Work Chic: Staying Out of a Fashion Rut at the Office

Work Chic: Staying Out of a Fashion Rut at the Office

When you’re dressing for work, there are ups and downs of having a casual dress code. The up is that you can dress much more casually than you could in many other situations, so you can be more comfortable during the day. The down is that because you can dress more comfortably (and who doesn’t want to be comfortable at work?), you find yourself easily falling into a too-casual habit of dressing and (dare I say) fashion rut.

I admit it…I’m a victim. I used to work in an environment so formal, we could barely wear peep toe shoes and couldn’t even wear denim or cropped pants! The strict dress code had me a little less cozy than I wanted, but it kept me looking nice. But now, I wear jeans almost every day and my typical top is some sort of simple sweater. Sometimes I wear khakis. Usually, I stick with denim. A skirt is a rarity and a button down shirt, which I used to wear a few times a week, is now more a memory than a staple item.

But, every once in awhile, I catch a second wind and decide to dress up!

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Lookie at me! I wore a skirt AND heels!


So, how do you keep business casual from putting you in a fashion rut? Here are my tips:

  • Remember, you’re at work. If you want to be treated professionally, you need to dress professionally.
  • Try to purchase work clothes that are both dressy enough AND comfortable. If you actually like wearing something that looks nice, you’re more likely to wear it.
  • If you can afford it, go shopping. Purchase a new staple item to throw into your usual rotation. If you’re short on cash, try adding just a new accessory. Or shop your closet and find something you haven’t worn in awhile that you want to wear again.
  • Have fun getting ready for work. Turn some music on, dance around, and primp yourself.
  • Consider planning your outfits in advance. Choose your outfit the night before work. Or if you want, go ahead and select a week’s worth of work outfits. You may have more fun when you have more time putting different looks together.

Reader Question: What are your tips for staying out of a fashion rut at work?


I had fun dressing up today, but boy was I ready to get out of these heels when I got home!


You would too if you were wearing these! lol


For tonight’s dinner, our star ingredient was brussels sprouts!


I recently saw a brussels sprouts and cous cous dish in my Martha Stewart from November and decided to do a play on it.


I made warm brussels sprouts and quinoa salad with lemon and garlic.


I needed two sizes of garlic for dinner: sliced and minced.


The sliced was for my chicken. I did a quick chicken in garlic, lemon, and white wine.


Dinner was pretty tasty, but I’d have to tweak the recipes before sharing them.


I did love the combo of veggie, quinoa, and chicken!


I love how quinoa is a nice change of pace from my usual carb-ish side – rice!


Hubby and I enjoyed dinner whilst catching the latest Glee.

Not trying to spoil anything for my West cost friends, but did you see Emma’s “bling”!? Whoa! I didn’t see that coming!

I was trying to finish dinner and blogging early enough so I’d have time to either read or do some crochet, but most importantly, get to bed at a reasonable hour. I decided baking cookies > crochet, so I threw a quick batch together. They’re cooling on the stove now…can’t wait to try them!

Anywho, I’m finishing blogging at a record early (yes…late for most, but early for me!) time for me – 10:25 pm and I’m about to hit publish! Woohoo! 🙂

Remember to weigh in on my question about fashion rut above! I’d love to hear your tips!

18 thoughts on “Work Chic: Staying Out of a Fashion Rut at the Office”

  1. I am a fashion rut and I am not sure of how to get out of it. I am a college student but I also work at a Big Insurance Company in a call center environment. I work weird hours so it isnt required that I dress up so I usually where jeans and a shirt and sweatshirt. I really would like to dress nicer, but whenever I buy more fashionable clothes I end up returning them because I am never sure that they look nice on me. I think I need to find someone that can help me get more fashionable clothes!! 🙂

  2. Yup, I’m kind of guilty of the fashion rut. I have to dress up, but I kind of repeat a lot of the same outfits and am not very creative. I need to work on it.
    I pretty much were 3+ inch heels every day too, because most of my pants are a little long on me!

