By Jessica Chong
Finding the right mix between business casual and office chic can be difficult. Summer is all about dressing up in form-flattering outfits and eye-catching shades, and there’s no reason why office wear should put an end to this.
Outfit 1: Light silk blouse and indigo cropped pant
Dressing up a blouse with an eye-catching indigo hue is just what the midweek work blues call for. I started with a purchase of a silk indigo top last summer, and since I’ve added a pair of bi-stretch cotton pants and a silk dress to my collection of bold hues.
Incorporating colour allows me to bring my personality to the workplace; nothing brightens up cubicle rows more than a bright blue. Summer is also the perfect time to be sporting statement colours. Just remember to offset indigo with something more subtle, like a white silk blouse.
Accessorizing with subtlety is just as important to draw attention to the pants. I opted for a simple necklace and black heel. Adding a patterned floral belt also adds character to this outfit.
My favourite part about this pant is the invisible side zip - a front zip would only take away attention from the belt as an accent piece. I’d also recommend going for the cropped pant look; slim ankle-grazing pants promise for a comfy work day and the hem itself is especially flattering in summer heels.
Outfit 2: Classic black peplum and blue jeans
Peplums are still trending and will be for a while, and they’re definitely a way to accentuate the feminine figure. I’d recommend buying a white or black peplum – classic shades that can be matched with many other colours. Part of the fun is deciding whether to dress them down with pants or dress them up with a skirt and accessories. Peplums are highly versatile and have become a staple piece in my wardrobe.
Almost every fashion retailer is selling its own peplum, some more flattering than others. Be sure to get one that’s form-fitting. I’d recommend one with a back zipper and material that stretches while keeping its form.
Also, ensure that the cut cinches your waistline; if you wore a frumpy, ill-fitting peplum, it would counter the intended effect. Once you’re sporting this number around the office, the compliments will definitely get you through your work day.
Outfit 3: Silk coral dress with a teal vest
Silk dresses are an ideal way to dress work-appropriate for the summer. Coral and teal complement one another and create a fun, youthful look. Pairing a dress with a vest is a great way to dress down, while pairing it with a blazer can be a great way to dress up. A nice nude or soft pink lip works nicely with this colour palette.
I’d recommend dressing in warmer shades of blues, purples and oranges for a laid-back summer look that stresses the casual side of business casual. This look was especially suitable for the Casual Fridays at my workplace and was much more fun than a tee and jeans.
Summer work wear doesn’t require a new wardrobe. Half the fun comes from mixing and matching old favourites with new trendy colours. A woman with three university degrees at work tells me that dressing up may be fun now, but I’ll tire of it later. That may be true after her eight years of schooling, but with more free time on my hands in the summer, outfit planning and incorporating trends into my wardrobe is a way to add some fun to the office.