Choosing work outfits doesn’t have to be a chore. Though many get lost in the sea of navy suits and black and white button-downs, working at an office doesn’t mean having to sacrifice your personal style. Yes, you still have to make work-appropriate choices, so leave the hot pants at home. But beyond that, there are many ways to spice up a bland wardrobe.
One of the easiest ways to add a little style to your work wear is to include a pop of color. You can choose your favorite or sport bold colors like hot pink, yellow or green. To pull it off, just make sure your wearing colors that complement each other. If you’re going for bold, pair it with neutral colors so it’s not overwhelming. A pink shirt or scarf paired with a grey suit adds just the right amount of flair for the office. Another way to play with colors is to mix women’s suit pieces from Dillard’s; pair your camel colored blazer with black slacks or a grey and black piece for a sophisticated yet stylish look.
Bold zebra or leopard prints have personal style written all over them, so don’t be afraid to play with patterns. Adding a pattern will have a similar effect as a bold color, so pair just one or two prints with otherwise solid, neutral colors, and make sure one of the colors in the print matches the solid color you’ve chosen. So instead of a simple solid color button-down, try adding a few patterned choices to the mix to pair with your slacks and skirts.
An unexpected texture can add a lot of character to your wardrobe and help encompass your own style. For example, a knee length leather skirt says you like a little edge, while a tweed jacket or skirt adds a touch of elegance and shows you like to keep to the classics.
Chunky necklaces and a forearm full of bangles have cannonballed into everyday fashion, and are a surefire way to add a little personality to your work wear. Your jewelry choices say a lot about you – sandalwood beaded bracelets point to a free spirit while an oversized necklace often sits on a true fashionista. Mix and match your favorite jewelry to create completely different looks with the same pieces of clothing. Just remember not to go overboard; the golden rule of accessorizing is still less is more.
Aside from jewelry, other accessories play a key part in pulling together an outfit. Play with different belts and different sizes — a skinny red, green or yellow belt and a few bangles can transform a classic black dress into an entirely new outfit. And because shoes are a known shopping weakness for women, add some of your favorites into your business wear to bring about a little personality. An update on a classic black and white or close-toed shoe will be office appropriate and unique. If your dress code is a little more casual, adding some knee high socks from Stance.com will show off your playful side.
Add Trends an Item at a Time
With all trendy pieces and otherwise nontraditional work attire, remember: all things in moderation. If you want to wear the new pleated skirt you bought, great, just pair it with classic button down and pumps. Same goes for jewelry – one statement piece is enough.
Rely on Layers
Another way to add a little extra to your wardrobe is through layers. It’s especially easy to do when sporting fall and winter fashion with cardigans and jackets. Many sweater dresses can be worn to the office along with knee high boots and booties and a sophisticated trench coat to top it off. Jackets in general offer endless ways to play with your style; a classic leather can add personality to an outfit while keeping it sophisticated, as well as a longer overcoat or short embellished blazer.
At the end of the day, following a few of the guidelines will help you combine your personal style with office dress etiquette.