New York City-based Mary Orton works in Finance and has chic and elegant workwear down pat. She started her blog, The Classy Cubicle, to demonstrate that it is possible to “infuse some serious swank into your office wardrobe, while still looking professional”. Mary’s corporate chic style is ladylike, polished, with preppy influences. She has a fun coat and footwear collection, likes to incorporate trendy touches into her outfits and is a master at mixing high and low-end pieces:
“My style is definitely evolving — if it weren’t I’d be worried! The fashion industry of course is in constant flux, but I think everyone (myself included) is forever honing and better-articulating their sartorial preferences with time and experience. I’d be reticent to give my personal style any specific label, because my style influences are so vastly disparate. I love classic feminine silhouettes, but growing up in a house of boys has perhaps resulted in a particular affinity for menswear as well. And, while I often gravitate towards ‘timeless’ pieces, my style in the past three years has certainly been impacted by the fact that I’ve spent the past three years living in the ever-so-trendy fashion capital of the world — New York City. I guess you could say that my style is a veritable melting pot of sorts.”
The classic black pencil skirt is a versatile, no-brainer option for most workplaces. Here it becomes the support act for an edgier top that proves that a bolder piece has a place in a more conservative office environment. It’s actually a bodysuit, which makes for sleeker tucking. The tan lambskin cap sleeves in combination with the chevron stripe body make for an eye-catching pairing. The just-above-the-knee length skirt and low-heeled footwear balance out the tight fit of the outfit. A solid-coloured pump would have worked too, but these dainty d’Orsay darlings with delicious striped detailing inject an extra dose of office appropriate playfulness into the outfit. And they show that Mary loves to have fun with fashion seven days a week. For outside, she adds a chic faux leather trim caramel coat, a nod to our blogger’s love for all things matchy-matchy.
Doesn’t 5’10” Mary look even taller in this sleek, preppy-inspired look? The perfect length slim black trousers make her legs go on forever. The mandarin collared plaid shirt has a rounded hem that further elongates the leg line. I love its beautiful blue and burgundy shades and dressy fabric. It feels as if it was made to be worn with the tailored white gilet. An interesting layering piece that feels more fresh than a blazer here. Delightful two-toned spectactor pumps pick up the colours in the outfit, as does the very chic purple tipped coat.
Here’s Mary’s take on adhering to an office dress code and on how to inject personality into your work outfits.
“I work in Finance in NYC, so my office environment is definitely on the more formal side of the spectrum. However, I try to include ensembles on the blog that would fly for casual offices as well — so there’s really something for everyone. Imbuing personality is something anyone can do at work, as long as one stays within the realm of professionalism. A major goal of mine on the blog is to illustrate that female professional attire is not limited to ‘boring black suits’ or the like, but rather that working women have endless ways of incorporating fashion trends and their own stylistic preferences into their ‘nine to five’ appearances. It’s tough to identify just two tips governing this idea, but I think that as long as you wear things that aren’t too tight or too revealing (in neckline or hemline), you can have a ton of fun with fashion in the workplace.”
Mary has an excellent eye for colour. I wouldn’t have thought to pair magenta pink with earthy dark brown, but I really like the unusual colour combo. The crispness of the white notched lapel blazer brings it all together. Wearing a relaxed fit jumper over a flared skirt is fashion forward and a little more unexpected than a tucked top. The side vents help it drape nicely, adding a little structure. The geometric zig-zag pattern is lovely with the bright pink pleats. Bare legs and scrunched sleeves create more structure. The low-contrast taupe booties with suede covered heel add subtle textural interest and bookend Mary’s hair. A gold-toned sparkly necklace and thin bangle finish off the look.
Many people are still a little hesitant to wear lace to work because of its “boudoir connotation”. But as always, it’s all about how you wear a certain item or material. Mary has cleverly opted for a covered-up look with a midi sheath dress, a more conservative length that can take you anywhere. The two-toned frock also has a strict collar, which adds an authoritative touch. She’s also paired the sleeveless frock with a slim-fit long-sleeved tee and black hose for extra coverage. The contrast between the rich purple and wide black zipper band, and the grinning effect of the T-shirt add visual interest. The pointy toe ankle strap pumps are modern and extra ladylike in combination with the luscious lace.
Gorgeous Winter white out look. Very Gatsby, right down to the opera length pearl necklace. The ponte knit trumpet skirt drapes nicely, and plays well with the semi-chunky cable knit jumper. Opting for more refined knitwear amps up the elegant, dressy feel. While wearing head-to-toe white is modern and bold, the cosy knit and white hosiery also make it very pretty and soft. The polka dot hosiery makes the outfit for me, together with the stunning spectator pumps. How fab are they! The burgundy in the footwear picks up the soft pink in the beautiful plaid man coat in pastel shades that perfectly complement all the delicate whites.
I am head over heels in love with this outfit! Modern Classic polished casual at its best. Mary has a great eye for impeccable fit and enjoys combining high and low-end pieces, like this fabulous wide-lapel coat from Express with a pair of premium denim straight leg jeans that fit like a dream. Navy as a neutral on the top and bottom is very on trend. The beautiful V-shaped cable knit texture of the jumper adds extra interest, the silk striped shirt elegant spunk. I love how the turned-up collar peeks out from under the sweater collar and sleeves. The shorter sweater silhouette breaks up the column of navy without interfering with the long lean line. Mary’s simple ponytail, cognac pumps, classic pearls and tortoise shell rimmed-sunnies emphasize the chic, streamlined look.
What do you think of Mary’s elegant office outfits? Let us know in the comments, and then hop on over to her blog to browse the rest of her outfits. You can also check out her pinboards for more visual treats.