|The closest anyone at Sterling Cooper ever came to Business Casual!|
Whether you find it freeing or confounding or a mixture of both, for the foreseeable future Business Casual is here to stay. In many BC offices, denim has gone mainstream, even Monday through Thursday. The upside: a little bit of denim can signal “relaxed” and “approachable” (important especially for those who manage others) and admittedly, many denim pieces are comfortable thanks to a bit of stretch, and washable. But there’s denim and denim, and if Polished and Professional (P&P) is at least as important to your workplace image as Relaxed and Approachable, denim looks for the office should be chosen carefully.
|Ann Taylor Modern Denim Trousers|
|Ann Taylor Signature Denim Trousers|
For those who prefer a looser fit through the hips/thighs, try this style in the Signature fit.
I have my own guidelines for wearing denim in a way that’s office-appropriate, which granted are based on my age and sensibilities, and being an administrative professional in a non-conservative field. Those who work in more conservative or more creative office environments may have different guidelines.
- Wash – stick with a darker, more even wash. No whiskering, “dirty” washes, very distressed or very light washes. I push this guideline a bit with my Sevens, as they have a bit of a fading on the upper part of the leg. The Notable Exception: white jeans.
- Design – simple and straightforward. No super skinnies, no rips, no “elephant” bell bottoms, no cuffed “boyfriends,” no “butt bling.” Colored denim? I’m still not ready to go there at work. Talk to me in a few months; I’ve been known to change my mind.
- Length – make sure they are hemmed correctly for heel height. No hems dragging on the ground.
- Except for Casual Fridays, one piece of denim per outfit.
- Styling – if I’m wearing denim jeans or trousers, I Bring the Business with a jacket, point-toe pumps or flats, or nice loafers. I’m on the fence about jeans tucked into knee high boots. It’s a great look, and still au courrant, but I still haven’t figured out how to make it work at work.
|Kut from the Kloth “Victoria” trouser jeans|
I did say “no super skinnies,” but a tailored slim leg still looks P&P to me.
|Not Your Daughter’s Jeans “Michelle” stretch trousers|
For those who want a full rise, check out NYDJ.
“Denim” doesn’t have to mean “jeans,” though.
|Lafayette148 denim shirt - look Ma, no boob pockets!!!|
Denim shirts are hot right now, though personally I’d save my Double Denim looks for Casual Fridays. I’d wear this blouse in a heartbeat with a printed pencil skirt, or slim trousers in a non-denim fabric.
You could try a denim blazer…
|J.Crew Chambray Blazer|
Try the blazer instead with a tailored solid or printed pencil skirt or twill trousers.
And speaking of pencil skirts…
|Ann Taylor denim pencil skirt|
Denim skirt, yes, but not your teenage niece’s version. This could pair nicely with a brightly colored printed top and some bright pumps.
Pour moi, clean, simple styling, and mixing your denim with more structured pieces are key to keeping denim in P&P territory. And then on the weekends, go wild!
Do you wear denim to work? How do you style it?
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