Fall Fashion Trends That Work For The Office

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"Clothes make the man." – Mark Twain

"What you wear to work speaks volumes about how much you respect yourself and how much you respect your job," says Clinton Kelly, co-host of 'What Not To Wear' and fashion consultant to NewWayRA.com (http://www.newwayra.com), an online lifestyle show hosted by Deborah Norville and geared toward polishing the fashion looks of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Regardless of where your office is or what your workplace dress code is like, what you wear to work every day says a lot about your personality, your taste and your attitude. Online clothing sites (AOL Shopping, Bluefly, Amazon, etc.) make shopping easy and convenient, and with the wide variety of clothing options out there today, clothing can be anything that you want it to be and can send any message that you choose.

With so many options out there and many people on tight budgets these days, it is hard to know the must-have items for fall that will send the message that you are confident and capable; so we asked the experts for you.


The hottest fall fashion trends for the workplace

"I am loving loden green for fall, says Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade New York. Lloyd also loves animal prints, especially in calf hair bags, and statement coats in bold patterns or bright colors. "An embellished flat is also an easy way to make an outfit look polished and professional, but still fun."

Clinton Kelly also loves this season's embellished flats. "With studs, buckles, bows, medallions, rhinestones and glitter, flats are more fun than ever." Kelly also recommends investing in a sheath because in addition to being the most popular silhouette this fall, it's a classic item, so you will get years of wear out of it. Cozy knitwear, bright lips and trench coats are also big hits this fall, but follow these expert tips so that you remain fashion-forward and stylish in your dress at the office.

  • The sheath: "Be careful about pairing the really basic ones with matching pearl earrings and a necklace. Try modern accessories instead," says Kelly.
    See Favorite Sheath Dresses for Fall >>

  • Cozy knitwear: "This season's sweaters look like something you'll want to wrap yourself in and take a nap. But remember to look well-groomed at the office, so pair an oversized cardigan with tailored trousers and a blouse," recommends Kelly.
    Get the Trend Spotlight on Chunky Knits >>

  • Bright lips and hot red lipsticks: Lloyd says "a great red lipstick brightens any look," but Kelly reminds us to not overdo it on the eyes or the effect will be overly dramatic for the office.
    Catch This and More 2010 Fall Beauty Trends >>

  • The trench with a twist: This fall trench coats have gone from just functional to functional and fashionable, complete with ruffles, fringe, cargo pockets, zippers and bright colors. Make a statement at work, while staying warm and dry with a new trendy trench coat.
    Shop for Trench Coats on Sale >>

  • Embellished flats: Flats are not frumpy anymore. With flats flashing some extra garnish this season, you can feel good on your feet and look good all day long. Lloyd says that if you only have minimal money to spend on your workplace wardrobe, "I'd invest in a great shoe, as a good shoe can make an outfit! And find yourself a good cobbler to make those shoes last a few seasons."
    Take a Look at This Season's Embellished Flats >>

Keep these tips in mind as you are getting dressed for work each day and you will send the message that you are professional and fashion-forward. "If you want to be treated like a professional, then dress like one. Keeping your look polished and ladylike is the best advice I can give. Take as much pride in your appearance as you do in the work that you are doing," Lloyd says.


Three tips for great fashion on tight budgets

Want to look like a million bucks, without the overhead costs? Then follow Kelly's great recommendations for saving money where you can, but not sacrificing fashion in the process.

  1. "To build a wardrobe that works, you MUST thoughtfully consider every single wardrobe purchase that you make and ask yourself: Can I wear this in two situations (work, weekend or evening) and will it pair with at least two other things in my wardrobe? For example, a printed blouse. Could you wear it at the office with a trouser, then also out on a date with a pencil skirt -- and do you already own the perfect trousers and pencil skirt to go with it? If the answer is no, then do not buy it.

  2. Do not buy clothes without trying them on. So much of looking put together and well-groomed for the office is wearing clothing that is appropriate and that fits properly. Vera Wang once said, "a woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes." This means that if your clothes are too tight, too big or too low-cut, it will show in the way you wear them. To ensure a good fit beyond trying the clothes on, like when you shop online or via catalogs, Kelly says to "make sure the seller has a liberal return policy."

  3. Make a wardrobe budget, so you know how you can spend your money. "If you're financially solvent, I'd say spend 75 percent of your budget on trends and 25 percent on classics. If your budget is tight, flip those percentages. It also depends on how old you are. I wouldn't tell a 50-year-old woman to spend that much on trends," Kelly says.

As you seek to land your first job or advance your career, remember that good clothes and the right clothes can help complete your polished look and say great things about you without whispering a word.

"Clothes can suggest, persuade, connote, insinuate, or indeed lie, and apply subtle pressure while their wearer is speaking frankly and straightforwardly of other matters." -- Anne Hollander


Next: Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway' Shares the Secrets to 'Making It Work' at Work >>



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