Melanie Griffith famously delivered her line to Harrison Ford in one of my favorite films, Working Girl, and managed to do so in a way that is still cheesy, funny, and totally fabulous.
This, after a quick hair cut and wardrobe change instantly changed her from a raggedy, Staten Island secretary to a graspy voiced, in charge executive. Her power stemmed from her ability to exude total sex appeal, and control all at the same time, while managing to turn Harrison Ford to putty. There is something about a woman in control, who dresses like a woman. This has been a challenge in the fashion industry dating back decade after decade. Bianca Jagger made menswear suits sexy. In the 80’s, if you wanted to be taken seriously a shoulder pad and a matching pantsuit put you in the boardroom, and then that same confidence, straight to the bedroom.
In today’s world, a new generation struggles with the age old balance. How to look professional and a million bucks at work simultaneously. If you work in the finance and business world, which luckilly I don’t (no offense), It’s an even harder feat. Creativity is easy to turn fashionable, but it’s not always easy to turn a simple black blazer and trousers into a powerhouse business statement that exudes both a professional, powerful, and stylish demeanor.
Cue Quincy Apparel. The NYC based company has come full throttle into the fashion world, and with only a short time under their belt, garnered a following and fan base. Quincy Apparel takes simple, well tailored separates and turns them into your perfect, affordable work wardrobe, with ideas to spare. Not only that but in true Style Island fashion, Quincy lovingly represents the city by having their entire collection designed and manufactured right here on the island.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a professional. You have the aforementioned business/finance women. They are the ones on the subway every morning, monochromatic suit, newspaper in hand, pony tail straight back, and pale, nude manicure, usually complemented by a giant, shining ring. Some of them have learned the delicate balance of business style. Some have not.
Then there’s the fashionistas. You can find them on the Q; on their way to 7th, or Fashion Avenue. The Ralph girls, decked in the name from head to toe, french manicure, usually with a friend in tow, gabbing away about either their annoying assistant, or someone… annoying. The Conde Nast women can usually be pinpointed by their ability to turn jeans into a business suit. A dark pair of skinny jeans hitting right at the ankle, where they end, and their dark Louboutins begin. Usually accompanied by a latte, an “it” bag, and of course, WWD balanced under their arm… Their nails gleam with shiny, red, Essie polish, and oh yeah, that ring again….
The Digitalistas. These are the ladies that work in fashion, but not admittedly. They’re behind the scenes, and noted by their far more casual look. Fashion offices are known already for being a laxer dress code (as long as you look good of course). But the really casual office is the one where the girl across from you on the L is going, wearing black leggings with a fringe vest, and a sweatshirt.
And then there is another breed of professionals all together. Those who march to their own beat; carrying their iphone in one hand, setting up meetings, while grabbing their yoga mat in the other. Their office is their laptop, and the freedom of each new day is their date book.
This is my new personal favorite, and a title that I’ve wavered in and out of for the past year. She is the Freelancer. The ability to be your own boss, essentially make your own hours, be ambitious and make a great living is a difficult dance and many need a lot of lessons before the moves are perfected. Others would prefer the structure of the every day office schedule. Me, I lay somewhere in the middle of both of these extremes.
As every freelancer knows, your closet doesn’t need to be filled with pencil skirts, blazers, black trousers and the mix and match of finding your every day office outfit. However, you will need to maintain some level of a business wardrobe, lest you forget the world out there. And you can do that with 5 easy pieces.
There will be meetings with potential clients, pr companies, agencies, or whatever your business is that you work to live on, and live to work on. But a simple LBD with the right, accessories can make you look professional, serious, and stylish in one easy step.
A well cut blazer and black pants is your go to for interviews. For days working in an office, a staple like a pencil skirt in a newer, unexpected color like navy will go a long way, and can be paired 5o times over. And of course, a pop of color added to a simple black pant never hurt. As Melanie said, you can still walk into the room, and own it with your head, while your style does double duty on your bod. That’s one piece of work advice you can get behind.