Month: October 2013

Going Beyond The Blazer Basic

“How do you always have a new outfit to wear?!”

To my extreme delight, a coworker once said this to me. However, past my delight, I felt pretty conniving – because in truth, I really don’t have much clothes at all (although my mother and boyfriend may disagree). The trick in putting together a crafty closet is much less about quantity and much more about quality – getting the most bang for your buck and making sure that you always have every basic in existence instead of the latest, trendiest, turquoise lacy animal print high-waited patent leathered whatever.

Make sure you have all the basics. Oh wow, what great advice. Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach the obvious to you over here and tell you that you really need to get a black blazer because, who knew, black goes with everything! (It doesn’t). Instead, here is a list of a little more unexpected basics that can pair up with other pieces to create an interesting work outfit.

1. Chambray Shirt. You probably bought yourself a chambray shirt, all psyched that you now had a shirt to wear out to breakfast that could look sort of chic but in reality, it felt like your pink elephant pajama top. Guess what? Chambray can go to work too! Chambray shirts look great paired under a sweater with a colored pant or leggings, tucked into a quality material skirt, or worn under a structured blazer.

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2. Bright Flats. A brightly colored flat, in a bright pink, gold, or even in animal print, brightens up an otherwise boring work outfit in a subtle way that won’t get you sent to HR like those leather pants will. A forest-green shirt and nude pants can be pretty boring, but with a leopard print flat, it all comes together. At the store, purchases like these can be tough to rationalize, but if it’s a workable color (like yellow, red, or leopard) that goes with a lot of prints, it can go a long way.

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3. Statement Necklace. If you have a boring full-time job, you probably also have a lot of boring black, gray, and white sweaters. Sometimes, you pair them with black pants, or if you’re feeling a little crazy, maybe some white pants… man, isn’t life exciting. To mix up these solid prints, get yourself a statement necklace and you’ll probably find yourself wearing it a lot more than you bargained for. And don’t drop a lot of money for them in stores – I wouldn’t spend more than $15 on one.

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4. Big, Bright Tote Bag. Once again, you probably wear a lot of plain, boring prints to work (we all do it) but you can bring some style to your drab cubicle life with a big, fancy tote that you can stuff all your crap in. On the outside, they look chic, expensive, and if you choose it in a workable basic color (gold, white, brown leather), it pulls your whole outfit together. One the inside… no one has to know you have an iPhone charger, Cosmopolitan, and leaky coffee cup jammed in.

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5. Colored pants. Typically, most worker bees wear pants in nude, black, gray. You know. However, don’t be afraid to lean away from the norm and invest in some more exciting-colored work pants in classic (and not too tight at all) fits but in work appropriate colors like red, forest green, and yellow to pair with neutral-colored shirts.

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All Hail the Rules of Fashion

Rules are for breaking. Ah, well isn’t that nice. Although there are many rules out there that certainly feel like they were only implemented to break (that silly 40 mph speed limit, not wearing white after Labor Day, etc.) there are also a plethora of rules that you should probably take heed. Lucky for you, I’ve niftily gathered them here for you to peruse as you avoid getting ready for work tomorrow.

1. If you can’t be better than your competition, just dress better. Not to say that you shouldn’t keep trying to be better, but if the promotion is coming down to pressed slacks- fitted blazer-nude pumps you versus your similarly performing but frizzy haired-smelly sweatered-worn in jeans coworker, you can bet that you’re going to have the upper hand. And it’s an easy upper hand at that… spend an extra 15 minutes getting ready. One common denominator for successful people? They dress the part.

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2. If you think it may be too much, it’s probably too much. Fashion is easy, people. We aren’t curing cancer over here. If you’re looking in the mirror and you can’t figure out if you look skeevy or chic, then the line has probably been drawn a little too finely. If you’re wondering is this skirt too short for work? Should I really wear this leopard print tube top? How appropriate are my green highlights? then yeah, it’s probably time to go back to the drawing board. Less is more!

3. It’s all in the details. Anyone can put together a chic, stylish outfit (like I said, this isn’t rocket science over here). All it takes is a variety of basic staple pieces and knowing how to swap them in and out. So what makes a boring black blazer, a forest green slack, or a gray sweater exciting? Details. Just because you put the outfit together doesn’t mean your done. Wear accessories that match one another (black shoe, black jacket), clean off that chipped nail polish, and there better not be any undergarment lines in sight. Details, people, details.

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4. Don’t ever pay full price. I’m broke as a joke. However, I’m fantastic at tricking people that I have money, not because I overspend (which I do not) but because I can hunt out a good bargain like a bloodhound. This means knowing how to spend time scouring a sales rack (and not being “too good” for it), knowing what stores have the best deals, and knowing that when purchasing a basic, like a staple blue jean or black pump, you don’t have to pay big money to get it.

5. You should be excited to what you wear to work today. Life can be drab, work can be boring, and people can be sour. Don’t let your outfit be any of these. If you put something together that you’re not excited to put on tomorrow, that doesn’t say this is who I am today, then open the closet back up and try again. Just like a sip of your morning coffee or a lazy morning commute, a well put-together outfit should be a staple of the day.

What To (Not) Wear To Work Today

Let’s get real here. It isn’t 1950 anymore. I can’t just shack up with a suave financier with a comb-over that I met during my first year of post-grad life. Instead, I, and you too, must dress appropriately for work so that people actually take us seriously. Now there are a few fine points to this – on the one hand, we have to make our mothers proud as we hop out the door in the morning (it’s post grad life, people, I still live at home), but on the other hand, nowadays we have so little to live for so we want our outfits to be a little bit fun, plus it’s 2013 so there aren’t really any rules anymore. To make your life a little easier, here is a list of five things to never ever never wear to work, but feel free to save them for the bar.

