We know work shopping can be seriously unfun sometimes—there’s only so many black skirt suits a girl can be expected to own. But professional basics don’t have to be boring! While obsessing over neons at New York Fashion Week, we realized the look was totally translatable to the 9 to 5 world, and way more versatile than you’d think. If you only make one investment in your work wardrobe this fall, we highly recommend a punchy-hued pencil skirt (J. Crew’s $120 popsicle orange wool option is our fave). Not sure how to style it? Here’s five cool outfit combos to get you started.
Outfit 1: I Love the ’80s
Black and neon might feel a little Cindy Lauper at first, but there’s plenty to embrace here. Contrasting patterns in the same color palette tie the necklace and top together, while a bold pop of teal down below augments the look without overwhelming it. If corporate isn’t cool with bare shoulders, an over-sized blazer makes for a great cover up—just leave the shoulder pads at home.
Thakoon knit tank, $425 at Barneys. Maison Boinet wrap belt, $98 at Intermix. Rag & Bone 42nd Street blazer, $450 at Rag & Bone. Elva Fields Village Voice necklace, $188 at Elva Fields. Talbots suede almond-toe pump, $159 at Talbots.
Outfit 2: Punky Prep
The beautiful thing about Ivy League style is that all separates more or less match, and every piece exudes an easy elegance—perfect for oh-so-subtly impressing your superiors on casual Friday. Tuck a slouchy striped crewneck into your now-trusty neon skirt, and be sure to pile on the bracelets. Leopard slippers (we’re obsessed) are a fun touch, and they balance out the tweedy heritage tote.
J. Crew striped linen sweater, $88 at Net-a-Porter. Fleabag original Flea in Normandy, $440 at Need Supply Co. Steven by Steve Madden Madee slip-on, $119.95 at Steve Madden. Bracelets (top to bottom): Rachel Leigh enamel-linked bracelet, $150 at Max & Chloe. CC Skye double header spike bracelet, $150 at CC Skye. Lunah’s gold chain link bracelet, $37.95 at Fantasy Jewelry Box.
Outfit 3: Color Block
Keep accessories muted with a color pairing this bold—all you need is a simple gold charm (a solid bar is a modern look) and sturdy bondage-chic statement heels. Brave enough to rock even more bright hues? Stick a rich cobalt cocktail ring on your finger. Viola—work basics that will impress your boss in the big meeting and get you invited to cocktails with the office cool girls afterward.
Outfit 4: Earthy Accents
Believe it or not, neon fits the boho-princess look, and the boho-princess look can find a place at the office. Pick a flowing printed T with a pattern that picks up on the color of the skirt, then layer it over a fitted collared blouse for a professional edge. String a single piece of artisanal jewelry—the more substantial, the better—underneath the collar, then nod to the ’70s with suede platform booties.
Outfit 5: Prim and Proper
Ironic demure is best pulled off with a ballsy attitude. So go ahead, tuck in that sweet peter pan collar and don those library lady glasses. Top it off with a bow tie poncho for extra whimsy, nail your 4 PM presentation, then smile and step demurely out in patent leather loafers. Joan Holloway would be so proud.
Burberry Prorsum patent-leather trimmed cape, $1295 at Net-a-Porter. Pour La Victoire Larkin pump, $275 at Pour La Victoire. Warby Parker Huxley frames, $95 at Warby Parker. Smythson Panama diary, $130 at Smythson. Topshop Peter Pan collar jumper, $75 at Topshop.