Fiercely Stylish: Careerwear to Cocktail Wear in Five Minutes

In honor of the launch of Ask A Stylist on BB&W, Christelyn has asked me to do a blog post on career wear doubling as cocktail wear.  I am often approached by businesswomen as well as engineers, lawyers and doctors who ask how to be fashion forward in an environment that is very conservative. In most cases, their closet is filled with dark colored clothes that are not only depressing but that does not portray they personality at all. It is almost as if they are all drones, clones even, of the person in charged creating an environment of Corporate Stepford Wife-ism.

I am also asked how to choose pieces that can go from day wear to cocktail wear without much adjustment or having to carry a suitcase to work filled with alternative clothes to change into.As for the former, a way to get around the strict dark clothes policy is to inject color by using white and cognac and wearing colorful scarves and/or jewelry. Especially when going on interviews. It is a good way to sand out and be remembered without being an eyesore. Choose pieces that reflect your personality when not at work. This is not breaking the rules just bending them a little.

The sheath in this outfit is charcoal gray rather than black. The white jacket brings a bit of color to your face and the cognac colored accessories give a feel of sophistication and seriousness without being stiff.

By discarding the jacket, switching the shoes and bag and a few accessory changes can take this outfit from day to night in time for cocktails with the girls. You’ll go from serious corporate contender to sophisticated lady in a matter of a few minutes. Add some color to your lips and an extra coat of mascara and you’ll look like you went home and spent a couple of hours changing.

Date Night by lattes-n-lipstick on

Why It works

Adding a studded belt and strappy sandals gives the same sheath a rebellious edge. Indicating to those around you that you are your own person. Mixing metallic colors and adding a headwrap shows that you are a vintage girl who don’t mind taking risks.

Now, some of you may baulk at the idea of a head wrap because it conjures up images of Aunt Jemima, Mammy and SOUL SISTA but let me tell you this item is a classic from the 1920s – 1960s and it will get you much attention from the Rainbeaux. YES! I was being lambasted by my black peers who thought my turbans and head wraps made me look to ethnic–read exotic– however when I went out a few weeks ago with some friends to a high-end wine/food bar here in Houston known for its jetsetting crowd I could not beat the rainbeaux off of me.

One was an owner of his own oil something or other business and he was from Colorado and rolling in it and the other two actually work for the guy. One guy was a Sicilian from Philly and the other was from everywhere as he stated. They all were attracted to my bright colorful head wrap. And they all said the same thing that it was sexy, I was rocking it and I looked extremely exotic–read, “daring, fashion forward, my own damn person.”  And not, “damn you look like you can fry me some chicken and then do me but lets keep it secret because you live in the chicken coup.” They were geuinely turned on and I must admit that some of the other women were not too happy I was getting all of the attention.

So then I thought maybe this is some freak incident. Nope, wore the wrap again, turban style and was literally stalked by some Latin dude driving a Caravan. I kid you not. So, head wraps  are in and sexy!

Me sporting one of my head-wraps

But I am not the only one saying this trend is high fashion. Check out Solange and a few other women jumping on board. Even Russian Vogue did an editorial on this trend.

Tyra Banks


Ask a Stylist!

If you have questions about styling pieces in your closets. Please send pictures of the pieces and a short blurb on your personality, things you like such as music, colors etc and your day to day activities and I will style it for you. Using pieces that are under $100 each. Here are examples of AAS posts on my blog Lattes and Lipstick here and here Send inquiries to [email protected]
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