1. Tennis shoes. It actually makes me a little sad that this even has to be on the list… let alone number one, but bad things can happen to good people. Provided that you don’t work at a gym, I don’t care if it’s Casual Friday, the last day you’ll ever be employed, or even if it’s your birthday. Please just don’t wear those clunky white tennis shoes. PLEASE. They are unflattering on everyone, they have that horrible blinding white color, and they are very reminiscent of moms and Working Girl. Save them for the commute.

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2. Cleavage. Go ahead, argue with me that you can’t “wear” cleavage to work. Well, you can, even though you shouldn’t… ever. There is nothing sadder or more unprofessional in the world than having to give an important presentation or being in a meeting and being concerned that someone is going to be looking at your chest rather than listening to what you have to say. Is it fair? Maybe not. Is it reality? Yes. Sorry. Don’t give someone a reason to wonder why you’re wearing the same shirt that girls in college wear to the bar.

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3. Platform heels. There’s a reason why Forever 21 sells these heels in mass in piles by the cash register – because they’re junky. They’re uncomfortable. And they’re kind of slutty. They’re not going to make you look older, more mature, or in-control – they’re going to make you look like you got lost on the way to the downtown club. Strap on an appropriate height heel – anything under two inches for work – in a classic and basic color and you’ll never go out of style.

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4. Flip Flops. Look in your closet. Look at all of those beautiful heels, boots, even sandals. So why are you wearing FLIP FLOPS! Please no. Just like heels produce that reassuring clack clack clack that lets everyone know you’re on your way, flip flops do the exact opposite by letting everyone know that you’re wearing the same shoes that people wear to public pools. Think about that. Sandals can work (but I would save them for more casual workplaces or Casual Friday) but just stay away from the flip flops.

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5. Mini Skirts. Once again, anything you would wear to a bar, just don’t wear to work. Tugging on your skirt from nine to five won’t make it longer and it ain’t cute. Save yourself the trouble and choose a comfortable and appropriate length skirt by taking a walk around your room or the dressing room before deciding if it can really work for the office.

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See a pattern here people? I know work is boring and you want to liven it up. But just save the crazy outfits for Friday 5:00 pm onward. Remember, if you have to ask yourself if it’s OK for work, it probably isn’t. Put on something ladylike and go climb that corporate ladder.

All’s Fair in Love, War, and Casual Friday

CASUAL FRIDAY. 

Just the words bring about images of gray beaten down hoodies, untied sneakers, and old 5k race t-shirts. Somehow, I kind of think that when our fore(mothers) fought long and hard for their beloved Casual Fridays, they weren’t thinking about basically getting away with their pajamas to work. Instead, all it was supposed to mean was that we could now bring our casual chic outfits to the workplace, which we so infrequently get to sport once Grind Life comes around.

This is pretty much why I don’t really adhere to Casual Friday. I still strap on my heels in the parking lot, I still make sure all my buttons are secured on up, and all of my accessories always match. However, on the rare occasion that I take the plunge and do join in on the joy of the Friday, I do the casual chic. Here are some ideas to take your Casual Friday work outfit from supermarket to super awesome.

1. Colored Jeans are a great alternative to blue jeans because they don’t look so much like you threw on the first thing you saw and a t-shirt. Instead, colored jeans (provided that you matched appropriately to the rest of your outfit) ensure a well put-together ensemble with all the fun of jeans! If brighter colors that are appropriate for autumn at work such as forest green and dark reds and maroons are too much for you, then stick to neutrals like white and tan. Colors are a guaranteed dress up. (Photo courtesy of Pinterest.com)

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2. Brights on brights. Speaking of colors, mixing brights on brights is a great way to fun-up the office on Fridays, especially if you work somewhere that is more on the conservative side like a doctor’s or lawyer’s office. They may be a little too much for Monday through Thursday… but Friday is free game. Just make sure you keep the accessories light and pair with a nude shoe. Also, don’t go too crazy with patterns either. Solid on solid bright is a safe way to go, but still fun.  (Photo Courtesy of TheCorporateRunway.Blogspot.com)

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3. Boyfriend jeans. Don’t get me wrong here. Normally, as much as I love baggy, holed boyfriend jeans, they unfortunately don’t fit very well into work wear. However, and most thankfully, on Fridays these fit right in with a fitted blazer and more work appropriate shoes, like Oxfords or a nice sandal. (Photo Courtesy of Socialbliss.com)

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4. Button-downs with bulk. Normally, when we think of button-downs, we just think of pairing them with a classic pant and heels or a skirt. However, if you like button-downs like I do, you can bring them down a notch for Casual Friday by layering them up, especially for the fall. Tack on a furry vest and a knit scarf to stay warm in that damn AC and still look cozy and put-together. (Photo courtesy of KittiesAndCouture.com)

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5. Plain T’s and statement necklaces. One of my favorite (and one of the easiest) trends for the season is big, plain t-shirts or sweaters in a neutral colors paired with a regal-esque statement necklace. I see a lot of these necklaces for sale for $30 or more, but in reality, you can grab them on eBay for less than $10, which is great too considering I don’t see them staying trendy for very long. No matter what, they’re a great way to trick cozy sweaters into being fancy. WIN. (Photo courtesy of TheStyleUmbrella.com)

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