I’ve been hard at work trying to come up with a four-week work outfit challenge for folks (stay tuned — it’ll be done SOON), but as I’m writing it, I thought I’d take a moment to ask you guys: What do you think are your biggest challenges when putting together outfits for work?
Is it that you fall into a rut with accessories? That you buy things and then have no idea where they fit with the rest of your wardrobe? (Or that you keep buying the same or similar pieces?) That you wish items were multipurpose (for example, I want to make it part of the challenge that you take the same — or a similar — sheath dress and wear it four different ways)?
Or do you think it comes down to planning — you’re running late and grab something basic to get out the door, and before you know it you’ve worn similar iterations of your “easy outfit” for a thousand days in a row?
I’m also realizing that I tend to think of outfits as being about colors and textures, and to a large extent, colorblocking with different pieces of your outfit — and less about “wear X necklace with Y dress.”
So let’s discuss: When getting dressed for work, what are your biggest challenges in putting together outfits for work, finding ideas for work outfits, and more?
Pictured: Shutterstock/101 Imges.
Timely post! I have trouble with navy blue dresses. Especially now that the weather is turning, what color tights do you wear with them? Black seems too clashy. I do have a pair of gray tights but they’re heathered; I get flashbacks to childhood when I wear them.
On the same vein, I don’t reach for my navy blue tops in the winter either. Warm bottoms and blazers don’t offer enough contrast to navy like summer brights do.
Same! I have navy tights but then what shoes?
I basically wear black and charcoal all winter. It’s the transitional seasons that are trouble for me.
I tend to wear nude fishnets when it’s between bare legs and tights weather but I am finding them increasingly uncomfortable.
Navy shoes? The blogger from ExtraPetite wears this look and I think it looks great.
And I would pair navy dresses, skirts, pants, etc. with cream and camel and gold accessories.
I have a pair of grey patent leather loafers (with 2″ block heel) by Boden that go great with navy (and everything)
Burgundy for the win! I received a navy and burgundy scarf as a gift a couple of years ago and had so much trouble wearing it because my whole closet is mostly other shades of blue (cobalt/royal, light blue, slate blue, etc.). I finally bought a burgundy maxi dress for the weekends and started pairing it with all things navy. Now, I own a burgundy sheath and a cardigan that reads burgundy (it’s like a small watercolor dot print with dark brown, beige, and burgundy), and I have some burgundy loafers and shooties that I bought in the last ~3 months because it’s starting to be my new accent color. I’ve really been enjoying the navy sheath + burgundy accents, depending on the weather.
I also wear dark gray and charcoal with navy. I have a navy-and-white cardigan that I wear with my navy sheath, and I’ve been pairing those two pieces with black tights and black heels, or dark gray tights and black heels.
And finally, I pair it with nude or white accents. I have a pair of not-quite-nude-for-me heels that looks great with navy, which gets paired with a plain white flowy cardigan or a leopard print fitted cardigan and gold jewelry.
Also, for the navy tops, I pair those with solid skirts in navy, dark teal, and dark pink (I have a pencil skirt and a midi skirt in dark fuscia that look nice with my navy-and-white striped shirt or cardigan). I just bought navy tights for this season, so I’ll probably go with navy tights and top, colored skirt, and black heels. I own some navy-and-white striped wedges that go well with either combo for spring/summer.
I work in a biz casual office, so I’m not wearing suits. It works to have navy t-shirt or cardigan paired with either a pencil skirt or midi skirt, since the material is not the same, and my two navy tops have prints, it doesn’t look like the two navy pieces are different shades.
I intentionally wear navy and black together all the time. If the clothing is structured and chic, the combo actually looks great. With a navy sheath dress, I wear black tights, black shoes, and carry a black bag.
+2 navy looks great with black so long as it’s a true blue and not an almost black navy.
Same. If multiple black items are paired with navy, it’s more of an “oh she did that intentionally because she’s chic” as opposed to “she needs better lighting in her closet.”
Basically wear black and navy every day, often: navy dress, black patent belt, black blazer, burgundy work tote. It’s polished and easy, and works well with black tights all winter, too.
