Choosing an outfit for the workplace is a tight-rope walk; you need to keep it appropriate and tasteful, but without sacrificing your personal sense of style.
You likely spend more time at the office than you do at home/out on the town/running errands. When you’re hitting the office 5 days a week, every week, all year long, it’s important to breathe a little personality into your work-wear. You don’t want to lose yourself in a sea of nude-colored pantyhose and heavy polyester mustard-colored pantsuits.
Use these key staples to build an office wardrobe: the trouser pant, the blazer, the stiletto, the ballet flat and the A-line dress. Take these and match them with your closet favorites to put your own style spin on things. Maybe you’re a scarf person, or you never met a statement necklace you didn’t immediately love, or you live for the color red, or you have a favorite watch that you wear rain or shine. Your favorites + these classics = your personal work wardrobe.
A pair of trousers in a classic neutral (black, brown, khaki, navy, gray and the newly-minted neutral olive green) can be paired with anything. Go preppy-chic with a button-down, girly with something ruffled, all-American with a fitted tee, cozy with a chunky knit sweater, demure with a cardigan, powerhouse with a blazer, etc.
I love a good blazer. It’s a year-round piece for me (movie theaters and restaurants are always cold, even in high summer), and I pair it with everything from the aforementioned trousers to dresses. You don’t have to stick to the classic black blazer, either. Maybe for the fall and winter, you choose a great dark herringbone jacket. For summer, a lightweight blazer in seersucker. Roll the sleeves or not; buy cropped or boyfriend. Such a versatile piece.
The stiletto market is like the biggest, best sushi bar in the world. So many choices, so many combinations, all so yummy (if sashimi isn’t your thing, insert “salad” or “ice cream topping” for “sushi”). You have a variety of materials (leather, patent, suede, etc.), heel heights (rock a modest three inches or kick some serious stiletto ass in a pair of six-inchers), and styles (round toe, open toe, pointed toe, platform, etc.). Sidenote: please don’t ever wear anything lucite to the office (or ever, for that matter).
The ballet flat.
Not everyday is a Stiletto Day, even for those of us who are completely dedicated to high heels. A ballet flat is an equally chic option. It pairs well with dresses, skirts and trousers. You have a buffet of ballet flat choices, too: from basic black to fun prints.
The A-line dress.
An A-line dress is a dress that fits narrowly at the top (typically through the waist) and then flares toward the bottom (creating a general A shape). This style works wells on almost all body types, and is a great cut for the office. Wear it alone with sandals in the summer, add a vest and a lightweight scarf for some boho action, dress it up with a blazer, or dress it down with a pair of flats and a flyaway cardigan.
You don’t need to have a completely separate wardrobe for the office. Investing in a few staple pieces and then mixing them with elements of your closet you already love will provide you with endless office-appropriate outfits.
What do you think? What are you work-wear staples?