Actress Viola Davis pairs a conservative dress and blazer ensemble with eye-popping red pumps. (Media Credit/Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images)

Putting together an office-appropriate outfit can be tricky, and it’s all too easy to slip into an ill-fitting, dowdy work clothes rut. But not to worry, fashion designer and expert Claudia Patel is here to help. Patel, whose clothing and jewelry lines debut online this month, shares her four office “must-haves.” Follow them, and in no time you’ll be an office fashionista!

Power Pumps

Black pumps might be the “go-to” shoes, but fun pops of color can transform an outfit–just remember to keep it professional.

“To draw the right amount of attention to your shoes, be sure to consider contrast when selecting your daily work attire,” says Patel. “Go bold—but steer clear of loud patterns. Black is a sleek look for the office, but also experiment with hues. Bold colors are a great way to stand out, in a good way.”

Model Kate Moss looks edgy in skinny jeans and a blazer. (Media Credit/Mike Marsland, WireImage)


Please abandon that frumpy skirt suit or old, pilled cardigan and invest in a versatile blazer.

“A statement jacket is that perfect piece to dress up your casual Friday look,” says Patel. “Pair a slim fitting blazer with skinny jeans for a chic ensemble. Pair a solid colored dress with a bold jacket and make your outfit pop. Celebrate your femininity with flared skirts and dresses in appropriate lengths complimented with a fitted jacket for a polished look at work. Take your look from day to night by removing your blazer for dinner and drinks after hours.”

Singer Alicia Keys stuns in a classic black pencil skirt and a tucked-in emerald-colored blouse. (Media Credot/Steve Granitz, WireImage)

Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts have it all: they’re classic, sophisticated, and a little sexy.

“A fitted pencil skirt brings confidence and femininity to your work wardrobe,” says Patel. “Tuck in a simple conservative blouse to show off your curves elegantly. Make sure you wear heels to lengthen your legs for that perfect symmetry. Experiment with different hues, textures and complimentary colors to reflect your personal style. Pair a black pencil skirt with a bright top, or vice versa.”

Model Olivia Palermo rocks a structured, neutral bag. (Media Credit/Dimitrios Kambouris, WireImage

Statement Bag

Just say no to stuffing everything in that cute little purse, and don a bright or neutral structured bag that can fit your iPhone, work papers and make-up bag for some happy hour touch-ups.

“Big statement bags really pull your overall look together, whether you are going for chic and sophisticated to creative and fun,” says Patel. “Pair a basic black power suit with a bright bold or patterned bag. Everything right down to the bag you carry to work needs to have some form of structure to look sleek and polished. Leave your cute hobo bag for the weekends. Invest in a large structured neutral bag that will complement any outfit. Steer clear of glitter bags for the office. For a hint of sparkle, turn to jewelry instead.”

About The Author

Shannon O'Neill is a senior editor at Bombshell.

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