FASHION CHALLENGE: Cute Outfits for Creative Workplaces (for Kara, and You!)

Kara got herself a fancy new job, but she needs new clothes. WE GOT THIS.
Publish date:
July 29, 2014
work clothes, office jobs, big girl jobs

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When you write about beauty and fashion on the Internet a lot, people ask you for advice from time to time. Sometimes it's no brainer stuff, like "Should I really wear sunscreen every day?" YES, MOM. Sometimes the questions are a bit more challenging, but I always try to help everyone out as much as I can.

So when our very own Kara, beauty/style writer extraordinaire and my country music loving soul sister, asked me to help her find some clothes for her fancy new gig at Aveda's corporate HQ, I was like, "YEAH GIRL!" Then we exchanged celebratory photos of Kimye.

Kara's everyday style is very down-home farm girl meets glamazon sex bomb meets Britney circa 2005, which is to say, girl's got style. Having worked in retail the past few years, she's dealt with pretty flexible dress codes but now she's strutting her stuff in a new workplace -- an office that's professional but creative.

I've rounded up some dresses and looks that I think would work with Kara's personal style AND her newfound work environment. If you, too, have recently landed a new gig or if you're just looking to spruce up your working wardrobe, keep reading! I did some shopping for you! (Except for the whole "paying for things" part of shopping. I left that part up to you.)

Colors & Patterns

Creative jobs are FUN, which means you can get away with a bit more as far as bright, poppy colors and fun prints. The trick is to keep the shape of the outfit sophisticated so that the overall look won't read too childish.

Clockwise from top left: The Limited Cap Sleeve Fit & Flare Dress $70 (Comes in SIX colors!), White Short Sleeve Floral Butterfly Print Dress $22, ASOS Wiggle Dress in Pastel Floral Print $95, Calvin Klein Sleeveless Pleated A-Line Dress $90, ASOS Pencil Dress in Spot with Waterfall Skirt $85 (I am particularly obsessed with this dress), Modern Citizen Poppy Darted Shift Dress $89

An Impeccable Jumpsuit

Sorry, corporate squares, but sometimes creative jobs are WAY more fun because you can get away with wearing rad stuff like jumpsuits. (But I guess I should say congrats on making all the money, lawyer people.) Jumpsuits are all over the fashion blahgz but I rarely see them IRL on "real" women. Ew, I just threw up a little bit of my $4 iced coffee typing that. I probably just never see them because it's too hot here for pants and also I don't leave my house. Anyway, jumpsuits are hard to pull off. The proportions can be difficult to nail down, and the wrong pattern or fabric can make you look more like the star of a circus than a runway show. You know who does pull off a good jumpsuit, though? Kara, obv. Jumpsuits are fun because it's a whole outfit in one! Here's some good ones.

From left to right: Olivia Moon Wrap Top Jumpsuit $78, Motel 'Ria' Jumpsuit $83, New Look Woven Belted Printed Jumpsuit $44 (tiny elephants!!!!!)

Sassy Separates

Sorry for the alliteration. I'm writing this in a Starbucks and the basicness has seeped into my brain. Anyway, dresses are awesome but some good workplace separates will take you far as well. Luckily, suits right now are IN and they're anything but the stuffy power-suits of lady politicians past. These pieces can be mixed and matched or worn as a killer ensemble. Let's have a looksee, shall we?

Clockwise from top left: White Short Sleeve Hollow Lace Top with Skirt $42, White Short Sleeve Floral Striped Top with Skirt $35, Betty Boucle Scallop Jacket and Skirt $180, Pink Lapel Sleeveless Fox Print Top with Skirt $25

Un-Basic Basics

As Blink 182 once sang, "Work sucks, I know." Even dream jobs can have their off days, and sometimes waking up really is hard to do. (ALL THE SONG REFERENCES HERE, KIDS.) Some days, you wake up early for that 9 to 5 grind after one too many glasses of wine the night before, and putting an adorable outfit together is just not in the cards that day. A good, basic, non-basic dress that you can turn to again and again will get you through those days. Also, coffee helps, I think. IDK, I gave it up! Nothing makes sense! Here's some dresses!

From left to right: Lucca Couture Lace-Trim Open-Back Fit & Flare Dress $59 (would work best with a cardigan or blazer, methinks), Colorblock Crepe Dress $159, Ann Taylor LOFT Floral Tie Collar Dress $90

Those of you who work in creative type offices, what do YOU wear to work? What are your thoughts on jumpsuits? (I LOVE them, but have yet to find one that fits me very well. Stupid weird body.) How do you dress for work without abandoning your personal style? What do you do for a living? I'm considering a career change. Right now, it's between astronaut yoga instructor or the person whose job it is to come up with names for nail polishes. (#DREAMJOB) Give all your office style advice to me and Kara in the comments please!

Got a fashion challenge for me, or a request for some sort of article? (Did I hear "MORE CROP TOPS" from the back of the class?) Holler at me in the comments, or on Twitter, or on Instagram, or find me on the West Coast next week! I'll be stomping my way through San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle! Say hi to me! Give me restaurant recommendations and stuff!

For more Rachel, check out our sister site xoVain.