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styling: quirky business outfits

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Melissa asks: I consider myself to be a stylish gal but I’m struggling putting an outfit together for an upcoming interview at a hot tech company.  Like you, I have quirky style and I want my personality to shine through (the last thing I want to look like is a Banana Republic zombie) BUT I also want to keep it professional as I’ve got my eye on a recruiting gig (i.e. I won’t be wearing jeans like all the lazy programmers and it’s important to look fresh, cute and approachable).  Any ideas?  Thanks gal.

My answer:  Hi Melissa! I totally hear you, generic business outfits for dudes and gals are a yawn fest and when going to an interview you want to represent your true self while also looking professional. And there are ways to do both! Here are two business outfits I put together and some more inspiration below. I think the general rule is to deconstruct the “traditional business” outfit elements: skirt, collared shirt, blazer, slacks, pumps, etc. and put a funky twist on one or more of those elements. For example: wear pumps but have them be leopard with spikes, wear a blazer in a sherbet color, accessorize your collared shirt with a funky necklace, play with the silhouette of your skirt (full, 50’s, etc.) and always try to play with colors and patterns. I hope these tips inspire you to get excited to get dressed for work and I hope you get the job!

  • Outfit #1: Try mixing prints with a t-shirt dress, blazer and funky pumps. These are all analogous colors (close to each other on the color wheel) so they work together but the mixed patterns and bright shades give it spunk. Pair with a messy top knot (the higher on your head the better), a bright shade of lipstick and a long and Cozy necklace.

  • Outfit #2: Who says you can’t wear denim to the office? Try pairing a button-up, denim shirt with metallic or printed slacks. Accent the collar with a fun necklace – maybe a giant Vintage Mustache or a Petal to the Metal – and carry a bad ass bag or briefcase.

Outfit Deets:

Outfit #1:

Outfit #2:

More quirky business outfit inspiration…

  • Play with a full skirt that has a 1950’s vibe but make it modern and fun with a quirky but classy sweater, amazing necklace, red lips and a giant clutch 

  • Bend it like Bekham and go for high-waisted, pencil leg slacks, an undone white shirt with over-sized cuffs and a coooool bag – aviators help too.

  • Color goes a long way to make a business outfit fun. This amazing 50’s-esque satin skirt pairs so well with the plaid shirt and sparkly shoes. Check your local thrift stores for some vintage full skirts.

  • It’s all in the details – play with over-sized patterns like florals and even try wearing a romper or dressy shorts on a warm day. An armful of bracelets is always business appropriate too! 

  • Tweed blazers can be funky when paired with a skater skirt and heeled mary-janes – kind of school girl meets business chic. Look for little boy’s blazers at thrift stores – they are plentiful, tweed and cheap!

 So think outside the box when it comes to your business attire because…why not!? xo

(photos via: atlantic-pacific.blogspot.comcollegefashions.netcrossingislandcool.tumblr.com, pinterest)

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