By now you’ve mastered the work-week shuffle and can practically throw together a HR-approved outfit blindfolded (thanks in part to a carefully curated arsenal of work wardrobe essentials) — even when you’re running late. But even the most seasoned girl boss falls victim to office outfit fatigue every now and again. Instagram, Pinterest and your favorite blogs provide endless inspiration to remedy that right quick, but there’s a slightly unexpected place you should be checking out too — the red carpet. Okay, so maybe you won’t be rocking Giambattista Valli to work a la Blake Lively at Cannes, but it’s the styling rather than the threads themselves that you should be paying attention to. We’ve scanned big-time events across the globe for on-point ensembles that will give your on-the-job attire a fashion-forward edge. Consider these 10 red carpet-inspired styles your contingency plan for addressing spur-of-the-moment onset of the closet blahs.
Emma Watson’s Dress-Over-Pants Ensemble
The whole pants-over-dress thing is kind of Emma Watson’s signature move. Girl looks good. For the Whitehouse Correspondent’s Dinner she struck just the right balance of elegance and contemporary cool in a poppy printed A-line gown with a dramatic split that showed off smart cropped trousers and classic stilettos — swoon. Whether you have a big presentation or a Monday morning brainstorm sesh on the agenda, you can’t go wrong with this RN pairing. (Photo via Larry Busacca/Getty)
1. C/meo Collective Headlines Dress ($230): Nothing sends the Monday morning blues packin’ quite like a #girlboss-approved shift dress with this much panache. The bold abstract print and pops of siren red are guaranteed to get those creative juices flowing, while the streamlined silhouette is perfect for layering over a pair of trousers or elevated culottes.
2. Loft Bi-Stretch Kick Crop Pants ($70): Power suit? Puh-lease. Ditch the suiting separates and round out your dress-over-pants ensemble with trend-right cropped flares that are corporate world-approved. Classic black grounds the getup in sophisticated territory, while bright colors and bold patterns will earn you extra style cred.
3. Halogen “Martine” Studded T-Strap Pump ($100): Every wardrobe needs a pair of kicks that makes the transition from desk to dinner totally flawless, and this studded pair is ready to rise to the challenge. Whether you toss ’em on with trousers or an accordion pleat midi, you really can’t go wrong.
Kirsten Dunst’s Chic Shirt Dress
One word: obsessed. Kirsten Dunst proved the power of the shirt dress for a jury photocall at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, donning this pale lemon yellow stunner with a sleek metallic belt and retro-glam red lip. Consider this foolproof outfit your new work-week standard. (Photo via Andreas Rentz/Getty)
4. Boden Sophia Shirt Dress ($118): Step aside chambray — this sunny yellow number has its sights set on closet MVP status. When you’re not rockin’ it at the office, style it alongside a denim jacket and lace-up booties for baseball games, barbecues and casual dinner dates.
5. ASOS Skinny Full Metal Waist Belt ($33): Enter the simple accessory that will take any piece in your wardrobe from dull to DDG in seconds. Who says nine-to-five style can’t be glam? Add this gilded cincher to an oversized shirt dress or ladylike A-line frock, then watch as the compliments come rolling in.
6. Dolce Vita It’s Been a Wild Stride Sandal ($100): Glitzy gold sandals might be a bit much for Monday morning, but these persimmon steppers feel right on cue. Slip-on-and-go styling does your lazy girl sensibilities right, while tonal straps are all about keepin’ it fierce.
Grimes’s Sporty Satin T-Shirt Gown
Amid a sea of glitzy gowns and ultra-glam accessories, singer Grimes’s Met Gala getup certainly stood out. The sports chic vibes were out in full force, with a bit of rocker edge thrown in just to keep things interesting. So what exactly makes this unexpected ensemble office-aspirational? The enviable athleisure feel that will make a 7am alarm a little bit more bearable. Elevate a t-shirt dress with polished steppers and refined accessories for an effortless look that can be styled on the fly — just in case you hit snooze a few too many times. (Photo via Larry Busacca/Getty)
7. & Other Stories Panel Dress ($100): Days where you just can’t even call for duds that require zero effort. Forget joggers — a t-shirt dress is the ultimate one-and-done piece your work wardrobe has been missing. Toss it on alongside leather booties, a top knot and a sleek, oversized watch for a getup that won’t compromise your on-point style.
