How-To: Dressing for Plans After Work

It’s just another day at the office: you arrive at 9a.m., you go to meetings and respond to emails for the better half of your morning. With your energy level in a slump, you’re about to grab lunch at your local favorite spot when a coworker giddily approaches you for an invite to tonight’s festivities with the rest of the office. The social interaction is so appealing, but you would never go out after work in your mundane suit. Sound familiar?

While it’s ideal (and preferred) to have your evening planned in advance, spur of the moment drinks after a long day are often the mainstay. Knowing this, you can easily prepare by leaving a few key items in your cubicle / office as “just in case” pieces. Below are a few ideas for different office environments starting with a suit dress code proceeding to more casual office dress codes.

If your office  environment requires you to wear a suit every day, the option above will work with both a pant suit and a skirt suit. Both looks are utilizing the center items: an olive blazer with a slight sheen to the fabric and a contrasting black lapel + a simple black pencil skirt with a mid-rise. To the left, 1. The items you would wear to work: a simple white blouse, pearl stud earrings, and black pointy-toed pumps. I’ve shown a patent heel here because the lacquered look always puts me in the mood to go out, more so than normal leather pumps. To the right, 2. The items you would wear after work: change out of your white blouse to a slinky-er top such as this black velvet camisole with spaghetti straps and a slight cowl neck and an eye-catching cocktail ring in a fun color (I chose my favorite eye catcher: electric blue). Opt to wear the same pumps to save time.

If your office  environment is business casual, then you’re in luck! This may be the easiest (and comfiest) of them all. Say, you’re wearing 1. simple gray trousers, a cobalt blue fitted cardigan, black pointy-toed pumps, and an accent scarf. If your coworkers want to head to your nearest bar for after work drinks simply change your pants into 2. high-waisted ink wash jeans (or the darkest near-black wash you can find), tuck your cardigan in and choose an accent color for a waist belt to visually draw the eye to your smallest point. I’ve shown a yellow floral belt or a neon yellow belt. Again, opt to wear the same pumps from your work day to save time.

If your office is fashion forward, then this will be perfect. Choose a dress in a bright color, but make sure everything else is a neutral shade to avoid clashing or just “over doing it.” If you opt for a dress that has a cutout that would be perfect for going out, but not ideal for work (such as the keyhole cutout at the chest of this fuchsia dress above) make sure to safety pin it until after-hours. While at work, cover up with a blazer and opaque tights with patent heels. For your plans after work, take off the tights and add a waist-defining belt in a color that will pop but still provide contrast. I’ve shown a deep blue skinny belt to complement the bright pink. Add in a trendy studded bag and keep your heels on from the work day. Voilà!

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