If I have seen it once I have seen it a thousand times, bored with their work wardrobe a woman will try something different and buy a piece that is unlike anything else in their wardrobe.  The problem is because this piece was bought more as an attempt to shake things up than it was to enhance and work with what they already own, it winds up sitting in the closet, eventually making its way to the back to collect dust.   It’s why I love getting to the end of a closet when I am with a client, all these pieces come out of hiding and we have a good laugh.

I understand the reason why women do this.  Boredom can make even the most rational a little rash.  I know I have enough poorly thought out haircuts in my past to account for this.  Yet, when it comes to fashion, I think it is more than just boredom that causes this, I think this behavior comes from not understanding that keeping  work style simple but still interesting isn’t as hard as it looks.

The pieces that are acceptable for the workplace are pretty limited.  Even in business casual work environments it is required that pieces be professional and understated.  You can choose from basic pants, cardigans, blouses, sweaters, skirts and dresses.  How hard can it be, right?  The problem arises when a woman doesn’t just want to look acceptable at work but to appropriately stand out.  This is when I get the phone call from a frustrated woman who is tired of looking like just another “acceptably dressed nobody.”  They know that they can go the rest of their careers dressing exactly as they have been and nobody would ever call them out for what they are wearing.  However, they also know that they aren’t exactly shining either.

In today’s post I am going to show you three outfits that contain pieces that are in the average woman’s work wardrobe but manage to look a little more inspired with some simple and easy to execute differences.

How to Keep Your Work Style Simple Yet Interesting

Outfit #1


A few weeks ago, I wrote this post on colors that can act like neutrals.  Checking out these alternatives can be an easy way to start infusing some fresh pieces into your wardrobe that will not only set you apart from the pack but will also have the same versatility in your wardrobe as all the other neutral shades you have been wearing.

In the outfit above I worked tonally.  If you are afraid of color combining, taking the tonal approach might be a little simpler for you to try.  Using this burgundy skirt from Reiss, I added this long sleeve blush blouse from Banana Republic that can be worn with or without a jacket.  It has just a small detail that makes it a novelty basic, meaning it has some novelty but can still be a workhorse in the closet.  Over the top, I added a tweed Veronica Beard blazer and I finished the look with a long necklace from Jenna Sands, All Saints bag and olive pumps from Michael Kors.  The small splash of olive is also what gives this simple look a bit more interesting.

Outfit #2

In addition to stepping out with colors, the next tip is to keep your wardrobe pieces basic and finish the looks with some trend or pop.  This quick boredom cure increases the mileage of pieces you may worry are a bit snoozy or redundant.

I styled these deep red pants from BOSS Hugo Boss with a basic camel v-neck cashmere sweater from Halogen.  There’s nothing earth shattering about these pieces.  What makes them interesting is the colors that are combined.  Additionally, what gives this outfit some freshness is the use of these leopard block heel pumps from Sole Society and the Lafayette 148 chunky necklace.  Even though you wouldn’t carry the bag around all day at work, the Reiss tote is a nice complement to the outfit.

Outfit #3


When it some to simple work style, often, a little goes a long way.  Instead of purchasing a top that is so tricked out and can only be worn one way, try adding small hits of trend to wake up your more basic pieces.  Chances are, you have a basic sheath and cardigan in your closet, like the Theory dress and L.K. Bennett cardigan I am showing above.  To give these very simple pieces an update, I styled them with a pair of burgundy booties from Tommy Hilfiger and would look great for work styled with dark grey tights.  I finished the outfit with a pendant necklace from Stella & Dot and grey bag from J. Crew.

The next time you go shopping for work clothing, remember, giving your simple outfits some interest and inspiration doesn’t mean you have to buy difficult to wear novelty pieces.   Look to color, small details and pops of trend to create outfits that stand out and fit in at the same time.