8. Zara Flat Leather Shoes ($90): Whether it’s Monday or fri-yay, a pair of shoes that strikes just the right balance of comfy and chic is always a welcome addition to any outfit. Prepare for these calf hair loafers to give your resident pumps a run for their money with their crazy good looks and practical low profile. These bad boys were made for busy days running around town.
9. Charles & Keith Envelope Crossbody Bag ($59): With happy hour on your off-the-clock agenda, you definitely don’t want to be lugging a bulky tote around town. Stash this edgy envelope clutch in your bag before heading out the door to make the transition from desk to drinks totally seamless.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Blazer Dress
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took a down-to-business approach to her Daily Front Row Fashion Los Angeles Awards look, donning an Alexandre Vauthier double-breasted blazer dress and pointed-toe stilettos, proving less is definitely more. Be the cool kid at the water cooler by teaming a similar style with embellished slides and a negative space manicure for a look that can hang from AM to PM. (Photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty)
10. Topshop Double Breasted Blazer Dress ($125): Like your favorite blazer, only better. Your ultra-polished topper is typically the finishing touch on a fine-tuned nine-to-five ensemble, but here, it’s the main attraction. For max perfection, style this double breasted dress with menswear-inspired flats and mismatched earrings.
11. & Other Stories Shiny Brass Cuff ($60): Fact: No on-the-job #OOTD is complete without a little arm candy. Add this no-nonsense cuff to your collection stat to make office basics feel ahead of the curve.
12. Zara Golden Strap Sandals ($70): Black pumps aren’t the only way to get boardroom dressing right. These gilded platform sandals are guaranteed to make a good impression, especially when teamed with more traditional pieces, like a jacquard suit or a pleated A-line shirt dress.
Emilia Clarke knows that, when in doubt, don a midi dress for an Insta-worthy outfit that takes only seconds to throw together. For this year’s MTV Movie Awards, the Me Before You actress strutted her stuff out on the red carpet in a graphic plunge midi with silvery scalloped heels. While the combo has major after-hours potential, its sophisticated feel is a shoo-in for your work-week repertoire. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty)
13. & Other Stories Graffiti Print Dress ($115): Make those pre-coffee moments a little more bearable with a lightweight sheath dress that will inspire you to do less. With a flattering fit and eye-catching print, it has all your bases covered, so you can concentrate on slaying that to-do list rather than worrying about whether your getup passes inspection.
14. H&M Long Vest ($50): Sizzling summer temps mean traditional toppers are a no go — it’s just too hot! Keep cool without scandalizing HR by tossing this sleeveless long-line blazer on top of traditionally office-inappropriate pieces, like a strappy maxi dress or silk cami.
15. Loeffler Randall Lina Scallop D’Orsay Flat ($250): This is not a drill: These vibrant scalloped flats mark the end of an ugly-commuter-shoe era. Pack away those beat-up ballet flats (you know which ones we’re talking about) and style these stunners alongside silk joggers and a poplin short-sleeve top for a business-casual look that straight-up slays.
Blake Lively’s Cannes wardrobe was straight-up fire, photocalls included. While her lineup of glitzy gowns were downright DDG, it was the Cafe Society starlet’s red-hot jumpsuit that had us swooning hard. While the strappy style isn’t likely to get the thumbs up from your friends in HR, the wide leg trousers and belted bodice definitely will. (Photo via Andreas Rentz/Getty)
16. River Island Studio Red Palazzo Pants ($130): Warning: Siren-red trousers are not for the faint of heart, especially this pair with their wide leg styling. Balance out the look-at-me hue with a neutral top and minimalist baubles.
17. Mango Bow Top ($50): There’s just something about a tie-front detail that gets us every single time. Skip the white button-down when you’re looking to switch it up, and pop this sleeveless blouse over those fiery palazzo bottoms for a a scene-stealing take on tried-and-true office separates.
18. Ben-Amun Choker Necklace ($160): Sure, Blake rocked a matching skinny scarf to round out her red carpet outfit, but let’s be real — the elegant accessory can be a fussy option if you have a lot on your plate — like running from meeting to meeting. Feast your eyes upon the frills-free choker that will add runway-ready flair to your nine-to-five style without all the fuss.
