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minimalist fashion: the ins and outs of paring down

minimalist fashion: the ins and outs of paring down

minimalist work outfits to last monday - friday

by: Maria Del Russo

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November 6, 2020

Your Guide to Versatile Work Outfits & Minimal Dressing Every Day of the Week

Whenever I think of the phrase “work outfits for women,” I always think of the opening scene of the movie Working Girl. We watch Tess, played by Melanie Griffith, rush through the streets of New York in a typical ‘80s commuter getup: Sheer nylon tights, a smart skirt, a blazer, and sneakers. When she gets to her desk, she quickly changes from her sensible shoes into stilettos.

I love this scene, not just because it’s so totally ‘80s, but because it pretty seamlessly illustrates what workwear for women was like in the past. There were strict dress codes that had to be adhered to, and women got around them by lugging other pieces (like their shoes) to the office in order to be comfortable while commuting. It wasn’t exactly minimal.

Luckily, things have changed. Dress codes have loosened significantly since the days of Tess McGill, but that doesn’t mean dressing for work has gotten easier. More choices mean that we’re stocking up on more clothes, building bigger closets to house them, and are spending more precious time picking out what to wear to work.

That said, more choices don’t necessarily have to mean more clothes. In fact, one of the easier ways to get dressed for work is to adopt a minimal approach to outfits. In 2015, art director Matilda Kahl penned an essay for Harper’s Bazaar about how wearing the same thing to work every day improved her creativity. “The simple choice of wearing a work uniform has saved me countless wasted hours thinking, ‘what the hell am I going to wear today?’” she wrote.

Now, you don’t necessarily have to wear the exact same thing every day. But having a handful of pieces that work in myriad situations is an easy way to take the stress out of picking out a work outfit while still being creative in your dressing. Ahead, I’m laying out five outfits that just need one swap to go from formal to casual. It’s the minimalist’s guide to work outfits for women — and you’ll be stylish all day long.

 

Monday

Work outfit: It’s Monday, and if you’re anything like me, you like to kick things off on a smart, but cozy foot. A pair of slouchy, but professional, slacks paired with an interesting wrap blouse feels polished and poised — exactly the vibe you want for your Monday morning meeting.

After-work outfit: This is an incredibly easy look to take from the office to drinks. Swap out the blouse for a silky tee, and you’re instantly ready for cocktails with friends.

 

Tuesday

Work outfit: Meeting with clients all day? Never fear. A wrap blazer says “interesting” and “stylish,” when paired with some wide-legged trousers. Plus, the pants are machine washable, which means no cost (and environmental impact) for dry cleaning.

After-work outfit: Instead of going home and changing, simply slip your blazer off to reveal your satin top below. You’re now ready for date night or happy hour.

 

 

Wednesday

Work outfit: A lightweight jacket can also double as an interesting top, especially in offices where the air conditioner always seems to be on arctic blast. Paired with a cool pair of joggers, it’s perfect for a more business casual dress code.

After-work outfit: Got errands to run after work? This jacket is also great for that, too. Pair it with a pair of versatile leggings for a more comfortable look while you’re out and about.

 

Thursday

Work outfit: If you work in a more formal office, you might think that a polished jumpsuit is way too casual for you to wear to work. But by slipping a form-fitting turtleneck under the suit, it instantly makes it more pulled-together and pinned-up — and totally office-appropriate.

After-work outfit: Headed to a dinner party after work? Pull out the turtleneck and slip on a swingy sweater to cover your shoulders. You’ll look chic and casual, but still pulled together. What a difference a turtleneck makes!

 

Friday

Work outfit: Even the most formal of offices tend to observe casual Friday, which means you can loosen things up a bit. This structured sweatshirt is polished enough for the office, but cozy enough to make you excited for the weekend. I love slipping an oversized button down under it for an unexpected twist. If your office allows jeans, pair these two tops with them.

After-work outfit: Strip off the sweatshirt and pair the oversized button-down with some satiny, billowy pants. The oversized look is in right now, making this look perfect for everything from a business dinner to a night dancing and cocktails with friends.

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