Working Gals: Ladies Who’ve Mastered the Art of Work Whimsy (Source)
A Little Story
One of the highlights of my life: meeting then Senator Barack Obama and getting to personally ask him some serious questions (I interned in his Chicago office one summer).
Lowlight of that moment: wearing an ill-fitting blue & white stripped button down shirt that I had inherited from a roommate with it poking out the sides of my slightly-faded-if-you-looked-closely-enough cotton black pencil skirt that I think I had bought from Target years earlier.
I had been told to dress more conservatively and formally since the Senator would be in the office. And, at age 19, that’s what those words meant to me.
When I first started working in formal office settings, I had no idea what outfits were work-appropriate. And the clothes that I did have were mostly cheap items I had picked up in a hurry when I realized I literally had nothing suitable (ha – get it? Suit-able?) for a “business casual” environment.
Old Navy pants in black and gray, 2 for $40? Sure, I’ll buy them – never mind the fact that they aren’t long enough for me to wear with heels. I’ll figure that out.
Long-sleeved v-neck sweaters in every color of the rainbow from NY & Company for just $25? Don’t mind if I do….black, pink and purple should work just fine.
It’s been awhile since the Obama style debacle and I’ve realized that there are so many ways to spice up your work wardrobe! It can be expensive to buy silk blouses in new colors each season or different height heels, depending on what’s “in.” There’s no need to spend tons of money to look cute in the office. It just takes some creativity and little bit of whimsy.
I say, take one item and make it special. Here are a few pieces you can have fun with and add spice to your work wardrobe.
- Classic – pearls. Make them big and add a bow!
- Trendy – neon is all the rage right now.
- Vintage – always check out eBay for vintage (and even designer) jewelry. I’ve gotten last season’s Anthropologie and Banana Republic jewelry on there for half price. Here’s another alternative.
- Goes with everything
Pump Up the Pumps
Buy yourself a pair of pumps with a little bit of an edge.
Add a Scarf To It!
Sure, you might secretly feel like a flight attendant. But I guarantee it’ll be a unique look! Take a simple white blouse, add some brown or camel-colored pants, and tie a pretty scarf around your neck. I have never gotten so many compliments as when I’ve worn a scarf. Plus, you can get super nice ones for about $3 on eBay. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, here are a few other options: one, two, three.
Got a Strict Dress Code?
I know some work places are stricter than others when it comes to dress codes, but I promise you there is always a way to add a touch of quirkiness to any outfit.
- Work at a bank? Always have to wear a suit? Add a blouse with a bird print – as in actual birds.
- Constantly chasing after kids at a daycare? On your feet all day? How about sneakers in the color of the season (mint)?
- Still not seeing anything that would work for your place of employment? Try a bright bag in a structured shape – this is sure to get some notice.
The key with any of these items is to incorporate them as a regular part of your wardrobe (which means, if you’re like me, you’ll repeat them often since you don’t exactly have Oprah’s clothing budget), so you begin to feel comfortable wearing pieces that tend to draw more attention.