How to take five work staples from corporate to cool

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How to take five work staples from corporate to cool
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How to take five work staples from corporate to cool

The Shift Dress

At Work: A life-saver on lazy mornings! Seeing as this piece is a ready-made outfit, all you have to do is add in some HR-approved footwear and accessories. For overly air-conditioned offices, complete the ensemble with a loose-fitting, belted blazer.

On The Weekend: Dress feeling too fancy? Use a slightly oversized T-shirt—knotted to one side—to turn it into an easygoing skirt. From there, it’s just a matter of layering in additional off-duty items: sneakers, a denim jacket and a bright bag are all foolproof bets.

The Pencil Skirt

At Work: No, you don’t have to wear it with a button-down and pumps if you don’t want to. A neatly tucked in sweater and strap-y wedges offer the same pulled together effect without matching everyone at your office. Want to make the combination even better? Tie it together with an elegant sleeveless trench coat.

On The Weekend: Thanks to the higher rise of a this piece, you’ve got an ideal opportunity to put your crop tops to good use. A sleeveless sweatshirt design—paired with open-toed heels and colorful bag—would be perfect for low-key drinks or a summer house party.

The Oxford Shirt

At Work: Consider these the corporate world’s white T-shirt—there are about a gajillion ways to wear one. One of our favorites for summer is with cropped trousers (such a fun alternative to a skirt!), open-toed heels (wide straps and a neutral hue add boardroom authority) and a boxy bag (don’t be afraid of print! The key is picking a quiet one). For one more throughly professional touch, throw in a menswear-inspired watch.

On The Weekend: You could just tuck your button-down into a pair of jeans…but that’s such a safe choice! Earn extra style points by going with track shorts instead; the extreme contrast is striking in a good way. To ensure the look isn’t too miss-matched, work in equally sporty accessories.

The Culotte

At Work: Because this is such an of-the-moment silhouette, you’ve got to balance it with some simple, classic pieces; it saves the look from skewing too trendy. An elegantly draped neutral sweater—tucked in or out—should do the trick, along with streamlined heels (we love mules, but traditional pumps would work, too) and a plain leather tote. Jewelry should be minimal.

On The Weekend: Fringe-y crop top? Snakeskin clutch? Strappy heels? Go for it! Texture and embellishment will only enhance the cool factor of a gaucho cut.

The Blazer

At Work: While, admittedly, a tailored jacket looks fine with a pencil skirt or pair of slacks, neither formula is very original. Swapping in a wrap skirt (knee length or shorter depending on how conservative your office is) and belting the middle feels both sophisticated andspecial. Commuter-friendly loafers keep the look comfortable without going too casual.

On The Weekend: Trying to make your standard jeans and T-shirt outfit slightly less, well, standard? That’s where a crisp sport coat comes in. Played against slouchy fits and laid-back fabrics, it becomes far more brunch-ready than business-y.

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Isn't investing in new work clothes the worst? Like, who wants to put her hard-earned paycheck right back into the office? That money is supposed to go toward the fun kind of spending.

RELATED: Work-Friendly Shorts Exist! Here Are 23 Awesome Pieces Of Proof

The two needn't be so different, though. As we've proven in the slideshow above—filled with amazing 9-to-5 and weekend options for corporate separates—you can squeeze some seriously cool outfits of any sort from standard career attire. Click through to get excited about following the dress code (and completely flouting it the second Friday evening hits).

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