Style 911: Can I Wear A Fitted Dress To Work?

“Can I wear a fitted dress to work without looking inappropriate? How?!”– Lauren

If you want to wear form-fitting clothes to the office without looking too skanky for a work environment, there are two rules of thumb:

  1. If it’s fitted, it should be structured fit, not clingy knit. (I assure you, the rhyme was unintentional.)
  2. Pick shape, legs or boobs; you don’t get all three. What we mean by this is that a fitted dress should be close to knee-length and not low-cut. Take away either of those things and you’re getting into dangerously sexy territory.
  3. Accessorize that action.

Go with a dress like the one on the left, not the one on the right. The structured rather than stretchy shape looks more adult and keeps it from crossing the too-clingy line. Black with a high neck is a good call if you’re particularly curvy, but you can also choose a fun print like this. [$158, Ann Taylor]

Fancy up a monotone dress with a more decorative topper. If your dress has a bit of collar action going on (like the one above), go with a cardigan instead of a jacket, which will have a collar that competes too much with the collar of the dress. For a more simple sheath with no collar, a cropped blazer is a great touch. [left: $88, J.Crew; right: $58, Silence & Noise, Urban Outfitters]

Keep it simple with the shoes; you really don’t need to be wearing platform snakeskin shoes with your fitted dress, lady. And this may go without saying, but it’s winter, so you should be wearing stockings of some sort with this situation. Pin-stripe ones are kind of cool. [$165, Dolce Vita, CUSP]

On the accessories front, a thin waist belt and a chunky bangle will do the trick. [belt: $330, See by Chloe,; cuff: $7.80, Forever21]