How to Dress for a Corporate Dress Code Without Falling Asleep

Four outfits that I swear to god won’t get you fired this time

10.12.16

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TECHNICALLY, I don’t think we have to wear pants at Man Repeller. I’m not 100% positive about that, but I’m also one of those people who can never find the document you’re talking about even though you’ve sent me the link a million times, so if we have at some point been given a dress code, I don’t know what it says. We’re definitely not allowed to wear anything that could be perceived as an attack on another person, and we have to interpret (at our own risk) what is and isn’t appropriate in terms of meetings. That said, this is a start-up environment filled with people who speak via outfits, so as long as yours isn’t vocalizing a desire to quit, you’re golden. No clue what I’d do in a more corporate environment…

…But that doesn’t mean I don’t know what you’d do!

More excited about this outfit than I look.

Everlane turtleneck, AYR trousers, Tibi coat, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Hermès scarf, Gentle Monster glasses

Perla Valentin, our Senior Manager of Ad Operations, helped me with this challenge. She told me some of the guidelines she’s had to adhere to in the past, like no bare navels or muscle tees. I took her information and ran with it, then added glasses to be extra dramatic. Because black and navy felt too obvious, I went with brown, navy, green and orange. I wanted texture in absence of patterned maximalism, and tied a scarf around my waist for interest, added color and Steven Tyler.

(Perla said these colors might still be considered too bold by a corporate office — definitely more than a storied company veteran might be used to — but she’s the one playing the HR role today, and though I set off a few detectors, I was otherwise approved.)

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J.Crew cardigan sweater and shell set over Elizabeth and James shirtJ.Crew trousers, Manolo Blahnik shoes, Gentle Monster sunglasses

Here was a chance I have long been waiting for: to wear wool high-waist trousers with a cardigan twinset. I don’t know why I’ve never attempted such a look in my real life, but I think it’s because the freedom to wear jeans every single day can make you really, really, really lazy. If I worked in a corporate office, there’s a high chance I’d turn into the company eccentric by virtue of trying new things that I wouldn’t on the weekends.

(Perla said this one was her favorite!)

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Anine Bing sweater tee, La Ligne skirt over trousers, Tory Burch shoes, Gentle Monster glasses

Perla raised her eyebrows at me which tells me that this outfit might raise some eyebrows. She confirmed that it’s kind of a lot, but wouldn’t get me fired. “It works.” Just like me! I guess the nice thing about this outfit is that if you get in trouble, you can take off either the skirt or the pants and then voila, normal outfit. You’d just have to be thoughtful about where in the office you choose to change.

(Just so you know that I know, I hate how the pants are falling with these shoes. I’d want them a little bit longer but HR said that violated safety regulations!!)

La Ligne pants and shirt, AYR dress as jacket, Tory Burch earrings

I thought this one would be the clear and obvious winner. I’ve got the collared shirt, I’ve got the standard shades of white and blue, and I’ve pulled my hair back and off my face like my grandmother is always telling me to. Here’s what Perla said:

“This is office appropriate. The colors aren’t bold. But you’re wearing pajamas. If your HR manager doesn’t know that velvet pants aren’t pajamas and are instead very fashionable, she might send you home to change.”

Let me get this straight: I wouldn’t be fired, and I’d get to go home early? Sounds like the perfect Susan Miller loophole to me.

Guys, what do you think?

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.

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