This year, back-to-school season is also back-to-office time and after a prolonged period of remote working for many people, the transition from dressing to sit behind a camera to returning to the workplace can be daunting.
But it’s also a good opportunity to start a clean work slate and refresh your office wardrobe for the new normal. Whether you’re returning in a hybrid pattern, permanently back in the office or working remotely for ever, the start of a new season is perfect for adding a few new pieces to your wardrobe and replace the old sweats and T-shirt look. From a new pair of leather heels to a stunning new suit, these pieces by African luxury brands are sure to inspire a new creative element to your office style and give a different perspective on what “professional” can really look like.
Unisex Boxy Shorts by SELFI
Sophistication or comfort? With these unisex shorts created by South African womenswear brand SELFI you don’t have to choose. These lightweight 100% cotton shorts are fitted with an elastic waistband and functional side pockets. The shorts hang loosely around your legs, which can give the appearance of a skirt, while still offering the comfort of your favorite pair of lounge shorts. They’re perfect for those transitional days between summer and fall. SELFI uses locally sourced materials and ethically created ready to wear fashion for anyone who needs an elegant look for when those warm days hit the workplace.
Athena Bag by Thalia Strates
Named after the goddess of warfare and wisdom (as well as after designer Thalia Strates’ younger sister) the Athena Bag is sure to make you feel confident and collected when walking into that meeting. Made in a Grecian style, the bag comes in four colors: coffee, burgundy, cognac, and sand nubuck; as well as the option to choose silver or gold detailing, and a gorgeous suede lining. The bag is fashioned from 100% leather and each piece is made-to-order to promote an ethical and sustainable business model. Thalia Strates is located in Cape Town with a goal of creating sophisticated but functional accessories. All of its products are handmade in a local artisan workshop that highlights traditional methods that have been passed down through generations.
Baba and Soke Blue Roi Suit by Kente Gentlemen
Having to wear suits to work everyday can sound like a limit on your self expression, but not with Kente Gentlemen’s Baba and Soke Blue Roi Suit. Handmade in Abidjan out of locally sourced Senoufo and satin fabrics, this suit is sure to give your professional wardrobe a complete revamp. The varying thickness of stripes on each individual piece allows for easy pairing of the jacket and pants as a coordinating set or as separate pieces. Kente Gentlemen focuses on making elegant yet edgy clothing that celebrates and fosters diverse, yet similar, socio-cultural heritage. Each piece is made and tailored uniquely and celebrates textile heritage and local craftsmanship.
Oby Mule Sandal by Shekudo
Round out your workwear wardrobe update with a pair of gorgeous sandals suitable for tailored pants, skirts, or dresses in and out of the office. The Oby Mule Sandal by Nigerian footwear and accessories brand Shekudo is made from 100% leather and features a handcrafted wooden heel. The pointy and open-toe design offer a classic look with a twist thanks to the multicolor patchwork, which provides versatile styling options. Shekudo makes each pair to order from raw materials are as locally sourced as possible, and each product made in Lagos with minimal machine use, shedding light on local artisanal skills and craftsmanship.
Black Puzzle Skirt by Gozel Green
Don’t be afraid to make yourself seen with Lagos-based brand Gozel Green’s stunning Puzzle Skirt in black. A fitted waist and a side slit make this striking shirt both flattering and functional while working all day long. The multiple layers serve as an eye-catching twist in the classic midi skirt. Founded by twin sisters Sylvia and Olivia Enekwe, Gozel Green designs alternative and ready-to-wear fashion for women who aren’t afraid to stand out while dedicating their brand to telling African stories in unconventional and artistic ways.
Words by Eloise Johnson