I watch a lot of Asian dramas and I really like their sleek, sophisticated styles of corporate wear.
From what I've seen, Asian women certainly take pains to look professionally polished. And by pains, I mean pains - shopping, shoes and style. So, my first official piece of advice: never wear tracksuits to work, even if they're designer tracksuits.
If you love K-dramas that much, notice that the ladies always seem to lean towards showing their femininity. - A-line skirts, luxe ruffled blouses and classic pencil skirts. Yet, they also love showing their androgynous side with tailored pantsuits and well-cut blazers.
While real life fashion doesn't always play out like a TV drama, it's always good to start with the basics. First, check your closet. Good pair of flat-front trousers? Pencil skirt? A crisp long-sleeved white shirt? How about a jacket? If you don't have these yet, then make these items your essentials. After you get your first paycheck, then add more to your closet. You don't have to settle for solids or plain colors all the time, unless you want to look like a schoolmarm. Your personal style will show through the details: ruffles, pinstripes, colors and choice of fabrics, and accessories of course.
The usual combinations are a blouse-and-pants/skirt, or a one-piece dress. If you're not wearing a blazer, make the blouse or skirt your statement piece, but not both. The key is to make one element in your ensemble stand out. Look for exuberant ruffles on creamy blouses, decadent lace cut with a mandarin collar, tulip skirts and high-waisted styles, and satin or sheer chiffon fabrics for a heightened look of elegance.
As a fresh grad, not only do you look young but you feel it too, so try not to look too conservative. Pair your blouse with an A-line or jumper skirt. Save the pencil skirts for days when you want to really dress to impress. Floral patterns and high-waist cuts make your skirt a statement piece and team these with crisp plain dress shirts.
A statement dress always plays with architecture and construction, with details like draping and angular cuts. On the other hand, demure dresses heighten sophistication with its simplicity. Hems should always hit knee-length or just a couple of inches above when in the office.
Even on late spring or summer days, you'll need some light outerwear for air- conditioned areas, as well as to tailor and refine your look. Blazers will streamline sleek sophistication in any outfit so you'll look smart even with a chiffon top and jeans on casual Fridays; invest in one or two that will last you for seasons. Cardigans soften your look and offer more femininity without the tailored architecture of blazers. On warm summer days, a light shawl should suffice.
The skirt suit is a popular workwear piece this season - it's sharp, sassy and smart. Since you're just starting out, save this strong "power woman" piece for presentations and formal meetings, unless of course you work at a job where daily power dressing is required. Investing in one piece is more than enough for now.
The look is finished with a sweep up -do, like a chignon or bun, and sky-high heels. If you can't do heels, practice first with two-inch pairs. One alternative is wedge heels. They can go as high as four inches but provide more stability. Asian women never do flats in the office so the trick is to keep a pair handy at your desk to relieve your aching feet.
all images by yesstyle
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