How To: Dress for the Corporate World

By on May 12, 2014

If you’ve seen Legally Blonde 2, you will know the scene where Elle Woods prepares for her first day on Capital Hill, marching proudly in her pastel pink ensemble amidst a sea of people in black suits. As a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be the Elle Woods of the real-life working world. This woman, with her confidence, creativity and intellect, was a force and had the killer office wardrobe to prove it. I was alone with this ambition, right? I mean, what woman would pass up the chance to be professionally accomplished and look great while doing it? For far too long and by far too many sources, advice on corporate wardrobe essentials has been chalked up to a combination that looks something like this: a black blazer, a pencil skirt, a white blouse, black pumps and a briefcase. While these pieces are definitely office-appropriate, you fashion-savvy readers know better than to stick to the status quo when it comes to your attire. As you prepare to begin, expand or revamp your office wardrobe, keep these tips in mind:

1. Fashion designers are pushing their creative boundaries, and we should too.

2. There is so much more to office wear than black and gray.

3. No one says you have to wear a pinstripe suit.

The Challenge

A week’s worth of office outfits fashioned from various combinations of quality staple pieces (of course, you should take some creative license and accessorize to your heart’s content).

The Pieces



From Left to Right: Top: J.Crew Collection, Pumps: Dolce Vita, Plaid Shirt: Haute Hippie, Skirt: Pink Tartan, Trousers: Tinley Road, Tuxedo Vest: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Tote: Zara, Necklace: Jenny Bird, Shirt: Gap, Boots: Christian Louboutin, Trench Coat: Hilary Radley

The Combos

4 3 2 1

A professional and creative corporate wardrobe takes planning. It is essential to make strategic choices about purchasing staple pieces that will form strong and timeless foundations for daily ensembles. Having a solid collection of staples also makes it easier to transition your work outfit into an evening one. Pieces that are well constructed and made of good quality materials are often very versatile and look crisp against the evening light.

The true fashionista is one who thinks outside of the box. She has the confidence to take the age-old “office essentials” and transform them by adding her unique interpretation. For example, the pencil skirt has long been deemed a piece every workingwoman should own. However, instead of pairing it with a plain and expected collared button-down, why not cozy into an embellished pullover? Take a nod from Elle Woods and wear pink like it’s the new black or accessorize with costume jewelry. Just remember that however you decide to differentiate yourself, always keep it classy. Work appropriate and corporate world ready is more than just black.

Are you ready for the corporate world? Stay trendy ladies.

Krystin Chung

About Krystin Chung

While other kids were busy playing hopscotch, I could usually be found in my closet, playing dress-up or making one of multiple daily outfit changes. Currently pursuing a BA in Art History and Communication Studies, I think of myself as a burgeoning fashion writer, eager to use my knowledge, love for fashion and creative eye to bring you only the best.

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