Lindsey Griffin, of Posh & Poised, has a great eye for fashionable work outfits that incorporate color, prints and youthful shapes – yet are right at home in any corporate environment. I’ve long admired women who can put together these kinds of looks (like Kerry Washington, Norah O’Donnell, or Michelle Obama) but now I won’t need to spend so much time scouring the web for celebrity photos, since Lindsey has shared a few of her secrets to looking chic and work-appropriate. She explains how to pull off prints, what colors are good for the office, how to inject a little personality into your looks, and how to put together the perfect work outfit when you’re low on time.
by Jess Atkins
SB: Which 10 pieces does every woman need in their basic office wardrobe?
- Silk Blouse – This classic staple goes with anything and everything. When I look back at my favorite outfits, they all started with a gorgeous silk blouse.
- Classic Blazer – A tailored blazer is a timeless professional piece that will never go out of style. I wear mine whenever I need to be at the top of my game.
- Power Pencil Skirt – A pencil skirt is the trademark of a professional woman’s wardrobe. It achieves a sharp yet stylish look and is incredibly versatile.
- Wool Trousers – Different lengths, styles, and fits will come and go, but a pair of tailored wool trousers will stand the test of time.
- Statement Necklace – A statement necklace will take your basic work outfit up a notch.
- Black Pumps – I suggest investing in a high-quality pair that is comfortable and will last you for years.
- Carry-all Tote – Every working woman needs an oversized, neutral tote that you can throw your work life into and still look chic.
- Sheath Dress – A sheath dress is another classic option that works in any setting and is super easy to style.
- Oversized Watch – An everyday, oversized watch throws a menswear element into your look. I never leave home without mine.
- Clutch – You can take your work outfit from day to night for a happy hour or dinner meeting by simply trading your tote out for a chic clutch.
SB: What kind of heels can add personality to an office look without looking too sexy?
L: Never underestimate the power of your shoe choice! Shoes are a great and easy way to express yourself fashion-wise at work. I am currently loving ankle-strap heels as a sassy but still sophisticated option. The ankle strap adds a little personality to the shoe and also makes the heel more comfortable when you are on the go. Print-wise, leopard and snakeskin heels are a stylish alternative to basic neutrals and add an instant pop to any outfit. To throw some color into the mix, I love a cobalt or burgundy heel. Both colors are versatile and not too loud for work.
SB: What are good colors to wear to the office? Do you have any favorite color combinations?
L: I remember when I started practicing law, I was told I should stick with black, navy, and gray. While those are all great colors, I like to push the envelope. I say anything goes depending on the season. Red is a strong color that is universally flattering. It also happens to be trending for fall 2013. For fall and winter, I love red’s deeper, richer cousin, oxblood. Although I used to cringe at the thought of navy and black together, I now love the juxtaposition of the two dark favorites. Other current favorite color combinations include navy and pink, burgundy and orange, and dark green and gold.
SB: What’s a no-fail work outfit? (Something I can toss on if I wake up late and still look fabulous!)
L: A sheath dress paired with a statement necklace and a fabulous pair of heels. When I am in a rush, I love being able to throw on one piece that I can easily accessorize and be out the door.
SB: What’s a good work-to-weekend skirt and how can I wear it both ways?
L: I always fall back on the classic pencil skirt. During the week, I like to pair mine with a loose blouse or cropped blazer. On the weekend, you can pair the same pencil skirt with a tee or chunky knit and booties.
SB: What’s a good work-to-weekend blouse and how can I wear it both ways?
L: I find myself wearing silk blouses seven days a week (Equipment brand is the best). During the workweek, I wear mine with literally everything, both tucked-in or loose and belted. If I had a work uniform, it would be a button-up silk blouse with a printed pencil skirt and a belt or fun baubles to complete the look. Off-duty, I go for an edgier look, pairing a feminine silk blouse with distressed skinnies or leather pants.
SB: Any tips for wearing patterns to the office without going overboard?
L: Patterned pieces are attention seekers. When wearing a patterned piece to the office, let that piece do all the talking and keep the rest of your look simple. For example, to work printed pants into my work wardrobe for fall, I will pair them with a solid sweater or blouse, classic pumps, and minimal jewelry. The key is to balance your look so it is not overwhelming. You want to attract, but not demand, attention with your outfit at the office. If you want to mix patterns, stick with simple patterns that are not overwhelming, like polka dots and stripes.
SB: Sweaters and blazers are great for adding polish to a look. What shapes do you recommend that you can throw on with almost anything?
L: For sweaters, I prefer lightweight sweaters that I can wear alone or layered with other pieces. I favor crewneck for a cut that will keep you covered at work.
For blazers, you can never go wrong with the classic shape with a favorite brand being Theory. If you want something trendier, peplum is a great option and surprisingly easy to style.
For more office inspiration from Lindsey, read her blog Posh & Poised