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the stylist’s notebook | in the corporate world

14 June 2009
Okay I know for a fact (because I read your blog everyday), that you get this all the time but you are so incrediably talented and your make me embarassed that I’m not doing anything more fantastic being a year old than you! Okay, but to my point I have given up my last highschool summer for a full time desk job at a friends office. I work 8 to 6 and feel like I am the only 18 year old who has to do this. Alright, I’m being dramatic and there has to be more! So my request to you if you can break away from being so fabulous is to post something about office fashion! I can’t be too high fashion but I want to figure out how to wear something flattering and fun but still appropriate. Dont worry if you don’t have time or can’t help but just thought I’d ask! Thanks again!

First things first. Blogging is simply a hobby – what I do is nothing fantastic, nor comparable to what you are doing – most would be spending their vacations bumming around or beaching or vacationing, but taking that time to work – like an adult – is truly admirable.

What to wear to work is important, especially if you are the youngest in the office. To gain their respect first starts with how you present yourself; to say that appearance does not matter would be blind and ignorant. Sadly, people do judge based upon how you dress and how you carry yourself – your abilities and aptitude come second. In a non-fashion area of the corporate world, being too fashion-forward can be a hinderance, since many cannot gather or fathom recent trends. Rather, embrace chic alternatives to the classic and the sophisticated to pave your way to true success.

{the inspiration.}

what to wear to work inspiration

{what to wear.}

For starters, I’ve written a post [a while back] on what to wear at the internship – the dress code is probably nearly the same. What to wear to work, however, is slightly more conservative, perhaps even on the strict side.

Monochromatic palettes, and the classic black, white, gray. It instantly gives an impression of maturity, sophistication, and timelessness. A bit of color is always a youthful touch, but in the office, it is usually better to stick to the conservative color palettes and colors: black, white, gray, & blue. Of course it is not crime to dress up a little black dress with a colorful cardigan – but keep prints to a minimum, and opt for solid colored (florals are the exception!) pieces.

The classic pump. Is your best friend; not too high, and not too low. The three-inch, black, stiletto pump is the ultimate corporate wardrobe piece. A symbol of executive power welded by the female in the working world, there is no way one can ever go wrong with the shoe. It is classy, not a potential to be deemed a “hooker heel” (those who are ignorant often label anything over three inches to be such shoes). The closed round or pointed toe for winter/fall, and the peep-toe for the warmer seasons. Do make sure your toenails are well manicured, though.

Buy & wear the classics: White button down shirts with the top two buttons left undone, the sleeves rolled a few times rather casually, and tucked into a pair of pants. |  High waisted black skirts or pants are the perfect addition to the blouse, and finished with a few silver bracelets, a pair of black pumps, and a wide belt cinching the waist. | A simple silver pendant is a dainty touch; pearls are equally beautiful, but may look too mature. Something a bit more modern – like colored pearls, pearls with chains, etc. lighten the outfit. | Blazers are absolute must-haves; the black is a staple, but choosing a more unconventional color – gray, cream, white – adds a dimension of modernity and depth. | The little black dress, knee length with sleeves and a modest neckline makes for a feminine approach to the typical pant-suit ensemble. If it lacks sleeves, do wear a cardigan (an electric blue, yellow, teal, or cream are beautiful but sophisticated colors) – worn with or without a belt. | Wide-leg, high-waisted denim trousers in a dark wash also act as a fashion-forward, but not too trendy take on the denim wave. Sophisticated and fresh.

{ensembles, for your perusal.}

Click on the individual collages to enlarge. [All items are from net-a-porter (my favorite site, ever!).] Three outfits, for three types of women (or three different moods).

What to Wear to Work Outfit 1

What to Wear to Work Outfit 2

What to Wear to Work Outfit 3


La C.

52 Comments leave one →
  1. 14 June 2009 8:28 pm

    That pencil skirt is very sex-ay.

  2. 14 June 2009 8:38 pm

    I want to look like Clemence everyday.

