Style Guide: How to Dress for Desk to Dinner

Style Guide: How to Dress for Desk to Dinner

As a young working woman I often find myself racing against the clock. Constantly. (Maybe always.) Whether I am running from the gym to the office or the office to post-work cocktails, it seems that time is never on my side (even though it seems to be for the Rolling Stones…go figure). Since the ticking of time is inevitable, I’ve come up with some shortcuts to maximize the free moments I rarely find in my jam-packed days. Let’s be honest here: When you’re always on the go the last thing you need slowing you down is wondering about your wardrobe. Right? Especially when you’re darting from your desk to drinks or dinner after clocking out. Here are a few surefire tips to take you from office appropriate to dinner date chic in a snap:

  1. Start with the basics. When you get dressed before work, pick a simple piece to be the backdrop for your outfit. Something with clean lines and a somewhat fitted or simple silhouette is best. Think of this item as the canvas upon which you will layer and load with interchangeable accessories and other clothing items. Personally, I love slim-fitting pencil dresses, or top and pant combinations of the same color.
  2. Add for the office. Layer on a sleek blazer or a relaxed cardigan to make your outfit office appropriate. Pull the look together by adding a thin belt or a prim headband and finish off your look with tights (if your office is cold) and sensible shoes (no hooker heels in the office, ladies).
  3. Pack for later. Bring along a playful pair of heels or booties, a clutch or small cross-body purse, bright lipstick, and if it’s cold–an edgy jacket.
  4. Clock out and swap out. Amp up your look by ditching the office layers and swapping it out for your after-hours garb.
  5. Freshen up! When you’re en route to your post-work destination, powder your nose, add a fresh swipe of mascara to your lashes and gloss your lips. If you’re like me and keep perfume in your bag, give yourself a quick, light spritz. You’ll feel as good as new!

The bottom line here is to pick a clothing base where you can interchange accessories and layers to create a new look. One of the best things I can suggest is picking out a few of your favorite staples and styling an “office” look with it and an “evening” look with that same piece. Then when you’re rushing out the door to work, pulling together your desk to dinner outfits will be a no-brainer.

Do you have a Style Guide request? Let me know and I’ll try to cover it in an upcoming blog post.

XO Lauren

P.S. Want to be a Chic of the Week? Snap a photo of your desk to dinner outfit, upload it to your profile page and leave the link in the comment section below.

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Photos: Harper Collins, Lauren Conrad Style

Categories: Lauren Conrad, Style Guide, Wear
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  • Sarah Heckle

    Whenever I have an after-work function, I always pack a little duffle bag with things to help the transition, but I definitely think ahead in the morning when I put on my outfit!

    Sarah – what my friend and I wore on Saturday!

  • Amy Breckenridge

    great tutorial – this is definitely easier to achieve than most might think!


  • Alexandra Dadisman

    Great post! I’m starting to get busier and busier so shortcuts are awesome!



  • Tiffani Stuart

    I loved this idea, in your LC Style book! It’s like the Fashion Bible!

  • Carol S

    I love that book – it’s my bible!

  • Dina Karivalis

    This looks great and you make it look so easy!

    xo Dina

  • Dana Sinclair

    Check out my etsy shop for cute high waisted jean shorts plus more to come!

  • Closet Fix

    Hi All! I love this post because as a Fashion Blogger being able to seamlessly transition from day to night is so necessary. After a long day running around NYC the last thing you want to do is head home to change. Personally after days like those, if I go home, I know for sure that I would just call it a day and stay home. So when duty calls and you have to attend afterwork cocktail parties, or networking events wearing the right pieces that can easily pull double duty is ideal like here

    Building two different looks around one basic piece will definitely be the difference between saving time, transitioning well, or just being a hot frazzled mess.



    Personal Style Blog:



    Instagram: @ClosetFix

  • Melissa Panici

    Love the tips! Thanks Lauren:)

  • My Style Diary
  • Jennifer Ingimundson
  • Liz Chavez

    Great tips! I am in need of a new shoe wardrobe. Can you give me advice on some basic must haves for shoes. My job’s dress code is semi professional. Thanks!

