When Californian Anh Sundstrom discovered blogs two and a half years ago, she was ecstatic. As a self-described magazine hoarder, she couldn’t get enough of the fashion inspiration street-style blogs provided. She loved the beautiful imagery and the witty writing, but there was one problem: The looks she found didn’t translate to her own real-life career as a marketing manager for a medical device company. Sundstrom quickly realized she could fill that void in the blogosphere.
“I hope to inspire the career woman who might need to be conservative for work, but who still wants to express her inner creativity. I try to bring something new and fresh to workwear, and maybe it will help women break out of a rut,” she says.
Sundstrom’s blog, 9to5Chic, has since become a must-read for professional women seeking advice on how to mix trendy items with classics pieces to create always-polished ensembles—and she’s been inspiring our office looks for months. And because one of our main missions is to help you through any of your work wardrobe dilemmas, we figured it was high time to make some introductions. Read on for the cosmopolitan Californian’s take on office style and how any trend—almost—can be adapted for the workplace.
Describe your style in five words or less.
Polished, elegant and always changing.
What's your best advice for dressing fashionably in a work-oriented city like DC?
Focus on the fit of your clothing. It doesn't matter what the brand or style of the clothing is, if it doesn't fit properly it is not going to be flattering. And always put on a great pair of heels.
How do you adapt trends to make them work-appropriate?
I try not to jump in headfirst into a bold trend, but instead subtly incorporate it into my everyday wear.
Name five items every professional woman should own.
A white button-down, a blazer, a perfectly cut (for your body) pencil skirt, black pointy-toe pumps, and a fabulous fits-everything work tote.
Are there any items that should never be worn in an office setting?
Anything mini, super tight, or low-cut does not belong at work.
What about trends that can't be adapted for the office?
Cropped tops that show your midriff just won't work.
Are colored pants a yay or nay for office wear?
Absolute yay! As long as it is a work appropriate cut, think trouser or cropped pant, it should be fine. A classic button down never hurts, either.
What are your views on neon for work?
I think in small doses it can be a great pop of color. Try mixing a neon necklace or shoe into your workwear. Or use it as an under layer rather than going with a neon top or pants.
What is your advice for mixing prints in a work outfit?
Stick with classic lines and shapes, and let the prints be the standout feature of the outfit. It's all about balancing the classic with the trendy.
Would you be more likely to splurge on shoes or a purse?
Both, and boy, is that a dangerous answer!
What are your favorite brands for investment work shoes and bags?
I carry my Celine tote on and off the clock--it's a versatile size and shape. I bought mine at Barneys, but it's also available at Saks and Neiman Marcus. Lo & Sons makes a wonderful travel/laptop bag--I never travel without it now.
Favorite online shopping hubs:
Shopbop and Net-a-Porter.
Biggest fashion pet peeve:
Women not dressing for their body type.
Spring wardrobe essentials:
A good trench coat and lots of flirty skirts are musts.
Favorite current trend:
Definitely pastels. And I really like the wide-leg, silky pants trend. They are so easy breezy but pulled together.
What are the go-to items in your closet?
Trousers with a silk blouse and a jacket, either a trench or a blazer, is my go-to uniform.
Are there any trends you're working up the courage to try?
I've held out on neon so far, but I'm thinking I might have to try it out for the blog and see what I think.
Do you have a favorite piece in your wardrobe?
As an anniversary gift, my sweet husband gave me a beautiful Stella McCartney trench cape, which I adore.
Finish this sentence: "I never leave home without my . . ."