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Leading Ladies

An on-the-clock wardrobe often suffers from lack of imagination. You may have an unshakable style identity after work hours but struggle to pinpoint one as soon as an office dress code lands on your desk.

We’ve come up with a solution to the problem and you can find it at your nearest Blockbuster. Your work wardrobe woes may vanish within a few rentals. Simply pick a character whose office style impresses you and copy, copy, copy.

In case the assignment presents a challenge bigger than the issue itself, we’ve chosen our favorites as a head start. Here’s a breakdown of why each character is worthy of imitation with examples of how to pull it off yourself.

DEVILISH DETAILS

Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” should only be mimicked by true fashion plates — or callous managers. The editor-in-chief’s look all but jumps off the screen and she has a bevy of dynamic accessories to thank for it. Each lends well to her ogre-like ways.

If you want to recreate Miranda Priestly’s style, look for statement-making eyewear to look down your nose at the minions who work for you, a behemoth handbag to wield if necessary and a printed scarf to symbolize the choke hold you have on employees.

DOWN TO BUSINESS

If you have the kind of ambition that would bring you to “borrow” your boss’ life while she’s on leave and elbow your way to the top, then Tess McGill’s look in “Working Girl” perfectly suits you. It’s all business all the time for this go-getter who fancied power suits, pumps and pantyhose. But, she also managed to incorporate some element of style, be it through colorful eyeglass frames or an unexpected bow detail.

To make this late ’80s look work in 2008, reach for a fitted blazer, slimming pencil skirt and eye-popping footwear with a stiletto heel as sharp as your opportunistic mind.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

When you work as a television network producer and you’ve got anchors threatening to commit suicide on air, like Diana Christensen of “Network,” the stress levels can reach insurmountable proportions. The best way to convey a cool and collected demeanor is through your clothes. Christensen’s simple attire masters this task brilliantly. She favored neutrals with a relaxed fit, but didn’t pass over menswear-inspired gear to show who was boss.

For your own take on the genius strategy, look for a pair of high-waisted trousers and a button-up printed blouse sans structure. Both are fuss-free.

FLIRTY FROCKS

You don’t exactly whistle while you work and neither did Judy Bernly, Violet Newstead or Doralee Rhodes in “Nine to Five.” But each of them managed to inject a little fun into their wardrobes. Bernly did so with feminine bows and shirtdresses; Newstead’s cozy cardigans kept things interesting and Rhodes’ flirty necklines and accessories always turned heads.

Today, a graphic print shirtdress, girly cardigan and peep-toe pumps are certain to lighten that eight-hour load.

TAILOR MADE

A quick wit and keen intellect make you as valuable an asset to your employer as Hildy Johnson was to hers in “His Girl Friday.” To really charm the socks off her boss, and ex-husband, Johnson wore garments with character. Every accessory she wore was as detail-oriented as her reporting skills: short dainty gloves and hats that almost wink at you.

You can still copy this 1940s look today. Simply seek out skirt suits with personality, chunky heeled footwear and life-of-the-party accessories.

Contact fashion reporter Xazmin Garza at xgarza@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477.

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