Today's Everyday Fashion: Why Work Attire Really Matters

Red sweater, windowpane pants, stripe heels
Red sweater, windowpane pants, white coat
Red sweater, windowpane pants, white coat
Red sweater, windowpane pants, stripe heels
Inspiration:  Gilt

Inspiration: Gilt


The work theme continues this week, with an outfit certainly not intended for wallflowers! Which begs the question: when have we gone too far? When are we raising too many eyebrows? I'm not talking about differing opinions about what's in style this season, I mean when is wearing a bold outfit an actual threat to your job? Because beyond practicality and our own sartorial preferences, there is an additional layer of politics to consider when it comes to work attire. Research shows that women who wear makeup make higher salaries, for example. And I would argue that our clothes play a similar role. (And that wearing "too much" makeup in some cases could have the opposite result!) In general I don't like generalizations (see what I did there) but consider two scenarios:

A job that values innovation, creativity and the individuality likely values strong style statements. 
A job that values adherence to rules and teamwork likely frowns upon strong style statements.

A job could value strong style statements because it shows you care about the details. You're thoughtful, creative, you go the extra mile, and you're confident enough to pull it off. A different job could see that same style statement as a distraction though. A waste of time on frivolous things and quite frankly... how did the clown escape the circus in those pants? :-) There is no wrong side, because every office is different. But what is our response? We can identify and be aware of which traits our employer values, and then decide (this part is important!) if and when we want to play along. I would argue that what we wear at work is unequivocally important, but it's also up to us what exactly we want to do about it. Perhaps you want to push the limits and make a case for thinking outside the box at your job, or perhaps it makes more sense to stay conservative for the longterm health of your career. How does fashion play out in your office or industry? Do you feel like personal style is embraced?

Coat: Zara, $89 (similarsimilar)
Sweater: J.Crew Factory, $29 (plussimilarsimilar)
Ribbon pin: Nordstrom, $29 (similarsimilarsimilar)
Pants: J.Crew Factory, $24 (similar, similar, similar, plus)
Shoes: Payless, $20 (similar below)
Purse: Marc Jacobs/Saks Off 5th, $288 (similarsimilarsimilar)
Earrings: Kate Spade outlet, $15 (same)
Approx. dates: Pants, shoes and purse are 3 years ago. Sweater, coat are 1 year ago. Ribbon pin is recent. 

Stripe shoes on a budget