Navy dress, brown textured tights and brown boots. I love navy and brown together, it seems so classic to me.
Linda from HR
I struggled with this for a while, nowadays I wear burgundy with navy in the winter – white, red, and/or yellow in the spring and summer. Navy also goes with navy, to be honest. And I wear tights that match my skin color . . . well, it’s a close enough match.
Tights or hose that match your skin color? I’ve never found tights in my pale skin color but I’ve seen them in darker skin tones. I wish I could find some. My legs are COLD
Linda from HR
My tights might be a litttle tanner than my actual skin. “light toast” by Danskin is as close as I can get, but it seems to work all right. Better than white tights anyway, which seem kinda little girlish to me.
Navy and jewel tones look great – especially emerald or dark green.
Linda from HR
Huh, I’ve actually never tried that. Can’t really “see” it working but I can try it out sometime.
Definitely, even rich purple, magenta, cobalt
For the late fall/winter/early spring I wear navy with burgundy/wine colours. This is paired with wine coloured footwear or black. I tend to stick with nylons with skirts and dresses or black pants.
For the late spring/summer/early fall I wear navy with fuschia. This is normally paired with white footwear.
I am in a business casual office (they finally allow jeans when not client serving).
Definitely how to wear navy. I have a sleeveless navy and white tweed dress and have no idea how to wear it so it’s sitting in my closet with the tags on even though it’s so beautiful.
I wouldn’t wear tights with a navy blue work dress. Why not just wear stockings? Problem solved.
Navy/White tweed dress in winter would pear well with
Combo 1) sheer black leggings/panty hose + black shoes/boots and accessories/jacket etc. (if the dress was only navy, then opaque leggings or stockings would look just as chic as well)
Combo 2) sheer grey leggings/panty hose + navy or grey shoes/boots + accessories in grey or navy
Combo 3) sheer nude leggings/panty hose + white shoes/boots + white accessories/jackets
Combo 4) sheer nude/black leggings/panty hose + camel brown thigh high boots/tall boots + camel or tan brown accessories.
This 4th style is probably my favorite, because thigh high boots are warm enough to eliminate the need for tights or leggings or limit their visibility and camel brown looks amazing with dark blue hues. If you wore knee length boots it would still work and you could go with the nude or black leggings and accessories (jacket, handbag, scarf) in the same to make it work). For professional settings thigh high boots may not be acceptable, and you may just have to live with a change of shoes for inside the office, again camel heels and nude panty hose would work great)
Hope you get to wear the dress!
Shoes. Oh god, shoes. I have huge feet (UK 10 wide fit…) and I cannot for the life of me do heels. The urge to just put on sneakers or boots because, hey, business casual is always so gosh dang high. I want to do better with shoes and yet… here I am.
+ 1. I basically have 4 pairs of work heels that I rotate. I want stylish but also comfortable, and nothing above 3 inches. I’m not into shoes at all so I never think to buy them, but then I’m bored by what I wear.
Same here. I have derailed many a cute outfit with boring, dowdy shoes. I have zero tolerance for uncomfortable shoes, plus hard-to-fit feet. They’re more like flippers than feet.
These days the only brand of shoes I wear is Clark’s. I find them to be stylish and yet very comfortable.
I am late to the discussion, but also can’t do heels anymore. A month ago I found and bought a Birkenstock Mary Jane (called Iona) shoe. I am so happy to wiggle my toes without wearing a sandal in the office.
I get lazy about putting different combinations of tops and bottoms together. Then I get bored, feel like I have no clothes, and I buy more. How to get out of this rut? I think part of the problem is my closet is tiny and all my clothes are squashed together. I can’t really see them properly to envision outfits.
Anon in Texas
This is me. I buy things and then they hang there with the tags still on and I find myself wearing the same thing over and over. I’m starting to feel really frumpy but can’t seem to motivate myself. Honestly, when I wear something different I just feel dumb.
You should have joined us for the Wear Everything Challenge this summer! I feel like I have so many more outfits now. You can still do it. Give yourself a deadline (like one season) to either wear the thing or get rid of it.