Gemma Chan decided to ditch the seemingly obligatory sequins and body-skimming silhouettes for the British Academy Television Awards, stepping out in a Coachella-approved cold-shoulder dress and soft, romantic waves for a look that screamed boho babe. With a pair of suede mules and a swipe of berry lipstick, it’s a winning formula for your desk-to-dinner routine. (Photo via Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)
19. Zara Long Dress With Floral Print ($70): Heading to the office doesn’t have to mean ditching your favorite summer trends. Prairie chic is in full force and there are so many HR-okay ways to pull it off Monday through Friday. Crunch numbers while embracing your inner Stevie Nicks with a flowy floral maxi and statement pendant necklace with endless free-wheelin’ appeal.
20. Sol Sana Lixer Heel ($178): Fake it ’til you make it in a pair of stylin’ studded sandals that look a whole lot more complicated than they actually are. Velcro straps make for an easy on/off, so you can stay on top of your style game even when you’re short on time.
21. Madewell The Transport Tote: Tassel-Tie Edition ($168): Stepping out without all of your essential work swag — laptop, Moleskine, commuter kicks, etc. — in tow isn’t even an option, so you need a bag that can handle your unpredictable schedule. This timeless leather tote is every working girl’s dream with its sophisticated styling, roomy interior and strong straps that aren’t messing around.
Think you can’t do all-white when you’re on duty? Think again. Riley Keough makes a major argument for going monochromatic at the American Honey photocall with tailored trousers and an elegant collared blouse. Dig it? (Photo via Ian Gavan/Getty)
22. HD in Paris Briza Tank ($98): If you’re sticking to the basics, better make sure they’re the best. A step above your everyday button-down, this layered blouse will be the first thing you reach for in the morning to give colorful midi skirts, silk joggers and longline blazers a boost.
23. Wilfred Lalemant Pant ($135): Step into that Monday morning meeting in style with these minimalist slacks that will instantly earn you best-dressed-employee status — they’re that good. #ProTip: Pair them with a bright architectural top and snazzy drop earrings for a bit of mid-week color therapy.
24. Kurt Geiger Dolly Court Shoes ($170): Thanks to these textured metallic heels, your workday getup is now officially after-hours approved. The high-shine finish and croco pattern lend sparkle and intrigue to tropical prints and neutrals alike.
The dance floor isn’t the only place you can pull-off metallics — Michelle Jenner proved at the Julieta photocall that quicksilver separates are a must for every girl boss’s capsule wardrobe. She teamed an embellished A-line skirt with a simple sleeveless blouse and classy heels for a flawless look that’s as easy-peasy as it is fashionable. (Photo via Andreas Rentz)
25. Rachel Antonoff Happy Tee ($168): You definitely won’t be ruffling any feathers when you sashay into the office in this collared top. Play up the pop of color with tassel earrings in flashy shades of pink, green and blue.
26. ASOS Metallic Asymmetric Layer Mini Skirt ($86): You can’t be boxed in and neither can your style, so why conform to a uniform of pencil skirts, trousers and button-downs? You do you, girl, by taking this silvery asymmetric skirt for a spin with a graphic high-neck tank and peep-toe booties.
27. Daisy Street Floral Embellished Shoe ($49): If you thought work appropriate meant drab and dull, think again. These flirty pumps are flipping the script on everyday attire with their pink faux suede upper and flashy floral embellishments.
Whitney Port dazzled at the Daily Front Row Fashion Los Angeles Awards in a strapless wrap dress and bold red lip. While shoulder-baring styles won’t win you any favors with the sartorial authorities (a.k.a. HR), crossover styling and an elongated hemline are guaranteed to get their stamp of approval. (Photo via Frederick M. Brown/Getty)
28. ASOS Clean Obi Wrap Dress With V Front ($73): Calling all boss ladies: This obi wrap dress was made for powering through the work week in style. Strut into the office in neutral pumps and sleek jewelry to nail that deadline, then shake things up with neon sandals and a trend-right choker for date night.
29. Calvin Klein “Cimi” Block Heel Sandal ($99): Be it in the boardroom or out on the dance floor, this blush block-heel sandal will deliver everywhere you step foot. While it’s perfect for showing off a killer pedi now, it’ll give you an edge up on your style once fall rolls around with sparkly socks or tights.
30. BaubleBar Graffiti Drops ($32): DO add these vivid graphic earrings to your daily grind and watch as simple shift dresses and blasé blouses become It-girl-approved staples.
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