Accessories, Fashion, JewelryHow To: Dress Up Your Work Wardrobe

It can be a daunting task to continuously look stylish at work. Some of us work at more conservative companies, and it’s hard to find flexibility in a dress code! We’ve found some great ways to dress up your pantsuits and work skirts–just be sure to gauge your own workplace and corporate culture. If you think your style may be pushing the envelope, chances are that it probably is. That being said, take a look at these tips and find what works for you at work!

Jewelry: The simplest way to dress up your work wardrobe is to add a stylish piece of jewelry to your everyday look. Strands of pearls of varying lengths or pearl pendant necklaces give a simple and sophisticated lift to your suit. The Majorica collection ($145 and up) of organic pearls are gorgeous and won’t break the bank. For more of a statement, this Mikimoto cultured pearl pendant ($960) is absolutely gorgeous. The key is making sure your jewelry is simply sophisticated and not overly flashy. A simple right hand ring or bracelet from the always classic Tiffany’s is work-appropriate, yet still stands out. We like the sterling silver Elsa Peretti pieces ($175 and up) for their designs and reasonable pricing, and the Frank Gehry collection ($195 and up) for its unique architectural inspiration and structurally-focused design.

Tops: If you don’t always have to wear button-down shirts with your suits and skirts, consider incorporating dressy tops to your work wardrobe. J. Crew’s Emelia blouse ($88) would look great under a suit jacket. This silk sleeveless top ($78) from Banana Republic would perfectly dress up even a plain black skirt. Choose tops that have details that are subtle yet still stand out, like some ruching, ruffles, or pleating. A pretty top in an eye-catching color is a simple departure from plain button-down shirts.

Hair: Making slight changes in your hairstyle freshens up your look. If you usually wear your hair in waves, try straightening it for a day, or vice versa. This can be a noticeable change and prevent you from looking the same everyday. We love the Sedu Revolution iron ($130) to straighten or create waves quickly–because of its high temperature settings, you can change your hair in a snap. You also incorporate some pretty yet simple clips that you can use both wearing your hair down, or in an updo. We adore this lovely barrette from Kate Spade ($45), which would look great contrasted with darker hair. Headbands are also relatively inexpensive accessories that can go a long way. These sets of skinny headbands ($10) can complement any color in your wardrobe and be used with a twist or updo as well as with your hair down. For more of a splurge, we love these Stacey Lapidus silk headbands ($62), too.

Shoes: Retire your plain black pumps for a while—if your workplace allows, experiment with peep-toe shoes, patent leather heels, or pretty flats. We love these Kate Spade patent leather peep-toe pumps ($251) and these BCBGirls snakeskin peep-toes ($93). Tory Burch Reva Ballet Flats ($195) are quickly becoming a staple of many ladies’ closets and are appropriate for work as well. The simple designs coupled with beautiful logos make for a classy statement. Even if you work in a more conservative environment, you don’t have to be stuck wearing black pumps all the time. Try these Dolce Vita pumps ($138) in camel or the chocolate brown malt color to have shoes that will match any shade suit you wear.

Handbags: Who says your bag has to be drab? Infuse some color into your wardrobe by investing in a handbag of a different shape or color. This cream-colored tote from Marc by Marc Jacobs ($458) will give a gorgeous contrast to your dark suits. For a more dramatic look, a red bag like Kate Spade’s Foster’s Crossing Flat Serena tote ($395) is a great choice as well. Even laptop bags can be pretty–the Hamptons Leather Business Carryall ($458) from Coach is both functional and stylish. We think a work bag should be more of an investment, so dressing up this part of your wardrobe will typically be a pricier endeavor. It does pay off, though–it’s reassuring to know that your bag is made of quality materials and that those important work files you have are safe!

These are our tips for dressing up your work wardrobe, but we want to hear from you–please feel free to share your personal tips in the comments below!


  1. erin  |  2 September 2009 at 1:21 AM

    i have a plaine no style jumpa dress how do i style it up?

  2. dressup  |  23 March 2010 at 6:26 AM

    I really loved the Majorica collection, the necklaces are stunning and can fit any women wit hstyle. I’m also interested in the Kate Spade patent leather peep-toe pumps, they also look very attractive.

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