Thankfully, the rules of business dressing are not how they used to be. While I do love a classic secretary suave look—a la Banana Republic's Mad Men-inspired silhouettes—I think the modern day woman is fortunate to have a little bit more flexibility with her wardrobe. The level of freedom depends, of course, on the type of work environment you're in.
For instance, if you are someone in a corporate setting, you should aim to build your wardrobe all around a great suit! Find one that fits perfectly (or have it tailored) in black, gray, or another neutral, then wear it a million different ways. The idea is that when you invest in a full suit, you can break it up and incorporate each piece—a jacket, vest, pants, pencil skirt, etc—with what you already have in your closet. Try something as simple as wearing your suit jacket over a white blouse and pair of jeans, then punch it up with an accessory or two.
I say yes to jeans at work because I think they have come a long way from their casual origin. Just make sure if you do decide to wear denim into the office to keep it very clean and crisp in a black or dark blue wash. Remember, you're replacing proper trousers so don't wear anything too tight or too baggy. When picking out what to wear on top, always aim for understated blouses or button-ups in classic solid colors—I love white and cream—or subtle patterns...the 3 Ps: paisleys, polka dots, and pinstripes!
As far as shoes go, you are always on the right track with a sturdy heel or wedge—open-toe is fine as long as your toes have been pedicured!—but avoid at all costs wearing your tranny pumps with shorts or a mini-skirt. Also, for all of you women that walk to work in your sneakers with a suit—remember Working Girl?—may I please offer that you wear instead a pair of ballet flats or flat boots? They are just as comfy as sneakers and astonishingly more chic!
Now for my ladies who work in a more creative field, I say almost anything goes...don't be afraid to cross over your social attire with your work attire. Just keep in mind a few guidelines and you can't go wrong...1. Don't wear flip-flops ever 2. Don't wear short shorts or micro minis 3. Do wear skinny jeans, but balance them out with a very appropriate top 4. Choose your accessories wisely. That is, if you wear a statement necklace, don't overdo it with the rest of your jewelry .
Lastly, if you are ever unsure about something, just trust your gut instinct and remember that overt sexiness is never cool in a work environment. Keep your look classy and sophisticated with a personal touch through accessories and you will always close the deal. xoRZ