Even though we’ve already broken down runway trends into what’s really wearable, it’s time we take things a step further. Fall 2015 had lots of looks that might be easy enough to translate to date night or hanging with friends on the weekend, but for your super buttoned-up, tailoring-required office? It’s trickier, but far from impossible. We called up Rent the Runway CEO and cofounder Jennifer Hyman, a Harvard Business School grad whose career has taken her through the corporatized halls of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and IMG, to see what advice she had to offer on merging fashion trends with a work wardrobe that has to remain super professional.
Play with color.
Even in today’s most office’y offices, there’s no rule that says you have to wear black or navy. “Look at Michelle Obama or Hilary Clinton and how their styles have evolved. Women in power are wearing lots of color,” Hyman commented to us. She loves burgundy and emerald done in professional cuts like pencil skirts and sheath dresses and is supported by the pros: Pantone’s official color of 2015 is wine-red marsala. Another runway hue trend that’s easy to make work for work? All-white or cream, massive in the fall collections and easy to replicate in the pieces you typically see worn by employees in your company. To try, pick up slacks, a blazer, or fine-knit sweater in an eggshell color.
MORE: The Ultimate Professional Style Inspiration? Blair Waldorf.
If you’re going to do a print, keep the dominant color dark.
There’s a huge catalog of print out there, and it goes without saying that some will be too loud or inappropriate for serious work environments (the robots and monsters fashion loved in the spring probably aren’t a good idea for a board meeting). The good news is that one of the season’s most major print trends—dark, moody florals—is on the opposite end of anything that could read as juvenile. To wear, shop for a large-scale print with a dark dominant color in dresses or sharp tops. The bigger the print, the less busy it’ll read.
MORE: 4 Office Fashion Rules From a Woman Who’s Dressed Kate Middleton
Shop separates and include one trendy piece.
“Over the past 15 to 20 years office attire has loosened up, and even in the most conservative industries the Working Girl dress code is officially dead,” said Hyman. “The traditional black or navy business suit has been replaced by sophisticated dress silhouettes and separates that allow you to showcase more of your personal style.” So? Keep your trusty black trousers and replace the basic button-up with a shirt that has a ruffled collar or skinny tie at the neck. The ’70s were massive for fall and in lieu of attempting a total look, shop for a pussy bow blouse or something with a subtle amount of sheen.
Wear something other than pumps.
*Shake yourself out of a rut where you pull on the same simple pair of black or nude heels every day. Crazy lace-up stilettos or multimedia shoes might be way too much for your work space, but you can totally play with the season’s trendy menswear-inspired flats and brogues. *
Prabal Gurung dress, $40 rental, renttherunway.com, Bailey 44 top, $40 rental, renttherunway.com, Carven shift dress, $115 rental, renttherunway.com
Hunting for more office inspiration? Come see 13 new ways to style a pencil skirt this fall.
Something you should definitely try for work? Styling up your necklaces!