The Office: What to Wear Without Sacrificing Your Personal Style

Nothing makes me cringe more than woman’s business professional clothing. Unless your budget allows you to purchase high-end tailor made suits or outfits, most business professional clothing for woman feel oversized and badly made with horrible material. After watching my husband get dressed for work everyday, I understand the wish to be able to throw on clothing and walk out the door without worrying whether your outfit looks ok and put together and I also understand what it means to buy on a budget.

When you’re working in a professional environment you want people to see that you take your job seriously, that you are capable and able to handle any task given to you. You also want to dress for the position you want. Dress like a manager, instead of a person who drags their feet to the office. Stand out of the crowd with great clothing instead of that faded grey oversized suit you had to buy on the cheap. Wear outfits that are fresh, new and exciting that draws the attention to you, without breaking your offices rules. I love black, creams and emerald colors like blue and green in the office because it speaks of authority and capability. Stay away from soft colors that make you blend into the wall behind you, like greys and pastels.

When you’re trying to stick to your budget, it’s important that you don’t purchase pieces that can only be worn once every 3 weeks because it’s such a statement piece. Try to stay within a certain color palette so that your wardrobe is easy to mix and match, and you can make countless outfits out of just a few pieces.

You don’t have to sacrifice your personal off-duty style for your office, all it takes is some know-how to make your wardrobe work for you, including incorporating some of those weekend or evening pieces.

Here are a few outfit suggestions!

Wardrobe tips:

1. You should have at least one or two great suits. Make sure that they are fitted and accentuate all your good parts. I love seeing a tailored blazer, and cigarette leg black trousers that end at the ankle. Never wear trousers that are baggy, drag on the floor or are beige or grey colors. You want to stand out.

2. Trousers. I love these cream trousers because they are fitted and they would go with any of the above tops and jackets. I don’t love boot cut or flared trousers because I don’t believe that they are flattering to the female figure, especially if they are the wrong size. They also don’t feel very professional when they’re dragging on the ground. You want to look trim and neat.

3. Pencil skirts are amazing because they are versatile. Own at least two, a black one and a fun one. You can get away with wearing one that has a bold but simple pattern on it, so long as the shoes, top and cardigan or blazer are basic in color. I paired this bold one with this peplum top because it’s a great day to night transition outfit. Throw on a blazer or cardigan over the top for the office.

4. I love this black dress because it’s fitted, and very professional. Again, you want to look trim and neat. You can also wear a button up shirt like the white one underneath to create a layering effect. Pair it with any of the cardigans or blazers for a nicely put together look.

5. Friday outfit! Some companies allow jeans on Fridays, and this look is perfect for it. You still want to be taken seriously, this isn’t your ticket to wear your mom jeans and slouchy sweater. That look is great for the weekend, but you still want to show your boss that you take your job seriously. Pair it with this sleeveless turtleneck for a fashion forward, flawless outfit.

6. Cardigans: Don’t wear slouchy, old looking sweaters. Make sure that even though they’re boyfriend fit, they are snug around the waist when buttoned. I love this belted cardigan because it’s super cozy, but the belt makes it neat and sculptured. You don’t want to look like a wafting ghost floating down a corridor.

7. Tops: These tops are great even though they’re not very bright or colorful, but they do have amazing texture. What’s also great is that they can totally be worn in off-duty ensembles. The trick to make a “off-duty” top work is by throwing that blazer over it. I would stay away from cropped blazers because they don’t have that same “power suit” effect that longer blazers have.

8. Shoes: It breaks my heart when I see woman wearing plain old shoes with their outfits! Unless your job includes a lot of walking, you can totally get away with wearing a heel. Stay away from bright, colorful platform shoes as they don’t convey that you take your job seriously. I once saw a woman wearing a beige pencil skirt with 4 inch snake skin peep toe platform shoes; it was overwhelming. Stick to fun styles in simple colors. Kitten heels are a great way to get that heel in while sill being comfortable.

When you’re shopping for clothing, don’t automatically go to the section with the “business-y” clothes. Hunt for these items in the regular sections and you’ll see you’ll find some real gems. Take a look at the quality, if the material looks cheap, then you will look cheap.

Have fun shopping!!

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