After wearing form-fitting clothes to the office all summer, how can someone switch to puffy coats and chunky sweaters? It’s a near impossible task. But what’s worse, even worse than having your boss see you in a wool sweater with a pumpkin on it is having to shell out huge amounts of cash to buy new clothes and keep up with the latest fashion trends.
But this season, two facts might put you in the spirit. One, there’s no reason to wear ugly sweaters to stay warm at work. Two, there’s no reason to break the bank.
“This fall and winter, you don’t have to buy anything,” says fashion guru, Kathryn Finney.
Finney is the founder of TheBudgetFashionista.com and author of “How To Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less” (Ballantine Books, $14). She keeps an open eye on the fashion world at all times. Finney says that there are no big, new trends taking center stage this season for three reasons. One, a lot of retailers have extra inventory from past seasons that they’re trying to sell.
Two, wallets are still a little light.
“Most people are looking for basic, classic pieces,” says Finney. And basic, classic pieces can be found in most people’s closets.
And three, stores have had stiff competition. Take Target for example. It has brought high-end fashion to the masses. Why would someone spend a grand to get a coat they could get something similar for dirt-cheap?
“Fashion is in stasis right now,” says Finney. “It’s just sort of there. There’s no consensus anywhere.”
Even though there might not be any new, fresh trends in office fashion, there are still ways to make your colleagues jealous.
“Camel color is very, very in,” says Finney. Not tan, not brown, camel. Have a classic looking suit or dress in camel tucked away in your closet? Pull it out and be a fashionable professional. If you want to be a little wilder, try pulling off a gray parka.
“Gray is sort of the new black now,” says Finney.
If a parka is too much for you, try a black turtleneck. Even though gray might be in, black turtlenecks have a very classic feel to them. They’re not just for beatniks anymore.
“They’re sort of a trendless trends,” says Finney.
Fashion is taking a page out of the superhero handbook.
“Capes are in this year,” says Finney. “You can really layer a cape.”
The best part is that you can find a cape at pretty much every department store.
If you think that a cape might be a little over-the-top for the office, try tights. “Pattern tights are really cute,” says Finney.
While you’re not being ultra-conservative, you’re still office appropriate and a cute pair of pattern tights can really help spice up a bland top. Now, what about footwear?
“Boots are really, really hot this year,” says Finney.
The best idea is to take your favorite, old boots to get fixed up. This way, you can be comfortable and still look good for cheap. But if you have to run out and get a new pair, try something gray or olive. If you can pull an over-the-knee boot at work, you’re set.
Accessories are the most important part of any successful outfit. To look professionally fashionable, you don’t want to go too over the top but still be trendy.
“Think ‘Madmen,’ ” says Finney.
Don’t be scared to use color. While everyone will be trying to keep it toned down, you’ll be the one getting all the compliments. Yellow and red are good choices that will pop. The best part is neither will take away from your professionalism. The last piece to an outfit is your bag.
“For work, having a really good tote will be crucial,” says Finney.
When looking through your closet for a tote, try and find something with animal print on it. Crocodile print is really hot right now and, unlike leopard spots or zebra stripes, it has a more professional look to it.
When the weather’s not great, take some time to go closet shopping. Chances are that you’ll only need to dust off a few things to stay fashionable.