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