Work Outfits for the Casual Student/Fresh Grad

I think the big question for lots of people when they go into the real world is “What should I and shouldn’t I wear in the workplace?” That’s a difficult question, but it doesn’t have to be.


1st: define your industry

First, let’s consider what industry you will be working in first. If you are working in a bank, outfits should be business casual to business formal; those in the fashion/marketing industry may be able to wear shorts; those in a start-up or game developing company may wear casual attire.

Wait! “What is this casual, business casual, business formal lingo you speak of?” Let me explain.

2nd: casual vs. business casual vs. business formal

These are just terms to categorize what is appropriate in the office.

Here are some rule of thumbs:

casual = anything you would wear on a normal day (be it jeans, sweats, but it is the workplace so try to tone down a bit on the ‘bling bling’)

business casual = cardigans, skinny pants, at least one or two parts of your outfit should shout business (e.g. blazer+graphic tee+black skinny pants)

business formal = the WHOLE get-up (blazer, blouse/nice shirt, trousers)

The stereotype is that business formal is always dull and very uncomfortable, but there are ways to turn your business formal clothes into your OWN style.

Remember: you wear the clothes, the clothes do not wear you!

For business formal attire, even with the blazer, blouse, trousers, you can still choose prints and colours that reflect you but are still appropriate for the workplace. Let me give you some examples:

I hope you have learned a bit about what to wear to work, now it’s time to get some inspiration from a few outfits I put together.

OUtfit #1: running to meetings

20130406150342322- Outfit #1 blue blouse and black pencil skirt

Royal Blue Blouse from Forever21
Mint Belt from Uniqlo
Black Pencil Skirt from H&M
Black 40 den Tights from H&M
Black Tall Boots from Steve Madden
Just throw on a white blazer with leather lapels and you are ready to go!

20130406150459722 - Outfit #1 with white blazer (Power woman)

OUtfit #2: Seeing stripes

20130406151356654 - Outfit #2 oxblood blouse and printed pencil skirt

Oxblood Blouse with Chiffon Sleeves from Dynamite
Gold Braided Belt from H&M
Black & White Stripped Pencil Skirt from H&M
Black 40 den Tights from H&M
Brown Booties from Hong Kong
Warm up with a Military-esque tweed jacket and you can tackle all weather moods.

20130406151629461 - Outfit #2 with militaryesque tweed jacket

Outfit#3: All About the jacket

20130406153151873 - Outfit #3 white blouse and black skinny trousers

Leopard sunnies from H&M
Navy Double-button Blazer from Dynamite
White Chiffon Blouse from Zara
Black Skinny Trousers from Uniqlo
Now switch it up with a graphic cardigan, like this one from Forever21
20130406153353793 - Outfit #3 with graphic cardigan

Don’t forget the simple jewelry! I tend to stick to studs for earrings, a simple rose gold ring and a chain bracelet or pendant necklace. Nothing to extravagant  you can save that for the employee appreciation dinner or the Galas.

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