Do elegant blouses and formal workplaces match?

In one word: Yes! Blouses are a great choice for a fitting work outfit, for Ladies and Gentlemen alike. Of course, some thought must be put into how you will combine it with the rest of your apparel since no one wants to show up looking like their clothes got picked by Mr. Magoo. The term “blouses” is typically reserved for women so we will henceforth refer to male blouses as shirts so that we can better differentiate between the two.

What kind of combinations are there?

Firstly, are colorful garments acceptable in an office? Absolutely, it’s all about the right dosage: bright colors should be combined with subtle tones. For example: a skin-colored blouse with a pink skirt. If you feel that too many colors is a bit too much, you can always go for classic tones and just keep the colorfulness for the accessories.

Blouses can be combined with pretty much everything. Even what initially sounds like an unconventional combination, such as wearing a dress with a blouse tucked in it or an open blouse over a thin turtleneck sweater, are often seen today. There are of course elegant work outfits for which you need a deeper sense of fashion. Not everyone can triumphantly wear blouses and culottes for example.

Ladies first

So what exactly is it that women should wear to their everyday working life?

Normally, office etiquette doesn’t hold much love for short skirts, sleeveless blouses, and low necklines. Although breaking traditions are a part of human nature, one should still respect proper norms and etiquette.

Keeping that in mind, let us list some of the ideas for an elegant work outfit.

A standard choice where you can’t go wrong is to opt for a pantsuit with a monochrome blouse. Add some closed pumps that match the colors of the outfit and you’re good to go.

Simple button-down blouses always work for an elegant blouse. But blouses in different colors or with interesting details (like ruffles or bows) can be an easy way to make your outfit feel less cookie-cutter. We recommend picking non-iron materials like washable cotton or poly blends.

Different workplaces, different looks. If you can and want to go for a style that’s a bit more casual yet professional, jump into a nice pair of jeans, put on a plain and fancy blouse and top it off with a great black or navy blazer. Too casual? Swap the jeans for some black pants or a fancy dress. Not too fancy though, keep that fairytale dress nice and stored for the next wedding.

There are blouses whose shape is cut like a classic blouse but is buttoned together at the crotch with a piece of sewn-on fabric. This blouse is particularly practical when worn in combination with trousers. The body shape prevents the annoying slipping out of the trousers and therefore always fits perfectly. It also creates a slim silhouette. Together with a pencil skirt, this makes it easy to create a professional office outfit; combined with tight jeans and high heels, even a smart casual outfit. Discreetly applied breast pockets reinforce the fashionable impression.

Exhibiting skin is a touchy subject in a work environment. However, this does not mean that it’s an absolute no-go. Off the shoulder blouses, for instance, can currently be seen in all colors and variations on the posters of large fashion chains. Not only are they super modern right now, they will most likely become a must-have during the course of 2018. Reason enough to buy some trendy parts, match it with a formal over-the-knee length dress and create a runway atmosphere in the office. Keep in mind that you if you already have your shoulders popping out, it is less than perfect to also go for a skirt that’s too revealing.

There are of course some work areas that absolutely require top-notch formal attire. But at this day and age there are new winds blowing, and in many cases, the best way to go is to get creative. Make your work clothes and weekend clothes blend and create your own unique style while always keeping the set limits in mind.

Manners marketh the man

In a manner of speaking (pun intended), clothing also maketh the man.

So, what are most popular men choices for an elegant work outfit?

In the spirit of honesty, the range of male working outfits is a bit smaller than that of their female counterparts. Which obviously does not mean you have and all the other sirs at the office have to look like you go to the same tailor.

The way a man chooses his business shirt can let you determine what kind of man he is. It is less standardized than a suit. The classic shirt blouse remains the most important basic piece, especially in industries with a strict dress code, which differs mainly from the men’s shirt in terms of waist, darts on the trunk and the swapped button facing left instead of right.

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. Wise words to live by, which is why one of men’s favorite pick is to match a plain shirt with a suit. A white shirt covered by a navy suit with a red tie (which has continuously withstood the test of time) will contrast nicely and give you an elegant and professional look. A major advantage of wearing a white shirt is that this piece of clothing can function as a blank canvas for almost any tie.

In this sartorial marriage, the tie is always going to be the first thing people notice. Therefore, it pays to give it some attention and invest in quality. Try to go for a tie that looks awesome on its own (though it’s not recommended wearing it as such).

Go for matching or contrasting colors. While both are allowed, there are limits to what you can do without looking a tad too carefree.

White shirt, red tie. As was said before, a classic. If you’re looking to spice up your life, choose bolder colors. Green, pink, blue, fuchsia, yellow and even orange (depending on your level of confidence and dress-up skill) can be worn. In this category, the sky is almost the limit. In contrast, more neutral shades work just as well. Stick to white, black and grey for a block colored outfit if you want to look elegant and formal without attracting too much attention.

On that note

All these guidelines refer to formal wearing. However, within the concept of working outfits, the variety is enormous. There are more and less strict dress codes. It will always be up to you to adapt accordingly while maintaining your own style and comfort.
Respect the norm, but don’t live strictly by it. There is some wiggle room for you to bring in your identity while not stepping on anyone’s toes.

Always remember, the way you look will always have a first and strong impact on those that surround you.

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