"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: White Pencil Skirt + Light Pink Sweater
Another Monday, another chance to get dressed up. Embrace it by copping Jennifer Lopez’s feminine take on workwear with a white pencil skirt—J.Crew has a solid option for $110; if you’re looking to invest, this sleek Roland Mouret design is worth the lofty price tag—and a subtle blush long-sleeve sweater (because, air conditioning). Add-ons in soft shades of blush and nude can tie an ensemble together just in time for your 10 a.m. planning meeting.
2. Tuesday: Pinstripe Jumpsuit + Button-Down Blouse
Who says you can’t wear jumpsuits to a desk job? Certainly not Julia Roberts, who cleverly layered a crisp white button-down under her all-in-one (you can buy the same exact style here) for an outfit that’s more professional than party-ready. Getting this combo right is all about the mix of fits: clean lines from head-to-toe countered by the slightly blouse-y shape beneath.
3. Wednesday: Matching Skirt Suit + Lacy Blouse
Hit the peak of the week on a high note with Mindy Kaling’s genius new way to wear a skirt suit: by trading the traditional collared undershirt for a delicate lace top. If your dress code is more conservative, stick to something with a higher neckline and more coverage, such as this Dolce & Gabbana shell. A sheer or openwork design—we love Zara’s take here—is best saved for laid-back offices.
4. Thursday: Slouchy Culottes + Relaxed Silk Blouse
The second to last day of the work week is an especially tough one: You’re feeling fatigued from three hard days of the 9-to-5 (or 6, or 7) grind, but can’t relaxed quite yet. Easygoing separates like Gwyneth Paltrow’s here—or this COS top and these Tibi culottes—are the most comfortable way to power through without breaking HR rules. While the drape of the fabric looks elegant, it doesn’t feel much different from sweats you’ll be wearing in 48 hours time (47 and 55 minutes by the time you finish reading this story—not that anyone’s counting).
5. Friday: Color-Blocked Separates + Nude Heels
For an elevated take on casual Friday dressing, take a cue from Victoria Beckham with two traditional workwear pieces in a bold contrasting hues. The best way to balance all those brights? Sleek and simple silhouettes and minimalist add-ons, such as nude sandal pumps (this Schultz pair is perfect) and dark aviators. After 5 p.m., accessorize with a cocktail—you earned it!