The changing seasons are a great time to revamp your closet. And while over-sized sweaters, boots and jeans are a go-to for weekends, in many cases, that look isn’t necessarily office appropriate. What you wear to work matters. It’s an opportunity to highlight your personal brand, show you understand company culture and demonstrate that you can be part of the business’ ethos through your physical presentation.
But if you’re just starting out in your career, or if you’re someone who needs an extra hand in the fashion department, where do you begin? And how can you be creative about how to dress in those colder months while still looking professional?
What works for one person doesn’t necessary work for another. Body type, height and company culture can play big factors, according to London-based stylist Lucy Garrett.
Garrett knows a thing or two about dressing to impress. She’s a personal stylist for corporate and personal international clients. She’s also served as an editorial stylist for magazines and brands including Bentley magazine, Louis Vuitton and Tatler Asia.
Whether you’re in the creative field, corporate, or somewhere in between, we’ve got you covered with the season’s must-have, cold weather looks.
Who you are: The creative professional
This look was put together by Garrett for a relaxed creative professional — someone who works in the arts, music management or theater, for example. Our model, Rachael Singer, is petite both in size and in height, and styling her with those proportions in mind was key.
“This look is a nod to the autumn-winter trends but played down enough for a creative working environment. Being petite in height, she can carry off the heeled winter boots with the high green-waisted cord trousers,” said Garrett.
“The top I chose in a rustic orange really compliments her skin tone and hair and is more fitted, which compliments when wearing wide leg trousers. The faux-fur bomber jacket is a key piece this autumn and winter,” Garrett added.
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Who you are: The entry level, corporate professional
Our model, Alyse Rosenblatt, is wearing an outfit that’s suitable for a corporate environment, but still exudes confidence and polish. The key is to stick to clean lines that are played down in color and print, Garrett explained. For more buttoned-up work environment, choose silhouettes that “suit your body shape, and stick to neutral color palettes.”
“The look and style I was going for here with our model is slick, chic and professional. It’s about her as a person, so the clothes are played down. She means business. The neckline of the top is really complimentary to her shape adding length (drawing the eye down and minimizing her bust).”
And as far as accessories? Keep jewelry to a bare minimum, Garrett said.
The length of garments and necklines are also important, especially in a corporate workplace. You don’t want to go too long or too short in length where you end up showing too much skin.
“The wide leg cropped trousers look great, and the ankle boots give her height.” Garrett added that matching the trouser color to her boots gives her the illusion of a longer leg. “Tailoring is key in a corporate world but adding the softer tones of blue and more relaxed top means our model still looks professional and understood.”
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When wearing oversized work blazers, “it’s important they fit well across the shoulders,” Garrett said.
“Working with grey color palettes gives a professional creative an executive look. The grey jacket breaks up the all black look. The rolled-up sleeves gives a slightly more casual feel with a glimpse of the lining. As its oversized its best to keep the garment underneath a layering piece allowing the jacket to stay fluid and move.”
“Wearing a faux leather pant is a bold style with someone who feels confident in fashion pieces. The longer blazer plays down the trousers and teamed with a flat pump for the office means Anna Giacometti can look at ease but still professional.”
This look (especially the leather pant) is more appropriate for someone who is more seasoned in their job and might be too bold for someone who is new to a company. “Its definitely industry specific,” Garrett explained. It’s a great look for someone in marketing, advertising, arts, media or the music industry.
“The leather pant is a great smart alternative to denim and keeping the colors to black and grey with minimal accessories and jewelry can portray a professional slick look but still confident.”
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Who you are: An employee at a fashion-forward office
Our model, Nikki Tosino, is styling a bold dress that is great for anyone working in an industry like fashion. “Being in a creative industry you can play around with color, print and shape. But the length of this dress allows Nikki to command a professional look whilst still having fun with fashion prints,” Garrett said.
Dressing for work can also mean you can use colors to enhance your natural features. “The dress really compliments her hair, skin tone and eyes with the bright print.”
Proportions, once again, are key. “Nikki has a slanted ribcage with lots of waist emphasis and this dress nips in at the waist but is still fluid on the skirt. She is tall so she can really carry off the two prints but feel comfortable with the long sleeves in a work environment,” said Garrett.
“Keep heels low- to mid-height and stick to low key simple shoes, boots and accessories if you’re dressing in a more fashion forward piece. This dress could easily be teamed with a black blazer for a meeting but also looks great alone. The bare legs makes this very fashion but wearing a black tight or stocking can change this look to more corporate.”
When it comes to office style advice for women working in fashion, “Don’t show too much skin, and don’t upscale your manager or someone more senior you might report into.” Garrett advised.
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Who you are: The laid-back professional
Stephanie Perez, our model, is styling a look that’s suitable for a laid-back office environment. Think: professionals working in fashion, the arts, media or the music industry.
Jeans can be office appropriate depending what it’s paired with. “This look, even though it’s denim, is carefully considered. The high-waisted jeans teamed with a blouse shirt makes the jeans feel smarter. Wearing a block heel allows Steph to move around quickly but giving the jeans an elevated look,” said Garrett.
As a guideline, she explained, “The lighter the denim, the more casual. The darker is more smart.”
When it comes to denim no no’s for the workplace, “Avoid fading or washed out denim with tears and embellishments.”
The darker tones of the blouse and shoes are also appropriately styled for the colder months ahead. “The key fashion piece here is denim. Keep accessories minimal. But no waist flesh showing.” Garrett added.
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