Ask the Editor: Work Outfits for Late Nights

Jun 5, 2023

Last week, the Senate took a vote on the debt ceiling in the wee hours of the morning.  During Montana’s legislative session, a few times per session, I work until the color bars come up on the television.  And when you’re working late nights, you must choose your outfit wisely.

Hi Abra,

Do you have a go-to uniform for late nights in the Capitol or at work? As a former Hill staffer, I’m sure you can sympathize.

I want to look and feel like a powerhouse but there are some very real practical considerations: it’s drafty, I need pockets, and I may be wearing it for 24 hours (or more!).

Any and all tips are welcome! Thank you, Marissa

When working late nights, your body changes.  Your feet and hands swell.  You may feel a little bloated, since late nights are usually accompanied by takeout dinners.  And you need an outfit that feels good on your body after 18-hours.

For long days, I always choose pants.  Specifically these Perfect Pants from Spanx.  They stretch and move with the body, and they are so comfortable to wear.  They are also inclusively sized in plus, petite and tall.

To make a suit, I add a ponte blazer.  Spanx makes a Perfect Blazer in the same fabric.  It runs a little large, so I would size down.  The jacket has functional pockets big enough to hold a cell phone or a small wallet.  (I carry a small card case at work.)  If you want something a bit cooler, this Rag & Bone jacket has a chic blazer with decorative gold buttons.

As for the shoes, you’ll need something comfortable.  If leather is your choice, try a pair of Cole Haan Vanessa Skimmers.  They are very comfortable and easy to walk in.  If you don’t need leather, I wear Rothy’s to work regularly.

If you have late night outfit suggestions, leave them in the comments.

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  1. Anon says:

    Knit dress with a cami or slip.
    A change of shoes is more important to me than which ones.

  2. Diane says:

    I wear stretchy pants, flats, a dressy-looking T-shirt and a J.Crew sweater blazer. But I’m usually in an office with minimal staff and not a government office. For trials I bring a sweater blazer and flats to change into after the jury is gone.

  3. Anon says:

    I would also go for the ants option. I would also have a small essentials kit that would include a change of top (identical to the one you start in, if you don’t want to be seen to be changing clothes – no-one will know except you, but you will feel fresher; and for me, it gives me more energy.), deodorant wipes to freshen up; maybe a face refresher spray (spring water or something like Clinique Moisture Surge face spray); and a few “healthy” snacks to stave off the temptation for too much sugar – energy balls, a small pot of nuts, whatever you like best. Anything else that makes you feel you have everything covered – like stain remover wipes, painkillers in case of headache, etc. (For me, this is much the same as the kit I put in my carry-on luggage for business trips in case I get delayed/stranded/have my luggage lost.

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