When I first started applying for jobs, I would spend an embarrassingly large amount of time stressing about what to wear to interviews. In spite of the ease of putting together OOTDs for my personal, everyday life, a work outfit stumped me. It had to be professional as well as convey personality and style (aka stand out in a subtly positive way). In choosing an outfit, my room would be piled high with discarded tops and dress pants and mismatched shoes. After a tedious solo fashion show of rejected options, I would end up with the same generic knitted or silky blouse, a cardigan, straight leg slacks, and round-toe pumps. Yikes. The same disastrous cycle repeated itself when deciding what to wear to work. The ensemble may be different color combinations, but the formula was the same.
Luckily, with trial and error and the discovery of the peeerrrfect pant (more about that later), I have come up with a look that’s suitable but stylish for all professional settings. The exact cut or color can vary depending on personal preference or comfort, but overall it works for me really well. It consists of a high waist or mid-rise pant in quality fabric, a slightly airy blouse with visual interest, polished pointed shoes, and minimal accessories. I break it down below (including work makeup). Now, that’s an outfit formula that really works for me.
The key piece to the whole look are these pants. Kid you not, I smiled with glee when I tried this pair on for the first time. I’ve been searching for the perfect high-waist, wide leg pant for years. This one came up to my waist without being too restrictive or loose. The length hovered slightly above the ankle without a stitch from a tailor (yes, short girl problems), which makes it possible to pair this with both heels or flats. The material is good quality with a bit of weight while maintaining a slight stretch for comfort. The center pleats bring a bit of structure, and the sash is a fun detail that can be double knotted, in a bow, or left off completely.
These pants were an investment piece for me. However, all I need is a single pair of dressy pants that fit perfectly in a neutral color. I prefer gray, navy, camel, or black. I can pair nice tops and shoes with it (at an affordable price point), and it will still look polished and put together. In addition, I have worn these pants to holiday parties and other non-corporate events. With the right styling, it easily translates to other occasions.
When choosing a blouse, I went with this flowy top with feminine flounce details across the chest and down the sleeves. Little details like the micro accordion pleating along the front and the spiral ruffles along the arms makes it more than just a blouse. I chose a printed top for visual interest but went with one that was small. I like that it’s airy and conveys my personal style. For professional settings, this top has more coverage, and it can easily be layered underneath a blazer or cardigan. To give more structure to the look, I tucked the top in.
Just like a good pair of pants, a good pair of pumps can be extremely versatile. Choose a pair that is at a height that you prefer and feel comfortable in. I recommend a pointed toe to elongate the legs. In terms of accessories, a good rule is to keep it minimal. I wore delicate dangling earrings…small studs also work well. For this look, I wore a clutch, which is great for post-work Happy Hour. For day, I recommend a medium-sized structured bag that can fit all of your essentials.
Hair and Makeup
Personally, I like to get my hair up and out of the way to keep it from distracting me during the work day. A simple chignon or low bun works well. As for makeup, yes…keeping it simple again. I do my skincare so that my base/foundation so I look awake and fresh. Then, I gravitate towards neutral browns for eye shadows and a nude lip.
All right, ladies. Go conquer the world.
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