I am a 24-year-old who just recently just landed my dream job – working for an international development agency. The field that I entered (a blend of international politics, diplomacy, and nonprofit) are not known to be stylish. As a matter of fact, many of my colleagues, whom I highly respected and perform greatly at what they do, have very bland (note: conservative) fashion sense. I do not strive to look like Lady Gaga at work, but could you advise me on some brands or designers to look up for dressing inspirations? A brand/designer that is well-respected, well-made; so that when I wear their piece, I would not only get a nod of approval from my boss but admiration from my trendy friends?
I don’t know what your budget is, but I am assuming you aren’t a millionaire, so my recommendation would be to buy clothing from COS. They make fantastic clothing, classic with an edge, well-priced, and superb quality. About 50% of the new clothing I have bought in the past three years has been from there (if not more.) The only downside is that they have few stores and only do online shopping in the UK, but I presume that will change soon.
If I had an office job like yours, with a decent/average salary (this is much easier to do if you have a huge clothing budget), I’d mix my COS up with other brands. Here are a few tips:
- Banana Republic is good for knitwear
- Club Monaco has great basics, especially tailoring
- H&M has fun day dresses
- Uniqlo has amazing cashmere
- You can find quality, comfortable yet interesting work shoes from Chie Mihara or Acne
- Splurge on outerwear (a Burberry trench is always a winner, and make sure you have a beautiful winter coat)
- Accessible luxury brands to buy from include A.P.C. for cool French classics, Filippa K for clean Swedish basics, Acne for cool versions of traditional classics, AVHASHBY Anne Valérie Hash for nice jersey pieces, 3.1 Phillip Lim for trousers, Paul & Joe for girly stuff, Sonia Sonia Rykiel for fun knits, By Malene Birger for pretty/edgy pieces, and Diane Von Furstenberg for a bit of colour and print.
Now you have really put me in the mood for shopping.
A few dressing tips…
- Avoid mini skirts unless you are wearing super, super, super thick tights and flats or low-heeled shoes
- If you have a statement piece in your outfit, make sure the rest is fairly classic
- Invest in a good, expensive-looking, classic coat and bag
- Don’t wear heels over four inches, it looks silly at work
- Make sure you can walk in your shoes
- Dress appropriately for the weather
- Don’t wear clothing that is too tight
- Avoid low necklines and cleavage
Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.