Two Ways: Day-to-Night Office Attire

Dec 10, 2013

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Shoes: Enzo Angiolini ‘Call Me’ Pumps ($67)

From Left, Dress: The Row Tella Dress ($1,295) Rings: Freida Rothman Classics Ring ($160) and Gorjana Boa Ring ($60) Bracelet: Python Cuff ($145) Belt: C. Wonder Skinny Stud Belt ($58) Bag: Minkoff Mini MAB Bag ($395)

From Right, Necklace: Modcloth Pyramid Necklace ($10) Bag: Vince Camuto Fiona Satchel ($328) Earrings: Sam Edelman Faceted Earrings ($30) Blazer: J.Crew 1035 Jacket ($288) Top: Wallis Navy Wrap Top ($52) Pants: 1025 Wool Pant ($188)

When you work long hours, making time to go home and change before a holiday dinner or party just isn’t feasible.  Today, I’ll talk briefly about each of these work outfits and then, explain how you can transition them from day to evening with a few simple changes.

On the Left. Why must simplicity cost so much?  If I want a dress covered in tulle, sequins and leopard spots, I can pick that up for $20 at Forever21.  But ask for clean lines and an elegant finish and you are asked to pay $1,200.  Or do you?

If you’re looking for similarly sleek dresses for the office and have a bit of money to spend, try Rachel Roy, MM LaFleur or Black Halo.  I am particularly fond of this color block v-neck sheath and this charcoal dress with a sculpted neckline, both from Roy.

Need something under-$175? Try this Ponte Knit Sheath from Classiques Entier, or this $60 Walter black long sleeve dress.  Plus-size? Try this Eileen Fisher dress.

To complete the outfit, I added a black metal ring (so pretty!) and a snake-inspired cuff and ring.  And since the outfit looked like it could benefit from a belt, I added this studded C. Wonder belt.

Now, to morph this outfit into evening attire, I would change three things: The shoe, the belt and the bag.  First, change to this pearl and studded belt from Express.  Then, finish with this simple Zara box clutch and these Jessica Simpson suede cage sandals.

For the makeup, I would keep the face makeup neutral with a rosy cheek and a simple taupe lid during the day.  Then, for night, I would pump it up with a black liquid liner and a matte red lip.  For the hair, I would curl it in loose waves for day, and either pin it up or leave it down for evening.

On the Right. Here, we have a classic J.Crew business suit.  Should you be in the market for one of these little numbers, J.Crew is 25-to-30%-off with code MERRMERRY.  If you are a college senior or junior who doesn’t own a suit yet, these make good holiday gifts.

I paired this faux-wrap Wallis top with the suit for texture and movement.  I also love the way the necklines complement each other.  The top also comes in cream and red, if you’re not feeling the navy.  Plus-size? Try this pretty Vince Camuto top.  Petite?  Try this Dorothy Perkins top.  The same blouse also comes in tall sizes.

To complete the outfit, I chose a black faceted earring and a simple pendant.  I also added my favorite bag-of-the-moment.  I chose the white and black bag because all black felt too heavy.  This under-$100 Zara bag in black and grey would achieve a similar effect.

Want to take this look to the evening hours?  First, lose the necklace, the earrings, the bag and the jacket.  Instead, let the silky blouse stand alone, and add a long, dramatic earring.  I like these $22 black chandeliers from Blu Bijoux.  Then, work in a black clutch with a gold accent.

For the hair, I would definitely pull it up into a side bun. This tutorial helped me.  For the makeup, I would keep it simple with a plum cheek color and a grey shadow for day.  Then, I would darken the shadow with a charcoal color (try this NYX Smokey Palette for $7) and add a deep burgundy gloss, like Estee Lauder High Intensity Lipgloss in Electric Wine.

Oh, and don’t forget the perfume, nothing says party time like a great scent.  I am obsessed with Jimmy Choo Exotic right now.

Three Ways

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  1. EB says:

    I own this dress from Ann Taylor – and it’s relatively inexpensive (+ 50% off today) and it’s pretty similar (I like it and it fits me well, at least):

    https://www.anntaylor.com/3-4-button-sleeve-shift-dress/324037?colorExplode=false&skuId=14952708&catid=cata000012&productPageType=fullPriceProducts&defaultColor=9192

  2. Emily says:

    Belle, what would you say constitutes an evening event? I’ve been invited to several cocktail parties/ happy hours in DC starting around 5:30 and wonder if it is appropriate to be in evening attire for these events.

    • Belle says:

      If it’s on a weekday, right after work, then look to yesterday’s Two Ways for ideas. Those are just business attire with more eyeliner events. I’m talking about events that start at 7pm or 8pm, usually on Fridays or weekends, and usually say cocktail or semi=formal on the invite.

  3. Emily says:

    Thanks for the clarification!

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