Competently Fashionable

June 26th, 2013 – Can you show off some feminine taste while still maintaining your professional image?

The ultra-strict dress codes of legacy office environment – we’ve all either been there personally or know someone who has (working out of Jay Suites shared office space centers in New York, I certainly see them every day!)

Yes, jobs in banking, law, or real estate certainly pay well. But they also come with the price of having to wear a mundane business suit, forever. To the rescue, here are four ways to spruce up your workplace wardrobe that will work in even the most conservative industries and roles.

Target #1: Jewelry Accents

This is the easiest way to make your outfit stand out. Although you can’t top a button-down or jacket with an all-out necklace or chunky bracelet, you can definitely accessorize (in good taste). Go for a square cuff no more than ½ inch thick. A small, 1-inch pin could also do wonders on an otherwise plain jacket. Color matters, too; elegant silver will add just the right amount of style while keeping your look streamlined. Bonus: its neutral hue complements all skin tones.

Target #2: Hair Accessories

While your hairdo freedom may be limited by orders from your superiors, weaving in clips or barrettes can actually make you look even more put-together. My recommendation is to stay away from anything oversized. Opt instead for a thin headband, a nature-inspired pin (animal/plant shape), or a barrette with a small flower or bow. It’s on your hair, so feel free to experiment here a bit: go for a pattern on the headband and a pastel like pink or blue for the barrette.

Target #3: Shoes

They’re one of the last things that would be noticed – courtesy of being hidden under large, extra-long pants! – so you can definitely add some bling on your feet. Some offices may require closed-toe ones, but you can still opt for unique details like a flower or rhinestone accents. Again, stay tactful and stick to just a single addition; and if the shoe is decorated, opt for a neutral color.

Target #4: The Bag

Since this item is technically not a part of your “outfit”, I feel like you have the most autonomy here. Short of going for a jeans fabric, use it to your advantage: go for a bold color like red or green, and an unconventional design like snakeskin or zebra print. You can even ditch leather entirely, just make sure that your bag still looks like you’re going to work – and not the park.

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