and everything else you need – I adore this RIVIERA shape in black napa leather. I’m looking for a new shirt, but always with a difference, and Anne Fontaine does beautiful but stand-out shirts. I’ll pair this white one with a pair of jeans and ballet flats and probably a headband. Speaking of hair, I don’t cut my hair very often but the start of a new season is always a good time. I’m going short and will top off the new style with the Maxi Padded Hairband from my collaboration with Marzoline. Lastly, nothing makes me feel more put together than a new key chain and I’ve had my eye on this one from Anya Hindmarch for a while.
Becki Murray, Contributing Beauty Editor
I always get a little bit of ‘back to school’ fever come September, relieving my childhood glee at picking out stationery. This year that means finally investing in some new tech. I have my eye on the latest Apple MacBook Air, and, as it needs to travel with me wherever I go, I’ll be slipping it into a suitably beauty-themed Seletti Lipstick-Print Canvas Laptop Case. I could do with a phone with a better camera and more storage too – for emails and travel photographs – so the Samsung S23 Ultra is at the top of my wish list. My trusty backpack also needs replacing after I stuffed it a little too full while on my travels; I’ve lined up the Aspinal Reporter Backpack in Black Pebble already. I’ll be upgrading my day-to-day makeup bag too…it’s an excuse to avoid washing my old one! I’ve yet to find a style I love as much as the Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Cosmetics Case, so that will be a repeat purchase. Finally, I like to schedule my next four months of manicure appointments as an ‘it’s getting darker out there’ treat. I’d happily go to any nail bar on CF’s London-based guide.
Bibiana Obahor, Head of Graphic Design
As autumn arrives, there’s nothing quite like creating a warm and inviting atmosphere at home. For me, this involves lighting up the Velvet Rose & Oud Candle from Kuro London. Its rich and mysterious scent, blending dark Rose with Tuberose, cinnamon, and hints of orange, sets the perfect mood for those cosy evenings indoors. Staying hydrated is essential during busy workdays, and I was gifted the Saint Laurent Water Bottle which I love. A pair of classic white sneakers are a staple in my office wardrobe and the Veja Leather Campo Sneakers are on my wishlist – they’re the perfect choice for both work and leisure. Papier has always been my go-to for stationery and I’m particularly fond of “The Magic Is In You” journal. I hate having my hair in my face when commuting, so these Claw Clips from Lululemon are perfect; they keep my hair neatly in place. To organise everything inside my work bag I love the Ogigi Beauty Cases as they keep my everyday skincare and beauty products in place.
Morag Turner, Citizen Enfants Editor
While I’m always a little sad to say goodbye to summer, I love that ‘back to school’ feeling in autumn. September is a month I use to reset lots of things, including my diet. I always get some new cookbooks and plan nice wholesome meals for cosy suppers with my family and friends. Persian Everyday and Carol Bamford’s wonderful Nurture are two of my faves for delicious, easy weeknight recipes. I’ll be sprucing up my living room sofas too – after all, they’re often where I go to relax once the workday has ended and my kids are in bed. I love these cushions from Fermoie. For my wardrobe, I’ll be stocking up on some gorgeous cashmere from Soft Goat that I can dress up for work or dress down at the weekends. I’m often running around town with my laptop in my bag so I need a tote that is big enough to hold it along with all my other bits and pieces. The Bayswater Tote is up to the job and really easy to carry. Simple gold jewellery is how I accessorise for work and my Tiffany T Wire Bangle is the perfect piece that I wear almost every day. A trench coat is such a great addition to a work wardrobe. I throw mine over jeans and a blouse in warmer weather and then layer up with cashmere underneath on colder days. I love this dark khaki trench from Veronica Beard because the colour is more autumnal than a camel shade.
Ella Mansell, Editorial Assistant
The first thing on my mind when returning to work is the fashion. I love the transitional dressing that comes with this time of year and therefore look for pieces I can layer. This is both to build depth of tones and textures in my outfits but also to help with versatility as the temperature outside fluctuates. The first piece on my wish list is the Wendy Shirt from Rouje’s new autumn collection. A white shirt is a year-round staple, but I love the corseted structure and ruched detailing here while the English embroidery is sweetly reminiscent of summer. It’s no secret that I have a weak spot for slingbacks, so I’ll also be adding the Abelia Escarpins to my basket for smarter days, to pair with the Tibi Midi Pleated Skirt. I like to try out a new scent to welcome the changing season and the Maison Margiela Replica Jazz Club offers a vanilla and tobacco warmth that reminds me of cold nights spent inside warm bars. Additionally, the Jazz Café Reed Diffuser and a Vintage Oil Painting will help to brighten up my office space on the days I work from home.
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Image credit: METIER