It also helped me get rid of things I was holding on to for the wrong reasons.
Get rid of half your clothes. Having fewer options makes it easier to put outfits together.
Help IDing this please
TJ… can anyone ID the top on the blonde in the middle? http://m.y100fm.com/rf/image_lowres/Pub/p8/Y100FM/2017/08/23/Images/raelynn.jpg
No clue but I secretly love that show.
I think it might be this Love Leather Perforated Tank Top:
I couldn’t find it available anywhere, though some sportier iterations with graphic lettering are.
This is the closest dupe I could find:
Search: perforated tank top
Red skirts. With black tights I always feel like I look like Minnie Mouse. Can’t wear with navy after spring because navy top/red skirt/navy tights makes me feel like I am dressed like a flight attendant.
Also navy – too drab with my mostly black pants in winter.
I struggle with finding warm knit tops that are not sweaters. Sometimes it’s too early to break out the cashmere, but too cool for just a blouse. Sometimes finding a topper is just too much for me – I don’t have a lot of cardis and feel like they can be grandmaish if not done right, and jackets are tough because of big “girls” and a biz cas office (jackets are really for meetings and presentations). I gravitate toward 3/4 sleeve knit tops but finding ones that don’t cling/look like a tshirt is tricky.
+1 on warm tops that are not sweaters.
And for me, cardigans that fall correctly over great tracts of land. Most cardigans fall open and never drape property. It probably doesn’t help that I have broad shoulders as well.
Awesome reference – and I have the same problem!
Red + nude for you hose = super professional.
Linda from HR
I feel you. I stopped wearing black with red, unless the red dress has some black on it, then maybe. I found a taupe cardigan to wear with red dresses, works decently. But I’m wearing navy with red today, no regrets!
work from home
I work mostly from home and don’t have video chats, so I’m in caftans most of the day since they’re so comfy but I can go to the mailbox without needing to change. However, it means I own very very little that seems right for networking events or business casual type settings. I am a minimalist so I don’t like to own what I so seldom wear but it’s tough to find something that’ll fit and flatter as weight can fluctuate without the items looking dated, especially when there’s not much in the budget to spend on seldom worn clothing.
Sounds like Rent the Runway (they have work dresses) would help you out.
Personally, in your situation I don’t think it’s impractical at all to own one, decent-quality, well-fitting black sheath dress. They never go out of style, honestly, and if it’s good quality, you’ll have it for years. I have a gorgeous Ann Taylor sheath dress, with a v-neck, sleeveless, that I bought in probably 1999 or 2000, and it’s still something I happily reach for from time-to-time. It seemed extravagant when I bought it, but cost-per-wear is essentially nothing at this point.
You can add a belt, cardigan or jacket to change the look from time to time. But owning one dress in a timeless style is unlikely to be a poor decision.
This is going to sound weird, but I’m not sure if I’m buying the right size clothing. I’m slim and I find myself drawn to clothing that is more form-fitting because otherwise I feel like I’m being swallowed by the fabric. But, on the flip side, my pants always feel tight in the waist and I’m not sure if my tops would look better a little more billowy. Any recommendations for how work clothes should fit? (Standard business casual- Ann Taylor/J.Crew wool slacks etc..).
Same issue, except that I’m pretty sure I’m buying too big or would benefit from tailoring most things.
+1 I have this problem, too sometimes. I try to aim for “body skimming” but I’m also tall and feel like things can get sloppy looking really fast if things are too loose. I tend to err on the side of slimmer pants/skirts and flowier tops or bigger blazers/cardigans because that looks better on my body type than the other way around. But when in doubt, I err on the side of too big because it’s better to look a little frumpy than have a wardrobe malfunction. Plus, IMO having clothes that are too tight tend to be more of a distraction (to me, and I’m assuming whomever is looking at me) than clothes that are slightly too big.
Clothes that fit is a problem for me too, because I’m an awkward fit. Broad shoulders, flat chest, straight waist, no hips, big b*tt and quads. Basically, I work out, and I look like it. Women’s professional clothing is not cut for buff women. I’m too cheap to tailor every. single. thing. I buy so, if I’m honest, most of my clothes just don’t fit that well.
