9-to-5 Fashion: 6 Chic, Office-Ready Looks

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Five days out of the week, every working woman asks herself, "What should I wear to the office?" If that question sounds familiar, then check out these chic and work-appropriate looks from Steven and Chris fashion expert Vanessa Taylor, perfect for your 9-to-5 life, no matter the job or work environment.

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Dressy Office Look #1: Classic Shift Dress

A classic shift dress should be a staple in every woman’s 9-5 wardrobe, and is universally flattering. Look for a fit that is tailored, so that nothing is bunching and no bubbles are showing. This is an investment piece that you can wear weekly, so look for something that is high-quality and in neutral colours that go with everything. This version’s white geometric neckline gives the illusion of a low neckline without showing skin. To keep it fresh, layering a blouse is a great way to change up the look and introduce pattern and colour — plus, the extra light layer is great for keeping arms warm and covered in a cold office.

Get the look:

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Dressy Office Look #2: Updated Pencil Skirt

The higher waist and lower hemline of this updated pencil skirt are a nod to the current midi-length trend (anything higher than the mid-thigh is a no-no though). Find a skirt with stretch lining like the one seen here from RW & Co; it's great for both fit and comfort for long days sitting at the office. This is a type of skirt that you can pair with anything, and pairing it with different colours and patterned pieces shows how you no longer have to have a matching suit. However, one thing to keep in mind when pairing unmatched pieces is to make sure the pieces have the same texture and materials (general rule: the fabrics and prints need to be either totally different or very similar). This is also a great option for more voluptuous women — the higher waist brings the attention up from your mid-section, unlike something that hits at the natural waist. Plus, the stretch in the skirt forms to your curves instead of pulling and bunching.

Get the look:

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Dressy Office Look #3: The New A-Line

This look is a bit nontraditional for a formal office, but it works because the birdcage shape is super feminine, and has a longer hemline (a shorter version of this skirt looks too party-dress and young). Bonus, it has pockets for your smartphone! Also, wearing pops of colour is a great choice — it'll make you stand out against a sea of dark colours at the office. When pairing this skirt, look for tops with oversized prints like the one on this wool jacket; a cropped shape is key, as you want to see the waist that the skirt creates. This piece is also a great example of menswear classic prints reinterpreted in a new feminine way, a current trend of the season.

Get the look:

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Casual Office Look #1: Winter Pastels

This look is a great alternative for a more casual office environment, especially if you're not a fan of bright colours but still want to incorporate some colour into your wardrobe (this is Vanessa’s take on winter neutrals and whites). A lot of women think pastel colours are reserved for only summer, but soft hues of pastels, pinks, creams, and soft blues were huge this winter season on the runway. This look also gives a modern and trendy take on otherwise-boring pieces in your wardrobe (i.e. the winter chunky sweater). Pairing the sweater and the masculine brogues with the soft flowing skirt plays with texture, while grounding the look, making it more balanced and not too feminine.

Get the look:

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Casual Office Look #2: The Casual Suit

When we hear suit, we still think formal, but this toned-down interpretation is great for a more casual work environment because the black pants have a geometric print that provides something different with the purple colour. These pants have a great stretch, making them super comfortable for the girl who is running around. The chambray shirt is a go-to item for a casual wardrobe — the collar gives that professional nod without being too formal. This blazer is very slimming but it's not too formal and stiff as it doesn't do up, and has moto zipper details. When purchasing accessories for a more casual 9-5 wardrobe, women should not be afraid to add a structured bag, which gives polish, unlike a slouchy hobo bag that just makes it too casual (plus this bag gives the perfect amount of space for the essentials). Super comfy flats that still have some small formal menswear details bring the casual suit together — just because you are working somewhere casual doesn't mean you can't look polished!

Get the look:

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Casual Office Look #3: The Tunic Revisited

The tunic shape is basically a long shirt that is worn as a dress, and whether or not it works for the casual office environment depends on what fabric you choose it in. This one has a dressy, silky feel, and all the leather details on the trim make it perfect. Layering the tunic dress with a more formal cardigan also makes it work. This fine knit cardi with leather patches and a longer fit is more modern and relaxed, unlike a tight, twin-set traditional cardigan. This cardigan is also a nod to the trendy grandfather-style, but belting it shows your waist and elevates it. This is "polished comfort," perfect for the girl who runs around town to meetings and lunch dates. But it works just as well for a woman who works at home/does freelance work, who still wants to feel feminine and put-together but comfortable.

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