I consider myself a pretty style-savvy gal, but when it comes to dressing for conservative offices, my knowledge is slim to none. (Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to have a more casual dress code my entire career.)
Fashion writer Kristyn Schiavone, on the other hand, knows how to navigate any office dress code and still put together stunning looks. In her recent ebook, Career Chic for Young Professionals: A Simple Style Guide, Kristen helps women maintain a chic personal style at work, even in a world of closed-toed shoes and pencil skirts.
So, I’ve teamed up with Kristyn to get the down-low on dealing with a conservative dress code. Her advice will help you look cute no matter what style constraints you’re dealing with—and I’ll put it into practice with some great outfits.
The Advice: Dressing for the First Day of Work
To kick off our series, Kristyn addressed the issue of what to wear on the first day of a new job—you want to look stylish, but you’re still not sure about the dress code yet. Here’s what she has to say:
Let’s assume that when you went in for the interview, you found that it wasn’t a suit-every-day kind of place. Very few offices these days are, and you can often tell right away. Where it gets tricky is when people appear to be very casual—even then, you don’t want to wear jeans on your first day. Or, when everyone looks business casual, but you’re not sure about the little things (like whether open-toe shoes are off-limits).
I think a colorful pencil skirt, patterned blouse, closed-toe pumps, and a piece of statement jewelry is perfect for the first day on the job. Or, you can color-block and pair a bright skirt with a shirt in a different color. If you’re not sure about how conservative the office is, you can pair a skirt in a neutral (such as blush) with a subtle pattern (like a black and white Swiss dot top).
For pumps, I always go with nude, because they match everything. However, if you don’t want your ensemble to be totally composed of neutral hues, add a dash of color with your shoes.
Pair a colored pencil skirt with nude, closed toed pumps, a fun patterned blouse, and a piece of statement jewelry. You’ll stand out (in a good way) but still be appropriate for most business-casual offices.
Enjoy the color-block trend of the season—while still staying work appropriate—by pairing different solid-colored separates.
Think you’re headed into a more conservative work environment? No problem! Keep your outfit colors neutral, then throw in a little pop of color with your closed-toed shoes.
Kristyn’s advice was so helpful that we couldn’t fit it all in one column! Stay tuned for more great workplace style advice in future columns.
Kristyn Schiavone believes that everyone deserves to look stunning—regardless of age, body type, budget, or office dress code. In her book—Career Chic for Young Professionals: A Simple Style Guide—Kristyn helps readers navigate the tricky world of style by teaching them how to cultivate a personal style and a build trendy, wearable-to-work wardrobe without breaking the bank. See more from Kristyn at Simple Style Guide.
Hailing from the Peach State, Hannah Baker is a recent transplant to NYC via DC and has worked in television and social media. An obsessive pinner, she loves decorating, finding the best eats (and drinks) in her new neighborhood, and entertaining her goofy dog, Leon. Follow Hannah on Twitter @hanfranbabebake and Pinterest at HFBAKER.More from this Author