+1 My body type is pretty close to yours and I am cheap, too. I also hate anything remotely tight around my waist.
+1 to clothes not being made for buff women. I have a lot of muscle in my shoulders/upper back and glutes/quads, and finding shirts and skirts that fit is so hard! Everything is baggy in the waist, and then too tight across the shoulders or hips. I’m also pretty long-waisted, and I’ve found that buying the Tall size helps. If I’m between sizes, I normally size up and go with Tall, and that seems to help put the darts and hip gussets (Is gusset the right word? I’m not a tailor.) at the right spot on my body.
It looks like The Limited might be coming back, and their suiting sheaths in the Tall fit me pretty well. I’ve also had good luck with the A-line midi skirts from NY&Co., just tailoring the waist in (and they have usable POCKETS!!). The Denizen mid-rise, curvy fit skinny jeans from Target also fit pretty well for pants (again, if Limited comes back, I like their curvy fit skinny jeans as well).
There is a tiny bit of The Limited available on Belk’s websitea;
I want cardigans that look professional but are not SO BORING.
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. me too. this used to be where anthropologie came into play, but no longer. They used ot have such great stuff, like a classic black cardigan with interesting buttons and some light embroidery. Or, a cardigan that was a fun pattern.
Now, everything is some odd color and has 17 different hemlines. I don’t want to wear that, especially not at $195 or what they charge sometimes.
Late to the thread, but +1 on this. I have a number of solid sheaths that I would prefer to wear with something more structured than a waterfall sweater (which I get lost in and generally try to save for weekends when I do. not. care.) but less “old” than a swacket and less frumpy than a Talbots “Charming” cardi or a Lands’ End cardi.
Anne Klein used to have some pieces in this category, like a black sweater with wide pleated satin edging or a long lightweight camel sweater with a skinny belt, but I have not been able to find a decent selection in that line lately anywhere.
Agree with warm tops, I’m always looking for something that looks professional, is warm, and won’t pill quickly.
Seconded on the warm dress Wear! I live in the North, I get cold easily, and winter is a killer on my wardrobe. I always kooky frumpy or too casual.
Can a tailor fix a pull in fabric? Or is that something that can’t easily be fixed?
I’ve had pulls in merino sweaters fixed reasonably well by the tailor at my dry cleaner. It’s worth a try.
Yes, you can fix pulls. I use a (small, silver) needle threader for pulls in knits and wovens; it sends the pull to the rear of the fabric. Caveat: the thin wire is delicate, but at $5 or less for a multi pack, I can afford to mess up one once in a while.
There are also videos online for fixing pulls in sweaters using a blunt needle or small crochet hook.
I’ve gotten very lazy and just wear a lot of black clothes together. Black pencil skirts, black blouses, black sweaters, black pants, black dress. It’s just so easy. I’m a senior associate in biglaw and need to look professional but I rarely have to impress anyone.
I adore the all black look.
What are some signs that an article of clothing is old and should be retired? Assume no visible holes or discoloration. Thanks!
2) the fabric taking on a sheen
Linda from HR
Fabric pills can be removed with a shaving razor or electronic “shaving” device (so satisfying to use!), but I’d agree with the second one.
Eh I agree with both. Big pills on a fluffy sweater are inevitable and don’t mean the sweater’s life is over, but when regular knitwear like tees/tops/dresses get those little pills everywhere, it really can’t be remedied with a shaver and it probably means the item is too old.
Linda from HR
Ah, that’s fair. I certainly have some dresses that are covered in little pills and I’ve started to avoid wearing them.
Loss of shape.
Makes sense – maybe around the neckline for work blouses?
My issue is that I want to do a capsule wardrobe, but I have trouble finding multifunctional articles of clothing. I’d like prices lower than, say, mm l fluer, but at the same time I would want a store/brand that offers roughly the same clothes every year (ish) so I can replace clothes without worrying about fit or form.
Not sure this exists…
Banana Republic and J Crew (check out their factory stores too). RIP Limited.
