August 13, 2007

Office Fashion: Dresses

Having been in my black suit "uniform" for a month now, I am ready for something different. Something a little more girlier and fun, but still suitable.
Rummaging through my closet, I came up with my Ralph Lauren shirt dress this summer. I've always thought it was a bit formal for everyday casual wear (though I wear it anyway), but now thinking about it for work, it just seems too casual. Kind of like I'm going to spend a day at the country club instead of a serious day at work. Although it IS a shirt dress, complete with a collar and all.
Going a bit deeper, I found this black silk and chiffon dress. I actually thought about wearing it to dinner and then to a club the other night. But decided that it was too formal for a club and it looked like it was for work. Then again, the chiffon and the silkiness of the dress makes it seem too dressy for work.....Next in my wardrobe comes my Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress. I ended up wearing this to dinner and club the other night. This is classic. It is supposedly perfect for all occasions. But then my only worry is (and yes, I know, I worry too much, people probably don't even care), is this too nice for a summer intern?

So ladies, what do you think of the dress in the workplace? Is there such a thing as too formal for work? And what does it convey about our professionalism?

Image Source: Net-a-Porter, Ralph Lauren


Anonymous Katja said...

You can change the attitude of any clothing with accessories...with the shirtdress, use a belt and some closed toe pumps. With the dress, maybe some more casual black sandals and no super fancy jewelry. And honestly, it's better to look too nice (in dvf) than too sloppy. As long as you make it look young and funkym I think you can definitely pull it off.
Love the blog!!

8/14/2007 12:29 AM  
Blogger Geisha said...

I am in love with that RL shirtdress! So summery :)

8/14/2007 12:45 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

It's much better to error on the side of looking too nice. People treat you differently and you take yourself more seriously if you dress nice! And it's easy to get into a habit of dressing too casually in the summer months.

8/14/2007 1:46 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I'm a huge fan of wrap dresses. I wear mine pretty much anywhere, from around town during the day to night weddings. The key is definitely in the accessories, shoes especially. I've been a flip flops beach bum, a ballet flats girl shopping around town, and then put on some diva heels at night. A nice pair of kitten heels or ballet flats and you're set for work.

8/14/2007 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Devon said...

I agree with Katja, you can dress anything up or down.

But in terms of anything being "too nice" for work, its totally a matter of opinion. I think the most important thing is that you feel comfortable. I can recall so many times that I've wanted to wear the latest addition to my dress collection to a class (not a work-out class, one of those 'sit-down-and-learn' ones) and felt so awkward because everyone else was in t-shirts and jeans.

However, part of being a fashionista is being willing to buck the trend and go with what's cutting-edge, no matter how few people know about it yet. So, feel beautiful, and comfortable, and wear whatever you like! Dressing a casual dress up with pumps and a dressy dress down with flats seems to bring most things to the 'work' medium.

8/14/2007 2:38 AM  
Blogger Alexandra said...

When it comes to wearing dresses to work, I found it valuable to keep in mind what other women in the office wear. I worked in places where I would never have worn a dress that was even remotely "girly" because every other lady wore somber, dark, very office-appropriate clothes and me not doing that would have just garnered attention- not necessarily a bad thing, but I definitely don't want attention at work for what I wear.

8/14/2007 3:16 AM  
Blogger That Was Zen This Is Tao said...

I think it totally depends on the image you want to project and your work environment. A wrap dress is perfect - a lot of women here in New York wear it to work. Another option is to throw a light shawl over a casual dress to dress it up (and useful too, esp. if there's lots of AC in the building!).

8/14/2007 4:08 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I have the same problem with office dresses... I am always searching for the perfect one, not too casual, but not too formal!

Here are my options: Office dresses...

8/14/2007 5:01 AM  
Anonymous bk said...

... i just think.. it dont seem too sexy. :)

8/14/2007 5:56 AM  
Blogger Irie Diva said...

the cut of the last dress is adorable! anyway it all depends on where you work, i.e. wat type of business and what others around you are wearing, take from them and push the envelope just a little further. like me, i could where any of those dresses to work but its because im in a slightly more relaxed office, not a stuffy, strict one.

u can check my recent wear to work article as well

8/14/2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger Tulz said...

I LOVE the third one!

8/14/2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous mimi said...

it all depends on where you actually work, and if there is a dress code for your office. the first dress would be perfect if you worked at a cute boutique, beauty salon, magazine etc.

i wouldnt wear the second dress to a job. too short and formal.

the wrap dress is gorgeous, but again it depends on where you work.

i intern at a law firm, and i know 100% that none of these outfits would be appropriate at all.

8/14/2007 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Perfume Dude said...

The third one is fantastic:)

It really does depend on your office culture whether they are appropiate or not. As other posters have said take the lead from the co-workers but don't be afraid to push it a little bit:)

8/14/2007 9:56 AM  
Blogger Harrods Girl said...

If you feel awkward normally wearing dresses to work, maybe you can just wear it on Fridays?

8/14/2007 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Molly said...

I think wear dresses, as long as you feel confident in them, there is no reason not to. I have the luxury of working at an art gallery, but I never wear a suit, my uniform is one of my billions of LBD or a pencil skirt with a white blouse, but I am always trying out new dresses. It always surprises me that the days I think that I am over/under dressed are the days I get the most compliments!

8/16/2007 10:17 AM  
Blogger rebecca said...

When I first started my current job, I was concerned with dressing in line with everyone else in the office. The only problem was I HATED the clothes this meant I had to wear so I ditched that idea and wear as many dresses possible as long as they don’t show too much skin. I feel so much better everyday, who wants to walk around feeling ugly all the time??

8/16/2007 8:11 PM  
Blogger olya said...

1st dress would be fine for a summer intern, not for a full time. Last dress is great for both in a business casual environment.

I don't think you can really over dress unless you wear suits when the rest of the office wears casual... the better you dress, the more professional you look.

This definitely excludes dresses/skirts above the knee, and sleeveless shirts without a cardigan.

8/23/2007 11:37 AM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I have been reading a lot about this A/W and next year and it seems tailoring is coming back in a big way. I dont think you can beat a smart tailored suit, dress, skirt/trousers that you can mix and match. You can dress them up or down and get lighter fabric products for the summer time. Black aways works well for me. I always seem to go back to black and dress it up or down with other colours and accessories. Always a winner!

8/24/2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger oomi said...

nice official dresess

8/25/2007 12:58 AM  
Blogger Lewis said...

You can change the look of the dress with optimal use of accessories. Accessories actually complements your outfit, if chosen properly and if its the other way round, then it can ruin the look of your dress.

I suggest you to visit sites like called for more information on accessories.

8/31/2007 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shirtdresss could work for the office with an appropriate shoe.

The black dress, having chiffon, is too formal for the office and should be reserved social activities in the evening, such as a trip to the opera, theatre, ballet, ect.

The DVF wrap dress, being a classic indeed, seems wonderfully versatile, appropriate for the office, but perhaps should be worn with the simplest shoe possible to turn down the VA-VOOOM factor that will inevitably occur when you wear it!

9/17/2007 3:45 PM  
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