Business Casual Superstar: Nurturing our Office Neutrals

by Rachel Yeomans | June 3rd, 2010   

Neutrals are under-rated and under-used, and today, I’m aiming to put a stop to all that. I’m part of the problem, too, though, so don’t feel like all the blame is being put squarely on your shoulders. I think the problem is that, subconsciously, I always see neutrals as boring colors that are to be used when you’re wearing something else that’s really exciting. They’re just filler pieces that are meant to flesh out the rest of the outfit without actually adding anything substantial to it.

Oh, how wrong I was, you guys. How wrong we all were.

So, today I’m putting together an outfit composed entirely of neutral shades in an effort to convince you guys (and myself) that neutrals on their own can be exciting and substantial and, most importantly, office-appropriate.

ww19 Business Casual Superstar: Nurturing our Office NeutralsChiffon Tips Top ………. $16.99
Soft Floral Skirt ………. $49.99
Frances Pump in Brown ………. $20.99
Mixed Bead Cuff ………. $4

I basically built this outfit around this skirt. Okay, so it’s cheating a little, because while it’s in neutral shades, it’s got a pretty floral print that keeps it from being one of those blah-filler-neutrals. But whatever; you can’t build an outfit on those blah fillers alone, anyway. And this skirt also illustrates that something in neutral shades can still be interesting on its own.

I paired this summery (but still work-appropriate) skirt with this great top from the Limited. I really adore some of their pieces, and I love this updated twist on the classic tee. It’s in a neutral oatmeal shade, but it’s got folded pieces of chiffon fabric (just like the skirt!) in tie-dye colors along the neckline, making it youthful and colorful and fun.

I balanced out the look with a pair of brown and off-white pumps; but if you wanted to go with a warm peach or a coral or poppy-colored shoe, nothing is stopping you. I just decided on the brown and beige shoe as more of an illustration about neutral pieces. Have fun with the shoe color, without overpowering the look. I threw in a brownish/reddish cuff with yellow touches since the tee is short-sleeved and will leave the arms bare, and there we have it!