Disguising Casual Dresses as Office Wear

24 May

When I chose 31 items to wear during May for Mission: Put Together, I picked a handful of dresses, including 3 sleeveless, jersey dresses. By themselves, they are more suitable for a backyard barbecue than sitting in an office, but I’ve managed to make them work at work. Granted, a couple of caveats are in my favor:

  1. My office is incredibly casual. “Business casual” is a stretch for most people, and my outfits probably wouldn’t fly at a typical pharmaceutical company.
  2. I almost always wear closed-toed shoes at work. It’s not a rule, but I feel more professional in them.

Here are 3 ways I disguised my casual dresses for the office:

Sun dresses at the office

Layer
I layered a chambray shirt from Old Navy under this striped dress from Forever 21. This dress has some structure from the box pleats at the waist, but it reads pretty junior on its own. Add ruffle flats from Target and a statement necklace from Charming Charlie, and I think it looks like a modern Girl Friday, even though I’m almost sure that term is offensive now. I’ve also done this layering trick with my black v-neck dress from the middle picture.

Belt
This is my favorite jersey dress from Target (I can’t find the one I have, but it’s kiiind of like this one, without the tie; it’s a basic v-neck, faux wrap-style dress with an elastic waist), and I love wearing it to work because it’s so comfortable. To add some structure and cinch in the waist, especially with this loosey-goosey jersey cardigan from J. Crew Factory, I added a skinny patent leather belt (J. Crew). I couldn’t resist wearing my purple Target flats, but I don’t think it’s too matchy because the shades of the cardigan and shoes are different. This is the same trick I used when I was traveling for work last year.

Jacket
This striped, strappy dress comes off very young (it’s legitimately from the juniors section) and is not appropriate for work alone, so I added a navy cotton jacket from Gap and kept it buttoned all day. The jacket is casual — unlined, eyelet trim, 3/4-sleeve — but it gives the idea of a businesswear silhouette effectively. I paired those pieces with mustard flats (Target)  and a flower brooch (LOFT) keep the outfit light and feminine.

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  1. Thoughts on the 31 for 31 | Definitely RA - June 7, 2013

    […] Style All Over: Purple and Green Theme, Disguising Casual Dresses as Office Wear, and Chambray 5 […]

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