Five Outfits That Are Fire but Will Not Get You Fired

Featuring our very own content strategist, Yvonne Dunlevie


A very frequent thing that you guys tweet at us is, “This outfit is like caviar for my corneas but HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO WEAR IT TO WORK YOU PSYCHOPATHS?”

And you know who reads those tweets? Yvonne Dunlevie, Man Repeller’s content strategist and Twitter tweeter, who then emails Leandra and me things like, “Hey guys, great article about how to make an office bikini out of toenails — super inventive, lots of shares! — but not only does no one know what an ‘office bikini’ is, should they know, no one would be allowed to wear it to their place of work, whiteboard-environment or not. Also, I’m no textile expert but toenails are gross.”

Then she follows up with a useful suggestion like, “You know what would be great? Actual office outfit help.”

Ah, wise Yvonne. Haven’t you ever heard the line that there’s nothing worse than a great idea that gets approved?


But here’s the thing: when she accidentally volunteered herself for a 5 Outfits to Wear This Week after a similar-to-the-opening-paragraph tweet, we the wolves didn’t sign her up just because she dresses “appropriately” or “in a way that wouldn’t get the average reader fired.” We signed her up because Yvonne, my friends, has personal style.

She very clearly long ago learned what works not just for her body, but for her lifestyle. She’s practical, and while the point of fashion is absolutely about fantastical greatness, personal style has to fit you better than your most-supportive bra. That doesn’t mean you don’t let yourself have fun, either; just because Yvonne leans toward a preppy, sporty, “classic aesthetic” (my annoying words, not hers) doesn’t mean she stops at the wall. She finds ways to play with nuanced pieces of trends that might overwhelm her in their entirety. And in doing so, she always looks like her.

Which is the biggest compliment in my book of Mormon.

Back to the OG point at hand, of course: how to dress like fire without getting fired if you do not work in an office environment that promotes things like “festive corporate swimwear, open for interpretation” in the employee handbook, according to a woman who has previously held down jobs at companies that prefer the absolute opposite.

(That was the original title of this article but Yvonne gently suggested otherwise.)

1) Remember that there is nothing boring about gray, white, black and navy so long as the woman in said colors keeps it weird.

2) Tiny bits of styling will transform an outfit: pop the collar (it’s only douche-y if you’re a douche!), flip the cuff, untuck your shirt and tuck in your sweater.

3) Monochrome will make you feel put together on days when you don’t know what day it is.

4) When it comes to Casual Fridays, pretend you heard “cashmere” instead of “casual,” especially if you need to ask for a raise on the same day you wore sweatpants.

5) Unless you work at a bank, you really can get away with a strange amount of denim at the office if: a) it’s well-tailored, b) your most by-the-book boss is on vacation and c) you pair it with “a nice sweater,” then stay seated so no HR tattle-tales are any wiser.

Or do none of this. But at least now you know the wardrobe of one more person on Team Man Repeller who, rather than doing work, is slipping in shoe-slides and reading your tweets.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.


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  • Stephanie

    Nice outfit! I love the shoes and the jeans

    • Allison Olivas

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  • Really liked all of these outfits! I’m definitely going to look back at them for outfit inspiration.

  • MG

    Love all of these. It is nice to see some stylish monochrome from someone other than Kim K. Also, aren’t dress codes just suggestions? Suggestions to prop up the patriarchy? Well done, MR!

  • RNM


  • missmightymouse

    Business casual can be a hellish wasteland of ambiguity; getting away with a strange amount of denim is how I live my office life.

  • Natty

    The monochromatic idea is brilliant, tomorrow I may pair my navy pencil skirt with a navy sweater. Boom.


    • Marta Millere

      OMG yes, I could do the same with my dark blue pleather pencil skirt and sweater!

  • Elizabeth Tamkin

    Yvonne wore Stubbs & Wootton’s to work so I wore Stubbs & Wootton’s to work.

    • Yvonne Dunlevie

      I would give my left arm to see Elizabeth wear Stubbs & Wootton shoes

  • Yates

    I love this post. I’m an attorney in a (thankfully) semi-relaxed office, and finding ways to express my personal style without resorting to the same old pencil dress (which I now layer with a J.Crew tissue turtleneck – thank you very much) is my bread and butter. You hit the nose on the face about getting away with denim. When the most uptight boss is away it’s go-time.

  • grace

    Love the denim. Can’t spring for the J. Crew x Point Sur pair (gasp – $258) but hoping this cheap H&M alternative will do the trick.

    • Amelia Diamond

      those jeans are great

  • BK

    Such soothing outfits. Also Yvonne, not to sound weird, you have really good teeth.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Yvonne you really do!

      • Yvonne Dunlevie

        You guys are so nice. I will let my dentist/childhood orthodontist know.

  • Beatrice

    Ok usually I identify with and love Amelia’s outfits (hi Amelia!) but always wonder why my closet is simultaneously less eccentric and less preppy. Now have my answer: apparently I dress like a hedge fund manager’s wife, too. I am wearing an iteration of the white on white at this very moment.

    • Yvonne Dunlevie

      Welcome to the club, Beatrice! So great to have you.

  • Charlotte Dallin

    Yvonne! You’re the dream! PS. I need that pair of Acne boots.

    • Yvonne Dunlevie

      Thank you, Charlotte! You’re a dream!! The Acne boots are a bit $$$ but something I wear 4-5x a week!

      • Charlotte Dallin

        I have a pair of Acne jeans which were also a bit $$$ but I wear them about 3 times a week (should I be admitting that?!) Gotta think about CPW.

        • Yvonne Dunlevie

          Exactly, CPW.

  • I work at a pretty chilled online retailer, where the only actual dress code rule is that our buyers aren’t allowed to wear hot pants and/or flipflops because they deal with merchants, aka people other than us. Before this I worked at the offic-y office of a content marketing firm, but as the youngest person there (by YEARS) and as a member of the only team working for the only fashion client, I got away with festive outfits whenever the mood struck me. I have, however, always felt the need to support our manrepelling brethren whose chosen vocations limit them to the sartorial equivalent of the sad desk lunch: it sustains you, but it doesn’t really spark joy. So thank you for a guide I think they’ll really be able to use, if not outfit for outfit, then at least as inspiration. 🙂

  • I’ve been staring at that Everlane mock turtleneck for a while now. So this is a sign I should get it, right?

    • Amelia Diamond

      me too actually…we should do it right

  • I always describe my style aesthetic as being an “Audrey Hepburn/Miley Cyrus hybrid.” It works. Having our own sense of style even in a stuffy office with strict dress code is super important.

  • sindeeznutz

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! Please know that you do have some readers who can’t go to work braless or wear a silk robe or platforms and have to rock “hedgefund wife” clothes. Thank you again!

    • Amelia Diamond

      We know and more for you glen cocoa! Also hahahahah to “sindeeznutz” !

  • Tiana

    Slowly coming into Autumn – these are great inspo pieces!

  • I’m late, but a thought for some future look at workwear…having one of your readers who doesn’t work in fashion document what they wear to work. Think that would be cool too!

    • Amelia Diamond

      That’s a cool idea!

    • starryhye

      I second this idea!

    • Kelly

      yes PLEASE!!! Yvonne rocks her look hard, but I need: how to look fashionable without looking fashion-y.

  • Love the first one. Borrowing the husband’s jumper for that one.

    And one the denim? Guess what guys? I work at a bank. 🙁

  • Kelly

    also guys. how many of your readers do you think are in the market for a $1500 sweater?! come on!!!

  • soniadelvalle

    Thank you for putting together an incredibly stylish staff! Also: LOAFERS WITH SWEATPANTS, winner combo.