Beyond the Power Suit

How do you exude style while still remaining office-appropriate?

By Dyanna Pure
|  Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009  |  Updated 2:05 PM PDT
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Beyond the Power Suit

JT Paradox

The woman pictured here manages to look polished without appearing like an office drone.

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Even in a city as liberal as San Francisco, it can still be a challenge for women (and men) to retain their personal style while looking office appropriate.

Dress codes can vary widely from industry to industry, but there's still a strongly held view that in order to be taken seriously in the business world, you need to dress in boxy (read ill-fitting), modern day power suits.

A past manager of mine once looked me up and down, pointed to the mod-inspired dress/shrunken blazer combo that I had worn to work that day and said, "Make sure that you don't wear one of your cute hipster outfits to the client lunch tomorrow." She also went so far as to suggest that the weight of one's character was entirely determined by the height of their shoes--and if I wanted to 'make it' in business that I should "trade in my pointy flats and Chapstick for some high-heels and lipstick."

These days, my apartment is my office and the dress code is 'shoes optional,' but if any readers out there have any good office fashion tips or horror stories--leave us a comment. We'd love to commiserate.

Dyanna Pure is the co-creator of The SF Style.

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