Your lifestyle can really dictate how much of your wardrobe budget is allotted towards each type of clothing. If you're just starting out in your career, or recently moved to a more corporate environment, you might have to spend most of your money on professional clothing for the office. But that doesn't meant there's not a great Friday night outfit amongst your workwear, and you know you can piece something together for Saturday lunch with the girls. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Separates are probably the easiest items to rotate through both your work and casual wardrobes. Yes, if you're a hoodie and skinnies kind of girl, wearing some of your work pieces to run errands or go over a friend's may seem like ridiculous overdressing. But you'll get used to looking polished and put together in everyday life. If separates seem like a challenge to piece together, a lot of department stores help style work looks for you, like Nordstrom's "Complete Looks: Work" section, where I found this Halogen outfit. The crewneck sweater, $59, poplin shirt, $58, and stretch woven skirt, $59, all come in a range of sizes and would be really easy to piece together into more casual looks. Wear the hot pink skirt with a black tank to go out, the poplin shirt could be worn open with a T-shirt and jeans to run to the store, and you know you'd wear the sweater all the time.
A suit is one of those workwear items every roundup includes and this list is no different. It's a classic must-have for a reason. The mix and match possibility of black pants and a nice blazer are endless and easy, so we won't waste time on them. Think about how to wear the suit as a whole outside of your work life. Black is the obvious go-to for eveningwear. Pair it with a sexy, bright top, some metallic shoes and statement jewelry and you'll stand out from the girls in cocktail dresses. But get a suit in a non-neutral and the daytime possibilities really open up as well. Dressy daytime occasions — formal luncheons, afternoon weddings, ritzy happy hour events — can present a real challenge. The colored suit can be the answer, like this superb specimen by Stella McCartney, $2,740.
I challenge anyone to name an occasion where you can't make a pencil skirt work. Okay, maybe the beach. But I'll bet you could make it work for beachside cocktails! The ASOS Wiggle Skirt in Baroque Print, $64.30, featured at center would totally work with a white ribbed tank, beach hair and strappy sandals for drinks by the pool. When vacation's over, wear it with a white silk shell, or the same tank and a white blazer, and black, orange or maybe gray pumps. The other two, the Zero+MariaCornejo Isis Printed Stretch Crepe Skirt, $550, and the Raquel Allegra Tie-Dyed Cotton Blend Jersey Skirt, $160, would probably need to be toned down with all black ensembles at the office. But for a night out, pick up on one of the brights in the Isis Printed skirt with a yellow or blue top, or liven up the Tie-Dyed option with a neon top.
An embellished cardigan is always fun with jeans or a flirty little dress, but don't be afraid to take it to the office as well. With a crisp button-down Oxford and black pants this Bejeweled 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan from Forever 21, $32.80, is perfectly work appropriate. When wearing anything bejeweled in a professional setting, keep the rest of your jewelry and accessories minimal. Let the jewels be your only shine element.
Detailed Little Black Dress
A little black dress with a fun, feminine detail is a great item to have in your wardrobe. The LBD is always easy to dress up or down, and this LOFT Lace Peplum Sheath Dress, $89.99, avoids that boring trap some plain black work dresses fall into. Look for something that flatters your figure without hugging curves too tightly or being too revealing. To take this dress out on the town, add some sky-high heels and a pop of color in your accessories.