What is the most formal work uniform you’ve ever had to wear? Ironically, since moving to San Francisco after college, my most ‘dressed up’ work attire remains my months as a Victoria’s Secret sales associate when I was 21. We were required to wear black slacks and a black blazer every day; lowcut lace cami optional.
The Bay Area “office attire” is a style phenomenon of its own. From suits & ties in the Financial District, to boatloads of business casual, and of course start-up couture (aka hoodies and flip flops). Richard Branson recently changed his company’s office dress code after voicing his disdain for neckties. I gave a style presentation for the SF Chamber of Commerce “Ambassador’s Club” a couple weeks ago and we discussed whether it’s better to mirror some Bay Area clients in casual attire or to “dress up” which might make clients feel uncomfortable. What do you think?
Let’s tackle some of these “office style” issues, plus a few tips how to incorporate the latest trends like neon, metallics and animal print without looking like an extra in a LMFAO music video…
Nylons Not Required? ~ If you’re going with bare legs to the office, lotion up, or I created this Youtube video showing a few celebrity leg tricks. For a superfast shimmer secret like I did here (Moisturize legs & before you go out sweep a bit of shimmer directly down your shin bones and watch the sun reflect right off them)
Metallic Mania & Animal Print~ How can you wear metallic or animal print without looking too flashy in the office? Try small details like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and my new fave (these Aldo wedges) with a metallic strap. Animal print dresses or tops are acceptable if the print isn’t too crazy, loud, or too tight. If you’re in a more conservative office, try a leopard print scarf, flats or accessories. Statement necklaces are a “Do” as long as they go with the outfit and aren’t too overpowering.
Windy City Tip ~ Chicago isn’t the only windy city. Besides the instant lion’s mane hair, it’s a bigtime hassle walking to work in SF wearing a dress or skirt that is going to blow up at all the wrong times. AVOID a dress or skirt that is too flowy if it’s above your knees on windy days. Go with one that is more fitted or straight. A gust of wind may generate a faux baby bump, but it’s better than flashing a bus full of commuters.
When in Doubt, ADD a Blazer~ If you’re wearing a sleeveless dress or the thermostat in your office tends to “get weird,” it’s always best to take a blazer. It’s perfect in a chilly cubicle and adds an instant “dressed up” vibe if you get called into a meeting. A black blazer is classic, but white is unexpected. Men can wear blazers too over collared shirts or V-Necks with dark wash jeans.
A Little Neon Goes a Long Way ~ If you’re able to wear open toed shoes in your office, I highly recommend a hot pink, neon orange or any fluorescent shade on your toes. They’re bright, fun and make feet happy.
What is too Trendy for the Office? I like to call this cheetah print dress“Happy Hour in the Front” and “Business Meeting in the Back,” because the hem is about 2 inches longer in the back. While I wouldn’t recommend a hi-low dress in the office, this is subtle enough for a business casual atmosphere. Once you know your office dress code culture, then you can decide how far to push the style boundaries.
DETAILS by Dale
Blazer ~ H&M Conscious Collection, Dress~W118 by Walter Baker, Watch ~ Michael Kors, wedges ~ ALDO, Bracelets & necklace (recent)~ TJ Maxx, purse~Dimoni, Nail Polish (Walgreens) ~ Sinful Colors Neon Melon, Location ~ SOMA, Photos by ~ Mr. Ryan Hu
Do you have a dress code at your work and do you prefer formal attire in the office or casual & relaxed?
Also, if you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, the 4th annual Poolside Soiree Summer Fashion Show in Santana Row is this Saturday June 2nd at Noon & 3 pm. Details HERE. Hope to see you there!