2012 Upgrades: Make Work More Fun

Believe it or not, my foul mouth and jegging addiction used to hold a stuffy, ultra-corporate 9-5 job in marketing.  It was a job that I’m thankful for, if only to have the experience. As far as my corporate style… Well, here’s the truth: I was written up three times for clothing-related offenses. I was bad at dressing for work. But now – older and wiser – I recognized that 4″ neon platform pumps were probably not an acceptable choice.

Now that I’m older and … less young, I have a better grasp on the idea of “work-appropriate.” Even if I went back to an office environment, I don’t know that I’d be the world’s finest example of work-appropriate, but what makes boundaries fun if you can’t push them? And if they’re not fun, then why are they there?

Chanel Iman

I know a lot of you feel stuck in a work wardrobe slump. We’ve been hearing the chatter on Facebook, and even chatted with a few of you on Google+ – dressing for work is just kind of boring lately, isn’t it? Well, you’re in luck: punching up your 9-5 wardrobe can be extremely inexpensive, and by selecting statement pieces that look good with neutrals, you add layers and layers of versatility to your wardrobe.

Upgrade your basic staples are try on some new looks for 2012! 

Spice Up Your Work Wardrobe
for Under $50


Staple: Blazer
Upgrade: Tuxedo Jacket

Lady-tux jackets have been speckling the market for a little while now, and I’ve definitely caught the bug. I picked up a black tuxedo jacket with black satin lapels (very similar to the option on the right, from Lauren Conrad!) recently and have been wearing it with everything from graphic t-shirts to sweaters to ripped jeans and ribbed tanks. Extra bonus: this will transition very well to spring and summer. Just as easily dressed down as dressed up – they’re the perfect “Oh, tht’s interesting…” not-a-basic-blazer option!

Wear with: patterned pencil skirts, straight-leg pants, printed dresses, maxi skirt/dress + boots.

Blazers, L-R: Charlotte Russe Tuxedo Jacket, $39.99; LC Lauren Conrad Tuxedo Blazer, $49.


Staple: Pencil Skirt
Upgrade: Maxi Skirt

Don’t be scared! Maxi skirts are the closest thing to no pants that you can possibly wear to the office. If your desk accomodates it, I would highly suggest using your increased mobility to sit cross-legged in your chair, eat lunch on the floor, or use your 15 minute breaks to frolic through a nearby meadow.

Wear with: wrap tops, sweater tights & slouchy boots, blousy tops (tucked in), tuxedo jackets, boxy sweaters.

Skirts, L-R: Express Chiffon Maxi Skirt, $34.95; Express Crinkle Maxi Skirt, $29.95; Hive & Honey Knife Pleat Maxi Skirt, $29.99.


Staple: Neutral Pants
Upgrade: Boldly Colored Trousers

I love bold colors in trousers as much as I love them brightly colored denim. Surrounding bold colors with structured neutrals just reeks of officewear to me (in a good way). It’s such a fun way to add some life into your day. Plus, if you play your cards right, the transition from office to happy hour is a piece of cake.

Wear with: embellished tanks, fitted jackets, strappy sandals (especially if cropped!), oversized sweaters.

Trousers, L-R: Jag Jeans “Jewel” Corduroy Trousers, $49.90; Kenneth Cole Cropped Pants, $41.29; NY & Co. Sateen Slim Crop Pants, $42.95.


Staple: Neutral Pumps
Upgrade: Exciting Wedges

Wedges are just as sensible, just as stable as a basic pump… but a whole lot more exciting. Or drunk. Depends on your taste. I, personally, like my exciting wedges to be between 2.5″ and 3.5″ tall, stacked (heyo!), a slight inward curve on the heel, and closed-toe – but you can define your own terms for your [pre-existing, or soon to be] eternal quest for the perfect wedge.

Wear with: all skirts & dresses forever, cropped pants, wider-legged pants & jeans.

Wedges, L-R: MIA Ivette Wedge, $49; Charlotte Russe 2 Tone T-Strap Wedge, $40.


What’s you’re go-to work outfit?

Lindsay Ginn

  • http://sudobeautify.com Eden-Avalon

    8D I don’t work anywhere that has any outfit requirements. But I do like to dress this way for school. Usually a blazer, a shirt, jeans and a pop of color in the shoe.

  • http://www.my-moonriver.blogspot.com Katharina

    Thanks for this post and the inspiring ideas. I work as a consultant for IT companies and sadly need to stick with the “business outfit rules” since it’s still really conservative when it comes to outfits in that branch ;-(. Suit and blouse and pumps usally. On days when I don’t have appointments or fridays, I try to go with one piece in a bright colour or cool shoes, just jeans…!

  • Ruth

    Interesting stuff. I love the left hand tuxedo jacket. I am in search of new smart office wear at the moment. I like your ideas but I think coloured trousers would be pusing it a little bit. What about tops? You didn’t cover alternates to blouses/shirts and I’d be interested to see what you think.

  • http://beautyandthebudget.onsugar.com Valerie at Beauty and the Budget

    I have been in a 9-5 outfit slump lately, and i can definitely say, a pair of bright pants would probably get me through it!

  • http://www.stylesymmetry.com eyeliah

    I love these ideas! I don’t work an office anymore, but whatever I can still appreciate your post :)

  • http://www.reallifeandthecity.com Caitlin

    My typical work look: http://www.chictopia.com/photo/show/564880-Too+sexy+for+my+job-brown-leopard-print-cotton-on-skirt-black-turtleneck-lord-taylor-shirt
    Miiiight be pushing a few of those boundaries that you mentioned. But I figure if you’re wearing a turtleneck (even if it is skin tight, a short skirt is a must. Are you on chictopia? Would love to follow you!