“What should I wear to work today?” Whether your office is a slick corporate building, airy loft space, or wherever the next client meeting takes you, chances are you ask — and struggle to answer — this question several times a week. To streamline the process (and set your alarm for a little later!) tune into our new Sunday night column, 9-to-5 Fashion, for five perfect HR-approved outfit formulas to see you through Friday.
1. Monday: Floral Wrap Dress + Cardigan
Meet your new antidote to a bad case of the Mondays: A bright and cheerful botanical motif a la Reese Witherspoon (you can shop the actress’ exact style from her line, Draper James), on a HR appropriate—not to mention figure-flattering—fit-and-flare silhouette. Toss on a neutral cardigan to temper the bold color, and accent with your accessories of choice; while the star’s straw satchel and wedges suit a more casual office, you can easily trade in something more formal, like block heels and leather tote.
2. Tuesday: Cropped Black Pants + Printed Blouse
Breath new life into your go-to pair of black trousers by swapping the same white-button down you wore three times (sigh, okay four) last week for a silky top in a delicate print, like this one from DVF. Although we love the way style icon and director Sofia Coppola has completed this ladylike combination with an equally demure ankle strap pump, feel free to counter all that femininity with menswear-inspired loafer instead.
3. Wednesday: Striped Sheath + Kitten Heels
Not only does a simple pinstripe design give this conservative silhouette some extra personality (without, of course, raising eyebrows at the water cooler), but the vertical lines elongate your figure (Michael Kors has worked the same magic with this design here). For extra lift, follow Lupita Nyong’o’s lead with sleek kitten heel pumps.
4. Thursday: Solid Shift + Navy Blazer
Right after Prince George in his adorable headphones, the most memorable thing about Kate Middleton’s visit to The Royal International Air Tattoo earlier this month was her 9-to-5-ready mix of a simple blue sheath—you’ll find a similar option at Reiss—and navy blazer (it’s less severe than black, but still feels plenty dressed up). As for accessories with the same work-friendly spin, you can’t do better than the Duchess’s choices: subtly pointed nude pumps and a polished tortoiseshell headband.
5. Friday: Crisp White Separates + Matching Loafers
Even if your job hasn’t fully embraced “casual Fridays,” it’s possible to sneak a more relaxed outfit past HR with Kristen Stewart’s easygoing white suiting and sharp menswear flats (Bass makes a near identical pair for under $100). If a slouchy white T-shirt is a tad too laidback for your dress code, consider a streamlined bodysuit instead.