RED Hearts: Mastering Corporate Cute

zara-dressRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Eliza Appleton, 23, in NYC, who is mastering the art of Corporate Cute:

On some mornings, thinking about what to wear to my very new corporate job can be more stressful than the actual job.

I’m the type of girl who loves bright colors and skinny jeans and a great pair of black booties with a heel. I’ve never spoken the word slacks out loud and believe there is nothing sexy in a knee-length skirtTotally not my style.

But just this week, I surrendered to the corporate takeover. I came to the gainfully employed person’s realization that sometimes you have to shop for professional pieces over party pieces.

I focused on basic colors (no colleague will notice black, grey, and navy in constant rotation) and classic cuts, like the perfect J.Crew boy shirt in French blueTheir featherweight cashmere sweaters get pricey, but if you can hold your breath and drop that first paycheck, they’ll keep you comfortable and chic through an entire career of over air-conditioned office environments.

In the more starter-salary bracket, Uniqlo offers dozens of smart, simple Wear-To-Work Dresses -- shifts, shirtdresses, wraps, in solids and subtle patterns -- for $39.99. Check out H&M “Office Wear,” where this Fine-Knit Top ($24.95) gives a pop of red or white under a black or dark blue Jersey Blazer ($34.95) that’s structured enough for work and slouchy enough to go off-duty with jeans.

Just make sure you toss in some stripes or dots, a scalloped edge, an occasional funky print ($79, pictured) or leather cuff bracelet to remind everyone in the office that you’re still young and fun and fashionable.

Everyone always tells you to dress not for the job you have, but for the job you want to have. I want to dress like a future executive, as I’m already dreaming of being a CEO or CIO or CFO (LOTS of work to do and LOTS to learn before I get anywhere close to that).

In the meantime, I’ll dress to impress, with my own little twist, and I’ll be plotting a campaign to abolish the corporate get-up for when I’m in charge.

RED Hearts guest poster Eliza Appleton is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.