Repeating Outfits at Work: How Often Do You Do It?

Repeating Outfits at Work | CorporetteHere’s a great question for today, ladies: how often do you repeat outfits at the office? A lot has been said lately of capsule wardrobes for work — decluttering closets to winnow your wardrobes to things that “spark joy” — and a lot of that may leave you feeling like you’re totally repeating outfits at work. So let’s discuss — how often is it acceptable to do? Does it matter if a certain outfit is memorable in one way or another, such as by pairing unusual colors or prints together, or involving unusual pieces? And here’s a bonus question — how versatile are most items in your closet, anyway? For example, will you only buy a new item if it will “go” with at least three things in your wardrobe?

We had a great discussion on how often one can repeat outfits at work back in 2013, and I agree with a lot of my advice from there:

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Work Outfits with Black Heels

classic work outfit ideas with black pumpsWe just rounded up a ton of great black heels for interviews and beyond — and they’re such a basic, versatile piece in your work wardrobe you hopefully don’t need TOO many ideas for how to wear them to work.  Still, I thought it would be fun to come up with a few work outfit ideas, including a very conservative/classic interview outfit.

The Very Conservative Interview Outfit

The ultimate goal of any interview outfit is to not have your clothes distract from your resume, your accomplishments, and your words.  Note that your heels should be walkable — enough so that you can trek to a restaurant two blocks away (and back) in comfort. If you’re buying your first suit, do check out our recent roundup of suits for every budget, as well as The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits!

A note on pants suits vs. skirt suits:  Skirt suits used to be considered the most formal option, but pants suits are accepted almost everywhere these days.  (Stay tuned — we’ll do a poll very soon to get a broader voice on the topic.) Still, there are benefits to the skirt suit that make it worth discussing. First, if you’re buying a budget suit, it’s FAR easier to find a skirt that looks good by itself than suiting pants that look good by themselves.  Second, if you’re buying suiting separates, I always think you should seriously consider buying all of the pieces that are offered — and hey, you’ve got to wear the skirt suit sometime, right? (Pro tip: don’t forget to dryclean your suiting separates together, too, so the wear is consistent.) Finally: if it’s raining, snowing, or other nasty weather, I’ve always preferred a skirt or dress — nothing’s worse than wet pant hems! (Proper rainboots are great for your regular commute, but if you’re going to have limited options for changing shoes once you arrive, you may want to read our old advice on how to interview in a snowstorm.)

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Work Outfit Ideas with Summer Blazers

work outfit ideas with summer blazersLast week we rounded up a bunch of summer blazers — I thought I’d put together a few outfits using some of the pieces. Ladies, what are your favorite ways to wear summer blazers? Do you try to make sure your outfit looks good both with or without your blazer, or are you ok with looking a little unfinished on your commute? (Or, is your blazer the afterthought, and do you just throw on whichever blazer you keep at the office?)  

Work Outfit Idea #1: Floaty Blues

In addition to an interesting white blouse and a pencil skirt, I pictured this classic, hip-length blazer with a scarf.  A scarf can be a great way to play with the colors of a blazer if you want to. You can pick out a small color featured in the scarf and use it to tie another element together (such as if you went with a dark green skirt here instead of a simple navy one), to help you decide what color shoes to wear (you could easily go with beige heels with these light colors, but I pulled out the black in the scarf to go with basic black pumps), or even start to play with patterns, such as if we’d mixed a pinstriped skirt with the floral scarf.  My favorite way to wear scarves is long and loose, like a second interior collar to the blazer, but you can check out all of our ideas for how to wear scarves to work. (Plus: if you end up taking your blazer off your outfit still looks more finished than it might if it were just a white blouse and navy skirt.)

work outfit idea - light blue linen blazer with pencil skirt

Pictured, clockwise: Blazer ($77 today!) / necklace / white blouse / scarfwatch /  earrings / skirt / heels

(On the hunt for basic black pumps? Check out our Guide to Comfortable Heels.)

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Three Work Outfits with Nude Flats

work outfits with nude flatsWhile I have a tendency to feature workwear with interesting details for our main TPS reports, I’ve always thought that the Hunt features were great ways to feature some of the more basic items of clothing that truly make up the workhorses of a businesswoman’s wardrobe. So today I thought I’d try out a new idea, and feature three work outfits using the item from our last Hunt: nude-for-you flats. You can see the full roundup of nude flats here, or nude heels here. (Beige flats are a neutral whether they’re nude-for-you or not, but to match your skin shade to find a nude-for-you flat, see the full Hunt for several options in darker shades. Pictured below are the six shoes we featured, but we rounded up a lot of others in specialty categories like comfort, affordable, wide widths and more!)

nude flats for work

Pictured above: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Below, our three work outfits using nude flats:

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Creating a Capsule Wardrobe for Work

business-capsule-wardrobeThe business capsule wardrobe — a limited number of essential pieces that can be combined to create many outfits — has been growing in popularity, which makes sense when you look at the parallel trends of “slow fashion” and Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. A focus on quality pieces + an emphasis on decluttering/organization = a capsule wardrobe. But how do you create one for the office, and how do you pare down what’s currently in your closet? Reader C wonders…

I am a huge fan of Corporette, and wanted to submit a suggestion for a future post. Since a huge feature of the site is work appropriate clothing, I would be interested in discussing what women professionals’ wardrobes actually contain. After spending several years in New York, I have learned to really cull my wardrobe (which is also better for my budget)! I was inspired by a writer named Jennifer Scott (I have no affiliation with her) who has published a book called Lessons from Madame Chic. In the book, as well as on her blog, she discusses the concept of having a capsule wardrobe of items that are high quality and that you repeat throughout the season. The concept is flexible — for instance, an attorney will have more clothing than she will, as a homemaker — but the idea is to invest in better, fewer clothes that last. I am putting this into action myself, but am curious to see if others do the same, and how (and whether this is of interest to my fellow Corporette readers).

We’ve talked about how to shop your closet, “fashion math,” how often you can repeat your work outfits, and where to start when you need style inspiration, but we haven’t specifically talked about capsule wardrobes.  I’m still learning about them myself, so I’m curious to hear what people think.  I think the idea of a capsule wardrobe has been around for years — certainly for travel.  But Madame Chic (which apparently is the #1 book in fashion and style right now on Amazon!), the trend towards decluttering, Instagram challenges… more and more people are viewing capsule wardrobes as a great way to dress every day.  Buy less stuff, buy good stuff, and wear it all the time.  A number of bloggers post capsule wardrobes (see our “further reading” links below); even the author of Madame Chic has YouTube videos showcasing her own capsule wardrobes.  (Some people take this even further, like Obama, and wear only one outfit, period, to cut down on decision fatigue.)

So how do you do it for work?  Here’s my $.02:

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The Best Personal Style Blogs – For Officewear?

Although I occasionally post pictures of myself on Corporette, I’m the first to admit that this is not really a personal style blog — i.e., where you see one woman’s actual clothes and outfits every day or two.  So here’s the question for today’s open thread — which are the best personal style blogs for officewear — the ones you read to get inspired for your professional fashion game?  We haven’t talked about work fashion blogs and corporate style blogs since 2009, so I thought we’d revisit…

Some of my favorites include: [Read more…]

work fashion blog press mentions