If you’re tired of stuffy suits and heavy shoes this summer, why not shake your wardrobe up a bit and see how you can still be smart, sophisticated and stylish in the workplace? Check out Perception’s top picks for the season.

Battle of the bags

It’s the eternal debate: stylish leather briefcase or functional, fashion-forward rucksack?

It’s not just women who care for the statement their bag makes – men are increasingly spending big bucks on designer carriers and holdalls.

Shape your fashion identity with a standout bag this season.

Fjallraven Kanken No. 2 15”

sand kanken laptop bag

This versatile rucksack is perfect for work, with a padded laptop compartment and various hidden pockets.

Its waterproof wax material and leather straps mean it could double as the perfect travelling companion. From neutral sands to bright mustard yellows, you’re never short on choice of colours.

£111.95 from All Outdoor

Tomacelli Leather Briefcasetomacelli briefcase

If you’re looking to splurge on a hard-wearing statement piece, the Tomacelli combines elegance and functionality.

It’s ideal for the leather-loving gent who needs to carry a substantial amount, with pockets for a laptop, pens, business cards and a mobile phone.

The sturdy, adjustable strap makes for comfortable wearing for the organised businessman, and the 25-year warranty means it’s a conscientious purchase.

£471 from Maxwell Scott

Stripe hype or pastel mania?

If your sun-soaked summer holiday still seems a lifetime away, inject some light into your wardrobe with our favourite breezy shirts.

With two main trends of 2017 being stripes and pastel colours, office wear needn’t be stuffy and uncomfortable. If the workplace permits, ditch the tie and blazer to show off your shirt.

Zara Striped Shirt with Mandarin Collarzara red and white striped shirt vicar collar

Office attire doesn’t always need a designer price tag, especially as trends move so quickly through the summer season.

With a stylish Mandarin collar replacing the conventional one, it’s easy to feel comfortable in the high heat (despite British weather usually offering just a few fine days a year!)

Choose from red or navy blue stripes and pair with sand-coloured chinos for a fresh, neat look.

£25.99 from Zara

Zara shirt with embroidered detail in pastel pink

zara pastel pink spotted shirt.jpg

Get more for your money with another of our budget picks. Quality isn’t necessarily compromised here, with this pastel pink shirt being the epitome of summer style.

Its slim-fit cut and embroidered detail means it moves easily from day to night, so those post-work drinks don’t require a change of clothes.

Pair with suit trousers in the AM, then tailored shorts for a classy yet casual PM.

£25.99 from Zara

A shoe-in for style

Business shoes don’t have to be drab and dark. Luckily, you’re not a school pupil who’s being forced into dated plimsolls – it’s your time to mix it up a little.

Continue the pastel trend or step it up with a standout wildcard – the great thing about summer is almost anything goes.

O’Keeffe Felix Suede Derby Shoes

mr porter o'keeffe suede shoes.jpg

If you’re not tired of hearing about pastels yet, the trend doesn’t just stop at shirts.

O’Keeffe fuses luxury Italian artistry with traditional Irish heritage. These particular ‘Felix’ derbies are handmade from grey-blue suede and lined in rich tan leather.

The rubber-crepe soles are Goodyear-welted for added durability, with the bonus that they can be easily replaced as needed. A sound investment for those looking for a long-term shoe.

£350 from Mr Porter

Sebago Schooner loafers in Brown Wax

sebago loafers

With the oiled leather upper, rawhide leather laces and brass eyelets, these classic deck shoes are topping the high-fashion charts.

Since its birth in 1946, Sebago has been the go-to brand for loafers and unsurprisingly, they’re back for summer 2017.

Hundreds of varying colour combinations make for versatile styling – why not try a nautical navy and white pair?

Team with ankle grazer chinos, a shirt and blazer for the office and tailored shorts in the evening.

£120 from Oi Polloi

Read this week’s Street Style.

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