Over-the-Knee Boots at the Office?

otk boots for workWhile doing our round-up of knee-high boots, I was struck by how things have changed in such a short time — when I first started this blog, knee-high boots were still pretty scandalous, and over-the-knee boots (or OTK boots) were completely, totally risqué.  Cut to today, and they’re EVERYWHERE — flat versions, high-heeled versions, on most best seller lists, with rave reviews from everyone from 20-somethings to 60-somethings.  I know Jean at ExtraPetite has talked about wearing her 5050s for the commute, but I thought it might be interesting to have a poll: are over the knee boots so omnipresent that you can wear them to work? (Pictured: Screenshot of the Stuart Weitzman 5050 from Zappos, where they’re $635; they’re also at Nordstrom for the same. Here are a few under-$200 alternatives.)

As always, you have to know the specifics of YOUR office.  But because a poll can be fun, I thought we’d have this in two flavors: one poll for folks working in conservative offices, and one folks for the women in business casual offices.  Just for ease of discussion, let’s define a “conservative office” as one where, on any given day, 30% or more of your coworkers are in suits.

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Poll: Ankle-Length Pants and the Office

So here’s the tricky thing about office style:  it changes from time to time.  We’ve talked before on this blog about how I’m a big fan of bootcut trousers because I think they’re the most flattering look — and how I think “shorter” pants (capris, floodies, pedal pushers, whatever you want to call them) are unacceptable for the office.  (Ain’t No Mom Jeans — totally unrelated to office style! — had a highly amusing post on them recently.)  But.  But!  There are a ton of gorgeous ankle-length pants out there right now, and I’m seeing them more and more often with suits — from both conservative brands and not so conservative brands.  Take, for example, this gorgeous Elizabeth and James suit (which was very nearly yesterday’s Suit of the Week).  One of my guest posters last year even said she thought the J.Crew Minnie was a wardrobe staple! (Is it just me or is J.Crew showing the Minnie pant ridiculously tight on the models this year?)  So ladies, I thought it was time for a poll:  do you think ankle-length pants are acceptable for a conservative office, where (on any given day) 50% or more of the people may be in a full-on suit?  Do you think they’re great for a more casual (pants and blouse) look, but hate them with suits?  Do tell.

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The Messy Office

How messy is TOO messy of an office? I’ve worked with all sorts of people when it comes to this. There are the people with the super-bare office — completely clean desks with perhaps one photo on it. I’ve worked with folks where it was so messy that it seemed like they could film an episode of Hoarders in there. And I’ve worked with people where it was “controlled chaos” — one of my bosses memorably kept about 10 tall piles of manilla folders on her desk at all times and would have to go through each pile to find what she needed. Personally, I’ve always been on the messier side of the spectrum, but with the caveat that I can almost always find what I need in under ten minutes. [Read more…]

What Nail Colors Are Acceptable in a Conservative Office?

Colorful argyle nails, originally uploaded to Flickr by borispumpsWhat nail polish colors are acceptable in a conservative office? It has been ages since we visited this subject, so I thought we should revisit. For my $.02, I really think your fingernails should be limited to the pinks and beiges… possibly entering the reds and purples family. If I were in a daring mood, I might try to get away with the “it” color of the season (which I believe, this season, is Chanel’s silvery-gray Graphite) — but I suspect any other color really is going to cause people to notice your fashion sense, and probably not in a good way. (Pictured: Colorful argyle nails, originally uploaded to Flickr by borispumps.) [Read more…]

We Wear Shorts Suits?

short-suits-for-workShorts suits (or: a suit with shorts) — can they be worn in a professional way? I noticed that commenters were talking about this yesterday, and it also came up in the Facebook chat I did with Lucky, and then again on the Corporette Facebook page — so I thought we should talk about it more in the main body of the blog.

professional-short-suitsFor those of you who didn’t see, the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the shorts suit over the weekend, recommending them as “summer’s most versatile combo,” going “from office to party without a hitch.”  Um… okay.  So far most of the comments I’ve seen on the blog are dead set against this, and for my $.02 I would agree — if I were, say, Lindsay Lohan going to court, or perhaps some other young starlet going to a charity luncheon, then I would totally invest in short suits.  (Like, totally.)  But for the office?  Where I’m trying to convey respect, and avoid having people think “WTF was she thinking when she got dressed today?”?  Um, no.  Oh, and incidentally, the shorts suit is not new:  Julia Roberts’s character wore one in Pretty Woman.  See, so professional working girls do wear them. [Read more…]

Perfume at the Office – Yay or Nay?

perfume-for-workI know readers have discussed this a bunch in the comments, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a full post on it. Reader S’s question is about perfume:

I take a lot of care in selecting my clothing/hairstyle/makeup, and making sure that they are office appropriate. Are there rules about office-appropriate perfume as well?

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I believe the common wisdom among the commenters is that perfume should not be worn at the office. I might caveat that a bit: coworkers should not be able to smell your perfume on you unless they are, for some reason, very very very close to you.  None of this “you enter a conference room and everyone smells you before they see you,” or “the two other people on the elevator sneezed when you got on.” [Read more…]