By: Chelsea Weintraub (Quinnipiac University)
For some of us, summer work attire primarily consists of swimsuits, shorts and flip flops. For the rest of us who have abandoned our teenage jobs as camp counselors and life guards, we are dominated by corporate America’s old-school protocol. No open toed shoes. No jeans. No cleavage. Casual Fridays don’t exist, either. Okay. So that basically leaves a three-piece suit as our only acceptable option. Dilemma – the never-ending heat wave in Manhattan does not seem to have an end-date any time soon. While I have been stressed out scouring for the perfect summer staples to ease my mornings when raiding my closet for the perfect outfit, I have yet to be defeated. I share with you my faves to wear to work. Who knew the office could be so fashionable?
Putting the look together…
1. Dresses are always an easy go-to, especially in the summer. Upside – all you have to do is throw it on and worry about accessories later. The downside? If there’s one thing I have in common with Paris Hilton, it’s that I never like to wear the same thing twice (and if you’ve ever read Fierce Style: How to Be Your Most Fabulous Self by the fiercest winner in Project Runway history, Christian Siriano, he also endorses the “never do the same look twice” rule). While I obsess over dresses in the summer time (the prints are always to die for), I have an easy way to cheat the system. Find something that’s a solid color in a cut like the A-line or a simple shift dress. Then have fun pairing them with some great statement jewelry (turquoise never gets old… and gold is always great on tanned skin) or a belt (when in doubt, belt it). Check out the line Aqua sold at Bloomingdale’s, too!
My latest finds:
2. Sleeveless tops – this can get tricky when working in the office. I often get away with it sans cardigan. Find something with a really wide strap (no spaghetti straps. Sorry, but no one wants to see what color your bra straps are, no matter how cute your undergarments may be). Don’t shy away from prints or ruffles or colors. Embrace the fun summer collections and flaunt what it has to offer! If you absolutely MUST do a cardigan, find one that is a) cropped, b) short sleeved, or c) BOTH!
3. The pencil skirt – for the longest time I objected the pencil skirt. I’m only 5’4″. I don’t have legs for days. And I have bit of a butt. A friend finally convinced me to actually try one on back in the fall that fell just above the knee & I’ve been infatuated ever since. My personal fave? The Studio Stretch from Express. They always come in your basic colors AND there’s usually a matching jacket if you like. Inside tip alert: Find a high-waisted pencil skirt and tuck a Grecian style blouse into it. Chic AND simple. *Pair it with a shirt & tuck it in!
4. Shoes – I love LOVE love shoes. I never feel sad packing away my Fryes or my over-the-knee boots when the temperature heats up because I know that my 4-inch gladiator heels & jeweled sandals can come back out soon! Unfortunately, my fun shoes don’t get to make any appearances in the office. I am opposed to wearing flats just to get me to the office, so I have learned to compromise and settle for a two-inch heel at most… okay, it’s more like 2 ½ or 3. Find a nude rounded-toe pump that goes with EVERYTHING, a simple pointed-toe black heel, or a cute espadrille.
5. Jewelry – as mentioned above, turquoise never goes out of style. Love to pair it with a tan and a white blouse. I’ve never been one for big earrings (you’ll never catch me without my pearls, and I hate wearing chunky dangling earrings that are heavy and pull) so I like to go with cocktail rings and big necklaces. If you’re in the city, go to HENRI BENDELS. [Sidebar: I took my best friend’s boyfriend there recently to help find her the perfect b-day gift and he didn’t understand my love for the traditional Bendel’s print. He thought it was too reminiscent of a jail cell, while I’ve never been booked myself and associate it with SATC’s Charlotte York’s timeless style]. They have the BEST selection and I have yet to find something I dislike in there. Limited access to Fifth Avenue and an endless spending limit? Try Express. They are constantly getting cute pieces in (and I’ve found the BEST cocktail rings there this summer).
Ciao for now. Xoxo.