It’s coming back…a little. See Belk’s website:
I feel like I really struggle to find clothing that’s flattering on me. I’ve gained weight, which generally I’m totally fine with, but I am having trouble finding work clothes that still look good. I’m an apple and short-waisted and tucking things in just looks bad, but leaving things out looks sloppy.
(This might be another variation on the ‘do my clothes actually fit?’ thing that several other folks mentioned as well…)
I’m also short-waisted, and find myself shopping in the Petites section, especially for flowy tops that are not supposed to be tucked in. Otherwise, they are too long, and don’t hit the right spot on my hips. Petite sizes solve this problem for me.
Yes; I buy petite jackets from Banana, even though I am taller than average, because I’m shortwaisted. It helps with the frump/doesn’t fit factor.
Pants are an issue for me. I’ve become overly reliant on jeans to the office which I get away with since it’s a business casual environment. But boyfriend jeans/cropped pants don’t look like they will be warm. It feels a bit too early in the season for the skinny jean/riding boot combo. And all that seems to be out there for buying is godforsaken ankle pants. Is a non-frumpy trouser too much to ask for?
Hm, I think ankle pants are more current and less frumpy than skinny pants or jeans worn tucked into knee high boots (the Han Solo look)
I’m with you. I posted on the afternoon thread that I have a high waist/hip delta, so I am just not going to wear skinnies and really even ankle pants as I think they look like “floods.”
Talbots is a good source for old-fashioned trousers!
I also have an issue with p’ants. My firm will ONLEY allow them on Fridays in the Winter, when it is VERY cold out. I have some great skinny jeans that I am trying to get to wear to work, but the manageing partner will NOT allow them. FOOEY!
Mine is definitely a combination of things – I get in a hurry, especially with working and parenting and running our home and being a wife and everything else – so what I wear to work is usually the last thing on my mind until I’m standing in the closet wondering if anyone will notice if I wear a button-down and pants again today. (I’m executive administrative support). Or I wonder if I wear that sheath dress will I have to do anything that requires a ton of lifting or moving things around that might impair my modesty, if you get my drift.
My favorite is the times I DO lay something out and plan ahead and inevitably spill coffee or peanut butter or whatever on it as I’m patting myself on the back for finally getting my “ish” together.
I just feel like I have a uniform, and I get so bored of it.
I get bored! I have a good collection of skirts, pants, tops, and dresses that I rotate through, but I get so bored wearing the same things that I always want to shop for new clothes. When I actually take stock of my clothes, I have plenty of them, they fit well, and I like them, but even pieces that I truly love seem blah after a while. I’d love a challenge encouraging me to renew my love of classic pieces that I own but have stopped appreciating.
This is a big problem for me too. Especially when I pull out clothes that I put in storage the previous season (I’m Canadian so I have very distinct and separate wardrobes since our seasons are so disparate). I hate everything I wore last winter and want all new clothes but the reality is those clothes are still perfectly fine, I’m just bored with them.
Canadian too. But I lived for years in Calgary. The result? I keep everything out all the time. I never pack anything away because you never know when you will need a sweater in August or flip flops in February.
I do understand why people do the swap out (mostly because of space). If that is the case, I would still keep a little selection of everything out.
Mind you, in Ontario last week there was a heatwave then went down to 1 degree overnight two days later.
I just picked up a new scarf that makes me excited to wear a few things in my closet that I’ve been feeling kinda blah about. I generally have a very classic style, and if I shop for new clothes, I always end up with almost the exact same thing I already have. I may or may not be banned from buying any new blue dresses… friends, sister, and husband have all said that I can buy whatever I want, as long as it’s not another blue dress :)
And also, the burgundy shooties that I mentioned above are making me happy about some of the plain sheath dresses I have in my closet. So maybe try a couple of new scarves, instead of a whole new outfit? I’m also on the hunt for a denim jacket, and I’m getting excited about the many outfits I can make with existing dress/skirt/shirt plus new scarf and new jacket.
Try new accessories. They can make your outfit feel like new.
Linda from HR
I wore my new cape today. It’s a little fancy for the usual commute, but I felt like taking it for a spin. Got it on sale over labor day weekend and this morning’s weather felt perfect for it. And I felt both cozy and fabulous!