  3. 14 June 2009 8:54 pm

    This is such incredibly helpful advice and it’s so well-presented. I’m impressed.

  4. thebaglady permalink
    14 June 2009 8:57 pm

    Amazing post; this is so thorough!

    I’m making a list now of things I need to buy/find/wear. You’ve gotten me excited about work tomorrow! Thanks, LC! ❤

  5. 14 June 2009 9:13 pm

    Amazing post and so well written!♥

  6. mimi permalink
    14 June 2009 9:14 pm

    this could not come at a better time for me! im clerking at a law firm this summer, and i want to be “corporate” but stylish and somewhat fashion forward without being too extreme. oh how to balance the two! merci, la c!

    • 14 June 2009 9:18 pm

      Mimi: Aw I’m so glad! 🙂 I’m volunteering at a courthouse this summer, and I think the thing that excites me the most (besides getting to watch trials, lol) is dressing up for it!


  7. *Andrea* permalink
    14 June 2009 9:34 pm

    LOVE THIS POST! i just started a consulting/finance internship in the city and am clueless with dress code. i also love your style and trust it 🙂

    • 18 June 2009 6:57 pm

      *Andrea*: Awww (: Thank you so much! Those were the sweetest words I’ve heard! Merci, beaucoup, darling!


  8. 14 June 2009 9:48 pm

    great post! but the thing is now i want all those items!
    i need more classics and basics.

  9. 14 June 2009 10:48 pm

    Very nice inspiration pictures! I used to love wearing business clothes until I realized how much I hate business jobs 😛 But this post almost makes me wish I worked in an office. Almost.

  10. 14 June 2009 11:04 pm

    I am a corporate girl and try to dress professionally at work but not sacrificing my style. great tips, I agree with all of them!

  11. 14 June 2009 11:34 pm

    Hello La C. I always enjoy these informative posts of yours.. I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Cheers! Keith

  12. 15 June 2009 12:47 am

    I so badly want a pair of wide-leg trousers. Perhaps ones with a high-waist. I find them so gorgeous and sophisticated. 🙂

  13. 15 June 2009 12:54 am

    Great post, love all the pieces you chose!


  14. 15 June 2009 2:23 am

    Hi there-a fabulous post with some great advice and selections on show!

  15. 15 June 2009 3:16 am

    Gorgeous post! I think I’m lucky that I’ve never had to dress too corporately at work, or at least I have always resisted in doing so, even in my lawyer days I never quite dressed like most lawyers, always injecting a little bit of ‘me’, whilst still looking professional (I hope)…LOVE your suggestions! 😉

  16. 15 June 2009 4:02 am

    Oh I live the chiffon floral blouse!
    Lucy =)

  17. 15 June 2009 5:27 am

    Gorge post! Classic is the best!


  18. 15 June 2009 5:36 am

    Oh I love the fitted pencil skirt! I’ve always wanted one of those:)) Now I might need to get one;) Thanks for writing this!

  19. 15 June 2009 6:13 am

    I would also like a simple blouse and then hanging a sweater casually over your shoulders. Finish it with a decent (white?) jeans. I don’t think pearls are too classy, at least, not here. There are a bunch of girls who wear big pearls round their neck, in their ears and of course ’round their arms (all of them not much older than 15).

    Oh and I love the men’s watch!

  20. 15 June 2009 7:17 am

    I love the looks you chose! I’ll definitely check your blog when I’ll have to work for a corporate like that!

  21. 15 June 2009 7:20 am

    i will so be needing these very soon 🙂

  22. 15 June 2009 8:11 am

    I have these dreams of wearing the femme fatale outfit and versions of it ever day. Haha. But I work from home so that’s not really possible. No one but the boyfriend to appreciate my efforts. 😀

  23. rossovelvet permalink
    15 June 2009 12:13 pm

    Fantastic post, so useful !! I’d love to have a stage to manage that look…

    And congrats and courage to your lovely reader !

