November 11, 2013

How To: Dress Casual Chic For Work {Part 1} - Dresses

{Logue London}

First, let me say that if you're lucky enough to work at a place that allows a (semi) casual dress code, count your blessings! If you're in the creative industry, you have more options, but this post is for those with a business casual dress code. One thing to note is that if your office dress code is "casual", it is never really that simple. Professionalism is still something you have to keep in mind, and how you dress is a big part of that. That being said, many people play it safe with work dress codes and go for drab and dull clothes. You don't have to leave your personality behind when you clock in each morning, work outfits (and heck even your work day) can take a turn for the better with a few fashionable touches!

A few wear-to-work basics:
  • Be modest - This is work, not Baywatch. Sexy you cannot come to work.
  • Always be work appropriate - i.e. do not let your outfit overshadow your work. And if you're in the creative industry, this should apply to you too!
  • Casual does not mean weekend wear - not even on Casual Fridays.
  • On that note, always look put together.
  • Make sure to wear clothes that fit well, it can make or break an outfit and affect your demeanor. Take care to not wear things that are too tight (again, sexy you is not allowed in the workplace).
  • If you're asking yourself "Is this too short?", chances are it most likely is. A good rule of thumb is to keep your hands to your side while standing straight and make sure that your hem is not higher than your tallest finger. Preferably though, don't go higher than 2.5 to 3 inches from the top of your knee.

Dressing Up
Keep dresses on the longer side. The shortest you should go is 2.5 inches higher than the top of your knee. If a dress is slightly shorter, then wear with tights but that actually requires for it to be cold out. Since the work environment is business casual, you can still wear slightly dressier outfits, especially on big days like conferences and presentations.

Casual Chic For Work
Casual Chic For Work by christalin
Look 1: You don't need to stick to black, navy and khaki for the office. Branch out and try different colors but try to go for a deeper shade since this will make it easier to repeat for work and restyle too! This deep green shirt dress is a winner in my book. Accessorize with a gold watch, a few rings and a pair of short but dangly earrings. Notice I included a yellow ring for a subtle color variation. I think nude pumps and a handbag of the same color is a good idea because it pulls the look together. 

Look 2: While color is great, neutrals like khaki, navy and black should be staples in your closet. These are the go-to pieces you can quickly put on, feel comfortable in and if the occasion calls for it, these dresses will work when you need to look more formal. That being said, there is no reason to wear boring outfits when it comes to these colors. This faux leather paneled dress is perfect for a night out on the town, but it is cut in such a way that it works for the office too. Bonus points for the leather detail! If your office does not allow sleeveless outfits, then throw a blazer on. I picked this cutout blazer because it shows off the leather paneling on the dress. Black and silver is a great combination so accessorize with simple stud earrings, a classic watch and some arm candy - make sure it doesn't jingle. Add black pumps and for a pop of color, a two-tone cobalt blue purse. 

Look 3: I wanted to show how you could pull off a printed dress for work. This particular shift dress has a busy floral pattern and piping so I would pair it with the black cutout blazer. This will tone down the look without compromising its loud details. The dress has blues and pinks so I re-used the two-tone purse and added pink heels. Now if your workplace is casual enough, then open-toed heels would not be a problem. If you can only wear close toe pumps, then this gorgeous light pink pair will do the trick.

Look 4: You can wear pink (or other feminine, bright colors) to work! Take care that you're not always wearing loud colors, because your work should definitely outshine your wardrobe. But, ever so often, you can wear bright colors and pep things up! I picked this sleeveless bubblegum pink number for its balance of softness and structure. A quick way to make bright colors work appropriate is to pair it with a neutral blazer. Pink and black look great and you should try it sometime, but pink and navy blue is also amazing! Since your workplace is casual you can get away with comfy nude or nautical inspired flats. If heels are required, cue the light pink pointy toes just waiting to be worn! I added a navy satchel and a delicate silver necklace. Feel free to add a watch and other jewelry. 

  • You will notice I re-used several items in the picture -- that is intentional and it is the point of work wardrobes, and outfits in general. Mix and match, it saves you money and you will have a well curated closet!
  • Don't include more than two (or three max and do it sparingly) colors in your work outfits. 
  • Monochromatic looks are great for work.
  • Don't underestimate the impact of a neutral base and a pop of color.

Casual Dresses
Casual Outfits for Work
Casual Outfits for Work by christalin
Look 1: A sweet chambray dress is a closet staple in my opinion. Cute, comfy and convenient - what's not to love? I did tones of tan and red as you can see which brings some sophistication to the look. A gold watch and dainty necklace also adds to the outfit and helps it look more put together. 

Look 2: A green shirt-dress. Green is all the rage this year, so why not play with it. A shirt-dress like this gives you double duty because it can be dressed up and down and worn a multiple number of times. Animal print loafers add to the preppy vibe. A coral lip, and black and gold accessories complete the look. The emerald stud earrings will catch the light beautifully and play up the dress and lips.

Look 3: A striped dress is something most of us have in our closet. Usually in cotton or jersey, it is a comfortable option that looks cute at the same time. Cap toe flats in cobalt blue add a pop of color. Wear silver jewelry for some pizzazz and don't forget big white purse to carry all your work essentials.

Look 4: A casual version of the printed dress looks great a little dressed up with some gold accessories and bright colors. The orange chain-link purse gives off a nice vibrancy to the whole look, along with the statement necklace and cocktail rings. Simple black flats finish the look.

So there you go, some easy, classy options for a business casual work environment. With cute outfits like these, you're sure to dazzle at the office! Watch for Part 2 of this work-wear series coming soon --I will be covering skirts

Work hard and play hard,
XOXO Chrissy

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