FASHIONABLY CASUAL CHIC
Many young women are making the shift from working in an office to working at home, many of them are opting to be stay-at-home moms or to start a home business so they can be more flexible. And many offices are finally allowing women to dress more casually at work, not just on Fridays, but all week long.
While students have always been able to dress as they please, more and more young women are now finding it possible to do the same. And retailers are stepping up to meet the rising demand for chic clothes that are comfortable and easy to care for, but look fashionable and trendy too.
Even so, it can be challenging to put together a unique wardrobe that is functional and looks good, too. If you are new to the work-at-home scene or a new mom, you may find yourself with a closet full of business wear and insufficient sportswear. What was once enough for weekends does not go very far when it becomes a daily thing. So, besides going shopping, how do you assemble a wardrobe of casual, comfy but fashionable pieces you can quickly pull together in the morning and still look great all day?
Start with what you love. You are now free to wear whatever you want, so get clear about what that is, You should already have some idea of your favorite looks from a quick check of your play clothes. And here’s a list of basics that will give you style, comfort, options and versatility.
(1) An assortment of cute tees, tanks and tops. Buy only those you love. You are dressing to please yourself. So remember, if you don’t feel good in it, it’s probably not worth a second look
(2) Jeans, khakis, cropped and yoga pants in neutral colors that will mix well with your tops. Straight-leg pants are best but you can throw in a few flairs or baggies for diversion. Add a few short cotton or khaki a-line skirts for days you want to look more girlie. You can also add a longer print skirt, but make sure it’s easy care and looks good wrinkled. Indian print skirts are ideal for this purpose. Finally, find a few pairs of shorts with a comfortable fit.
(3) Assorted active wear for cooler weather. Add a few sweater dresses to wear with leggings or tights for a change of pace. Long knit tunic tops work well with skinny jeans and leggings, too. You’ll need a few cardigans in neutral or jewel tones. Wear the neutrals over colors and the jewel tones over black. For comfort and warmth, add some colorful leg warmers, like those featured in the Marc by Marc Jacobs fall collection.
(4) Sundresses that can be dressed up or down, one in basic black. Sundresses can also be covered with a light cardigan or shawl when the weather turns cool.
(5) One casual blazer to wear over a tee when you want to look businesslike. A basic black outerwear jacket with a fashionable cut to go with everything in cold climates, or a light suede or leather jacket for mild winters. In chilly locales, augment the jacket with a great knit hat, some colorful knit scarves, and one great pair of gloves.
(6) Cheap jewelry to amuse yourself when you grow bored with your outfits. A selection of inexpensive ballet flats in colors, a few pair of flip-flops and some Keds in a bright color. Don’t forget an all-purpose bag. You may want to recycle your college backpack (great for stashing while shopping and it doubles as a diaper bag). Add a quality shoulder bag that goes everywhere and a small black clutch for evenings out.
(7) Fashionable claw-clips to pull your hair up and assorted ponytail bands for quick hair fixes.
(8) A plaid flannel work shirt (steal one from your boyfriend, husband or dad) to substitute for a cardigan or jacket.
(9) A baseball cap for bad hair days and a great pair of sunglasses.
(10) Recycle any business wear that can go casual. Some tanks and tees may work as well with jeans as with business suits, and you will save yourself from feeling like they are going to waste.
With casual clothes, it’s best to stay in the low to moderate price range unless you have unlimited resources. Think Macy’s, Dillards, department store junior departments, Target, J.C. Penney and Forever 21. All these retailers have an extensive, affordable and every-changing selection of trendy but inexpensive casual clothes. You can also find things online. And if you live in the city, shop street vendors for unique styles and colors where you can even haggle about price if you feel in the mood.