Cool Outfits and Professional Outfits—They're Not Mutually Exclusive

Let’s face it—we’ve been told for too long that anything “office-appropriate” automatically has to coincide with plain, neutral, and an anything-but-cool approach. Frankly, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there is certainly a range of work environments where the definition of “professional attire” ranges greatly, we’re here to prove that dressing professionally and dressing in something that’s exciting, fresh, and stylish can totally be one and the same.

Office attire is different for each office and each person. (See the outfits one editor swore by when she worked as an assistant). But on the whole, there are general rules to follow, like skipping too-short hemlines and tank tops in favor of tailored pieces. To give your 9-to-5 wardrobe a boost, think traditionally conservative silhouettes reimagined in of-the-moment pops of color and print. But don’t just take it from us. Let the below outfits serve as all the proof you really need.

Play with proportions—team flared trousers with a flowing crêpe or satin blouse for a fresh take on these tailored separates.

Take your go-to office outfits to stylish new heights by adding in key trend pieces. We love how this outfit combines a midi skirt, blazer, and of-the-moment cowboy boots.

We always keep styling tricks like wearing a dress with sneakers in our back pockets. While a long-sleeve midi dress and tights are universally polished, it's the unexpected pair of shoes that brings the look to a certain level of cool.

One word: suits. The matching sets are easily our favorite way to approach workwear. And with so many fresh colors to choose from right now, there's no reason not to invest in this updated staple.

Keep an eye out for interesting details like these trousers with lace-up panels. Though the rest of her look is made up of wardrobe basics like a plain turtleneck and blazer, it's decidedly forward.

So you love your neutrals and are rarely willing to part with them? Get creative with your approach to the classics when you pair flared trousers with something oversize up top. Opt for a cropped hem that won't obscure your figure.

Another strong case for the power suit. Feeling extra bold? Try out a printed set and accessorize accordingly with a sculptural pair of earrings.

Details, details, details. We can't stress enough just how much an eye for subtle detailing can take an average outfit and transform it into something seriously stylish. Here, cool trousers and architectural mules are the standout pieces.

Shop professional pieces to get excited about

Need more work-related style inspiration? See what successful female professionals put on to make them feel their most powerful.

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