Put Your Clothes to Work

15 Jul

It’s been my experience that in the working world (what a delightful 1980s term), as a young professional woman, one is always trying to strike the balance of being appropriate in the work place, but also being stylish and fun.

No one wants to wear awful gray pleated slacks and ill-fitting button down blouses from Dress Barn (don’t get me started on ANY clothing store with the name ‘barn’ in it), but on the flip side, you don’t want your clothes to hint that you just rolled in from a rave which ended at 5AM.

That being said, I was chatting about this topic with one of my best friends, Jackie, the other day. We came across a list of ‘must haves’ in a work wardrobe. Now, this list was developed by another novice style blogger (like myself), so we can keep that in mind. Without further ado, here is her list:

Top Ten Wardrobe List for the Working Woman

1. Trench coat

2. Little black dress

3. Black blazer

4. On-the-town jeans

5. Black scarf

6. Black or tan (just not khaki material) dress pants

7. Black pumps

8. White & black tank tops

9. Neutral colored cardigan

10. Black knee high boots

Did you fall asleep after reading that list?

Jackie and I sure did.

After we Rip-Van-Winkled, we decided that it needed some serious overhauling.

Here’s our revised and much more lively list. We tried to keep in mind that this is for a working wardrobe, which apparently the girl who made the original list forgot. I mean, who wears knee-high boots to work, unless they are a call-girl or a bartender at a skeezy joint downtown?

Top Ten Wardrobe List for the Working Woman with a Personality

1. Coats/Jackets

Light-weight wool coat with cute buttons and lining

A small leather (or faux leather) jacket

Longer jacket going to knees

All in any colors that flatter you or you enjoy (they don’t always have to be black!). Don’t forget to  find ones with really fun lining… it’s a little piece of decorum just for you!

2. Dresses

Instead of black, select a dress in a color. Camels, greens or plums are good choices if you want to keep it somewhat conservative for the office.

3. Blazers

Only if it is tailored in the waist, preferably with tapering in the back to define the waistline.If not, Jackie warns it will look boxy (true).

4. Denim

For work, jeans should be dark wash boot cut jeans, with minimum distress. Jackie also recommends straight legged jeans, and to pair your pants with a belt to give it a nice, tailored look.

5. Skirts

There was no mention of skirts in the original list. Skirts should be a work go-to. Pencil skirts, tulip skirts, straight-lined skirts – they all work and look great in the office. There is not a modern office look that channels Mad Men more than a nice fitted pencil skirt with a colorful, patterned blouse tucked in.

6. Dress slacks

Slacks are an item of clothing that should be treaded on lightly. Personally, I don’t wear slacks. But, Jackie points out that that slacks can look ok if you take the time to look. Slight boot-cut or wide leg trousers work for most. My pet peeve is when people won’t spend $15 to get the pants tailored in length. You buy pants for $60-$80 and yet won’t get them tailored for a perfect fit?

7. Dress shoes

While black pumps are a good stand-by, don’t overlook brown or nude dress dress shoes. They add versatility to your wardrobe. Nude can work double-duty when wearing black or brown.

8. Base camisoles or tanks

Work under sheer blouses or sweaters. If adorned with lace or bows, also can look nice under cardigans.

9. Cardigans

A good work staple. But don’t limit yourself to neutrals. Cardigans are a great way to add a punch of color to the wardrobe. Go for purple, teal, aqua or pink – nice vibrant jewel tones. Or, be daring and wear a leopard print cardigan. It’s fun without being inappropriate. No one has ever hissed, “My word! Did you see her cardigan? Disgusting!” 

10. Accessories

Don’t forget earrings, necklaces, belts. Jackie points out that a casual outfit can get some lift with large statement jewelry.

Accessories are frosting on the cake… sure, frosting isn’t necessary, but a cake sure looks crummy without it.

Two items on the prior list we didn’t bother to include:

Scarves: Jackie covered this perfectly -> Wear scarves in winter and use color. We aren’t French.

Knee-high black boots: This doesn’t even deserve commentary. They have no place in the office.

I used our list to built my outfit for today! 

Jackers - this is for you (since you said I need more pictures of me on the blog!)

6 Responses to “Put Your Clothes to Work”

  1. Jess July 18, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Love this! I definitely have a leopard print cardigan (are you surprised? Haha) and love to rock it with boots and leggings. As I was reading you and Jackie’s list, I was taking notes in my head and have everything to make me fun and stylish in the office 🙂

    • tealandtulle July 18, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      Jess – you already dress so cute and have a great handle on your style. I mean, leopard print cardigan – it’s obvie! ❤

  2. Betty July 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    I have the best “fashion-nieceta”ever! 🙂

  3. Jackie July 15, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Well said Erin! And I love the point you made about tailoring your pants. I had about 3 pairs of slacks I never wore due to the long length. I FINALLY went to my tailor and had them hemmed and they look SO MUCH better. For petite people it’s essential to have a good tailor on hand where you can take clothing that is ill fitting or to long. Nothing looks better than a jacket or pair of pants that fit you to a “T”

    • tealandtulle July 15, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      It’s true! I had a pair of designer jeans that I hadn’t worn in 18 months b/c I didn’t like the pant legs! I finally went in to have the legs altered, and for $20 I got a ‘new’ pair of pants. Otherwise, if I never wore them, then I wasted all that money I spent on them originally!

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