Fall is the time to regroup and get busy. And with my graduation from Law School on the horizon, I've been thinking about professional attire more and more. As my friends land their first internships and jobs outside of uni, I am often asked about tips on how to look more put-together and work-appropriate. For anyone who lives in their jeans and t-shirt, it's certainly a challenge. However, the whole endeavor proves to be even more tedious for anyone who loves fashion and dressing for fun. Flamboyancy is unfortunately accepted and appreciated in very few work fields, so unless you're in the fashion industry or the arts, you're in need of clothes that will be a little more business and a little less play.
The first things to take into account when dressing for work are the field and the office dress code, as well as the actual work involved. Is it mainly in-office work? Are there going to be meetings with clients? You have to factor all that in your outfit-picking process. If unsure about the dress code, my word of advice is go in a little more formal during the first week just in case, observe what others are wearing and follow their lead.
Most of the outfits presented below are for offices without extremely strict dress codes because the options there are quite limited. I gather that most places should be okay with outfits like the ones suggested.
THE HIGH WAISTED PANT
Neutral tones and minimal silhouettes are pretty much as foolproof as it gets. High waisted wide-leg pants are flattering, lengthening and a staple that shouldn't be missing from any wardrobe. Mannish coats are abundant on the market right now, so invest in a classic piece that will add that extra polish to both on and off-duty looks.
We all know that poplin is the working girl's best friend. Shirt dresses give the classic crisp shirt a twist and turn it into a smart but feminine piece that works from day to night. Classic white and blue stripes never disappoint but the options are plentiful. Pair with low block heel pumps to keep things modern and comfortable at the same time.
THE RUFFLED BLOUSE & MIDI LEATHER SKIRT
Leather at the office might sound a bit risqué to some, but it's all about the cut, the fit and the length. Avoid stretchy, skin-tight silhouettes and choose straight or A-lined numbers instead. For extra chic points add a ruffled blouse and kitten heels to take away from the toughness of the look.
THE LAYERED SWEATER & CROPPED PANTS
This is the look I would recommend to young people at the start of their career. It's serious without being pretentious or aging and the pants combined with the layering add a more "fashiony" touch for those that still need that extra oomph. Khaki is always a winner when it comes to workwear and a sound choice for those who want to veer away from classic neutrals.
THE MANNISH BLAZER & SLIM PANT
It's practically impossible to go wrong with a solid blazer. You're in luck because the choices available right now are pretty much limitless. Whether you go for a belted sharp piece or a squared off oversized one, you're sorted. Pair with slim, cigarette pants for an ultra chic ensemble that will wow both your boss and your fellow fashionistas.
THE CRISP WHITE SHIRT & RUFFLED MIDI SKIRT
Again the classic, trusty white shirt and camel tones come into play here in order to create the perfect boss-lady-chic. Make sure the pieces chosen are well tailored and properly fitting. The ruffles breathe new life into the classic pencil skirt and give it more of an edge without taking away from its value as a workwear staple. While admittedly the Rosie Assoulin heels are somewhat of a bolder choice here, I'm certain any heeled loafer would work equally as well.
Hope the suggestions were helpful!
What are your indispensable workwear pieces? Do share!