With spring officially here, and today being Easter (Happy Easter if you celebrate) I thought I would focus today’s post in this series on how to wear pastels to work.  Just like in last week’s post, where I touched on the softness and femininity of wearing floral prints to work, wearing pastels comes with the same warning: they can be soft, delicate, a bit passive and not necessarily powerful.  However, it is okay to wear soft colors to the office if you wear them right, and in today’s post I am going to give you my tips and some outfit inspiration.

How to Wear Pastels to Work

Tip #1- Wear pastels in structured and tailored pieces

My first tip is to avoid pastels in very soft silhouettes.  This also includes ruffles, soft pleating, swishy fabrics or pieces that look too girly or young.  Instead, look pastels in tailored items, like this mint dress from J. Crew.  The classic shift balances out the softness of the color and looks professional, not flirty.

What you wear with this dress is also important.  Here, I styled it with a cream tailored blazer from Boden, a Stella & Dot necklace that not only picks up the mint shade but adds depth to the outfit with the navy accent, a navy handbag from Lauren Ralph Lauren, nude MICHAEL Michael Kors pumps and simple gold studs earrings.  The entire look is professional in appearance while being soft and feminine at the same time.

Tip #2- Anchor the lightness of the pastels with darker shades

A great way to wear pastels to work is to anchor your pastel pieces with richer and darker ones.  Here, for example, I paired this very light pink blazer from Anne Klein with charcoal grey Calvin Klein trousers to ground the lightness of the pastel shade.  To add some more richness, underneath the blazer, I layered a sleeveless pintuck top that has more vibrant shade of pink in it.   The outfit is finished with a long silver necklace, grey stud earrings, a grey handbag from Vince Camuto and a pair of bright pink pumps from Nine West.

Tip #3- Dress Tonally

Another way to wear pastels to work is to pair the pastel item with tonally darker shade.  An example of this is the way I styled this pastel blue skirt from Reiss with this navy top from Modcloth.  When combining colors tonally, not only should the colors be in the same family but the undertones of both shades should be similar, meaning yellow based or blue based.

To add some pop to this outfit, I styled this look with pink, and added a bright pink belt from Lodis, a pair of pink earrings from Kate Spade and a pair of blue and pink printed pumps from Ted Baker.  To finish the outfit, I used the same navy handbag as in the first outfit.

Lastly, if you want to wear pastels in small doses at work, consider pastel accessories, like pastel colored shoes, jewelry and handbags.  This is a great way to add some softness to the richer colors in your work wardrobe.

Check out these other pastel styles for work