Realistic Ways to Rock Sequins for Day

I usually find issue with office attire advice from fashion magazines and websites. While the editors have the best intentions, they are so far removed from traditional office environments they can’t truly understand the needs and dress codes of their readers. What works at Hearst Media rarely will work at the corporation in town or the insurance company in the city. Yesterday, Refinery 29 had an article on how to wear sequins to work; I push the sartorial envelope at work on a regular basis and my company has a pretty relaxed dress code yet I wouldn’t dare wear most of their suggestions.

There’s no need to silence your personal style in the office, but you need to remember that you have a job to benefit a company. When you are on the clock, your job is to make your company better and to represent the company in the best manner possible. If you work in a creative field you can likely get away with sequined leggings or a sparkly shift, but for the rest of us it’s rarely appropriate because it’s drawing attention to you the individual, instead of your work and your business.

Yes, I have worn sequins to work in the past, be it a sequined tank or sequined pencil skirt. I am not saying it cannot be done, but the important thing to remember when wearing sequins to work is that you are not there to advertise your fashion sense, but your quality of work. To show respect for your company, it makes sense to tone down your personal style so the business can take the spotlight. While I am offering a few suggestions for daytime office sequins, do check your dress code, consider your peers and even consult HR before bedazzling your next work ensemble.

Sequins on Top – Balance with Corporate-friendly Color

 

A sequined tank or shell is the easiest way to incorporate a bit of bling into your work ensemble. However, it’s important to consider color, level of shine, and percentage of sparkle in the outfit. On the left, the gold sequined stripes of the tank take the place of jewelry for an otherwise standard work ensemble. A cardigan with the same color as the base of the tank neutralizes the sequins, a traditional tweed trouser makes it clear you are dressed for work and not play. To the right, I made a more fashion-forward ensemble with slim pants, stiletto heels, and a peplum jacket. This would make a good Day to Play ensemble as you can tuck in the sequined tee and just have a bit peeking out of the jacket for some shine, and then take off the jacket and untuck the tee for a chic Happy Hour ensemble. The point is that the majority of the ensemble and the silhouettes are work-friendly, and the sequins are just an accent.

Sequin Sweaters – Mix with Traditional Office Fabrics

 

Sequin sweaters and cardigans seem to be for sale at every mass retailer, but they don’t always look appropriate in a corporate setting. If you counteract the sparkle and shine with traditional work fabrics like wool and tweed it makes it more office-friendly. The outfit on the left uses a sweater that Refinery 29 featured in their piece. Worn as-is with slim trousers would be adorable for a party or Happy Hour, but would be too relaxed and trendy for the office. A crisp white shirt under the sweater tones down the shine, cropped tweed trousers gives the ensemble a collegiate look. Leopard flats keep the ensemble fun and on-trend while not going overboard. The outfit on the right provides an example on how to wear sequin cardigans. Give the look a bit of a retro vibe, stick to darker colors to tone down the sequins, and have the rest of the look conservative with a knee-length skirt and opaque tights. This could also be done with wider-leg trousers.

Sequins on the Bottom – Go Monochrome

 

Sequins on the bottom are a far more difficult style to achieve in the office. When I wore a sequined skirt to work, it had matte sequins, a heavyweight bouclé fabric, and a very traditional silhouette. To wear a sequined skirt to work, it can’t be super shiny, tight, short, or have a front slit. The skirt should be cut to be appropriate in a different fabric, and not be a walking disco ball. On the left, the pewter skirt is a straight and not fitted cut that comes to the knees. The daring skirt is balanced by a conservative black turtleneck sweater and opaque tights. However, the addition of platform booties shows that the sequined skirt is purposeful and not leftover from last night’s party ensemble. The outfit on the right shows how color can make all the difference. If this ensemble was in red or pink it would be completely inappropriate; in classic navy with sophisticated office silhouettes, this ensemble could work for a more fashion-forward firm.

Of course, every office and every woman’s personal style is different. While one woman may look as though she’s heading to Studio 54 in a sequined sweater, another may look downright dowdy in the same garment. When it comes to trendy fabrics and silhouettes, the best thing is to trust your gut. If you think it’s too crazy for your office it likely is.

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  • coffeeaddict

    I couldn’t agree with you more. While the new millenium has indeed brought us the most relaxed and casual office dress code there ever was there are still some minimal standards that should be observed and pairing sequins with neon colours and ultra tight or super short is still a no no

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    YES! I saw some of those picks and thought, not here where I work. I work for one of the largest departments of the government. I can get away with certain things but none of the choices that I saw on R29. I have to agree, most of those could be great picks in offices where you are you own boss, or maybe even like a PR Firm where it’s laid back. But I love all of your picks and I’m def inspired to get some pieces to wear around my office as well.

