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Dressing for Work

After visiting the Urban Outfitters Cafe in the South Philadelphia Navy Yard for lunch today, I left with several fashion inspirations from the stylish employees grabbing a quick lunch! I also left with a curiosity for why we dress the way we do for work. There are many diverse corporate environments and each call for a different dress code. For example, some company cultures, like URBN’s, are extremely creative so a relaxed style is accepted and even encouraged. Other companies, like an investment banking institution or law firm, enforce a strict business dress code including full suits as daily office attire.

I’m personally a proponent of the middle ground in regards to office apparel – somewhere between professional sophistication & casual trendiness. However, I’ve noticed that more often than not, the casual dresser can take it a bit too far with the idea of “relaxed” clothing. Regardless of the corporate culture, there are a couple concrete rules on style & makeup (in my opinion) to always consider when prepping for work. The perfect trousers for my vision of a middle ground between formal and casual can be found at

Standard Rules

1. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” These are words of wisdom my mom has reiterated to me throughout the years. Basically, it’s your place of employment – so it’s quite possible that your boss may be in the office, a client may stop by for a meeting, etc. Should I expect to be taken seriously (much less promoted) in black yoga leggings and a sweater a grabbed while rushing out the door? It looks a bit lazy and frankly, why should a colleague or client respect my time/opinions/etc. when I’m portraying a lack of self-respect in my own personal attire?

2. The workplace is not a nightclub. I completely agree with the notion of brightening up your complexion to appear more awake & alert with a bit of foundation, some mascara, etc. However, there comes a point when thick, black eyeliner becomes too boisterous for the office and errs more on the side of “going-out.” A smoky eye is not exactly necessary to look “put-together” for the office.

There are plenty of other tried-&-true rules to consider when dressing for work. They can certainly be applied to even just a typical day running errands around town. This polished look below is quite possibly my favorite images from the Pinterest Women’s Fashion section. It’s the perfect example of a ridiculously easy look to throw together while remaining work-appropriate.

work look

This can be styled just as easily with pair of black flats if heels amp this look up a bit too much for you. Aside from the shoe dilemma, how easy is a pair of black pants styled with a simple blouse? It’s a classic look that can be accomplished on a budget or with designer labels. Some ideas of pairings I’ve included below. The H&M black jeans in the “Save” look are my absolute FAVORITE jean. I found them at an unbelievably cheap price (around $20). They hold their color & shape for eternity, and are so comfy. You just can’t go wrong!Work Ensemble

Theory bird shirt

H&M high waisted jeans
$47 –

I’ll leave you with this quote which I think perfectly sums up my thoughts on work ensembles, “Being well-dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.”