Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grey Work Dresses

I've been doing some temp work this week, and I have to confess that I've been enjoying the challenge of dressing for the office. I am sure that I won't feel this way when I have to work five days a week, but for now I'm having fun trying new combinations of pencil skirts, button-down shirts, and heels.

But in this office, there are all these devastatingly fierce women strutting around in power suits and perfectly tailored dresses. Today, it seemed like everyone was wearing grey dresses, which is a smart way to bring feminine fashion into the workplace, without offending any dress codes. A Little Black Dress at work can, with the wrong accessories (too high heels, too glittery a necklace), look too fancy or sexy--as if you don't know the difference between cocktail hour and lunch meetings. A Little Grey Dress, however, is just right: more conservative than a colorful or print dress, but still with enough personality. Here's how I want to imitate the look when I'm a corporate HBIC.

You can't do much better than this Magaschoni Wool Dress, $129. The bateau neckline is sexy/modest in that Jackie Kennedy way, and the pleated skirt with pockets makes this more interesting than your typical shift dress. If you have buff arms, the cap sleeves are insanely flattering; if you'd rather cover up, add a cropped cardigan or jacket and then layer over a thin belt in a statement color like red or yellow.

Speaking of belts, this Banana Republic Wool Sheath Dress, $149, is the ideal blank canvas for a hot corset-style belt or a trendy double-wrap leather belt. The slightly exaggerated shoulders also give you an hourglass silhouette (without going full-on 80's, which, I don't care what the fashion press says, is not a good idea). This dress is good for offices that are a little more creative--it's a big short, especially if you're on the leggy side. On the other hand, it gets colder everyday, and once it's tights season you can get away with a little bit more, length-wise.

Now for a slightly cheaper option, if you're more of a cubicle-dweller than mistress of the corner office. From Modcloth, the Hold My Calls Dress, $84.99, practically screams, "I'm young, I'm ambitious, and I'm not afraid to look good while I work harder than anyone else." This dress is a bit of a combo between the two previous: the pleating and pockets of the Magaschoni, with the shoulders and wasp waist of the Banana Republic. In the Modcloth lookbook, they added a brightly-colored pin to the shoulder--that's the perfect excuse to spend an afternoon combing through vintage and handmade brooches on Etsy!

At this temp job I'm currently in, I spend the entire day sitting behind a receptionist desk. It's a mixed blessing--since I'm not running around, I can wear uncomfortable-but-hot heels, but since I'm sitting, no one ever sees them but me. But sometimes that's enough, as I expect would be the case with these Chunk of Change mary-jane heels, $56, from Lulu's. The grey suede body will match your dress quite nicely, while the teal heel and oversized strap adds a lot of personality. These shoes deserve to be shown off--maybe I can answer the phones and greet guests standing up?


Anonymous said...

I was going to ask you to do a "cute office look" post, so I'm glad you read my mind!

- Katherine

Lena said...

I have another challenge for you, Julia!

I have never before been a boot-wearer, but I just picked up these slouchy brown ones at Target today.

(The picture is terrible but they are pretty cute in person.)

What do I wear with these?

I usually wear skinny jeans all the time, so I'd like to see options with that, but also other bottoms like dresses. I don't wear skirts. I don't care about those.

Here are my fave looks:


I-am-a-girl-who-likes-to-read-classic-novels-in-parks. (Often considered my "librarian" look.)



There's your challenge. Go.

Sally said...

Julia! Alex told me about your temping, glad to see you're still having fun dressing up for it too. Those shoes you linked? I love them. If only I could wear heals bigger than two inches without killing myself.

I've got a couple of things you might be interested in.

Shoes: Nurture brand. Super comfy, good professional look.

I own two pairs of these, the "Caribou" in dark brown, and some clogs that are no longer available. These are awesome heels. They're really well padded so they're easy to walk in, and for me I appreciate that they run a little narrow (I have uber-narrow but fairly long feet). They're not super cheap, but not super expensive either. (Personally I'm saving to get a pair of the "Sally" peep-toes in the vinyard purple--how could I not? They literally have my name on them!)

The second thing I wanted to point out is that I've recently discovered buying make up on Etsy. I haven't seen you blog much about make up, but I figured I'd mention it. Orglamix is my new favorite:

$3.99 for handmade mineral eyeshadow, seriously. If you're on a tight budget (like me) this stuff is just as good as anything you'd get from MAC or whatever and a fraction of the cost. Anyway, if you like to fawn over make up too it might not be a bad thing to check out.

Mama May said...

Found you randomly on a google search - I've been searching the web for these boots...

if you could find them for me i would love you forever!