“Dressing the part” holds more weight than you think. In a 2012 study, participants were asked to take a test while wearing identical white coats. Some participants were told they would wear a doctor’s lab coat and others were told it was a painter’s smock. Those who thought they were wearing a doctor’s coat scored higher on the test. Truth is, no matter how informal your job, looking your best has its advantages. Wearing something that makes you feel confident can increase your job performance.
At the same time, when your office doesn’t have a dress code, it’s easy to push the limits of casualwear – and it can spiral into a one-person pajama party all too quickly. Nixon Watch $169, Anthropologie Top $48, Vintage Chanel Pearls $2,750, Michael by Michael Kors Pumps $73, Derek Lam Blazer $166, Joes Cigarette Skinny Jeans $45
Not all jeans are created equal. Always start with a dark wash. Avoid faded, embellished, or torn jeans and brighten up the look with accessories. The Joes skinny jeans above are a professional wash and the fit works with heels, ballet flats, or even boots.
But it’s not just about the jeans. The secret to chic office wear? Blazers! They instantly dress up the entire ensemble – no blouse or slacks necessary. A blazer like the Derek Lam piece above (available on Tradesy) will make jeans look so polished no one will even know you’re cozying up in denim. A neutral color is essential, but we suggest adding a couple bright, bold blazers to your arsenal too – work wear doesn’t have to be colorless.
Next, accessories will make or break your outfit. Luxury jewelry like vintage Chanel pearls add a mature element to denim-based outfits. Investing in staples like a necklace and watch will ensure you never come off as the t-shirt-and-jeans girl. If you were looking for confidence – Chanel can help with that.
When shopping for bags, go for a structured purse that will fit everything you need on a daily basis without looking overstuffed. While small bags often seem more professional, totes and shoulder bags can be business-friendly if they’re made of quality materials like leather and complement your clothes.
Finish off with the right shoe. Heels can be worn without looking like they belong with an 80s pant suit or on their way to the club (despite your after-hours plans). Just remember, it’s all relative – if you choose a pink blazer and bright jewels, you might want to go with flats for the day – but if you have a relatively simple outfit like the one we shared above, dust those classic pumps off and take ‘em for a tour of the office.
Do you have a dress code at work? Would you wear jeans?