Change your job, change your style

March 9, 2011 in Fashion, Style by alliemcc

I’ve been hearing from a number of people lately who are starting new jobs or new positions at their longterm employer—it’s so nice to hear positive employment news for a change!

Change has been afoot in fashion as well—New York Fashion Week kicked off the global presentations for Fall 2011, the Spring fashion magazines are out, and several magazines had a reshuffling of their masthead, notably the editor-in-chief position at French Vogue.

Stateside, the trendy shopper mag, Lucky, also acquired a new EIC.  Brandon Holley’s inaugural Editor’s Letter described her transition from working at home to moving back into the office.

I think it’s a storyline familiar to a lot of women…

Before I started as the editor of Lucky, I worked from home running a website. Life was simple: I played with my baby. I threw on sweats. I hit the mute button while Silicon Valley guys talked social referral optimization and gamifying content, and I chopped avocados for Taco Night Tuesday. It was a lovely existence.

Then my son Smith moved on to nursery school. I moved on to an office job (at a fashion magazine, no less).

Here’s the good part:

My closet, too, needed to move on. The first thing I did when I went from work-from-home status to an office was rethink my wardrobe.

I got rid of the sweats, the man-size sweaters, and the shapeless T-shirts, no matter how soft. In my newly spacious shelves, I put together a wardrobe of 15 strategic pieces. […] I bought mostly separates—shirts, skirts, pants, a trench—plus heels, flats, and one pair of very high, very painful, very worth-it boots.

[…] See, I have a theory: Dressing for work doesn’t have to feel like work. […] It’s amazing what an emerald blouse can do. Or a drapey menswear suit. Or a pair of stunning platform loafers. Your weekday wardrobe can be every bit as chic as your weekend one. Truly.

That’s some great advice for someone taking any new course in life: 1st job, new job, new responsibilities, new season—whatever it may be.

Look for separates

New shoes that work with everything

A classic jacket or coat


In the same issue (January 2011), Lucky highlighted 10 pieces from In Add Minus, with the claim that they could create 7 weeks (that’s full weeks, not work-weeks) worth of outfits.

lucky 10 pieces

Image via

I think their presentation is pretty lazy for its lack of actual styling—are you really going to wear a sleeveless top by itself in the same week that you wear a jacket or sweater every other day?—but the idea of a “capsule wardrobe” is really intriguing to me as a solution to a very familiar problem.

I think anyone could borrow the formula from these 10 pieces and create a work wardrobe with some real longevity.

Just add some pieces that you already own— a vest, turtleneck, button front shirt, plus accessories—to add to the layering mix, and consider it done. That’s 49 days of workwear, people.

Here’s the formula:

1 unusual jacket or cardigan

1 classic jacket

1 classic cardigan

2 blouses

1 dress

1 skirt

1 pair of leggings

2 pair slacks

All in a range of 4 colors.

lucky 10 pcs 4 colors

Fill in your 4 choices here. I recommend at least 2 neutrals, a hue that pops while also complementing your coloring, and a mid-tone shade. You’re looking for a range of contrast (light to dark) and color (bright to neutral).

49 outfits for work is almost 10 weeks, about 2 months. If you hate shopping, can’t be bothered with styling an outfit every day, or just don’t have the time, try a change of pace in your wardrobe habits. Consider engineering your own capsule dressing system.

Let me know how it works out!

And if you’d like to work with me on creating your own work-ready wardrobe, I’m now booking appointments for my Personal Style Services. Contact me to set up a free initial consultation, or click here for details on how I can help you.

If you found this article helpful, pass it on! Use the buttons below to share.