We all want to look fashionable 24 hours a day, but adding an element of style between 9 and 5 can be a challenge. Me being the consummate multi-tasker that I am, I have tackled this challenge many times, volleying between very corporate clients and much more laid back, casual clientele where jeans and a T-shirt was the standard. I am happy to share with you some work-appropriate tips to help incorporate some really cool spring trends into your office looks without getting a call from HR. And most of them are multi-functional as great day-to-night pieces.
As I followed the runway shows and studied the similarities in color and cuts, it became apparent that this year’s spring/summer trends were going to have loads of party-ready crop tops, sheer skirts, and peekaboo mesh as trend front-runners. Now unless you have a really cool boss or work at a fashion magazine, you likely will not be able to wear these styles at the office. But fret not! There are quite a few work-appropriate trends to opt for. Here is a quick cheat sheet of chic spring trends you can totally wear at work.
Wearing a full on pastel dress with neutral shoes or accessories is a great idea for the office. Or if that’s too much for you, try adding a pastel to one of your separates like a work-friendly blouse or button-up shirt. It’s a fashion-forward way to bring spring to an otherwise boring navy or dark suit. Little changes like this will breathe new life/freshness to that classic year-round skirt or pant suit.
Also known as soft pants or pajama pants, these billowy bottoms have always been a favorite of mine. And now after so many seasons of skinny pants, they are back on the scene…..hooray! They will come in a wide variety of patterns and solids so pick your poison. Just know the larger the pattern or print, the larger your backside will appear, so tread lightly if you’re a pear shape or heavily endowed downstairs. These easy pants are great complements to almost every style of top, but to keep it office chic, I would wear a well-tailored shirt and blazer with it to balance the fluidity of your lower half.
The midi dress
If your ever worry about buying into a trend and being stuck with it after only a few months, never to wear it again, then listen up because this is the anti-trend trend you have been waiting for. The midi dress is a timeless classic and is PERFECT as a crossover from work to play. This trend was a highlight in summer and fall fashion shows so it’s a keeper for your closet through the seasons change. Buy one classic navy and you’re all set, or go for it and add a patterned midi, too. Have fun with pairing it with demure footwear during the day and sexy stilettos for the night; change your lips to a fiery red or cool coral and a quick handbag switch for a perfect date night evening.
The oxford shirt-dress
It’s another awesome option for the office with little effort and big results! It’s more popularly known for weekend wear to the Hamptons or the beach but the oxford has reinvented itself with just a change of fabrication to have a more fitted and tailored look; great for the office. Pair it with a blazer or a great necklace and pointy flats or go the other route and wear a great espadrille wedge and roll up the sleeves a little to have some fun with this flirty casual turned corporate twister. Make sure to keep the dress AT or BELOW knee length to stay office appropriate.
The pleated skirt
This jewel from the 60’s is still as American as apple pie. The pleated skirt reminds me of the classic TV show “Happy Days,” when showing just your waistline was enough. The pleated skirt is a great silhouette for almost any shape, however I wouldn’t recommend for the women under 5’5 unless you made it a mini pleated skirt. This spring’s return to the classic skirt is an easy complement to almost everything in your closet from a sweatshirt paired with brogue or oxford shoes or to a little more serious tone, by pairing it with a tailored blazer or fine-knit sweater layered over a collared shirt and heels.
For those who swear shopping is tedious or it’s just impossible to figure out how to look great in this world of constantly changing trends, let me give you a word of advice. Mixing up what you already have is the KEY! There is no Ultimate Fashion Rule for Style (now taste is another story). Customize your style just for you. Listen to the advice of professionals like myself on proper fit and take notes on suggested guidelines on trends and finesse YOUR STYLE STATEMENT. Have fun! Try adding a new trend item into your wardrobe one piece at a time and if it doesn’t work, no worries, take it back but keep trying something new and little by little you will find your most flattering style.
It’s all about the journey; finding the right mix for you is essentially the KEY TO LIFE. It applies to everything; from finding the right career, the right mate and even the right wardrobe for you!
Pamela Watson is an experienced stylist who currently works as the trend expert for Builders of Style, where she prepares A-list clients for red carpet events, music videos, concerts, and award shows.