Just because you’re heading to work doesn’t mean you have to resort to a normcore look, more than likely consisting of black slacks, ill-fitting polos and granny heels (and not the cute kind, either). While you and HR may not always see eye-to-eye about what constitutes nine-to-five dressing — what do you mean bodysuits aren’t appropriate for a meeting with clients? — we’re advocates for testing the limits with fresh takes on your everyday basics. Think: a modern pinstripe top, a cheeky sweatshirt and a printed power suit with major Jenna Lyons-esque appeal. Scroll down for 26 anything but boring office style essentials that give new meaning to the phrase dressing for success. Pssst: Everything falls under $150!
1. H&M Patterned Dress ($20): Don’t let the dreary confines of your cubicle influence your wardrobe choices. While everyone else is rocking blasé neutrals, inject some major color play into your #WOOTD (work outfit of the day) with this bright floral print dress that calls for backless mules. The midi-length and ruffle details add instant class, if we do say so ourselves.
2. Topshop Tiger Print Blazer ($110) + Tiger Cigarette Trousers ($75): And you said, you couldn’t pull off a power suit for the boardroom. Make a statement like “RAWR” with this eccentric tiger print blazer and matching trousers that will make you feel like a full-fledged rocker. Go risqué by allowing a lacy cami to ever-so-subtly peek out from underneath your blazer, or keep things on the DL with a white v-neck tee.
3. Kate Spade Swing Time Tassel Earrings ($128): Odds are, you will be counting down the seconds until happy hour. So you best be bringing it with a pair of these playful feather-light tassel earrings with major around-the-clock appeal. Team ’em with anything from a LBD (duh) to an intricate lace blouse for a look that’s equal parts glam and fab.
4. Zara Mid-Heel Shoes With Contrasting Toe Cap ($40): Chanel-esque cap-toe flats, where have you been during all those back-to-back-to-back meetings we’ve had to endure? Run, don’t walk, to snag these timeless steppers that will give you a reason to get all gussied up even when white tennies may have tempted you.
5. J.Crew Friday T-Shirt ($45): As you might’ve already guessed, *THIS* is what you wear on Casual Friday. Put some much-needed oomph into your laid-back getup by tucking this off-duty tee into high-waisted mom jeans and slipping into some chunky block heels. Keep a borrowed-from-the-boys blazer on hand just in case the higher-ups call a last-minute boardroom meeting.
6. YSTR Anaelle Top ($128): The secret to reaching boss-babe CEO status is actually quite simple. Slip this ‘70s-style mock neck top on alongside black tie-waist pants and hoop earrings for a uniform that slays around the clock.
7. Silence + Noise Pippa Oversized Blazer ($89): For those mornings when you roll out of bed and just don’t care — hey, it happens to the best of us — you can seek solace in this slouchy boyfriend blazer that’s equal parts lazy girl-approved and corporate AF. Toss it on with a neck-tie blouse and gray jeans for instant boho appeal.
8. Zara Convertible Backpack With Scarf ($50): Is it a ladylike satchel? Is it a mini backpack in disguise? It’s actually both. Whether it’s rush hour or you’re just feeling more athleisure than corporate, this convertible backpack featuring a pleated bandana scarf checks all the boxes (and then some). Fashionably late has never looked so good.
9. ASOS Jumper With Diagonal Stripe Blocking ($48): Usher in sweater weather with this dynamic color-block sweater that will add instant personality to a wool mini skirt or leather joggers. Bonus points if you layer it over a chambray shirt for that coveted prep school look. When your building forgets to turn off the AC in November, you’ll be elated to have this security blanket on standby.
10. French Connection Serge Stripe Pleat Shirt ($128): At last, a button-down that’s not overly menswear-inspired in the least. Between the ultra-femme pleats and the tonal shades of blue, this hero piece calls for streamlined trousers, classy pearl studs and plie-worthy ballerinas.
11. Banana Republic Long-Sleeve Ruffle Cuff Dress ($128): Start taking notes now: This is the throw-on-and-go bird-printed shift dress that will inevitably be in rotation at least once a week. It’s that foolproof. With a suede moto jacket and power pumps in tow, it won’t be long before you’re moving up the corporate ladder.
12. H&M Wide-Cut Cotton Shirt ($50): Meet the alternative white cotton shirt that will put your crisp button-downs to shame. Add some visual interest with a statement-making belt or let the dramatic collar do the talking.
