Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dressing for the Casual Workplace

My friend Melanie is an owner of a mobile veterinary company. She and her business partner travel to people's homes to care for their pets. It's actually kind of an amazing business and if you live in New Hampshire, you may want to check out their website.

Working for a veterinary practice can definitely present some fashion challenges, as can any job where your clothes are at risk of getting ruined due to less than ideal environments. Whether you work with animals, or outdoors, or in any environment that isn't an office, choosing appropriate clothes can be tricky.

At Melanie's request, I've put together some stylish, flattering outfits that are also appropriate for her particular workplace. As a traveling vet, Melanie needs durable clothes that also look professional. She needs to be aware of so many things such as whether or not the fabric is easily washable, or whether it will be a magnet for pet hair. The fit is a constricting factor, too- anything loose and flow-y is NOT an option. She needs to be able to move easily, since she's likely up and down all day long, handling the pets. She thought I wouldn't be able to come up with anything, but I'm never put off by a challenge. So, here are my looks:

Casual Vet

This first look is all about layers and comfort. Melanie loves clogs, so I wanted to make sure to include a pair in at least one outfit. What I like about this outfit is the layering- a thin long-sleeve, fitted henley layers perfectly under the super cute cotton plaid button-front shirt. Paired with dark corduroys that are designed to fit just like jeans, the whole look is polished, but casual and all the fabrics are washable. The corduroys are probably not super ideal, because they'll attract pet hair, but since they're super cute, I recommend Melanie keep a lint roller in her car and she'll be fine. As the cold weather approaches, she'll need something to keep her warm. A quilted vest is much more practical because it allows her arms to be free, but she'll still be warm. Finally, a cute, canvas cross-body bag allows her to carry all her essentials all day long in comfort and style. As for the colors I've chosen, I tried to stick with dark colors that won't show dirt or stains. The top is a lighter color, but the print will help mask any pet hair that wants to cling to her.

This outfit is proof that you can be stylish even in comfortable, durable, casual clothing. But since I like to go the extra mile, I am going to give Melanie three outfits to choose from. Here's #2:

Casual Vet 2

The same concepts apply to this outfit as the first one- layers of comfortable, durable items. This time, I chose a pair of skinny jeans in a dark wash. If your workplace allows you to wear jeans, don't ruin things for everyone by choosing an inappropriate pair. Keep them crisp, clean, free of holes or distressing and make sure you choose a dark wash. Tall, flat boots are very trendy right now and can work with a casual or dressy look. In this case, they dress up the jeans a bit. Again, I went with a simple, button-front top that's fitted and flattering. It's also another great choice for layering should you decide to add a cropped cardigan on top or a long-sleeve fitted tee underneath.

And finally, look #3:

Casual Vet 3

This look probably seems a bit too dressy, but hear me out. A comfortable pair of leggings is always a good choice for a casual work environment and nothing is more comfortable than a chunky-knit sweater dress. Belt it to keep it flattering and pair the whole look with another great pair of flat boots. Another reason this outfit is so great is that it can easily transition from work to dinner out. Change to a pair of high heel boots, add some fun jewelry, switch to a sleeker purse and voila! Perfect for a dinner date!

So, Mel- did I do a good job? Would you wear any of these outfits to work? Leave a comment if you like them or even if you don't! And thanks for reading!


Maria said...

Great post! Business casual is tough -- somebody in the office always wants to bring it to the level of what you'd wear to watch TV on a rainy Saturday. But these looks are terrific and comfortable!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You nailed it! I would wear all of these looks! Thanks for the inspiration! And thanks for the website nod!

Renée T. Bouchard said...

Thanks for the great comments, ladies! I'm glad you enjoyed this post!

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