My Favorite “No-Brainer” Work Outfit

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My favorite, default work outfit.

Sometimes, you just don’t want to decide what to wear. Although your closet is wonderfully curated and perfectly suited for your lifestyle šŸ˜‰ , there are some outfits that just “call” to you more. For me, I have one particular work outfit that I reach for whenever I’m too lazy to pick out matching clothes in the morning.

My favorite outfit works for multiple occasions: I’ve worn it at conferences to give a talk, on a regular day at work, and on the weekend to go to the movies. It’s especially useful when I’m not sure how fancy an event is and how much everyone else will dress up. It just blends into any event! I wouldn’t call it a work uniform, because I don’t have multiple copies of this outfit. It’s just one particular combo that ticks all the boxes for me: comfortable, warm, dressy yet casual, professional yet not stodgy.

Let’s break down the outfit into elements:

  • Dark wash jeans (Madewell, sold out): Dark wash jeans are my default. A straight leg cut (as opposed to a skinny leg) is the most classic in a professional setting.
  • Interior lace detail (Target, sold out): I love white/cream tops because they suit my skin tone and style. I particularly like lace tops because they add a bit of detail without being distracting. This tank also has a scallop hem which is fun.
  • Neutral warm layer (Bobeau): This popular fleece from Nordstrom is one of my favorite layers. It has a fleecy interior and can also be closed with a button for a different asymmetric look when it’s cold. I don’t usually take it off, since the tank underneath is fairly revealing.
  • A bit of sparkle (Nadri): To fill the open neckline (and distract from my bony collarbones! šŸ˜› ), I like wearing a necklace. Since the cut of this tank is fairly low, I picked a bigger cubic zirconia necklace.
  • Black shoes: Although I didn’t show them in the photo, I usually wear black booties (Sam Edelman) or flats (Tory Burch) with this outfit. They have low/flat heels which are easy to walk in, especially if I am teaching that day and have to be on my feet.

If I were to define my usual work style, it would be dark pants, fairly slim fitting, plus a looser top or sweater. For example, check out these other outfits I wore that same week:

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A week of outfits. PS: Lay-flats are really hard!

These outfits skew a bit more casual than my favorite outfit described above, but are still suitable for my workplace as long as there aren’t any special meetings. You can see that they mostly fit the same mold: black/blue jeans, a colorful shirt/sweater, and sometimes a layering piece on top (in Thursday’s case, a down vest). Underneath, there’s a Heattech layer. For accessories, I’ll usually add a simple cubic zirconia necklace and stud earrings as well. Shoes will be the black booties mentioned above, or these cognac booties.

I’m lucky that my work and casual wardrobe blend together fairly well – these work outfits could easily be worn out and about on the weekend, for example. My workplace dress code is fairly lax, and about half of the other faculty actually wear sneakers, shorts, and hoodies on the regular. The other half will wear business casual with slacks and a button-down. As one of the few female faculty in the department (err… one of two), it’s not very clear what I should wear. I tend to dress up a bit, since I look younger and want to have at least some semblance of authority, especially if I’m teaching a class that day šŸ™‚ Although, one day I did blend in with a crowd of students walking on campus, and managed to overhear some students complaining about the teaching style of one of my colleagues šŸ˜›

Do you have a favorite “no-brainer” work outfit? What’s your workplace dress code like?

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