Our first Working Girl Wednesday is dedicated to overall office fashion. I love playing around with clothes, but always find it hard to balance fun with practical office wear. I work in a small office where not many people are interested in fashion, and thus have to strike a delicate balance between practicality, functionality, fitting in, and experimenting with different looks.
The best advice I’ve ever received about dressing for look is to (a) dress so that you fit in, and (b) dress like you are the boss. If you dress smart, then at work people will assume you’re smart. If you dress like a student, people will assume you’re a student. So remember that books are often judged by their covers!
I and many of my friends are lucky to look young for our age. This is great when going out (being almost 30 and getting carded is a compliment in my opinion), but at the office, it can lead to trouble. If your colleagues perceive you as inexperienced and just out of school, you will be treated as such. Therefore, I aim to dress a little more conservative than how I do outside of the office, but still try to be contemporary and not look too grandma-ish.
While I sometimes will try out trends (white jeans this past summer, leggings with dresses last winter), I’m starting to build up my wardrobe with classic pieces that I can play around with. Invest in a black, brown, and grey suit – buy the matching trousers and skirts for each. You can mix the blazers with sundresses, you can wear a great blouse tucked into the skirt, you can wear a classic sweater over the trousers, etc. With 9 basic pieces (a black, brown, and grey blazer, skirt, and trouser), you can create so many different office looks. Every season I get a different colored blazer or trouser to go with the latest trend (am currently on the hunt for a good fall white blazer), which you can easily mix in with the rest.
The brands I love for suits are Theory, Banana Republic, and Halogen (found at Nordstroms). These brands tend to come out with new pieces that use the same fabric and color as their older lines, and so it is really easy to keep building your wardrobe each season. I have several different cuts of trousers from Banana and Halogen, and anytime they go on sale (or I get a coupon) I snatch them up. Skinny trousers are the next on my list to buy from one of these brands.
So enjoy my Working Girl series!