13. ASOS Long Sleeve Jumpsuit With Collar and Wrap Front ($81): When pants are a no-go, stick with this one-piece wonder that can be styled in two seconds flat. Not only is the deep burgundy-brown hue perfect for fall, but the wrap-front style is sophisticated enough for post-work networking events. Round out your look with ankle-strap steppers and a suede sac with major day-to-night appeal.
14. Mango Appliqué Message Sweatshirt ($50): Being productive, thank you very much. If anyone doubts your efforts, refer them to the message on your fly sweatshirt. For both comfort and style, laid-back-chic sweatshirts with this much panache can (and should) be worn to the office this season.
15. Topshop Ashley Pointed Elastic Shoe ($48): Comfort is luxury, people! (Especially when you’re commuting into the city or running errands during your lunch break.) What these rose gold shiny ponies lack in height they more than make up for in the swagger department. They’ll elevate your prized black high-waisted skinnies and look right at home with a twirl-worthy tulle skirt.
16. Front Row Shop Patchwork Cold Shoulder Blazer ($69): Sorry, not sorry, HR, but your “no shoulder-baring” policy has got to go. This faux off-the-shoulder blazer is making us want to ditch the stuffy shoulder pads and strict pant suits STAT.
17. H&M Pleated Skirt ($50): Pleats for the workplace, please! For the easiest fall outfit formula in existence, pair this deep plum pleated skirt with an oversized turtleneck sweater and ankle boots. Pro tip: Tuck your hair into the sweater for a lazy-girl ‘tude.
18. COS Polo Shirt Dress ($99): Here’s your chance to test drive the whole dresses-over-pants look that’s been dominating the catwalk and street-chic scene as of lately. This millennial pink polo style dress was destined to be layered over black trousers and paired with ugly-pretty glove shoes.
19. Mango Strap Leather Shoes ($60): Obsessed would be an understatement. In order to walk the walk and talk the talk, you need a pair of strappy steppers with this much gusto on standby. Team ‘em with leather pants and an architectural top for all the compliments at your 3pm.
20. Front Row Shop Irregular Hem Pinstripe Shirt Dress ($56): They sure don’t make pinstripes like they used to. Between the irregular hem and avant-garde design, this prim and proper shirt dress is anything but predictable. Throw some heeled ankle boots and smart specs in the mix for a WAY chic look.
21. ASOS Tall Shirt With Badges ($58): You’ve always been a rebel without a cause, especially when it comes to tackling your nine-to-five wardrobe like a street star. This menswear-inspired button-down with badges (we spy a pineapple and flirting eyes) will inspire you to think outside the box. Team it with leather pants, sneaker platforms and a mini leather backpack for a look that won’t go unnoticed in the break room.
22. Nasty Gal Repertoire Ruffle Blouse ($68): Channel Gossip Girl vibes in the office with this elegant bow-neck blouse that will make you want to conquer ALL the things. It doesn’t matter if you work in the fashion industry or on Wall Street — dressing to the nines is always in style. For max perfection, style this wardrobe workhorse with black culottes and kicky heeled loafers.
23. The Group Viola Skirt ($135): Not all pencil skirts are created equal: This ankle-length ribbed skirt (wear it high-waisted or folded down) is made for nippy mornings when you’d typically be piling on the tights or resorting to plain black slacks (cringe). Toss it on over a bodysuit and slip on a metallic bomber for a sporty look that demands attention.
24. Madewell et Sézane Sailor Pants ($125): Preppy enthusiasts with French-girl sensibilities, rejoice! You have Madewell and Sézane to thank for these streamlined sailor pants, complete with nautical gold buttons, that are Parisian-chic at its best. You already know that Breton stripes and cool Oxfords are in order for a look that would do Garance Doré proud.
25. New Revival Navy Pinstripe Oversize Wide Cuff Shirt ($112): You had us at oversized. This navy pinstripe shirt with an edgy neck choker tie and extra-wide sleeves is what boardroom dreams are made of. *Adds to cart* for a slew of office-appropriate looks (and maybe a rock concert or two).
26. J.Crew Classic Popover Shirt in Cherry Print ($88): Girl, we feel ya. Nothing rains on our sartorial parade more than having to wear the same ol’ crisp white button-down day in, day out. Look no further than this cheeky cherry print popover to add a playful twist to your wardrobe of slacks and streamlined pencil skirts.
Which of these non-boring boardroom pieces will you be investing in this fall? Follow us on Pinterest for more fall style inspo!
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