Style Suite: Take That Office Look from Professional to Play

Style Suite: Take That Office Look from Professional to Play

Welcome to the Style Suite with Kéla Walker, your source for fashion and style trends for power plays in the workplace. Every Tuesday and Thursday, she’ll share tips and suggestions to help maximize your style on a budget. Whether you’re the style devil in Prada or the apprentice with limited apparel, you’ll find something in the Style Suite to suit your needs.

Office chic, from professional to play (Images: Knightmare6 Photography)

One of the most common style conversations in the workplace is how to take a look from day to night, or as I like to say, professional to play. Ladies, get ready to take notes because this is one issue we are going to lay to rest today.

The best way to go from day to night is create a 2-in-1 look with two easy elements: a dress and layers.

Sounds simple, right? It is! The only trick is to work backwards. Create the look for play first, then create your daytime professional outfit. Any dress that you are wearing for play typically means exposure of cleavage, showing off your  curves, and/or showing plenty of skin — none of which are appropriate for the office. (Side note: I’m going to trust that you are applying the middle finger rule, where the hem of the dress meets your middle finger, to determine if it’s too short for the office.)

Pick out accessories that will play up your dress in the evening:

  • Sparkling, bold accessories such as a cocktail ring or a statement necklace
  • A clutch purse
  • Heels to play up those legs (if different from the office pumps)
  • Lipstick to punch up the look

All of these can be stored in your clutch that is stashed in your work bag, which also holds your heels (if you don’t, like many working women, already have some stockpiled in your office).

After you have pulled that evening look together, now it’s time to move backwards and pile on the layers for the professional look.

Pick out pieces that will compliment that evening dress, helping it to blend into the office

  • A blazer or any kind of cover-up works great to conceal skin and hide curves
  • A complimenting camisole or scarf will conceal any signs of inappropriate cleavage
  • Stockings and tights will cover any bare leg that seems to be too much for the work place

Make sure all the different layers work to compliment the dress, and there you have it—a 2-in-1 look. From 9-to-5 you are perfectly professional but at the stroke of 5:01, those professional layers are peeled off and you are ready for an evening of fun, networking and after-five power moves.

Find more fashion and style tips at and follow me on Twitter (@kelawalker).

Kéla Walker is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated producer and TV host, who has contributed lifestyle and entertainment content for outlets including NBC’s LXTV, Getty Images, YRB Magazine, Madame Noire, and RTL Germany. She also has a passion for fashion and offers the latest in fab fashion trends and consumer deals with Her chic style and trendsetting blog has been lauded by sites including and Huffington Post Black Voices.