While men can get away with wearing the same suit every day to the office, women are often expected to reinvent the fashion wheel every morning they step into work. Now that’s a double-standard if I’ve ever heard one. Coming up with endless outfits is exhausting! Especially when you feel confined to a drab dress code that has you counting down the days to retirement. This is where I can help. Here are winning outfits that inspire me, and hopefully will you, too. They’re so easy that you should be able to repurpose what you already own to nail the looks. Feast your eyes on some fun new takes on office classics!
The Patterned Pantsuit
I must start with my new favorite outfit. Patterned pantsuits are the ultimate example of a radical, feminine upgrade. Women in menswear? Yes, please. It’s retro, it’s chic, it’s sleek. But put women in a menswear cut (a.k.a. the suit) and throw some bold print on that thing? Are you kidding? It’s perfection: just as flattering as the OG pantsuit but revamped for the twenty-first century. I’m thinking mystical colors, stripes, metallics, holographics… the fit keeps it office-appropriate, so go for gold—literally, wear a gold pantsuit!
Break It Up
If you don’t feel entirely confident about rocking a full pantsuit, break it up by matching the bottoms with a neutral blazer. It’s all about the long line coats this season, so don’t be shy about jackets that drape below the hip, or sweaters that touch your ankles. And you will want those ankles exposed, to balance out the proportions of the blazer.
To reiterate, jackets may run long, but pants are best worn cropped. The wide-leg crop is as popular as ever, with the jogger coming up as a close second. It all depends on how much shape you want to reveal. The long blazer helps here too, as you can always use one to cover up. I have a soft spot for high-waist, wide-leg crop pants because they are so comfortable, yet so sophisticated-looking. Effortlessly high-fashion, they are quite literally flattering on every woman I come across wearing them. From carrot orange to deep navy, the color will never take away from the classy vibe. So, don’t hesitate and go for it.
A pantsuit that was designed as a block color or print isn’t the only way to get that minimalist, monochromatic look. Wearing a single color creates a continuous line that lengthens the figure. This means you look taller, leaner—in a word, elegant. Pair the uniform with bold pumps to give you that sought-after edginess.
Hot pink, electric blue, cheetah print… the list goes on when it comes to loud heels. Match your lip gloss to bring the look together, and you’ll be off to the races. Except you probably won’t be in heels to run, so switch into pointed toe flats and you’ll be truly unstoppable. They’re sophisticated, comfortable, machine-washable, and made sustainably! If that’s not a perfect shoe, I don’t know what is.
Play-Up a White T-Shirt
One of the best ways to update your closet is to spice up your staples. You probably wouldn’t wear a gold pantsuit every day, but you could get away with a white T-shirt all week long. That’s because adding to the shirt transforms the look. Pairing a T with an oversized coat, for example, brings the attention away from your shirt. Not that you should be ashamed in the slightest. It’s more of a question about how relaxed or strict your office dress code is.
Not quite turtle necks, but a lot taller than a crew collar, mock necks are the newest trend. Depending on how cold your office gets, you’ll want either a long-sleeve shirt or a sweater—heck, find a dress with a mock neck! You can’t go wrong with this iconic look. Just add tights under the dress and you’re good to go.
At the end of the day, quality materials make or break an outfit. Not only do they drape better than pure synthetics do, they demand attention with their sophisticated structure. Tweed, velvet, or even quilted, there’s no shortage of textiles out there that will make even office wear interesting.
You can tell your coworkers to watch out, the office is about to turn into a red carpet with these tips and tricks to upgrade your work wardrobe. Maximize on contrast, proportions, and most important of all, fun!