Work style adaptations: Re-imagining past work outfits for more conservative workplaces

A few months ago, an insightful reader comment got me thinking about differences in work environments and dress codes — or when you have the lack of a dress code at your workplace, like I do. My college workplace (and the entire Pacific Northwest) tends to be more casual in general, and that contrasts with my own natural inclination to look “put together.” However, I do like to be comfortable, so I’ve embraced the more casual nature of my work environment on more than one occasion. I also have the freedom to experiment a lot with what I wear for work. Sandals for work? No problem! Skinny jeans? Sure! And I realize that’s not the case for every working woman out there.

Librarian for Life + Style | Work Style adaptations

So… that reader comment got me thinking that it would be fun to select a few of my more “out there” outfits I’ve worn for work and adapt them for a more traditional or conservative workplace dress code. (Plus, it was fun to do more Polyvore collages — it’s been a while!)

Work style original:

Librarian for Life + Style | Feeling sassy in a black pencil skirt

I felt super sassy in this outfit, adding details like the houndstooth tights and booties to a classic pencil skirt and cardigan combo.

When re-imagining this look, I kept the fun library stamp t-shirt and the light blue and black color scheme. A soft, full knee-length skirt looks pretty and professional, especially when paired with a softly structured peplum jacket (the one below is in a very light blue). Black patent leather pumps and small pearl-and-silver hoops are classic accessories, while I brought in a fun nod to my houndstooth tights with the houndstooth work tote bag!

Adaptation:

Librarian for Life + Style | Work Style Adaptations: Light Blue and Black collage

Details:  Light blue peplum jacket  //  Library stamp tee  //  Full skirt  //  Pearl-and-silver hoops  //  Houndstooth tote bag  //  Black patent leather pumps

Work style original:

Librarian for Life + Style | Tunic + leggings

Definitely a summer “casual Friday” outfit!

My adaptation below still incorporates color, as I converted the berry leggings into berry ankle pants. The black floral print is represented in the sleeveless button-up blouse, and a knit blazer and black pumps amp up the professional vibe. (And if colored trousers are still too much for you or your workplace, then you could easily swap the colors and pair a colored blouse with black pants.)

Adaptation:

Librarian for Life + Style | Work style adaptations: Berry + black floral collage

Details:  Berry ankle pants  //  Black knit blazer  //  Black floral sleeveless blouse  //  Patent leather wedges  //  Mixed-metal-and-black hoops

Work style original:

Librarian for Life + Style | Red and black statement tunic

I wore this red-and-black graphic print tunic dress for a night out, as pictured above, AND soon after, for work (without the beret and with regular black leggings).

I discovered a classic fit-and-flare dress in a red graphic print, which seemed perfect for this work style adaptation! I chose another pair of black wedges — which give a bit of height but are still comfortable for when you’re on your feet all day — but this pair has patent leather (like the leggings above) and a buckle detail (like the boots above). If you work at a place that requires stockings or hose, then sheer black hose is a classy option.

Adaptation:

Librarian for Life + Style | Work Style Adaptations: Red + black collage

Details:  Red graphic print dress  //  Black cardigan  //  Black wedges  //  Sheer black hose


Does your workplace have a dress code? Do you ever find yourself at odds with your own style and the vibe of your workplace? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Linking up with these lovely ladies!

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