“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: Longline Blazer + Cigarette Trousers + Loafers
Fresh week, fresh start! Kick it off on a high note, courtesy of Victoria Beckham’s devastatingly chic take on suiting: a boxy blazer coat, like this style from COS, offset by slim cut pants. To keep the lines clean, opt for a simple white shell over a button-down, and complete the look with sleek, minimalist accessories, like a black pouch and subtly pointed two-tone loafers (we're obsessed with this pair from Everlane).
2. TUESDAY: Knit Dress + Ankle-Strap Heels
Running late to your 9 a.m. meeting? Viola Davis’s lightweight sweater dress—both Madewell and Aritzia carry like-minded options—and ladylike accents (hey, there red lipstick!) offer a quick and easy way to look pulled together when you've only got five minutes (or less) to spare. Tip: On the weekends, you can squeeze extra mileage from this piece with over-the-knee boots and a slouchy suede carryall.
3. WEDNESDAY: Denim Button-Down + Floral Skirt + Pumps
Break out of an all-black (or gray, or tan—you get the picture!) rut by upgrading your neutral-heavy pencil skirt collection with a cheerful bloom colored variation, such as this Rebecca Taylor piece. For a more casual office environment, consider following Olivia Palermo’s lead with a knotted front chambray shirt on top; otherwise, the style work equally well with a classic white blouse. Either way, single sole pumps (bright or neutral) are a foolproof way to finish the look.
4. THURSDAY: Long Belted Vest + Wide-Leg Trousers + Heeled Mules
While Elizabeth Olsen’s ensemble here exudes professional polish, it’s actually pajama-level comfy. The secret: perfectly balanced proportions—note how the actress’s pant cuff hits right at the ankle bone and she’s used a ribbon to give her waistcoat a flattering shape—and streamlined shoes with a subtle lift. This sleeveless Theory blazer and these Elizabeth and James pants provide a similar effect when teamed together, especially if you have a tailor adjust the measurements to your own.
5. FRIDAY: Wide-Leg Pants + Button-Down + Sneakers
First things first: It’s T-minus eight hours until the weekend, and there is no way you’re walking into it with uncomfortable shoes. Fortunately, Victoria's Secret Angel Elsa Hosk has a genius way to give trainers a 9-to-5 twist: high-rise wide-leg trousers (a crisper silhouette, like this pair from Max Mara, feels the most polished) and a timeless white Oxford. Perfectly windswept hair a plus, but not required.