One of the challenges of gainful employment is finding a balance between your office wardrobe and your off-duty style.
Even if you work in the most casual environment, there is generally a notable difference between the types of clothing you’d wear to the office and the fashion you’d wear during your off-duty moments. Buying two separate wardrobes is not really a practical option — for both closet space and financial reasons.
Let’s jump right into the new week with a fresh mustard and menswear take on classic workwear staples!
When I saw this street style image online, I immediately was drawn to the simple, office-appropriate look. The bold pairing of the mustard sweater and black wide-leg trousers was unexpected in the best possible way. On their own, those pieces would be pretty bland and uninspired, but when combined with a neck-tie scarf the outfit just comes to life… even under office fluorescent lighting.
• To keep comfortable during spring’s always unpredictable and fluctuating temperatures, top this look with a softTRENCH COATorSLEEVELESS TRENCH(here’s aSTEAL version!).
• If your office is on the more conservative side, ditch the open toe mules for a pair of BLACK PUMPS. A pointed toe and mid-to-high heel will further elongate the leg, helping you look taller and slimmer!
(If you haven’t, it’s Ok. I may have totally made that term up!)
It’s that gnawing feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you start thinking about that long list of “to-dos” you have waiting for you once Monday rears its ugly head. Unfortunately, no amount of fun (or alcohol) will really ever cure the Sunday Sads, but some of the stress/anxiety can be alleviated with a bit of strategic planning — especially in the wardrobe department.
The classic pencil skirt has been a wardrobe staple since the 1950’s and decades later it remains just as chic. Updated in soft leather, this work appropriate look is something I would look forward to putting on… even on a Monday.
While leather can be an investment, a pencil skirt is a great piece to make the splurge on as it will always be on trend — especially in a classic color like camel. My leather skirts have held up fabulously over the years!
Also, let’s touch on those sunglasses a bit. Talk about a splurge! If you like the updated take on a metal aviator frame, there are so many cool, more reasonably priced options out there — like THESE or THESE for starters! If you think you can’t pull off this frame style, I beg you to try it on and give it a shot. I swore they would look terrible on my face, but when I tried on a friend’s pair, I was pleasantly surprised by how flattering they looked. Goes to show, you never really know until you try it on!
SHOP THE LOOK:
Is this an outfit that could cure YOUR Sunday Sads?
It was a rough re-introduction back to our regularly scheduled programming. First days back after a holiday are always the WORST, and for whatever reason, the busiest. One of my many to-do’s was creating a virtual shopping list for a client with a rather schizophrenic closet of corporate and casual attire. She was looking for help to sort out some wardrobe dead weight and try to unite her two contrasting styles.
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Vince SILK SHELL (old; THIS is similar) // Vince JACKET (old; THIS is similar) // Zara JEANS // Vince PUMPS // Chloe BAG(unfortunately, the dusty rose color is no longer available)
As someone who was stuck in business formal attire for the better part of 12 years, I know a little something about workwear and how to actually make it work for you outside the weekday grind. My first piece of advice: start from the bottom — kind of like that Drake song.
By bottom, I mean your foundation layers. Those key pieces that you can build outfit after outfit on. In this case, let’s talk silk shells.
A silk shell can be a tank or camisole. It can be v-neck or scoop. It MUST be hip length and of course, made out of a decadent draping material — preferably, silk. Once you find your favorite, you’ll be amazed at how easily it can transition any outfit from work-to-casual, day-to-night.
Take today’s look of the day…
See what I did there? I took a classic silk shell and built a work-chic appropriate outfit around it. Yes, I know… I’m wearing jeans. My favorite FLARES, by the way. Just sub those jeans for a well-cut pair of office appropriate trousers and the overall look pretty much stays the same.
I wore this ensemble to a 40th birthday party a few weeks back and it was the ideal combination of sophisticated and party ready. The jacket was also a nice perk when it started down-pouring midway through the birthday festivities.