  • Claudia Medrano

    I love this!

    On Mondays (today, actually) I have work right after class, so I usually wear a professional looking top with jeans and change into slacks, a blazer and work shoes on my way over.
    I think I’ll experiment with dresses though. They seem easier to transform.

  • JM

    Love this!

    Is the dress from your collection? Can you link it? Or a similar one?

  • jmums

    Love the dress in this post!

  • Nina Sanderhoff Hansen

    I <3 the dress in the picture!

  • Diamenrose

    whats the perfect high school clothing? Or better what’s a no go unappropiate?

  • Sammy
  • Margaret-Anne McKay

    What tight denier do you recommend to make legs look slimmer?

  • Kelby Peachey

    I love these tips! I workout after work, so I’m constantly packing my gym bag and remembering comfy shoes. But Friday is my key day where I usually go out after work with friends. Great post!


  • Giselle Escamilla

    Thanks lauren that helps a lot!
    I’m always in a run either from school to volunteering work, or working out to school! These is a lot of help I should really wear clothers that can be used for others place that I go!!!

  • HistoryBeauty

    What a great transformation! Thanks for all the great tips!

    Please check out my beauty channel and blog!

  • Lui

    Dear Lauren, my question is: What kind of edgy jacket would go with that dress you`re wearing on the pics?? Need more ideas how to combine feminine clothes with something egdy, because I always look very feminine..

  • Deanne Castro

    Great tips!

    For more fashion and beauty advice, please visit my blog:

    Today’s post – Who Wore it Best? Kim Kardashian vs. Charlize Theron

    Follow My Fash Avenue on:

    Twitter: @myfashavenue





  • Claire Coppersmith

    Good outfits for a school that’s cold!

  • Emilie

    I really love this post. It is so information and useful esp for a office girl like me!

    xo Emilie @

  • Annabelle Marchessault

    Thanks for the tips! My “”desk to dinner”” submission!

  • Jade Wright

    Yardley Makeup Reviews linked below and other great blog posts:

    Enjoy xx

  • Katjusha Bricman

    Thank you so much for this post!!!! It’s always hard when there’s party after work and never enough time to change quickly!

    This is my “”desk to dinner”” submission for warmer days, when colder, I would add 40DEN tights.


    After work, dinner:

  • Katjusha Bricman

    If I could quickly change just top somewhere, I would do that… My another “”desk to dinner”” submission:


    After work, dinner:


    Love that transfer from office to going out, so chic!

    For more fashion, interior design, and yummy recipes that are all budget friendly, visit my blog, Lots of French decor, affordable designer inspired clothing, and easy but yummy recipes! Plus I promise lots of pictures of my chubby English Bulldogs 😉

    Have an enchanting day,


  • Linh Ly

    i’ve done this before too! it works out great with a dress. where is your dress from? i love it!


  • Alice Bond

    This post is useful for me and many other peopel. There are many fashion shopping store online. They give us mamy good choices. It is a good choice because “”Bzcome””:'s-clothing-c86/dresses-c142 offerall kinds of women’s clothing with high quality and reasonable price.

  • LiveLoveLaugh

    I have worn so many red dresses around the Holidays. How do you be festive without leaning on the go to color?

  • rosie

    Hey there! I was wondering…I love the tights that you are wearing in the “”office”” look, and it’s a go-to look for me as well. I guess my question is about the crazy tights that keep coming back season after season (lime colored, polka-dot, lace). Not only can I not figure out how to wear them in a daytime look, it seems like a weird thing to wear to the office…do you agree? It is becomeing cold outside, after all! :) Thanks!

  • Katjusha Bricman

    My another one “”desk to dinner”” submission

  • carolynbonie

    love the dress in this post … where did you get it?

  • Meg

    Not that you don’t look super cute in both photos, Lauren, but this is extremely impractical advice. If I wear tights and a sweater with a dress it’s because it’s cold outside, not because I’m sitting behind a desk.

  • Michaela Jaros

    Unless it’s freezing in your office…as most offices are! :-)

  • Jessica Steward

    Where is the dress from?! I love it.



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