Versatility is one of the main components of a practically stylish wardrobe. Since summer is full of irresistible parties and patios, it is important to be able to change your work wardrobe into a wow wardrobe with only a few small swaps.
summer office that you won't have to worry about feeling inappropriate. Shoes can add an extra pop of pizzazz to an outfit, but you should never rely on them to change the formality of your look. So when going from work to evening in a single pair, err on the side of work-appropriate.
This is a very easy outfit to switch up for evening. First, leave your blazer draped over your office chair. Although I generally love to wear blazers for all occasions, summer outfits should feel light and breezy. Add a fun and flirty edge by untucking the lace tiered shell to show off the scalloped hem and the floaty tiers and move the belt over the shell to once again accentuate the waist. This silhouette is no longer buttoned up, but rather has a soft and romantic feel to it.
What about if your office requires a suit every day? Or maybe you are at a conference and know you will only have a few minutes in your hotel room between the sessions and the socializing? Your suit does not have to be the enemy.
Instead of an oxford or a basic shell, I layered a black short sleeve sweater under the suit and added an optional multi-strand necklace with small silver and gunmetal grey hammered discs. A simple black kitten heel finishes off the ensemble.
The most important thing when you are transitioning your suit from work to play is to make sure the pieces can stand on their own. I often have clients say that they don't mind if their skirt is too tight or the waistband of the pants sags because "the jacket will cover it." (For the record, I do not condone buying an ill-fitting suit bottom even if you will always be wearing it with a jacket. If you can't find a perfect fit, then make friends with your local tailor. There is no excuse to look sloppy after spending hundreds on a suit; this should be your confidence power piece.) Make sure that your bottoms fit you well. Although I have this pictured with a skirt, you could easily also do this work to evening look with pants if that makes you feel more comfortable.
The evening part of this look is all about accessorizing. Once again, ditch the jacket before your night out. I chose a short sleeve sweater with an open neckline that nicely frames the necklace and I added a matching grey patent belt to the waistband of the skirt to add definition.
If you look closely, you will notice that all of the accessories I chose follow a theme: they all have a silver and grey dot pattern. Even the bag is made of small silver sequins. I have really loaded up the jewelry on this outfit, but if that does not feel right for the venue and event you are attending, edit it down to a level you feel comfortable at.
If you wear pants instead of a skirt with this suit make sure to tuck in the shirt and add a belt. A great pair of heels will also help elevate your suiting into something spectacular.
Keep in mind that any outfit you transition from work to play will follow a different formula than your party-only pieces. Every event has a spectrum of appropriate dress code and these ensembles will tend to be on the more conservative end.
The finishing touch to this fabulous dress (the photos do not come close to doing it justice) is my favorite my pair of party shoes: a slightly pointy-toed 4.5 inch pewter pump that was part of Banana Republic's Mad Men collection about 18 months ago. They are some of the most comfortable heels I have ever worn and they make getting dressed up all the more fun. Although the shoes don't make the outfit, they can make enjoying the outfit just a little bit sweeter.
Unfortunately this next outfit did not photograph as well as I could have hoped, so please bear with me as I attempt to describe it. For work, I paired a black ponte sheath dress underneath a black blazer, accessorizing only with a black & tan scarf and a basic black patent kitten heel. Although they are non-matching pieces, the dress and blazer duo have a similar effect as a skirt suit. The scarf helps to break up the large swath of black fabric by adding contrast where a top normally would.