5 Easy Ways to Update Your Work Wardrobe Without Taking Out a Loan

by Rachel Yeomans | April 30th, 2012   

By Noelle Cellini
My Best Foot Forward

While money for a whole new wardrobe would be fabulous, you don’t have to spend a fortune to update your look.  Being both stylish and chic is possible with just a few small changes.

1. Black pants and a top is a combination we’ve seen a thousand times.  Anyone can pair anything with black, however switching to a different neutral is refreshing!  Something like gray, navy or brown are much softer than black.  Colors also pop a bit more when worn with something other than black. For my casual wardrobe, I love to reach for my olive ankle pants because they go with anything – gray, light pink, yellow. When you want to change it up, don’t reach for black.

2. The basic neutrals are black, brown, navy, gray, taupe, white, off-white and denim. However, there are a few other neutrals to consider.  Metallics (silver, pewter, gold and bronze) are the new neutrals.  Just like the other colors, they go with anything and are an easy integrate into any wardrobe. Instead of a black shoe (which is classic but predictable), opt for a pewter heel.  Personally, I love bronze with navy (as navy shoes can be dowdy and only go with navy).  A metallic handbag will take you through every season, whereas a black bag can sometimes look too heavy in the warmer months.  When you need a change, opt for metallic.

I love these snake-embossed wedges from Franco Sarto that come in gold and pewter.  These would update any dress, skirt or even jeans! Obviously if open-toed shoes are not in your office dress code, opt for close-toed instead.

Franco Sarto Wedge Sandals 5 Easy Ways to Update Your Work Wardrobe Without Taking Out a Loan

3. I’ve seen a lot of closets in eight years and one of the things I’ve noticed is that hardly anyone wears prints.  Prints get a bad rap as they can be very flattering.  The key is to keep the print in proportion to your body.  The general is: Nothing too big on someone who’s really petite and nothing too tiny on someone who’s very curvy.  Prints add visual interest to an outfit and can sometimes be more flattering than solids as they keep the eye moving.  If you need to play it down, wear a jacket or cardigan over a print top or keep the rest of the outfit very simple so as not to over do it.

This print is a little different, but I think the top is fun!  A little unexpected under a black blazer, but fun worn on it’s own with skinny jeans or black ankle pants.

ASOS Sleeveless Top 5 Easy Ways to Update Your Work Wardrobe Without Taking Out a Loan

4. An outfit is never complete until it’s accessorized, and accessories are better when they’re layered.  One necklace (unless it’s a statement necklace) can sometimes get lost on the body, while two or three create more of an impact.  I like to layer a long, pendant necklace with a shorter necklace.  A strand of pearls looks great with a chain necklace (or two).  The same is true for bracelets.  One bracelet is a little lacking, while several stacked bangles look a bit more stylish.  Less is more when it comes to dressing the body, but more is more when it comes to jewelry; so have fun with it!

5. Lastly, I’m a big fan of pattern tights because they are one of the quickest and inexpensive ways to make your existing pieces look new.  I always pick up a few new designs each season, which garner several compliments – but not from the tights, about the whole ensemble!  A pattern tight can breathe new life into a basic black dress or pencil skirt.  In order to avoid adding unnecessary bulk to the leg, opt for a vertical pattern.  It’s also best if the pattern is fairly simple.  Some of my faves are little black dots, diamonds or baby fishnets.  These all add that little extra something, but without going over the top.

These Commando tights are a personal favorite as the black isn’t too much and the buff color add a bit of coverage for when you don’t want to go totally bare (but a tight is too heavy).  The laser cut top also makes sure these tights don’t dig into your stomach and are comfortable to wear.

Crochet Tights 5 Easy Ways to Update Your Work Wardrobe Without Taking Out a Loan