Skirt suits rank among the least-exciting work clothes imaginable. If they’re the uniform in your conservative office, you’re probably sick of them. If not, they’re probably relegated to a neglected place at the back of your closet, among your interview outfits.
But in the spirit of examining creative layering options (and just being economical, really), the Cut has devised a few ways to repurpose your workwear outside of office hours. We found that the fitted structure of suiting makes for a wonderful contrast in proportions to this season’s layers, whether you’re pairing a pencil skirt with slouchy winter knits from COS or a fitted blazer with voluminous wide-leg trousers from Aritzia.
Click ahead to see four different ways to deconstruct the polished skirt suit for a variety of ensembles, from an after-hours party to a casual weekend outing.
Your 9-to-5 Office Look
Let’s start with the basic skirt suit. When a suit is well constructed (the shoulder area doesn’t sag and the skirt isn’t too tight), you’re already halfway there. If you don’t already own something like this J.Crew suit, a heavier wool for winter adds extra warmth, while a fitted and slightly cropped blazer makes for an ideal layering option. Understated jewelry and a pair of non-boring pumps provide subtle ornamentation without overdoing it.
For a Vibrant Daytime Look
To neutralize a colorful mixture of separates, add a suiting blazer and a sophisticated saddle bag like this ASOS option. Here, we’ve offset the dark jacket with a pair of high-waisted, wide-leg trousers, and a bright print. Complement the look with classic geometric jewelry, and then finish it off with your own version of these Rachel Comey platform brogues (or your favorite d’Orsay flats).
If You’re Not Wearing All-Velvet to the Holiday Party
In preparation for a parade of seasonal celebrations, lend a simple, chic twist to your party attire by throwing on the blazer you wore to work this morning. Try a festive pair of pants like these (or brocade and jacquard, if you’re fancy) with a pretty blouse and some fun heels like this Topshop pair (okay, just one velvet thing). Add some eye-catching gold jewelry, and you’re all ready for the karaoke and the eggnog-flavored regrets.
If You’re Allergic to Boring Dress Shirts
Though it’s almost knee-jerk to want to tuck a typical button-down into a pencil skirt, try an unorthodox update on this style by layering a long oxford shirt on top. The look makes for a unique take on shirting, one that you can easily dress up to wear in the office or pare down, like we did, with your favorite pair of white sneakers and a cozy belted coat.
For an Uncomplicated Off-Duty Look
For easy weekend attire, play with proportions by layering a loose, oversize sweater like this turtleneck over your fitted work skirt. It’s a refreshingly unfussy workwear configuration, and one that’s simple enough to try with different combinations of knits. Wear with platform or heeled oxford brogues, as seen above, or with a pair of low-heeled booties.