If you’re feeling like a pimp, go and brush your shoulders off! Gotta love Jay-Z;). The shoulder trends which are still hot this season are a great relief after a pretty boring season before in fashionland (about 1.5 year ago). It all started with the Balmain show last year, where the big shoulders were (re)introduced.
Kim Kardashian with the Balmain blazer (picture from www.fashion4less.com)
Beyonce wearing Balmain blazer (picture from www.celebrityfashiontips.com)
There are two shoulder trends this season which I particularly like and which are very suitable for pimpin’ your outfit for the office:
- Puffed sleeves
- Shoulder details
Below you can find a couple of examples of puffed sleeves items which I really love and might inspire you (Items are from H&M, Asos.com and Topshop, check picture url for source). I will make a follow up post with shoulder details items and a couple of tips and tricks how to combine these items for the office.
I want you to imagine this: you woke up this morning and thought “yay the sun is shining, today I’m going to wear my new bright yellow top (or any other piece of garment which is a bit controversial)!” It also matches awesome with your new bright colored flower skirt, so you put that one on as well. It might be a bit too colorful for work, but hey the sun is shining and it looks so awesome, how much harm could a bit of color do?
Well; next thing you’re walking through the office and everybody is looking like “wow, were you still sleeping when you got dressed!!??”. Who cares! You’re happy, loving the colors and know you look good, right? Next thing you go into a meeting and your manager makes a remark; “well somebody was feeling very happy this morning!” You don’t answer that, because he probably thinks you look hot and is too tight up to say something nice. After the meeting you start to feel more and more uncomfortable under the rays of huh!!?? Looks and at the end of the day you decide you’re never, E-VAR, wearing that top and skirt again!
What’s the point of this story? Well it certainly isn’t meant to expel colors of the work floor or anything stupid like that (J’adore colors!). This story could have been about any piece of garment which you might feel is a bit inappropriate but you decide to wear anyway. Remember guideline # 1?
If it feels inappropriate and people are looking like it’s inappropriate it probably is inappropriate. (For now at least)
The point is: if something is inappropriate you don’t need someone to tell you, you will feel it in your gut (by your colleagues’ or clients’ reactions).
Now before you think I’m from the decentness police, please note I would be the last to say that if something is inappropriate you shouldn’t wear it. Hey that’s how jeans got introduced in our office, and I am very grateful to the person who persevered, despite all those disapproving looks from the CEO. That’s the “for now at least” behind the sentence;).
What you do with this knowledge is totally up to you, I just tried to explain how to recognize it:).
Even though I think she looks pretty good (she’s wearing clothes!), how would you feel wearing Mariah Carey’s outfit to work?
Prints are great to cheer up a boring outfit. And the last part of the sentance is crucial for business styling. Where I just saw a young girl this morning who was wearing very, very cool orange and black printed leggings (she was very cute and blushing when I gave her a compliment) this is usually a bit too crazy for most office people.
I also know there’s a huge running trend in fashionland and in the streets to mix different prints together, and no matter how much I do like that, you have to be a bit careful in a corporate environment. There is a great potential risk that, in case of a bad combo, you will look like a blind clown. NOT funny.
So what to do with prints? Well there are a few tips&tricks of using prints in your outfit:
- Use a print in one item and keep the rest of outfit simple. This is too easy of course.
- When working with prints pay attention to the shape and quality of the item, as a print can make a cheap material or shape look even cheaper. Just to give you an example: that icky, polyester blouse fabric, looks so much worse with a flower or animal print.
- Even though I love my kittehs, especially animal prints are a danger zone. Try to combine an animal print with a classic item like a blazer or pencil skirt
- When combining different prints (sometimes fashion just takes over:D) try to work with a same color scheme or print shapes in larger and smaller sizes.
Try experimenting with prints as it really can give your outfit just that little fizz it needs. Below are a few printed items I think are great and might get your imagination running.
Print the peace! Ivana
Items are form Asos.com, Forever21 and H&M
Guidelines, yuk! True fashion doesn’t have boundaries (who would think gym suits would go into fashion?) and if there are any they are there to be broken (Answer: lady Gaga)!
Pretty hard statement for a sell out huh;). Well let me just tone it down a bit because even the most hard core fashion fanatics do follow some guidelines. Let me just give you a couple of examples:
- Dress according to your figure: seriously can you imagine the day that muffin rolls go into style?
- No matter what you’re wearing, wear it with confidence (and a smile): A great outfit is always a FAIL if you don’t have the attitude (and smile) to match it. You can always fake the attitude (and smile) of course, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
- Probably the most important guideline: don’t copy, be original: This is at least what all fashion people are pretending, but if you look closely most them are copying (why in heavens name would you wear Uggs otherwise? LOL) and there are only a couple true original people.
Now whether you agree or disagree with these core guidelines they are just an example that guidelines can be pretty handy in the sense that they do give you a starting point. They are there to give you a big ass hint to please exclude some options which might be a bad idea.
The same thing goes for dressing fashionably in a corporate environment (although the core guidelines I mentioned above always apply;)). Before we get into the corporate fashion guidelines let me just emphasize that these are GUIDELINES and not rules that cannot be broken. This means if you don’t like them no one is going to force you to follow them (although social control can be a b*:)). And also if you’re opposing to any guidelines at all just imagine your fat boss with a fashionable V neck and all his chest hair popping out of it. I hope that illustrates the necessity of guidelines;).
Well here we go:
Corporate fashion guidelines (v 1.0):
#1: If it feels inappropriate and people are looking like it’s inappropriate, it probably is inappropriate.