  3. I can so easily slip into a fashion slump at work! I too am in a business casual work environment (sometimes even “casual” depending on the day) – it’s hard to get myself to dress nicely a lot, though sometimes I enjoy it. I hardly wear heals because walking to and from the subway would not go well, but I wish I could, I love being tall!!

  4. As an elementary teacher, I am on my feet most of the day, so comfort is key. Sometimes I just throw on the first jeans, sweater, and flats I see. But I think ahead as to whether I have a meeting or the predicted weather for the day since my classroom is actually separate from the main building and I walk inside and out to pick up my students. Dressy slacks for meeting days; jeans for rainy days and casual Fridays. As far as the outfit, I picture it in my head while doing hair and makeup in the morning. Sometimes it comes together nicely, sometimes it doesn’t.

  5. I haven’t worked in an office in so long. I feel so out of fashion…I dress like Juno on most days. I cooked very similarly last night and considered quinoa and brussels sprouts, but changed my mind last minute. What do you crochet? I make A LOT of scarves and blankets. I have cookie baking on the menu today too, I am thinking gingerbread dough balls (gluten free). Have a great day!

  6. I definitely understand where you are coming from. My work environment is extremely casual so I end up in jeans all the time. In the summer I can wear shorts and tank tops! I am attempting to dress a little more professional. Khaki’s and dress pants, rather than jeans everyday. It’s hard though, especially when everyone else wears jeans and is casual. I almost feel like the weird one dressing up! lol

  7. I work in a “business causal” office now (which means half the office is in jeans every day) and I love it! I would always prefer to work in an environment like this because “anything” goes, in that you can be totally creative in your wardrobe, not having to toe the corporate line. I do the jeans/tee/flats combo occasionally when I’m tired/sick/uninspired, but in general, I look forward to putting together new outfits everyday. The secret for me is to keep picking up unique pieces here and there (Anthropologie, and thrift stores are always good bets), the occasional trendy item, and basics to pair it all with to keep from looking like a fashion victim (I love J Crew’s cardigans, particularly the embellished ones, and solid-colored skirts and pants from the Gap and Banana). Dresses are also always a good bet…you look instantly pulled-together, and can throw on a belt, layer a cami/cardi/two cardis etc, add jewelry, colored tights with heels, knee-high socks over tights under boots, and so on and so forth. And don’t scarves! Draped, wrapped, or belted, they add additional texture, warmth, and interest to an outfit with very little effort or expense. See? Always endless possibilities…once your realize how many ways you can mix and match your closet getting dressed in the morning turns into a fun way to start the day.!


  8. I am sad to say that I work as a manager where I have to wear the same costume as my staff. You can’t tell the me from my staff at all. My outfit is sneakers, swooshy pants and jacket, my own sweatshirt, and a polo. Most days I just throw my hair in a ponytail and I feel like a bum. I can’t dress up for my job because I work outside or with kids all day and let me tell you wearing a dress/heels and digging in the sand do not go together at all.

    • I just wanted to add that when I do dress up I get stopped in the back hallways and asked if I got a new job or promotion. I am a department head that no one takes serious. Lesson is that clothes really do make the person at work at least.

  9. I wish I had tips for you but I am in a fashion rut in both work and casual clothes. I may never see the light at the end of this tunnel.

    (My work dress code is STRICT: No open-toed shoes, no capris, no denim, no sleeveless tops of any kind…you get the picture.) I pretty much wear black dress pants and a sweater every day 🙁

  10. I buy lots of solid color tops and mix and match to keep things dressy, but fun and nice looking. I have a couple of bottom options in pants and skirt options and it works nicely. However, I am also a Gap girl through and through and love nothing but solid prints and I live for cardigans.

  11. Dont buy ‘trendy’ clothes.
    Stick with the basics…dark coloured blazers, chunky knit sweaters and cardigans, slim dark pants/skirt, colourful tanks/blouses and SPLURGE on ACCESSORIES! Dress up a white t-shirt with a huge bib necklace or multi-layered metal chain necklaces.
    Cinch a thick sweater with a skiny belt or sinch a small cardigan with a wider belt. Little booties always dress up any pant/skirt!
    Hope that helps! 🙂


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