  • http://witch-words.blogspot.com Jadelyn

    Oh my goodness, I clicked through to that Refinery29 piece, and I just…in what universe is any of that appropriate officewear? “Spray-on Jeans”? Anything with spray-on in the title isn’t going to be in good taste for work wear unless you work somewhere very…interesting. And why on earth would you ever put mini-skirts on a “dress for the office” list anyway? Mini-skirts are not a work item if you work in an office. I much prefer your ensembles – they actually look like something a “normal” person would wear, instead of a fashion model or editor at Vogue.

  • Sarah

    Great post and great tips! I wish I could print this out and anonymously leave it on one of my co-worker’s desk. Yesterday she wore a leather mini skirt, blue suede platform peep toe booties with ruffles down the front, and SEQUINED LEG WARMERS. I nearly peed my pants! No one really seems to care, but the dress code is business casual, not 80’s nightclub casual.

  • Karen

    This is the very reason I prefer blogs like yours over magazines for inspiration. The editors at the magazines never seem to “get” that not everyone works in NYC at a creative job like theirs. There aren’t any mags that I know of that are at all realistic either in style or price of items. I’d like to see them work with MY budget. (I always laugh when InStyle does the editors’ “budget” picks and one has ONLY $400 per month compared to one who has $4000 per month — Gee {insert sarcasm here}, $400 a month is such a skimpy budget. :P

  • http://corpgoth.blogspot.com/ Trystan L. Bass

    Agree, agree, agree! The Refinery picks were, whoa, very nightclub, not very Real Office. Even in super-casual California high tech, sequins can scream “too dressy” if not “heading to a bar & I don’t care about work.” Your suggestions are far more appropriate for women who actually want to keep their jobs :)

  • crtfly

    Good grief! I work in an office where jeans & t-shirts, or jeans and sweaters in the winter is the norm. When we have to ‘dress up’ for a special meeting, it might be skirts & boots or nice pants and a blazer.

    Sorry to be crude here, but even our local hookers wouldn’t wear the stuff on Refinery 29, let alone women at my office or any of the other businesses in town. Anyone wearing such garments in my town would be looked at with great suspicion and deemed untrustworthy.

    As others have said, one of the things that makes your blog so wonderful is that your offer advice for the real world and make suggestions that most of us could actually afford.

    Thanks Allie!

  • http://hemsforher.com/ Hems for Her, a.k.a. Katie

    I love these recommendations and all of the outfits! Thank you also for the reminder that working is not always about expressing personal style in the loudest, most outlandish way possible!

  • http://dashdotdotty.blogspot.com/ dotty

    i really like the idea of pairing sequins with more traditional/formal/neutral pieces to downplay their in-da-club-ness. that refinery29 article was waaaaay off and i used to work in vegas!

  • Maharani

    I’m a hiring manager and I saw the R29 post on sequins-what a joke! If any of my staff came in dressed like that I’d send them home to change, and my office is not that conservative. Like many of the commenters here, I find magazines and most fashion blogs completely useless as far as dressing for real jobs goes. Mostly they seem to deal in “fantasy fashion”, not anything remotely useful in the real world. I find only three blogs realistic for work attire-this one, Corporette and Capitol hill Style. As I spend most of my time at work, they are most helpful. And I am not sure I like the way they suggest we women spend all our money on clothes-there IS more to life than fashion!

  • Latonya

    I agree the outfit may have been too much all together but, I will rock Leg Warmers in a minute! Like everything, it’s all about how you do it.

  • http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen

    Sequined legwarmers in an office setting? I’d love to see how you style them! :-)

  • Abby

    Love it when you do posts like this! You pair things that I’d never think of! KEEP THEM COMING!

  • Maharani

    Go home and change. Its hard enough for women to be respected at work without dressing like a bimbo. This will NOT get you ahead, unless you dont care.

  • kaybug

    Agree Allie!!!
    It’s hard to even find fashion blogs or magazines that are by or for professional women. I work at a corporation that contracts engineers to the Federal government. I take my credibility and authority very seriously, and my style helps me to convey that. It would really undermine my career if I wore the fashion promoted on most magazine pages, even on the weekends.
    Now! that being said, I do take lots of *inspiration* from blogs and mags. Seeing new trends, shapes, cuts and materials in a different way, makeup colors and hair styles that push the envelope – these interest me and I might even try something if I can make it fit in my life.
    Maybe one day I’ll be that fabulously rich, spoiled, thin heiress who can spend all her money and time on wearing clothing straight from these editorial layouts…. but not today.