  24. 15 June 2009 12:26 pm

    Such a fantastic post topic of choice! And I adore the Ed Westwick/Chuck image in your sidebar…… 😉


  25. 15 June 2009 12:53 pm

    I don’t ork yet, bu these are great tips for once i do 🙂

  26. 15 June 2009 1:39 pm

    Nice post!=) I like the high waisted trouser with that white shirt, nice!=)

  27. 15 June 2009 2:20 pm

    I love this chic style! I wear this kind of clothes to school too, even though it is regarded inappropriate by some people.

  28. 15 June 2009 2:42 pm

    this was such a great post!!!

  29. 15 June 2009 3:03 pm

    Such sophisticated looks and great advice, La C!

  30. 15 June 2009 3:47 pm

    Great post. I never want to fall into the trap of wearing boring clothes to work.

  31. 15 June 2009 5:29 pm

    This is a really great and helpful post, complete with visual cues. Thanks.

    “… to say that appearance does not matter would be blind and ignorant.” -LOVE THIS QUOTE ;)!

  32. 15 June 2009 5:37 pm

    Notice how Louboutins top off an outfit super well everytime! Great outfits, great advise and great eye!

  33. 15 June 2009 6:04 pm

    Love the collages, simple yet great ideas!


  34. 15 June 2009 9:54 pm

    I love the collages, the outfits are really appropriate and you never fail to offer great advice! I agree that the classic monochromatic palette will work wonders, but adding a dash of colour in the accessories would definitely make a fabulous outfit!

  35. 16 June 2009 5:20 am

    This is a great and interesting post! I am doing work experience at the end of the year and need all the ideas I can!!


  36. 16 June 2009 8:15 am

    amazing post – thanks for the know-how! Can’t wait to get a job to dress up for 🙂

    – frouu/ nadia

  37. 16 June 2009 8:37 am

    i want everything in the first collage. I’m happy the internship i have this summer is with an organization i’m already part of, so they already know i like to step up my style. Still love this post, though 🙂

  38. 16 June 2009 11:52 am

    love the no mans secretary look! such a cute feminine blouse


  39. 16 June 2009 12:53 pm

    I don’t know where I’ve been but I’ve missed the last few of your amazing posts. I love the outfits you pick out for interviews/business casz. You give the greatest advice 🙂

  40. 16 June 2009 2:26 pm

    Darling, you have an amazing blog!


  41. 16 June 2009 5:46 pm

    I like everything you listed and you can never go wrong with a pencil skirt (I have tons of them), edgy jacket and crisp white shirt. Those are what I call my anchor pieces. I like what you selected because they all have some little interesting detail about them.

  42. 16 June 2009 7:02 pm

    A couple of nicely tailored suits go a long way. If you dress them up just a touch(nothing that yells: I’m going to a club after this), they look totally different each time.
    Very good advice in this entry & I love pencil skirts. ~Mary

  43. kristine permalink
    16 June 2009 10:43 pm

    your posts are always at the right timings – i needed this for my job this summer!

    thanks =] amazing as always. looove the no man’s secretary!

  44. 16 June 2009 11:00 pm

    This is a very useful post for a commonly asked question! It’s hard to make an office look glamorous & often like you said, a hinderance!

    I hope I never have to work a desk job in the corporate world! 😡

  45. 16 June 2009 11:33 pm

    Nice post–great advice.

  46. 17 June 2009 12:02 am

    These are wonderful outfit ideas for anyone with a future in the corporate world. Since I have only a past in the corporate world, the only thing I’d be wearing walking back in would be a stun gun.

  47. 17 June 2009 3:31 am

    hello, i am an office girl myself and have been wondering what do you think about Samantha Jones’s office style? too bold? inappropriate? good?


  48. abdcforever permalink
    20 June 2009 12:49 am

    u rly need to become a stylist now.

  49. 20 June 2009 3:03 am

    these are great ideas! seriously. be a stylist. preferably mine!


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