Best of all, the silk shell was just clingy enough to highlight my silhouette without showing too much skin. I decided to tuck in the top to draw more attention to my higher waisted jeans and the curves they magically create, but it would have looked great untucked as well.
Now, onto the bag. You know I have a weakness for HANDBAGS! This 70’s inspired classic CHLOE in a dusty rose was the perfect compliment to the mostly navy blue look. I love the contrast it created! I’m not one for unusual colored bags and generally recommend neutrals, but I fell in love with the soft pink and have never looked back.
So there you go… Part I of the silk shell saga. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part II where I take the silk shell and fulfill all of your party girl fashion goals! Leather and studs are definitely involved.
One of the main arguments I hear from women about why they closet is overflowing and why they have such a hard time streamlining their style, is that they have to balance both a work wardrobe and weekend wardrobe. When I would explain my minimalist approach to closet organization, I would constantly hear, “Oh, no. I couldn’t do that. I NEED two separate wardrobes in order for me to look put together at home and in the office.”
Nuh-uh, sistah. Oh, no you don’t.
Having had a taste of corporate employment for a good chunk of my adult life, I understand the challenges of a formal work environment. For many, it can be all suits, all the time. It was for me. Kind of. Even the most conservative business formal environments have loosened their style grip a little, and while jackets still may be required, there are ways to mix and match separates to get the “suit effect” with a little twist.
The key to balancing and intermingling work and play is to splurge on key separates that can easily transition a look from desk to brunch date. Then throw in a bit of personality in the form of accessories. A well cut blazer, a simple pencil skirt, a classic shift dress… all of these items can work overtime.
See? Totally doable… even for the busiest, most harried corporate professional. Not to mention, totally cost effective when you take into account the savings that your multi-tasking wardrobe will allow.
The outfit combinations really are endless. I personally prefer more muted, neutral shades and simple patterns for my own wardrobe, but if you’re a more color forward person, by all means go ahead and light it up!
Hope you’re coming off of a fantastic weekend and ready to get this Monday party started. I guess we can say we’re officially into the dog-days of summer?! Actually, I’m not sure if there is an official line of demarcation when “dog-days” begin, so let’s just say we’ve arrived. The cicadas buzzing in the trees next to my window concur. How disgusting are those bugs, by the way? I’ve been seeing them every summer since I was a little kid, yet still get completely repulsed by them.
Dog-days generally equate to hot, humid and sticky. Throw in a business formal workplace, a subway commute and a multi-block walk to work and hot, humid and sticky become an unfortunate trifecta that can make or break your day (and your dry cleaning bill). Dressing for work this time of year is basically THE WORST regardless of your office dress code. While my current employer, The Heart’s Delight, LLC is very casual (what can I say, my boss is pretty awesome!), I’ve worked in offices that cover the spectrum of dress codes. Business formal, business casual, summer casual… you name it, and I’ve worn it.
Here are my top picks for an easy, breezy, “dog-days” wardrobe, regardless of where you work! I promise, you’ll look fabulous without even breaking a sweat.
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 (Classic shape, classic colors, and on SALE)
1 (no longer available, but THIS or THIS is very similar) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (Yes, you read correctly. This dress is under $36!) / 6 / 7 / 8
1 / 2 / 3 (Such a versatile dress for both work AND play) / 4 / 5 / 6
What are YOUR summer “dog-days” styling tips for staying cool?
P.S. Of course, once I typed in the post title, all I could think of was Hank Azaria’s character, Agador Spartacus, from the movie “The Birdcage” singing the Donna Summer classic! Hysterical.
I woke up this morning to one of the funniest Facebook posts written by a college friend in the D.C. area about inappropriate office party attire and behavior (Thanks for the laugh, A.D.H.). Having worked in a business formal banking environment for a good part of my career, I totally understand where she is coming from and can recall multiple “offenses (and offenders)” from parties of yore. Let me tell you… you DON’T want to be one of those gals! Inspired by the post, I’ve created 3 office party appropriate looks for you guys. Study up, dress up, go out and have a blast! Just make sure to keep any body parts away from the copy machines.