“How can I improve my everyday style?” “How can I make my outfit more interesting?” “How can I reflect my sense of style at my corporate job?”
Women often ask me for my silver bullet to quickly pull together a stylish look, and my answer is always the same – add a well-fitting blazer! As more workplaces shift to a perpetual state of “business casual” it can be challenging to navigate the sliding dress codes while still feeling empowered by your attire.
For women on the go, whether in a traditional office setting or taking client calls on your cell while balancing a young family, I find that a blazer in a fun color or textured fabric is a magic trick to polish up any look.
Photography by Lydia Hudgens
Here are a few strategies to integrate a blazer into your everyday style!
If you love jeans, but don’t want to look under-dressed:
Denim has taken over as the go-to pant of choice for most women, and while it is increasingly common, I’ve always found it challenging to feel like jeans were appropriate for my workdays. I grew up on the east coast wearing a Catholic school uniform from kindergarten through senior year of high school, and very rarely did I wear denim, so I am especially conscious now about how I integrate the iconic pants into my personal style.
A look I love is pairing high-waisted dark denim with a bodysuit or sleeveless crewneck top and a monochrome blazer in a shade that pairs nicely with the bodysuit. This is an easy rule to follow –white top/bodysuit, white blazer, grey top/bodysuit, grey blazer. You get it! By focusing on a single contrasting color on top, and wearing a dark wash that won’t read too informal, you can wear denim with confidence and ease to any modern work environment, whether it is a coffee meeting or a presentation in your casual office. Don’t worry too much about matching the color shades exactly – they’ll work together whether they’re an exact match, or soft complements to each other. Another favorite of mine – a Chanel-esque tweed blazer from Zara. Check often, they add great options bi-weekly.
If you’re in a traditional workplace, like a bank or law office:
Catherine wears the You Can Change the World Shirt by Maggie Marilyn, $490
Also pictured: The Revolution Shirt in Blue Stripe by Maggie Marilyn, $445
The 1980’s introduced the power-suit to women – big shoulders, big lapels, big hair – and big opportunities. Flash forward to today and suits are streamlined and utilitarian, and frankly, boring! If you’re a girl with style and a Series 7, it might be difficult to integrate pops of personality in your workday look without raising a few eyebrows. While I disagree that you should feel that your clothing has to bore to fit in to a corporate environment, I do agree that your clothes should never draw the wrong kind of attention.
My suggestion for women in conservative environments is to focus on adding a layer of complexity to your work suit through your blouse. There are increasingly fabulous options on the market that focus on adding interesting cuffs, necklines, and shapes that all pair perfectly with a crisp tailored blazer or jacket.
Play with Proportions: Blazers are NOT restricted to pants!
I am not a fan of following the rules – fashion rules or otherwise. Therefore, I always encourage women to think beyond the traditional jacket and pant pairing and explore styling lots of different outfits with a blazer or tailored jacket.
For transitional weather, try pairing a blazer with shorts and a feminine blouse. You can also wear them over flared mini-skirts for a flirty yet femme look. Worried about showing your legs? A jacket that covers your arms has the added benefit of offsetting a bit of skin on the bottom half of your look.
Give it a go – and DM me your outfits! I can’t wait to see how great you look – and feel!