Career Style: Denim at Work

Feb 2, 2011

Earlier this week, I mentioned that if your Boss let’s you wear jeans to work, you need to wear them “properly.”  Since then, I’ve received several e-mails asking me what I meant.  So here’s the deal.

If you’re going to wear jeans to work, you need to put a little more effort into your wardrobe than just throwing on a top.  And please, ladies, don’t throw on just a t-shirt/polo/pullover sweater and call it an outfit.  That may be fine for the weekend, but it’s just not enough for work.  

As for what you should wear, I like to layer sweaters.  The J.Crew feather weight sweaters are great for this.  It’s comfortable, looks put together and is guaranteed to keep your warm in the chilly offices.

First off, I like wide or flare leg jeans for work.  Skinny jeans are casual, and on occasion, a bit vulgar.  Plus a trouser jean, like these Seven for Mankind Dojos, will make you look really tall, even if you’re not.

While I would prefer pointy-toe shoes to balance the wide leg opening on the jeans, I really wanted purple flats.  The tote is fabulous for under $100, and is great for any season and most occasions.  I think the whole outfit is just a well put together casual alternative to professional attire.  

Thanks to my Boss’ draconian dress code, I can’t wear jeans to work.  And the reason I can’t is because most of the Hill staffers who he sees traversing the halls during recess look less than professional.  So step up your game.  Maybe if you all start wearing jeans the right way, I might be able to get the denim dictator to change his mind.

Career Style, Casual Style

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  1. VA says:

    Belle, what brand are the flats?

  2. MAB in VA says:

    love this – very helpful – thank you!

  3. An says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed today's post and the humor that went with it.

  4. LO says:

    I beg to differ about the Dojos. I'm 5'3″ and roughly 130 lbs., and have the same pair you've posted in your Polyvore. Instead of “looking really tall”, I look even shorter,especially in flats. Now unless you're above 5'5″, these Dojos will make you look short and bulky.

  5. Alejandra says:

    I think it's okay to wear skinny jeans to work depending on the workplace of course. I work at an association that's not too conservative so it works for me. Also, wearing flats with skinnys definitely helps take out the vulgarity factor. That's just me though!

  6. Nellie says:

    Belle, can you comment on boots at work? I think skinny jeans tucked into boots border on casual/vulgar (also just not professional – you look like you could go spelunking!), but perhaps a sleek pair of boots with a skirt? Heels vs. flats, materials? Thanks, I love your advice!

  7. Belle says:

    I wear flat boots and boots with 3″ heels almost every day in the winter with skirts and dresses. As long as you're wearing tights, I think they're fine. Something about the flesh between your knee and skirt peeking out has always struck me as a bit too…unkempt?…for work.

    As for the jeans, I think what can make skinnies totally inappropriate for work is two fold:

    1) When they're too tight.

    2) When you wear them with a top that doesn't at least cover some of your tush. A long sweater, a tunic, a blouse, whatevs. But if you want to wear skinnies to work, don't wear them with a top that barely covers the belt loops.

  8. kurtgeiger says:

    Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts.

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