Reader Request: Dressing Up a Casual Work Ensemble

An anonymous commenter had this request:

Almost all of my clothes are casual work, but from time to time, I actually want to go out. I can put together cute work outfits pretty easily, but feel like I look bland in the evening. How can I take casual work clothes and make them work for going out?

Great question! And a few easy pieces, tucked away in your bag or car, can help transform a dressed-down day look into a spruced-up night look.



I know, I know. The phrase “statement necklace” has been uttered so many times it makes most of us cringe. And yet, it accurately describes this piece of jewelry: A big, bold, chunk of a necklace that makes a true stylistic statement.



This particular blazer may have an extra large dose of funk, but you catch my drift. Something more zesty than plain suiting: Embellished, detailed, sculptural, shot through with metallic thread.



Choose a larger scarf with an edgy pattern. Bold geometrics, bright colors, or an elegant watercolor motif like the one shown above. Save the floaty florals for another time.

Add any of these three pieces to jeans and a sweater, or slacks and a blouse and you’ll feel instantly pulled together. You might consider swapping out comfy daytime shoes for slightly dressier ones, but otherwise you’ll be ready to leave the office and hit the town!

Images courtesy J.Crew, Anthropologie, Nordstrom.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

Originally posted 2010-12-27 06:05:39.

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7 Responses to “Reader Request: Dressing Up a Casual Work Ensemble”

  1. Sara

    I love these suggestions and think they all work to transform an outfit. I’d add a bold lip color, too – I frequently wear a bold color during the day, but I think it freshens up a look that’s been worn all day (and often gives me a second wind for an evening out, somehow).

  2. La Historiadora de Moda

    These are great tips, Sal! And I am drooling over that blazer. The one I probably rely on the most is the shoe swap. I also sometimes will swap out one item of an outfit, such as a skirt for skinny jeans or a blouse for a sequined tank.

  3. K-Line

    Sally, I love your choices. I am an edgy scarf kind of girl and I am going to click on that one because I love its creepiness! I think the jacket is also blingy great – not my thing (I’m not so into metallic), but would work great on so many twenty-somethings who want to look chic and stand out. (Note: Anyone of any age can wear it well, of course, it just makes me think of the younger fashionistas.)

  4. Anne @ The Frump Factor

    Great suggestions! Love the jacket. I think bold, funky earrings and/or bracelets can go a long way, too. (I do think that the shoe swap is really key…. but it’s the tip I’m least likely to follow, since it’s too much work!)

  5. SWFTerra

    Do I use any of these pieces? Uh, YES. đŸ™‚ I particularly love bold jewelry and scarves. They can be so inexpensive and make a super splash. Don’t discount the power of a bold lip. It’s one of my favorite accessories to punch up a work wardrobe.

  6. Lori

    I use fashion jewelry to change up my work clothes for the evening. It is amazing how you can change the entire tone of an outfit with accessories alone – and fashion jewelry is the option that works best for my budget đŸ™‚

  7. lisa

    Statement necklace or earrings or rings, dressier shoes, and lipstick are my go-to tricks for going from day to night.