It’s always fun reading your style advice and I finally have a fashion query now so I was excited when writing this mail. I know you’ve already posted a fashion workplace post but hopefully this one doesn’t bore you. I recently started a part-time job as an intimates apparel stylist and my dress code is strictly all black “business casual attire” with closed-toe shoes and no sneakers or leggings allowed. I can’t wear anything above the knee and if I do, I have to wear black leggings underneath. My problem is I don’t own much black as I don’t like that colour and at the same time I don’t know how experimental I can get with an all-black attire.
I am 162 cm tall weighing 52 kg., my body type is a bit curvy and I almost always get away with wearing a size medium. Thank you.
Hello, Soah. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that a great bra makes a BIG difference to one’s looks, right? I hope you’ll always remember that you are making a difference in a person’s self-confidence.
Black Isn’t Just One Color
If you type “shades of black” in Google, you will get a dizzying number of results. Because there isn’t just one shade of black. Why? Because black is the presence of ALL COLORS, while white is the opposite. Just take a look at this PANTONE color chart that has 96 different shades of black as an example.
You didn’t mention it in your email but are you also forbidden to wear jeans, sleeveless tops or any embellishments on your clothes like ribbons, lace, beading, etc.? Because if the answer is no to both, then my dear, your work wear will never be boring! With black, you can go from charcoal to a deep jet black, or from matte to patent via your shoes easily!
Play With Textures
Even if you decide to stick to basic black shades, you can still use textures to create a more interesting visual palette every day. A pair of slim-leg trousers cut to ankle-length (Great for petites like us!) looks nice with a simple chiffon blouse or a satin version with bell sleeves. Bohemian meets au courant right there. You can also go for an illusion blouse (semi-sheer at the shoulders, neckline or part of the sleeves) to match with a simple A-line skirt. Swap the blouse for a lace version with a retro bow at the neckline and you’ve got yourself a sweet deal. There are a lot more options on textures, depending on the season of course: leather, suede, silk, patent, furry, velvet, velour and knits, to mention a few. And don’t forget the embellishments I previously mentioned!
One thing I immediately thought of when you mentioned that you can’t wear short skirts without leggings is YesStyle’s big collection of leggings with inset skirts. The skirts range from mini to maxi lengths but I encourage you to go for those that are just slightly above the knee (I don’t want to get you into trouble, okay?) to about mid-calf. The ideal, though, is knee-length — it won’t make you look too short and it flatters your legs. They’ll also allow you to wear tall boots if you have those, which will look great with any tailored top and a simple two-button jacket or blazer. The blazer is important because you do need to look professional and authoritative. It can make you look somewhat too serious though, so the textural play of your top is important.
Do ask your boss if it’s okay to wear cardigans because that would give you a lighter alternative to blazers. A simple cardigan can pull a look together, even if it’s just ballet flats, an A-line skirt and a tailored shirt. For quirks, add a skinny tie if you like, or a neck scarf to this particular combo. Bonus points: You can wear this outfit too if you’re going out with friends. Just add accessories like a choker or a single ear cuff, a fresh coat of makeup or lip color, and it’s all systems go!
Elegant But Fancy Pants
If jeans are a no-no, you can opt for slim-leg trousers or wide-leg trousers! With slim pants, you can go for billowy tops like those with bell sleeves, or slightly poufy ones. With wide-leg pants, it’s the opposite — slim-fit tops work better so your silhouette is visually balanced.
For a more adventurous look, why not try a jumpsuit? Certainly not for the blazing Australian summers right now but perhaps for fall? A jumpsuit combines both pants and a top so there’s no hand-wringing or hair-pulling involved on which goes with what. You can wear them with heels, boots, platform pumps, creepers, oxfords, loafers or even sneakers.
Best of luck, Soah! Write back!
P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!
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