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  • Writer's picturePaxton Lewis

Avoiding Monochrome Monotony, Part II: Adding a Little Flare

As promised, I am following up on another way I avoid monochrome monotony. Before I share my next tip, I want to emphasize that monochrome monotony is not synonymous with choosing a monochromatic wardrobe or relying on monochromatic staples in your wardrobe. I assimilate "monochrome monotony" to the stereotypical FBI agent outfit--black/navy bottoms, a white button-down shirt, and black/navy shoes--with no variety in other colors, styles, patterns, etc. That look is a restrictive one, inhibiting our personal creativity and unique sense of self while placing us in an unnecessarily small (and useless) box. I believe that, as individuals, we grow and thrive in the workplace through our ability to choose. And I believe that, as a community, we advance and build upon our creations through our ability to share independent opinions, questions, and suggestions. That foundation can take shape in the way we define our physical selves, sometimes through our wardrobe.

As business women, we sometimes let that box of inhibition control our corporate style. That box has provided the necessary backbone to structure a professional dress code. But I believe that it has simultaneously--and maybe accidentally--stolen our creative, personal, or unique initiatives because of the lack of guidance regarding how far that box can expand. For example, what is business casual? How do you define it? Is there a spectrum of choices between casual, business casual, and business formal? How do you determine where your profession sits on that spectrum? Or even, who determines where your profession sits on that spectrum? Add in the fact that women are perceived to have so many "options" for corporate fashion and we are left with a lot of confusion, little guidance, and continuous concerns of balancing feminine-but-not-too-feminine with professional-and-appealing-but-not-uptight-or-sexy. Anyone else have a headache after that?

Well now that I've shared my unprovoked two cents and current migraine-creating questions with you, here's my second approach to avoiding monochrome monotony: Wear the basics (white, navy, and/or black blouses, pants, and pencil skirts) with a little bit of flare. Your choice of "flare" should connect with your personal style and comfort. You could include ruffles, puff sleeves, a bow, various textures, funky collars, a belt, etc. Whatever it maybe, your flare becomes the something extra that transforms a basic outfit into a unique, eye-catching style. Here are a couple examples of my personal choices of "flare" when I'm in the mood to wear mostly black outfits, which will always be a go-to for me--

In this first outfit, I am wearing a navy blouse with a wispy, feminine, black bow and a quirky, royal-esque ruffle collar and cuffs. I added a simple black pencil skirt, sheer black tights, and a pair of black suede grandma-inspired pumps. I personally love mixing navy and black because it challenges me to pair risky colors that sometimes clash. The key is to find a navy that has black trim or patterns to tie the colors together!

In the outfit below, I always feel so feminine and sleek yet comfortable. The added ruffle to my slightly sheer shirt gives the outfit a little more character. While I'm wearing a pop of red in this photo as well, I would happily accessorize this outfit with black pumps or ankle boots as well.

In this last outfit, I paired a plain black blouse with a black and white vertically striped skirt; I also chose to wear a pair of sheer black tights instead of a pair of opaque black tights, which helps these simple black heels stand out a little more!

What's your choice of "flare"? Share your personal favorites or ask me how I can help you find yours! Thanks so much for reading. Xo, Pax

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Mar 07, 2019

Great tips! I especially love your first outfit with the navy blouse- chic but still so professional!

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