Maria wears a stack of different hats at once. (Metaphorically, that is. Layered hats: not a good look.) She’s an independent pharmacist who runs three businesses in one location—a retail pharmacy, a long-term care pharmacy and a medical supply store. Her job is part clinical, part business, and highly demanding. What she wears under that white lab coat matters a lot.
What’s your daytime work style?
My work style is very conservative and varies from scrubs to business casual. As a young woman in my position, I realized people respond best to a clean, approachable look. I often have to discuss serious (and sometimes very awkward) medical conditions with patients, so keeping a very simplified look is key. I like my personality to shine at work, but try to be subtle by using accessories to play up my look. And a smile is one of the best accessories for my job!
How do you take your look from office to evening?
I can easily update my look to go from business casual to evening with a change of accessories, shoes and makeup. It’s the best way to move a look from professional to sexy and fun. I love chunky, colorful necklaces from Anthropologie and J.Crew, and Urban Decay’s Naked eye shadow palette.
What’s your weekend style?
It’s full of dresses and skirts since they’re not part of my work wardrobe. I love to play up my accessories and shoes during the weekend—a total change from my workweek attire in most cases. Since I live in Florida I can take advantage of warm-weather looks almost all year, and I love dresses that can be casual or played up.
What’s your best piece of personal style advice?
I make sure I’m making only one big statement. For example, if I’m going to wear a large, bright statement necklace, I focus my outfit around that one item. Layering statement pieces it looks messy, but one added to an outfit makes a big impact and can pull the whole look together.
See our stylist's picks on the next page.
Maria’s work style (when she’s not wearing scrubs) is classic business casual. Here, we offer some of our favorite wardrobe basics and show you how to create a versatile look that stands out in the office and at happy hour.
1. The Cropped Trouser
This is the kind of pant that can be whatever you want it to be. Pair it with flats and a simple shirt for classic Audrey Hepburn. Or add stilettos and a statement jacket for that after-work holiday party and suddenly you’re channeling ’90s Gucci.
Theory Ibbey 2 pant in stretch wool, $265, available at theory.com.
2. The Jewel Neck Long Sleeve Tee
If your workplace is business casual, there’s a good chance that a well-designed tee has a place in your weekday wardrobe. But finding an appropriate one isn’t as easy as you might think. This version is pretty perfect, and it’s available in 13 colors.
Cotton tee, $29.50, available at anntaylor.com.
3. The Throw-On Jacket
Maria finds that people respond to a clean, approachable look. While the fabric of this jacket is more intricate than your standard solid twill, the lines are kept simple and the colors are anything but jarring.
Jacket with fringe neckline, $189, available at jny.com.
4. The Smoking Slipper
There are so many fantastic variations of this shoe. Some have over-the-top designs; others come in a wild array of colors. But this simple black slipper is a great alternative to the classic ballet flat.
Dolce Vita Hanna smoking flat, $69.99, available at macys.com.
5. The Daytime Structured Bag
What makes a bag a good pick for daytime? There’s more than one answer to that question — but here’s a good one. It’s roomy enough to store all your stuff but doesn’t look sloppy. Nice hardware and a good shape seal the deal.
Perforated Shopper Bag, $79.90, available at zara.com.
6. Minimalist Jewelry
When it comes to jewelry, it’s trendy to think in terms of statement this or statement that — but there’s a great case to be made for elegance and subtlety. I love these gold bangles for their understated simplicity. One of each might be just enough (and yes, the second one claims to be a statement piece … but really, it’s a staple).
Kate Spade slim idiom bangle, $29, available at lordandtaylor.com; Kate Spade idiom bangle, $48, available at lordandtaylor.com.
7. The Leather Jacket
A high quality, well-cut leather jacket is usually on the expensive side, but it’s also a great investment piece. It can last for years and it’s an easy way to turn a conservative look edgy. A lot of leather jackets are on sale in winter, so now is the perfect time to snap one up. It’s a purchase you aren’t likely to regret.
Motorcycle jacket with zips, $119.00, available at zara.com.
8. The Metallic Heel
There’s nothing wrong with swapping your day shoes for go-to black stilettos after work, but this metallic pump with a slim ankle strap is a great alternative. Prefer gold to silver? There are plenty of rosier options out there, too.
DKNY Saffi pump, $245, available at dkny.com; Kate Spade Licorice pumps, $328, available at katespade.com.
9. The Geometric Clutch
Maria uses accessories to “move a look from professional to sexy and fun.” Trade your day bag for this eye-catching clutch and you’re all set for a night out. It’s also available in silver.
Vince Camuto clutch, $168, available at macys.com.
Dawn Cassidy is a fashion writer, personal stylist, and previously author of the blog Enterloop. She currently is expanding her Personal Styling services and plays host to intimate events in the NYC market. She is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology.