office outfit
Blazer, skirt & shirt, J. Crew; shoes, Manolo Blahnik (thrifted); bag Marc Jacobs

So, this is a pretty straightforward outfit, except for one question: black or white?

office outfit
white or black?

The white Manolos are so matchy matchy, you know they were my first pick. But then I started thinking that maybe they could be a little too “edgy” for a hearing (even a simple appearance on the peanut gallery). So I went with the “safe” black option …

office outfit
“serious professional” option

… and then changed back into my preferred footwear once I was back in the office. But I may have been in the minority with my choice. When I posed my “dilemma” on Instagram, the reaction was mixed, though mostly in favour of the black. What’s your take on it?

Leaving the all-important shoe question aside, can I just say: how nice does this celadon green pair with teal? It’s so … soothing. Maybe I’m just being swayed by my love for this pretty Marc Jacobs bag. With the whole serious-business-neutrals-with-a-side-of-neutrals approach I’ve been taking lately when it comes to my work wear, I’ve been using my neutral colour bags a lot more (surprise surprise) – which is a shame because it means less time for this beauty. Note to self: I need to find more opportunities to wear it.

office outfit
“still edgy” option

16 Comments on Pop Quiz

  1. Great outfit! I think you’re absolutely right with the shoes. Black is the safe option to look serious and professional. But if the occasion allows it, the white shoes add that little extra bit that makes the outfit special.

    • Thanks! Keeping an inventory of shoes on hand in my office comes in handy sometimes 😉
      (who am I kidding, it comes in handy all the time)

  2. I really like it with both shoes – but black was better for court. The white does read a little more spring/summer to me. The black makes it look more formal, the white makes it a little casual. Make sense? And love love love the bag.

    • I never thought about the white being summery, but I can see that. I tend to think that the black piping somehow makes them a bit dressier than a plain white pair would be, does that make sense? I’m glad we can agree on the bag 😉

  3. Love both shoes with that outfit, but I prefer the black shoes if you are going to use the light blue bag. If you pair that same outfit with a black bag or white bag, then I would prefer the white shoes. Love those white Blahniks!

    As for white being “court appropriate,” I’d argue that it really depends on what kind of case/trial it is. My husband is an attorney, and he doesn’t always wear a suit (nice trousers, sport coat) and it has never impacted a ruling. I’d argue that the look would also great for client meetings. There’s nothing wrong with showing a little personality in your attire as long as it is professional. My husband is a HUGE fan of graphic socks (Jonathan Adler, Marc Jacobs, etc.) to add some fun to his suits while showing a little creativity has paid off for me in my career. I just had one of my clients email me about helping them with a live event to “make it cool.” (I am a digital marketing consultant.)

    • This was an administrative hearing, so the dress code was more relaxed than for court, but I always err on the side of caution these days. For client meetings, I tend to agree – although I would premise that by saying that the clients I typically meet with rarely wear suits either. With that said, a little bit of flair (almost) never hurts.

  4. While white adds a much needed oomph and punch to the outfit, Black speaks volumes of corporate professional. I would be torn between both, but I think I might have ended up choosing the whites, because they absolutely make the outfit fabulous!

    • Team white! LOL! Those white shoes are one of my favourite pairs, even though I sometimes question whether my taste level is skewing a little too 80s 😉

  5. I like it with both and though the white add a sense of flair, there is something grounding about the black. It feels more like the outfit is framed and balanced. I think you are doing a fantastic job with your new look.

    • Thank you so much for the words of encouragement! It’s been a process of trial and error, for sure, but I feel like I’m coming up less on the error side these days 😉

  6. I think the black was the clear choice for ‘serious-ing up’ the outfit, so I support the presto-chango. That being said, I think the white ones make your legs look longer (and really, who doesn’t want that?)

  7. I just discovered your blog and I looooove it: your style, the approachable picture quality (not like you make your life look like an editorial, which seems to be the norm for blogs these days) and the write ups that are full of personality. Very inspiring, even though I don’t have to be so formally professional in my office (academia, yeay). So glad I found you! I think I prefer the outfit with the black shoes, by the way, but the outfit is lovely regardless.

    • Thank you and welcome!!

      LOL about the picture quality – I periodically feel bad about the sometime(?)-atrocious photo quality, but it’s important to me to show my actual outfits. “Shooting” on the go is not always conducive to perfect shots, but I think it’s more relatable in a way. At least, I’m glad to hear people think so!

      I didn’t always dress quite so conservatively in the past – I used to wear way more cardigans, for example. And I spent the first 8 months of last year at home on mat leave, so there are lots of casual outfits. I guess what I’m trying to say is: feel free to take a look through the archives. They’re usually good for a laugh at least 😉

      Oh, and one of my fave style bloggers in academia (who is still around – RIP, Academichic) is Consume or Consumed – do check out her blog as well, if you don’t know it. She wears some killer dresses!