Glamour magazine is a great resource for fashion-conscious consumers – and their recent video entitled “What to Wear to Work: 5 Work Outfit Ideas in 60 Seconds” is an example of their fresh take on fashion for working women. I have my own perspective on work wear, and in this article I’m going to give you my evaluation of their choices and let you know whether the outfits they recommend would be work-appropriate for business.
If you haven’t yet seen the video, click below:
While all the outfits shown are fashion-forward and attractive, I have some issues with them for business attire – completely dependent on the industry you work in and your personal preferences:
Outfit 1: Bright pants with a pastel top, accented with black. This outfit is happy and beautiful – the bright colored pants and pastel top allow you to incorporate a wonderful spring palette without going overboard. My issues and recommendations for this outfit are:
- The lack of a cardigan / jacket with this outfit gives it a more casual feel – for a lot of employers, this is not an issue, but for a conservative industry like law, banking or insurance, it could be a minor negative. Adding a cardigan or jacket in the same color as the top makes the outfit more business-appropriate.
- A creative industry like marketing or advertising would be perfectly fine for this outfit – but if you plan on moving into management at some point or being promoted to a supervisory position, I would highly recommend adding a jacket. During the summer, the jacket could be made of lightweight cotton or a cotton-poly blend. For cooler weather, be sure to pick a jacket with a lining so that you remain warm and polished, while avoiding bulk, and the jacket will last a lot longer.
- The beautiful pastel of the top will mix and match with other brights, as shown in the video, and also for more conservative color combinations like khaki, black, or white.
Outfit 2: A bright pleated skirt with a pastel top, open wedge sandals and black accents. This outfit is cute and colorful – and the pleated skirt is both classic and right on trend. My issues and recommendations for this outfit are:
- I repeat my suggestion that a cardigan or jacket would give the outfit a more dressed-up and polished feel and for a conservative industry, this is a must.
- The pleated skirt might not fit every body shape or size – in fact, a pear-shaped woman would do well to avoid this skirt because the pleats opening up will highlight and emphasize the width of your hips. A more slender-hipped, straighter figure could wear this skirt more easily without worrying about an imbalance in proportions.
- The open wedge sandals will be okay for some more progressive employers, but the style of the shoe will likely not allow for the wearer to utilize stockings / pantyhose. A lot of women have abandoned pantyhose and stockings, but for business wear, they are still an essential. While it’s possible no one will mention it to you as the weather warms and the stockings disappear, it decreases the level of ‘polish’ in your attire to delete the hosiery. Because of the length of the skirt, I would recommend not only wearing pantyhose, but switching the open wedge sandals for closed-in flats. A shorter skirt with high heels says “evening” and that is not appropriate for the majority of business offices.
Outfit 3: Monochromatic skirt and top – the skirt includes a high side split and curved hemline. I love the color on this outfit, and dressing monochromatically is a great way to appear taller, thinner and more polished. This look is intentional – and intentional matching implies that you’ve put thought into the outfit. My issues and recommendations for this outfit are:
- I would recommend against the high split in the skirt combined with the uneven hemline. One or the other might not be counter-productive for a creative or less formal employer, but for a conservative industry, the combination of the two is simply over the top. Be careful when considering split skirts for your wardrobe that you don’t end up showing too much leg when seated. Try to sit down in a chair before purchasing the skirt, or bend down as if you were sitting in a chair in order to ‘test drive’ how the skirt will look. Whether you work in a cubicle or an open office, this is important to your business image.
Outfit 4: Pastel jacket and striped tank, pants with rolled hem, bright pumps in contrasting color. This outfit scored very high with me until I reached the rolled hem of the pants – again, for a conservative employer, this might not be a 100% positive. A creative or relaxed business environment will be much more accepting. My issues and recommendations for this outfit are:
- The clothing fits the model well – nothing is too big or too small and that is also a critical factor in creating polished and attractive outfits. Ignore the size tag in the clothing and buy what fits your “right now” body for the best possible result.
- Rather than rolling up the hem of the pants, if you like the cropped look and are comfortable with your ankles and feet, consider instead purchasing a slender cropped pant – make sure that the legs of the pants are proportional to your hip width. A wide-legged cropped pant will make you look wider and heavier – while one that fits your proportions will help you achieve a longer and leaner leg line, adding height to your overall image.
- Replace the bright pumps with ones closer to the color of the pants if you are not comfortable with your feet being the center of attention; you can add more spark to the outfit with jewelry or a scarf if you want to add more color and that will also help you raise the focus from your feet and lower body to your upper body and face.
Outfit 5: Bright jacket and top, medium-colored shorts, open toe wedges – another bright color combination that harkens to Spring, and includes some nice details. Definitely not for a conservative employer, this outfit give me several reasons why I would make distinctive recommendations for changes:
- I love the jacket and top, but the shorts chosen for this outfit would be totally inappropriate for a majority of business offices. I cannot think of many employers that would be comfortable with their support staff, managers or other employees dressing in this manner. The shorts are just TOO short – the color is fine, the fit is not too tight, but the length is all wrong. Lengthen the shorts to just above or even just below the knee, and you’ll be in much better shape. If longer shorts do not appeal to you, convert the shorts to an above-the-knee skirt in the same color and you’ll fare much better.
Grab the wonderful inspiration of color, shape and fabric from this video and use it for your spring and summer wardrobe updates – but always remember to incorporate adjustments based on the industry you work in, your position within your company, and your geographic location.