Updated: Jan 16, 2019
When I first started acquiring business clothes, I basically only reached for black and white everything. I had no idea if I could "pull off" colors in my business wardrobe, whether (and which) colors were even appropriate, or how to pair colors into a business outfit. My corporate closet ended up looking like Sandra Bullock's wardrobe in Miss Congeniality before she had her makeover. And because of that, I really didn't enjoy dressing up. I always preferred to dress casual when I could because I had already found my own secure voice in my personal style. So, without adding any personal touches, my original business casual wardrobe consisted of black pants, black skirts, black blazers, white button downs, and one set of colorful shirts that didn't fit right but I found them on sale and figured they'd work. It was extremely boring (and not very flattering). And I never looked forward to dressing up.
After a few years, I realized that this business casual look is the style I'll spend more time in than anything else. Let's face it. Most of us in the corporate world spend more time at work than we do at home. And that means we are dressed up to our corporate standard most of the time. So I started spending a lot more time looking at colors and patterns and modern/edgy spins on classic styles. I was still uncertain of drifting away from my FBI look. But eventually, adding variety became easier and I wasn't so worried about whether I could "pull off" an outfit.
If you're trying to add color into your business casual wardrobe, I highly recommend incorporating seasonal colors. That doesn't mean seeing what colors are in style for that season. What I mean is add colors that you connect with a particular season. For example, I love oranges and yellows in the fall because they remind me of the aspen leaves changing colors with the season change. It's still sunny and mostly warm. But the air is crisp, which makes me appreciate the bolder oranges and yellows.
If adding bold colors is still outside of your comfort zone (but something you wish to incorporate), start with adding small pops of bold color. Maybe add a pair of earrings or a belt that adds a pop of color. Or look for patterns that are mostly neutral with a pop of color. Or just put a pair of Bugles on your feet like I did on Friday!
And if you're ready to take the plunge with bold colors, try buying a colored suit from Zara. They're affordable and you can mismatch the pieces with neutrals if you'd prefer not to wear all the bold colors. That's actually how I first decided to try wearing a pink pantsuit!
Personally, my favorite style is depicted in my outfit from today's office inspiration. I love wearing one bold color in combination with two neutrals (e.g., black, white, grey, beige, maybe light blush). Today I paired a yellow pencil skirt from Express (currently on sale for $41.93, wearing size 2) with a simple grey crew neck sweater from J. Crew (bought during a sale at the outlets for $10! Best place for the basics, wearing size XS) and a J. Crew blazer (that was a splurge, wearing size XXS). I love the texture of this neutral blazer, which brings a little more life to this outfit without causing too much noise; it's also extremely stretchy, so I don't feel restricted when I add a sweater underneath! I originally chose a pair of nude heels. But I liked the light to dark look from top to bottom and chose a dark grey heel (from DSW) instead. Everything about this outfit made me feel confident on a sunny fall day while also feeling extremely comfortable (that skirt is way stretchier than I expected!).
Please reach out if you have any questions about add a little color to your wardrobe! I hope you had a great Monday! Xo, Pax