But then the train conductor came down the row checking tickets, stared at me and went “are you wearing . . . a cape . . . in the morning?”
Gee, guess I missed that memo!
There was no memo. You looked fabulous and the conductor was just momentarily blinded by your brilliance.
Linda from HR
Ha, I like your spin on it!
I love this. And I agree!
Haha, don’t mind him. I work with all men and have to tell them all the time that I look fabulous when I wear things they don’t understand (like the gorgeous embroidered mules they called “house slippers”). They wear Dockers and button-downs or polos every.single.day, so women’s fashion just blows their minds sometimes. Keep doing your thing with confidence.
PS- because I feel so fabulous when I wear what I like to wear and they are confined to khakis, I am the undisputed queen of the department because I wear what I want with confidence. (And always within the bounds of the dress code.)
I’m borderline tall (5’8″) with long legs (need about a 33″ inseam for full-length pants). Since my legs are so long, I feel like the higher waistlines that are out now make me look disproportionate. I don’t even bother with high-rise pants, but mid-rise pants (e.g. Loft slim trousers) seem awkward as well. I can’t tuck in shirts without feeling like Urkel, but not tucking in shirts seems sloppy. Help!
This! I have long legs and a shorter torso, plus I’m pear-shaped. All these high-waist styles end up falling down and leaving huge pooches of random fabric around my stomach. Mid-rise works better for me, but I always wear a blazer which helps solve the shirt-tucking weirdness.
My hair is a frizzy mess that I don’t have the energy to take care of, so it almost always goes up in a bun. I feel like that ruins a lot of looks for work that would otherwise be a lot cuter.
I have felt this way too, totally. Brazillian blowouts/ keratin treatments / aveda smoothing treatments (…i alternate depending on my budget or hair situ) made this go away. This, plus decent, thoughtful hair accessories when I just don’t dgaf. The jcrew and factory clips and pony tail holders are good basic staples for me.
I’m tall and cannot for the life of me find things that are long enough. I have like 6-7 pieces that I fall back on a lot because they actually go all the way to my knees/feet, and a whole bunch of stuff that I put on and immediately feel self-conscious about because its 1-3 inches shorter than I would like it to be.
I feel like most clothes these days have colors that complement people who have warm skin tones. Lots of beige, tan, olive green, lime, saffron, etc. ugh! For someone with fair, cool toned skin, it is hard to find items that make your skin glow.
I get into the rut of black or navy ankle pants, flowy blouse, and cardigan. It’s a totally fine work look, but it’s so boring. Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to leave the black or navy ankle pants in the closet and wear a skirt or dress. Clothing challenges help.
My biggest challenge is dressing for outside/inside environments, especially since I tend to walk to work. Currently in the NE, and my building is freezing due to lots of technical equipment.
Will be moving back to corporate in TX next spring, where I also walk to work- classic 65-68 degree office, but 100+ outside all summer. Complicating this is the “open work space” trend, where I have to bring everything with me (including computer, etc) each day, so I carry a professional-looking backpack.
Basically, I’m struggling to keep a polished, professional look while being comfortable and not being a packhorse. Other than that, I’ve jumped on the “minimalist” concept trend and only wear a few outfit formulas to work, which has helped immensely in streamlining my mornings.
I have a hard time putting outfits together from my many existing different shirts and skirts.
I don’t know how to work some in together, so that means some end up not being work at all, and some only with the same pairing over and over again. Some basic things then become my workhorse shirts and skirts, and some more tricky things end up never getting used. I need ideas on how to pair different colors and styles of my existing shirts and skirts. Especially (but not exclusively) for non-pencil skirts and non-collared shirts and especially for not-black clothing. Obviously my cheat is just to pair black skirts with a colored shirt (or vice verse), but I want to be able to wear much more than that.
This only gets more complicated when you try to add a blazer or sweater.
Office dress code is technically business, but it is often blurred to let in the nicer end of business-casual in practice. So this is for the days when a suit is not strictly necessary.
