Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Working 9 to 5?

-tips to make the most out of your work wardrobe-

Ok working girl, getting a little tired of the same boring black and grey work outfit, or not so sure how much personality and sparkle is allowed in the office? Not to fear here are J & M's tips for taking you from the mail room to the CEO office in style. 
We will start with the basics and move to different careers (cause lets be real, different jobs have different dress codes) so not seeing what you need, read on!

My best advice: Do not be afraid to have a "uniform" at work, if you find a cute look that works than wear it constantly. Repetition in your wardrobe is what creates personal style, don't be afraid of it, embrace it. It is not boring it just means you know who you are, what you like and what looks good on you and works for your body. 

The Pencil Skirt

Past research has indicated that a woman going for an interview will be more likely to land that job if wearing a pencil skirt. Strange, I know, but lets not argue with success. The best place on earth to buy a pencil skirt is TJ Maxx and you should always start here if you are on the PS hunt. Pencil skirts can be worn for a lot of different occasions so you want to make sure that the one you buy for work does not match the same criteria as the one for the bar. Some rules to follow:
1. Length- just above the knee
2. Fit- not too tight, if you walk around the store in it and someone's teenage boy is staring at your butt, move on.
3. Color- Have fun with the color! This is such a traditional piece so please do not be afraid of the colors and prints. ONLY WEAR A NEUTRAL COLOR TO THE INTERVIEW but once you land that job break out the fiesta de pencil.

Ok so now that you have found that perfect skirt, how should you wear it? 
                               Here is a pencil skirt from Ann Taylor Loft the color is great because it will work so well with a dark blazer without needing to be pieces to the same suit. It will also go
                     great with a plethora of colored/patterned shirts and shoes and can move into other seasons.

With a great white button down- tuck this in. I love this one because it is not a stiff material and therefore it moves with you. A little pricey but I think it is worth the investment. 
Throw on a blazer over it, I prefer a dark navy to black. I think there are very few people in this world who truly look great in black and navy is so much more forgiving but can be worn in the exact same way and, if dark enough, can be paired with black shoes.  You have to try this on before you buy it and do not get discouraged, a blazer is one of the hardest things to find the right fit in- its like jeans only worse.

*Now for the sparkle*
Because you are at work and can not pull out a cocktail dress and full on jewels (total bummer) we have to find inventive ways to bring some sparkle
Throw a skinny belt, like this one from Ann Taylor (ps its on sale for $19.99!) over the waistband of the pencil skirt. This color is going to look gorgeous with that camel. Find a great skinny belt but it doesn't seem to fit you in the exact right place on your waist? Not to worry- go to the shoe department in any department store, they have a gun there that they use to punch the holes in the shoes, ask nice and I am sure they will punch you some extra holes wherever you need in that cute new skinny belt.
This can be worn over and over again over  tons of different colored skirts and can be put in the waistband of a great pair of trouser work pants.

For those of you who know me well you know I don't have my ears pierced (I'm weird I know) however, that has not stopped me from perusing the earring aisle constantly- I'm obsessed I think because I cannot wear them.
Anyways, enough about me. These great little studs from Betsey Johnson will bring a lot of bang but in a very conservative way.
 Don't be afraid to layer on some great bangles or a necklace, I suggest some pearls too. Keep it simple and classy. If you wouldn't wear it to a wedding then abandon it!!!

These may be a little scary for some of you but just hear me out I promise these are actually a great idea! Ok so yes they are leopard print, however they are the most traditional in women's shoes- a kitten heel- so they get away with being a little unconventional in the pattern. If you are interviewing or working at an extremely conservative law firm maybe don't go here but for everyone else these could be your saving grace.
Everything in the outfit we just put together was a neutral right? These are the fun, they are not immediately noticeable because the print is on your feet so you can get away with the pattern. They are actually a neutral! Wear these with any color skirt- remember you were going to go get some great solid colored pencil skirts (like a pretty green or a great purple?) these would look to die with them.
They would also bring a great pair of trouser work pants from an ok look to OMG (pair that with the skinny belt and an awesome solid colored cardigan with your great new white shirt and you have an outfit ladies).
-These are an investment piece you will wear over and over again so do not feel guilty or afraid of the price-
Want some in Black patent leather- head to TJ Maxx NOW they are bursting at the seams with some adorable ones that are uber cheap.

The Teacher

One of the hardest jobs to dress for- being a teacher- eek. Here you go ladies my best advice and my favorite outfits just for you!

Note to all teachers: Buy cardigans at Target, TJ Maxx and wherever they are on sale, separate your closet into school clothes and not school clothes. Stick to patterns on the top if you are working with small kids (aka forgiving prints that you wont be able to see the stains in) also do not be afraid to wear a white shirt underneath to layer- thats what bleach is for- I suggest xsmall hanes v necks from walmart. Also get a couple of pairs of bootleg and wide leg trouser pants and trouser jeans and cute sneakers. 

This Sweater  is from Target and is a great price- only buy a sweater if it is not a print if it is incredibly cheap- because the odds of it getting something on it are pretty high. However this is adorable and the sleeves can be rolled up which is convenient for getting messy.

Cute sneakers that can be paired with pants, a pencil skirt or a cute shift dress. These scream comfort but also that you are pulled together and nothing, and i mean nothing is more quintessential teacher than these and a cute dress.

Because a lot of you are allowed to wear jeans to work (lucky!)  and these look just like a traditional work trouser but have the wearability of denim.

*You may be allowed to wear jeans but you don't have to. Follow the same advice above for buying a pencil skirt but throw these on underneath to keep your mobility and allow you to squat to those little kid levels. I promise this is not weird and no one will know! Also wear these under your dresses.
Skinny Britches 

How to Dress By Job

1. Not so Conservative (teaching, interning, etc): wear some neutral pointed flats instead of power heels to work everyday. You can get away with wearing a cardigan, depending on the job, so throw a printed one on over a shirt. I love to layer so I suggest getting some shirts from NY & Company, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, AT Loft, etc. that have details like ruffles that will really pop underneath a cardi. 

2. Somewhat conservative: Wear the heck out of that blazer and pencil skirt! Add some tailored pants into the mix as well, I suggest going to The Limited and looking for some trouser pants (pants that are wider legged on the bottom than on the top) to put with those neutral pointed ballet flats and those trusted pointed kitten heels you just bought!

3. Uber Conservative: Sorry girls but you are going to have to stick to pants. You are probably living in a mans world and the best advice to give to you is to dress like one (or a much cuter version at-least). The best way to bring out your inner girl is to layer ruffled shirts under your blazer and to start a collection of fun colored skinny belts and some conservative but blingy jewelry.