I just celebrated 8 years of blogging a few months ago & that milestone really got me thinking about what it’s taken to grow my business & what I’ve learned along the way. If I had to choose, I’d say one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is about the importance of balancing that entrepreneurial drive with selflessness (even though that sounds like an oxymoron).
One example of this was about 4 years ago, I had volunteered to put on a Valentine’s Day luncheon for some widows in our area. I was planning the menu, purchasing decorations and organizing entertainment when I received an offer from a brand for a very lucrative campaign that would have paid my kids’ school tuition for the entire year. The kicker was that it required me to be in NYC the same weekend as the luncheon I was putting on.
Suddenly, I was faced with a choice – was I going to pursue my career goals and monetary gain above all else or was I going to follow through on my commitment to bless those women in need? In the end, I chose the latter – but, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a tough decision to make. Of course, I could have taken the work opportunity & asked around to see if friends could pitch in & help pull off the event in my absence. But I would have missed out on one of the most special afternoons with a room full of amazing women who needed to be encouraged & uplifted on what was such a difficult day for them.
I’m not telling you all of this to pat myself on the back, but I’m sharing because it was such an important lesson I learned & it helped me realize the type of businesswoman I want to be – one who works hard and sets goals, but also one who says yes every time I’m presented with an opportunity to choose generosity over ambition.
I was honored when Express reached out to me about partnering together for a workwear campaign because the theme was centered around my unique ambition story. So I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you, wherever you are on your career path, to elect to serve others, even when it means making a hard choice that might not make any business sense at all. I can promise you will never regret it.
Although I no longer work in a traditional office anymore, I can certainly remember & appreciate the struggle of finding good workwear options that still let your personal style shine through. Personally, I always feel my most confident and like I’m putting my best foot forward when I’m wearing sophisticated styles that flatter my shape without being too showy. This post is focused on items that you can wear both to the office & after hours, so even if you’re not working from 8-5, these classic staples will give you a polished, chic look no matter where you’re heading.
A classic camisole is one wardrobe staple that every woman should own in multiple colors. This layering workhorse can be worn year-round and is a chameleon that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. The Downtown Cami is a top seller at Express and it’s easy to see why – the double-layered fabric means it isn’t see through; the silky finish drapes beautifully & the adjustable straps ensure a perfect fit (plus, it’s machine washable). I have these in multiple colors (runs true to size) & right now they’re B1G1 50% off, so it’s a great time to stock up!
I paired it with these high-waisted culottes, which are arguably the most comfortable pants I’ve ever worn (and how pretty is this soft lilac hue?!). These are ideal for the office because they’re polished without being restricting + they are endlessly flattering. If you’ve never tried a wide leg pant before, these are a good option to ease into the trend with because the shape isn’t overly exaggerated. Other high-waisted styles that would work for both the office & weekend: this knot-front pair (wear with this puff sleeve tee), these striped pants (wear with this ivory top) or these belted ankle pants (love the dark red color!).
Boyfriend blazers are so easy to dress down because they have a looser, slouchier & more open fit than the classically tailored styles. This makes them perfect for pairing with denim when grabbing drinks after work or if your office allows for casual Friday attire. I love the color of this one, but it also comes in four other colors. This does run a bit big, so if you prefer a more tailored fit, I’d recommend sizing down.
If you’ve never tried their jeans before, you are missing out! They hug in all the right places and don’t stretch out with wear – this pair has a high rise that really helps suck everything in (the reviews speak for themselves!). They run true to size, but if you’re under 5’7″, you may want to order the short length as the inseam for the regular size is longer than most denim (30.5″). And if you’re on the taller side, the great news is that these also come in long!
For those of you who are on your feet all day, you could skip the heels & instead opt for comfortable flats or loafer mules. As the weather gets warmer, you could also swap out the jeans for these white shorts, which would give it the feel of a modern short suit. Another way to wear this for work is paired with this jacquard skirt & then I’d add a belt on top (like this or this) to cinch in & define the waist.