I’d like to know what is so out of style that it should be retired, or too wrong for work that it should be out of the rotation, as well as what is too worn to keep wearing. Lots and lots of examples would be helpful.
This fall I came back to grad school full time, so my new dressing for work (research assistant, plus going to class) challenge is finding the enthusiasm/motivation to dress in anything other than the same rotation of maybe two pairs of jeans, two or three sweaters, and my favorite pair of flats. I have all these skirts, dresses, heels, and blazers from my last job, where the look was on the dressier side of business casual. Now those clothes feel too fancy, but I miss wearing them.
Having a place to clip the transmitter for a wireless microphone. I usually wear a sheath dress with a blazer and there’s just no easy place for it to go.
I get cold in my office regardless of the weather outside. I’ve started avoiding wearing skirts for this reason. I’m on board with creating a “work uniform” of pants and a warm sweater, but how do I make that basic look stylish?
Add a scarf, pendant/statement necklace, statement earrings or non-matchy shoes. Your “third piece” can be an accessory.
I have the hardest time with outfits for conferences. I want to look super professional, but not starchy (I’m in tech), yet I know days of walking around on lightly carpeted concrete floors is going to kill my feet, so I always have trouble with the shoes. Conferences are also often in warmer climates than my own, so though the conference will be typical deep freeze AC, getting to and from the conference, and dinner after conference hours, is often in warm temps.
Her Every Cent Counts
I have no idea what to wear to work… and the season’s trends are not helping. At. All. I am petite with short legs, a protruding stomach and a long torso, so nothing fits right. I’ve been wearing Ralph Lauren Jersey dresses in the past, but honestly I feel uncomfortable in them as they aren’t stylish, they cling to my fat stomach, and some of them are sleeveless which I don’t like to wear to work because I don’t feel comfortable showing my arms. They also feel too low in the front and I can’t help but feel inappropriate when I look down and see cleavage. I’m starting a new job soon and I went shopping and everything looks hideous. It’s a serious problem for me as I wake up every morning dreading getting dressed for work and I end up late a lot because I have nothing to wear that I feel comfortable in. I’m considering figuring out some sort of uniform that I can wear every day but it’s hard for women to get away with that. I’m in a job that is semi creative but also professional but also a business casual industry and I have no idea what to wear. It’s pretty bad.
Sorry to hear you had some much trouble. I am short (5/1) and have some flab around my tummy area. I would recommend looking at the petite/short sections of the following stores:
Anne Taylor, Banana Factory, New York & Company and Express
Empire waist sheath dresses with short or princess sleeves – the high waist will lengthen your lower body, it will also not cling in your stomach area due to the waist sitting at or above the natural waist, and princess cut sleeves leave a gap around your arms to make them look smaller in the sleeve.
Loose fitting short sleeve, or long sleeve shirts with high waisted skirts – Essentially they work because they are the same shape as above.
Empire waist flowy dress (knee length or midi length) with high neck and princess sleeves – this is flattering for same reasons as above, but additionally the high mock neck/round neck neck will add an elegance similar to a vintage look. The length of the dress will lengthen your legs and hide any fat in the legs.
Turtle neck/mock neck full sleeve sweater top and high waisted a line or flowy knee or midi length skirt – The high neck will give a sophisticated look, and while the material will stick to your stomach and arms, the high waist skirt will cover any tummy fat. This look will make your top look smaller over all while accentuating the chest (with no cleavage!) and make your lower body look longer. Finish this look with a top bun, or sleek pulled back hair, large colorful earrings and high heels.
For pants opt for high waist paper bag pants, and when deciding between two sizes, air on the larger size. paper bag waist pants cover up tummy fat. The high waist will lengthen your bottom half. Darker colors on the bottom are more forgiving. When looking at what colors to pair, never select more than 3 different colors at the very very most in your dress/shoes/bag/jacket/accessories. Monochrome, or one color in multiple hues (eg. light grey, charcoal, and heather grey), type combinations help you look taller because they don’t break you up into blocks.
Hope this helps.
Tip: for v neck/wrap style dresses, experiment with using a thin silken scarf to cover up cleavage by tying it in a knot or some other style.