Reader Kim said:
I’m not sure if you’ve done this before, but I’m always trying to figure out ways to dress down some of my dressier items for work. I’d love to see your take on that.
Originally, I tried to tackle this post here, but thanks to a few astute reader comments, realized that I’d missed the mark! Kim doesn’t want to know how to mix dressy and casual, she wants to know how to take make her fancy work clothes work outside of work. (Say THAT five times fast.) So let’s give that a whirl.
ADD CROPPED LEGGINGS
Obviously, this won’t work with most sheath dresses. But above-the-knee frocks with a bit of a flare in the hem generally look DARLING paired with cropped leggings and flats. Wrap dresses, like the one shown above, are absolutely ideal for this formula. Flip through your workweek dresses and see which ones will look adorably dressed-down worn with leggings.
ADD FUNKY OR PRINTED TIGHTS
I’ve definitely worn my printed tights to the office, but they are just a bit more casual than my solids. When you pair funky tights with a conservative dress or skirt, you’re adding sass and whimsy to the overall mix. I consider that a fabulous way to dress down your work wear!
ADD A RUGGED JACKET
Military jackets and blazers, denim jackets, leather coats, and anything that’s been distressed will instantly tone down the dressiness of skirts, slacks, dresses, and heels. Try your black suiting pencil skirt with a graphic tee and military blazer. Throw a jean jacket over that sleek sheath dress. You could even do a bomber with a button-down and jeans. Rugged jackets work beautifully with sophisticated, work-appropriate pieces.
I still maintain that wearing jeans with virtually any work-appropriate top or blazer will make for a stellar ensemble, but I suppose that’s common knowledge at this point.
How do you dress down your fancy work duds? Any other tips to share?
UPDATE: After a few curious comments from you folks, I did what I clearly should’ve done to begin with: I wrote to Kim for clarification! See her comment here, and it sounds like between today’s post and the previous I’ve covered her original question. However! For those looking for tips on making truly dressy items – like cocktail dresses and similar – work for the office or everyday life, here are posts that cover that ground:
Hope that helps!