#2: Go for a decent cleavage, if you must have any cleavage at all…
#3: Pay attention to the length of your mini skirts and mini dresses.
#4: Be careful with excessive nudeness.
These are just a couple guidelines which I think are at the core of corporate fashion, not the ten commandments.
Thou shall go in peace! Ivana
Note 1: Just one sentence as a guideline might be a bit confusing without explanation. That’s why I will devote a post to every guideline and try to explain why it is relevant.
Note 2: There are of course many more guidelines so please feel free to fill me in with additions and I will update the post if I think it’s a missing guideline.
Heels *sigh*, I can seriously stare all day long at shoes, and especially pretty heels! Since I discovered heels after my cowboy boots period I haven’t been able to take them off! It’s seriously an addiction that started growing on me when I decided I had to dress more feminine.
It starts with an inch and ends up with not liking any outfit without heels! Also it’s an addiction in the sense that the longer you wear them, you want (correction: need, crave, adore!) higher and higher heels. It’s crazy but the way your legs look, the shape of the foot and the way you walk when you’re wearing heels gives you an instant estrogen shot mixed with a couple of drops of adrenaline. Awesomely awesome I can tell you:D!
Yeah, yeah, yeah I know the common objection is that you’re feet will be in serious pain after a while. But the more you endure, the more you get used to that and the whole estrongen thingy is addictive. A real pro seriously doesn’t feel any pain (if the heels are the right size of course, but that’s a whole different story). I’m proud to say that I can last through a whole shopping day and not have to crawl home:D (not bragging at all:P).
Now what’s the point of this whole declaration of love/adoration to heels (no I’m not drewling:))? Well I’ll tell you. A whole day shopping session on heels: no problemo, dancing all night on 10 cm high heels: peace of cake, 5 days a week a 10 hrs day at the office: no can do!
Man was I optimistic! I thought hey I’m a real pro why shouldn’t I be able to sit a whole day in a chair with my heels on? Well because you don’t sit in your chair a whole day. In fact you’re running a freakin’ marathon when it’s busy times! The issue is not any pain, but the fact that you move so slow! You’re always slower than wearing flats and it’s really frustrating to move in Matrix mode (mwhoaaaaaaaaah) when you need something fast. Also working is a lot more exhausting than college (hey at least for me) so when I have to wake up at 5 AM sometimes, heels are seriously the last thing I want to wear. Strange, but true.
Before I started working I seriously had 1 pair of flats which I wore twice a year. After 5 months on the job I was broken and forced to get some flats desperately! Now I have peace with the fact that sometimes you have to wear flats. It’s also healthy for your feet and hey even Victoria Beckham cracked! That’s just as likely as Anna Wintour wearing Lady Gaga’s gym suit, so I take comfort in that.
Below a few cute flatsies (all from Asos.com) that I lined up for looking as pretty as practical:D. (I seriously predict a big fat come back of the loafers and pointy ballerina’s on the streets)
Peace to my heels and flats! Ivana
Note: It’s not that I don’t like flats, I think they’re cute. But it’s like comparing chocolate ice cream (pretty good nom) with Ben&Jerry’s Phish Food (wowzers *sigh*). Anyway it’s good to find a balance.
No not a typo! I just love to make up crazy words (like snushi) and now I can finally use them;).
Anyway you could read about this topic in the ABOUT section but I would like to pay a little bit more attention to something that is the whole essence of someone’s style: combining different pieces into a whole picture and making a statement.
My definition of fashion is being creative by combining pieces into something that makes you feel comfortable and happy about the way you look. Usually it also has something to do with your personality, but not necessarily (I have met the most wonderful people who dress ‘boring’ according to fashion guidelines but are the funniest people). This is all fine when you’re free to wear anything you like in your personal life.
BUT! At one point in our lives we will have to find a job (unless you don’t like working or have rich parents;))and usually this is in a corporate environment. Not everyone has creative ambitions of being an artist and that’s fine. The only trouble (from a fashion point of view) if you do like a job in the corporate environment (like me) is that they have those boring dress codes!
Grey suits, wide skirts underneath the knee, V-neck jumpers with a blouse…. Brrrr already gives me nightmares LOL. Sorry but if you’re a fashionista these items feel like a chain of your personality.
I can already hear the fashionista in the back of my head screaming “what does it matter what you’re wearing, as long as you’re good at what you do!”. Yeah dream on sweety; the world is dominated by men and women who really don’t care about fashion and will be offended if you don’t look appropriate. Please go ahead if you want to change the world, but adapting to just a few guidelines will make it a lot easier for yourself and achieving your ambitions. There I’ve said it!
I first felt like a sell out when I came to this conclusion but the beauty is that it’s not necessarily true! And that’s the point we return to the power of combiminations! This is the backdoor which makes it possible to introduce fashion into the corporate world and work on your ambitions without compromising your own style.
The thing I found out in the year that I have been working is that there is a level playing field of dress codes. If you make combinations that are within that level playing field you can be pretty fashionable, without people looking at you like you have gone mental! It’s hard to say what the level playing field is in your organization. Obviously because there is a difference whether you’re for instance a lawyer or a back office employee. And even between firms in the same industry there can be huge differences.
The good news is that I do think that there a couple universal guidelines which are more or less steady and can be used to make combinations that are fashionable but still appropriate. I can devote whole new posts to those guidelines so I will do that:). In the mean time I will leave you with a couple of examples which I think are really fashionable and would fit perfectly in a corporate environment.