A Working Wardrobe: The One Where You Don’t Always Have to Look Like a Bumble Bee

by Rachel Yeomans | January 14th, 2010   

The last time I was here, I was talking about our First Lady; today, I’m back with a business casual look that was requested by one of my best friends. Amanda works as a librarian in Michigan, and while she was down here over the long weekend (well, we made it a long weekend), we spent a considerable amount shopping. She mentioned that she needed clothes that could double as business casual items so that she could wear them to the library, and said she preferred pants, since she was always up on a step ladder or crouching by the shelves, and flats, since she was often on her feet.

So today I’m bringing you a look that will definitely work for Amanda at her library, and for the rest of us non-librarian gals as well. Anyone that knows me knows that I despise black and yellow together, as well as orange and brown together (because they hate each other, you see), but I’ve found a way to make yellow and black work, while keeping you from resembling a bumblebee too closely.

The key is to soften the often severe look of black and yellow (think about it – in nature, a bee’s colors are meant as a warning to other creatures that they will be stung if they get in the aforementioned bee’s grill) with another color. So I’ve settled on grey, which does the trick nicely.


ww2 A Working Wardrobe: The One Where You Dont Always Have to Look Like a Bumble BeeMarissa Fit Cuffed Pant in Black ………. $14.99
ASOS Self Check Longline Shirt ………. $11.90
Drape Front Cardigan in Grey ………. $38
Rebel Embellished Belt ………. $6.80
AE Embellished Flats in Grey ………. $14.95
ASOS Satin Pleated Clutch ………. $8.50

We’ve got a simple pair of black pants in twill, paired with this long, very lightly checked yellow shirt. It’s a nice, soft yellow, instead of a bright and glaring one, which I much prefer. I added a black belt with little silver studs for you to cinch over the shirt to add some shape to it, and create a nice hourglass shape.

The black, yellow, and silver all in place, I went about picking a color to soften the whole look and settled on this grey draped cardigan. The belt already adds some curves, and the cardigan will hang nicely over that. Besides, the shirt has itty bitty sleeves, and a full sleeved cardigan might be more work-appropriate, especially since it’s currently winter. I threw in a pleated black clutch and a pair of black and grey flats to finish off the look, and there we have it: a work appropriate ensemble that won’t leave you looking like a bumble bee.

Huma Rashid is a self-proclaimed root beer connoisseur and a second year law student at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She publishes her own law blog, The Reasonably Prudent Law Student (www.humarashid.com), the home of her popular series, Business Casual Superstar (www.humarashid.com/category/business-casual-superstar). She likes to address herself by the name of her alter-ego, the Hoomster, and lives in the Chicagoland suburbs with Mama Hoomster, Papa Hoomster, her little brother, and Eustace, her ulcer. In her free time, she likes to write, indulge her graphic design hobby, watch obscure British comedies starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and think about cupcakes.