We’ve all had those moments when we’re staring at a full closet thinking “I have nothing to wear!”. That dreaded moment when nothing in your wardrobe feels appropriate for the occasion and even your go-to, staple pieces are falling short. Those exasperating times are not great omens for looking and feeling your best. Arguably the most daunting sartorial challenge is finding an outfit that seamlessly transitions from day to night, or work to play.
A look that is professional enough for your 9 to 5, while being casual enough for happy hour can be tough to pull off. It’s essentially the unicorn of outfits — totally worth the hype, but really hard to pin down. The good news? This highly coveted yet incredibly elusive style, may not be as out of reach as one might think! We pulled together some how-to advice on making your outfits go the extra mile.
Check out these 7 tips for bringing your look from work to play.
Work uniforms are traditionally used to create uniformity in the workplace, hence the name. Our modern society is moving further away from a standard uniform, but rigid dress codes still exist in many professional settings. Just because your work environment requires a specific style, doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make it your own! Clearly understanding your employer’s dress guidelines can help you to plan your outfits accordingly. Knowing what the rules are can also help in understanding if, where, and how they can be bent.
Juxtaposing your regular work attire with vibrant, contemporary pieces proves that it’s possible to make a uniform out of context and turn it into something special. Standard business suits with clothing vests don’t sound super visually interesting until you picture it paired with a statement neck scarf. Contrast can truly transform an outfit, don’t be afraid to embrace out-of-the-ordinary combinations — creativity is key!
Another creative way to show your personality and style is using enamel pins. They can be used to commemorate special occasions or simply show your support for a favorite cause. And since they come in such a wide variety of styles and designs, there’s sure to be one that fits your personality perfectly.
Best of all, enamel pins are affordable and easy to use. You can buy them online, create your own with the help of a custom pin manufacturer, or at specialty stores, and adding them to an outfit is as simple as pinning them on!
Double Down on Basics
Basics are your wardrobe best friend. They are the most versatile articles of clothing, they provide a strong foundation for easily dressing up or down. Boardroom-appropriate style doesn’t have to be boring with fashion basics! Standard business attire, like a well-tailored and fitted black pants suit paired with a plain, modern cut white shirt is basically a style blank canvas. Fit and accessories are essential for transformable basics. Pairing fun jewelry like The Office Collection with a classic business-formal suit strikes a balance between professionalism and your own unique individuality.
Two Halves Make a Whole
Chances are when it’s time to head to happy hour, simply letting your hair down isn’t going to help you make the transition. Your options open up tenfold if you treat your business attire as separate pieces rather than one complete look. If you take off your suit jacket, you’re left with an unassuming pair of pants. Conversely, if you swap the slacks for jeans, you have a casual preppy look. Plan accordingly, keeping a casual cardigan or pair of jeans handy is a great way to ensure you never feel overdressed.
Shoes: The Stars of the Show
Shake up your business-professional outfits by making your shoes the focal point of your look. Sensible shoes like women’s loafers and oxfords never go out of style. They are a go-to option that works every time. They come in a variety of styles and prints, perfect for enhancing your look, comfortably.
Informal shoes like a pair of trendy sneakers or sexy stilettos can be a great way to add visual interest to outfits. Dress shoes come in a wide selection, varying in style, material, heel size, and toe shape. Keep comfort and occasion at the forefront of your mind when choosing a dress shoe.
Add a Pop of Color
Neutrals are the office safe space. Wearing head-to-toe neutral hues is well within the realm of what is considered appropriate office attire. You can easily and fairly drastically change the vibe of your look by adding a splash of color. Instead of a basic navy suit jacket, opt for a bold red blazer. Ditch the white button-down and reach for a green polo. Adding color is accessible to everyone, and you don’t have to be a fashionista to pull it off! Incorporating color works with classic looks, and contemporary styles, it works for shoes and accessories, you can even change the color of your Apple Watch band for a subtle pop. Color un-coordinated is a fun and easy way to experiment with vibrant shades and make your look stand out!
Don’t Skimp on the Accessories
For ladies, in particular, accessories are essential finishing touches. No look is truly complete without at least one accessory. One bold piece of statement jewelry can transform a no-nonsense professional outfit into the perfect party-appropriate ensemble. Handbags, belts, sunglasses, and even regular glasses can enhance your look, helping you transition from work to play.
Clothing brands and designers alike are aware of the in-demand need for clothing that does the work for you. Think items like dresses, slouchy scarves that convert to cardigans, or Betabrand’s dress to yoga pants, just to name a few. Clothing like this is designed with multitasking in mind. It’s very literally designed to help you go from one occasion to the next without slowing you down.
Dress to Impress
Day to play is a style skill worth mastering. Whether you’re dressing to impress, in need of the perfect first day on the job outfit, or simply trying to throw on something functional for a busy day, keeping these seven tips in mind will help you plan your transitional looks!