We asked an influencer to break down work-approved outfits for any dress code
It’s early in the morning. You’re focused on getting kids dressed or breakfast made, and you’re chugging coffee to bring yourself back to life. It’s easy to overlook your workplace clothing choice in favor of more important tasks, but the outfits you spend 40 hours a week in are bound to influence how you feel. Just take it from law practitioner, influencer and entrepreneur Maria Grace Delima, whose top tips on how to style work outfits will leave you ready to take on the day.
Work from Home
While working in an office is slowly becoming the norm again, many workplaces are still implementing hybrid or total work-from-home schedules. Most of us risk slipping into the trap of wearing our pajamas to our Zoom meetings, but Delima recommends a different approach.
“For many years I have been an entrepreneur, so I work from home a lot,” she says. “Getting dressed helps me feel more productive because it signals to me that I am in work mode. It may seem like an unnecessary hassle, when in fact it sets the tone for my day.”
She suggests something between comfy-casual and presentably polished to feel productive without sacrificing comfort, like a chic matching set.
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Casual dress codes are simple, demanding little energy or time. In this case, wear what you would wear on any day at home; just make sure to keep it appropriate. Jeans are fair game, but short shorts, sweatpants and worn-out T-shirts are pushing it a little too far. Comfort is key—as long as the vibe is more polished than your lazy Sunday outfit.
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Business casual is the most common dress code, and for good reason. It allows for some creativity and comfort—fun colors, patterned blouses and a more “untucked” look than a full-on suit—without sacrificing polish.
“It isn’t a pants-and-suit uniform world anymore, and since I’m a fashion enthusiast, I opt to look professionally chic too,” says Delima. “For example, I like to mix an oversized shirt with skinny suit pants; a jumpsuit with a blazer; a tailored vest or a cropped blazer with baggy pants; and of course, I love to wear dresses as well.”
Take this look Delima styled, for example. Trousers and a polished shoe keep this outfit looking office-ready, but the green oversized top adds a fun and comfortable touch.
Business professional is the most formal of these dress codes, and often includes tailored suits and dresses paired with heels or flats—think law firms, finance companies and government positions. It can be intimidating to dress for a more formal position, but Delima says it’s important to still remain comfortable. After all, you’re there to do your job.
“Now that I work in a law firm, I need to present a professional appearance, but one that still embraces what makes me unique,” she says. “I always dress up for success, but also for comfort. I prioritize comfort over conforming to femme gender expectations around work clothes, which helps me perform better and feel more confident as a professional.”
For more takes on fashion, follow Delima on Instagram @xmariagrace.