Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Off To Work I Go….

My job is changing. I’ve been working as long as I’ve been a housewife (excepting the nearly 2 months it took me to find said work) as a designer/art director for a small restaurant magazine based in the suburbs of Chicago. And for the past 2+ years, I’ve been working from home. Now, that is all going to change. My company is expanding, and this means investing in professional office space. For a company that has worked the remote/digital route for the past couple years, this is going to be a big shift. But it’s a positive move and one I’m excited to be a part of. I only have to be in this new office 3 days a week, but all I can think about is…… What Not To Wear.

No, not the TV show (well, sort of)…. more like: How do I make the shift from my normal routine of wearing PJs and lounge clothes for working from home TO dressing in a moderately professional and appropriate manner for working from an office 3 days a week? My wardrobe sports a fair selection of business casual attire (thanks to previous jobs and some fruitful shopping trips with my fashion-conscious mother), but most of it is at least 2 years old and I’m looking to invest in a few good pieces that will bring it up to speed. So, a la the wardrobe stylings of one of my favorite bloggers, here’s my “palette”…

From Top, left to right:

Roll-Cuff Blazer (Kohl’s) The one I originally found seems to have disappeared from their website, but you get the idea. A classic black blazer will never go out of style and can be dressed up or down: pair it with jeans and a cute top for casual; or pumps and a button down for work.

Annalise Ruffle Cami (J.Crew*) I really do like the style of J. Crew. Alas, it is a tad beyond the price range in which I typically shop. Believe me, if I could afford to pay $80-$200+ for every piece in my closet, I probably would. But then, that would take all the fun out of bargain shopping (I’m pretty much a pro bargain-hunter)! Also, if you check the link, this top in the mustard-y color did actually exist on the J. Crew website at one point…. though sadly now it seems to be sold out. It’s more the color I love than the actual style. See note below.

Gray Open Front Cardigan (Kohl’s) A cardigan will never fail you. An open-front cardigan seems to lend itself more to casual than business attire but, like the blazer, it can be dressed up with a nicer top and a belt cinched at the waist; or dressed down with a cute cami and skinny jeans.

Roll-Up Boyfriend Cardigan (Old Navy) Yes, another cardigan. You really can never have too many (in my honest opinion). One in every color! Speaking of color, you will notice some bright pops of it in this collection. The grayness of winter does not have to mean a gray-centric wardrobe, and I picked this palette to add some highlights to my darker pieces and also in anticipation of a lighter, brighter spring wardrobe. These fun-hued pieces will add flare to my cold-weather garments while transitioning smoothly into the next season. How, you ask? Pair this pretty cardigan with some white wide-leg trousers and a pair of cute espadrilles and POW! You’re ready for spring!

Ikat Floral Bungalow Skirt (J. Crew) I love this skirt! Ikat + flora pattern = fabulous. And replete with options for mixing and matching! This a-line skirt is really the most pivotal item in this palette, as I tried to base several outfits around its color scheme. Although it is pricier (thanks, J. Crew) it will probably be my first purchase from this collection.

Ruffle Button-Down Shirt (Kohl’s) This top speaks for itself. Pretty ruffles, fun color (one will little presence in my wardrobe), easy to wear for work or play. And it evens comes with a coordinating belt… Pretty and easy and fun, oh my!

Black Ankle Boot (DSW) I have avoided the “bootie” trend for a while because I wasn’t too sure I could pull it off (thick, short legs are not flattered by such things). But it occurred to me that these work just as well under pants as with dresses or skinny jeans (at least until the trend wears off). And sometimes you just want the look of a boot without wearing a full boot — really, what’s a girl to do? Well, buy an ankle boot.

Embellished Satin Tank (Kohl’s) I really like this color (I’m partial to blue), and the length of this top means it could be worn tunic-style over pants or tucked into a skirt for a different look. Top it with a blazer, a cardigan or go bare — whatever the look, I think this top is going to be a great piece for mixing and matching!

Straight-Leg Black Pants Last but not least, a classically cut pair of pants. I don’t have a link for this one because I really haven’t found a pair that I think will work for me. There are a lot out there, but they seem to be either too flared, too wide or too skinny. I foresee a lot of trying on in efforts to find the perfect pair, but I find that process all part of the fun (for the most part). And a flattering pair of black pants is really a necessity in any wardrobe — so I’ll let you know when I find mine!

*Nota Bene: Because I shop mostly Sale items, some of these are no longer available in my size/color. So, these are really just visual standards for the types/styles of pieces I want to add to my wardrobe.

So, what are you picking out to make your wardrobe more fashion-forward and flexible for coming seasons and/or events???

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