Style Inspiration: How to Add a Dash of Sass to a Conservative Work Look

D says, “It is almost September and I am headed back to school. I am a Kindergarten teacher and I find myself wearing things during the school year that I am usually not crazy about. There are a few restraints on what I can wear. I am required to wear a white top and a blue bottom three days a week and heels are not an option for me during the school day *God bless those who can!*. Any suggestions that you can give me are greatly appreciated.”
Hey D! Sounds like you don’t have ton to work with. In addition to exploring funky versions of your typical white tops and blue skirts–opting for a pussybow blouse and draped skirt instead of a ho hum button down and pencil–my suggestion would be to work it out with fun accessories. Play up your white top with a jazzy necklace the kids will love, slip on a pair of patterned flats, and even try throwing on a pair of smart readers. Add a bold yet practical bag and consider getting a chic haircut just in time for back to school:

Get a few more options here:

For the days when you don’t have to wear a white top and a blue bottom, mix in a few key shift dresses in classic colors like black and navy, but also in cherry red or deep purple. Shift dresses are easy to slip on, and can be quite versatile if you mix in a potpourri of colorful cardigans, multi-layered chains, or belts.

Get more options here:

As stylist Anthony Williams said, fit is important, so after you go shopping, take items to your local tailor to make sure everything fits beautifully.
Be further inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama, who is pretty much a poster child for conservative chic:

Hope that helps!
Do you guys have anything to add?
*These tips can work for *any* conservative corporate environments. Simply swap out the flats for a hot shoe.


Claire Sulmers is the publisher and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, the #43 most influential style blog in the world.