After reading countless articles on this subject (the best being this one) and hearing that even women on Wall Street are wearing color, cardigans, and other cool things, I decided it was time to show how I interpret this new era.
My experience on this subject matter stems from working full-time for a financial institution which calls for a business casual dress code. Formerly, I was business professional, aka suits.
I can't get too wild in my fashion choices so the challenge is to work my personality into fairly conservative looks. As much as I want to flaunt my style all-day-every-day, being taken seriously in my career is tops.
So, what's a girl to do? Here are two looks I put together and some tips that perhaps you could try if you work at a more conservative office.
Tip #1: Play with Shape
Skinny leg dress pants vs. extremely wide leg dress pants. Both can help turn up the fashion dial without crossing dress code boundaries. Balance your proportions to avoid looking skanky (the skinnies) or puffy (the wides). You can also search for interesting shapes in dresses, skirt cuts, and blouses.
Tip #2: Color your World
Gray and black are great and all, but try adding a pop of bold color to command the board room.
Tip #3: Detail Oriented
A flourish of satin on an otherwise common short-sleeved sweater. A vibrant ruffle on a soft blouse. Adding unexpected elements to your standard business wear will catapult you into the role of Fashion CEO.
Tip #4: Polish to a Shine
Always make sure your hair and makeup look just right when you go to work. Yes, I know it's not 1955, but looking put together can give the impression that you have everything under control - at home and at the office.
Tip #5: Enjoy being a WOMAN
We sometimes forget that being a woman is a very special and powerful thing. We mimic men because we feel it's the way to get ahead - but we've got to remember that we have brains accompanied by beauty, topped off with a certain poise and finesse that can't be matched by the opposite sex. Sorry, boys.
Go forth and stylishly conquer the world, ladies!
Pants: both from The Limited, Sweater and ruffle top: both from The Limited, Bright short-sleeved cardi: thrifted J Crew