Smart office attire doesn’t have to be dark, boring and blah!
Do you work in an office that is NOT a fashion magazine or a record label, but still want to look chic and on-trend at the office? (Sadly, we can’t all work at Monsoon PR, Edwina’s floundering PR agency on Ab Fab, and dress like Bubble, as seen above ~wht ) No matter the job, there are ways to add some personal style to any office attire.
After much research, a whole lot of shopping and years of working in different office environments, I’ve discovered a few ways to stay professional, yet add some fashionista flair to an office-friendly wardrobe.
As a guest writer here at we heart this, I’m going to share with you the tips and tricks I’ve gathered for adding some smart style to corporate classic office wear. We don’t want to resort to navy blue and black suits everyday, do we? Today, we will be addressing the three main categories of office staples: pants, jackets/cardigans and tops.
Even better, since this is a real world take on (sometime out of this world) fashion, we’ll be shopping at a few of my go to stores for affordable and trendy options including New York and Company, Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic.
Pants: First up, pants (I’m not a huge skirt person). I’m digging two trends right now; the wide legged trouser and the slim, cropped trouser.
Wide legged trousers are trendy, yet classic and will fit in at conservative work environment and a more casual work environment. This can become an office staple in neutral colors and can be paired with many different types of tops. Invest in a couple well fitting pairs in brown, black, gray and other neutrals (Ann Taylor has a ton of choices) and you will have the base for hundreds of office outfits.
Cropped pants look great with either heels or flats and they can be easily worn to the office when paired with a nice blazer or cardigan. On the weekends, you can dress them down with a flowing blouse or tunic, and a pair of comfy summer sandals (or even sneakers).
For the summer, try a pair in this season’s hottest color (or lack of) – WHITE. Like these slim fitting 7th Avenue Crop Pants in white twill (at right $39.95), from New York & Company.
Blazers: As with trousers, blazers are also an office staple. There are two ways to approach blazers: you can buy a suit and get a matching jacket and pants/skirt combo or you can purchase blazers by themselves.
Regardless of how you approach it, there is no law that office suits and blazers must be navy blue or black. Nowadays you can go into most stores and find a plethora of colors, patterns and styles from the classic to the uber chic. And unless you are in the most conservative of offices, they’re fine for everyday office wear. Of course, I’m digging this Ruffle-Embellished Linen Blend Jacket (at left $74.95) in white for summer!
Keep in mind, that blazers need to fit well to look chic, so make sure you can button the buttons, the sleeves are the correct length and the fit is correct in the shoulders. And don’t be afraid to get alterations to perfect the fit.
Cardigans: Another easy way to top off an outfit for the office. Unlike previously, cardigans are not just rocked by librarians. Today you can get cardigans in every color of the rainbow, cardis with ruffles, cardis with sequins and rhinestones and cardis that are open and casual. Check out Banana Republic for cardigans in every color and style.
Tops: I’ve become an expert at dressing up more casual tops with blazers and cardigans. A plain and inexpensive colored tee under a chic blazer with a statement necklace easily becomes office-chic. But if you don’t want to wear a blazer or cardigan there are two other types of shirts to own: the button up (or button down) and the blouse.
Like with blazers, button ups need to fit correctly to be chic otherwise you end up looking messy (and 5 pounds heavier). The buttons need to close without gaping, so again alterations might be necessary. Look for button up shirts that have darts, to get a better fit right off the rack. Besides fit, color is key to rocking a button up. Get them in bright summery colors to wear with more neutral pants or skirts for a splash of summer fun at the office. Again Banana Republic has a ton of options in some unexpected shades.
Blouses are soft and billowy compared to the more stiff and more formal button up, not to mention they’re great at hiding belly bumps and bulges. I love pairing a pretty flowing blouse with a pair of more structured pants to get a good contrast in an outfit.
Floral prints are super hot right now, so get some breezy summer blouses in a bright floral to rock at the next staff meeting. Personally, I have my eye on the Blooms Tie Neck Shell blouse (at right, $39.99) from Loft.
And there you have it we heart this readers – working in an office doesn’t mean neutral suits or crisp white button ups and black trousers everyday – work wear can definitely be chic and fun.
Readers – how do you add some fashionable style to your office attire?
Recent grad and wht member Nicole Hangartner loves shoes, shopping, cooking and spending time in bookstores and coffee shops. She’s also able to justify any purchase if she “can totally wear it to work!”