Style 911: How Can I Wear A Suit Without Looking Like A Suit?

I just started a job in an office where Casual Fridays definitely don’t exist and all my co-workers seem to have business cool down with interesting accessories and tailored clothes that totally aren’t boring. I’d look lame in a regular suit, so I want to try something suit-ish but edgier. Where do I start? – Lauren

As avid suit-haters who sometimes have to dress like grown ups, we’ve got the goods for you. Dressing like an adult, after all, doesn’t have to mean a sad little polyester number from the missus department at Nordstrom. Click through for a few unusual options.
If you want to mix things up a little, choose a suit shape that’s out of the ordinary but still clearly a tailored piece of clothing. We like this vest jacket because it has the details of a blazer with the added interest of the cap sleeve rather than a full-length one. In the winter or for more formal meetings, layer a sheer black blouse underneath and match it with a pencil skirt. For laid-back days, a long, tailored short is cool and can be worn with black or pinstripe pants in colder weather, too. [jacket: $250, skirt: $175, shorts: $155, Reiss]

The deep V of most suit jackets provides the perfect spot for cool jewelry. We like this necklace because it follows the line of the jacket rather than interfering with it. A chunky cuff is another good option, just beware of accessory overload and try to stick to one statement piece. [necklace: $10.80, Forever21; bracelet: $158, Anthropologie]

There’s no need to be married to a classic black pump — you’re allowed to have a bit more fun than that. A peep toe with interesting detailing is a pretty but safe bet and a cool bootie is a bit more of a risk but still totally reasonable. [pumps: $137, Ted Baker, Asos; booties: $385, Elizabeth and James,]

Your purse is another place to assert your unwillingness to pick up a matching suit and call it a day. Colors and cool materials will go a long way towards making your office garb more interesting. Bonus points if you can fit your laptop inside! [left: $44, Newport News; right: $3,385, Zagliana, Saks Fifth Avenue]

Have a fashion or beauty dilemma on your hands? Email your queries to [email protected] with the subject line “Style 911” and we’ll do our best to help sort you out.