How to add to my work wardrobe in a male-dominated, casual office?

How to add to my work wardrobe in a male-dominated, casual office?

Hi everyone! I work in male-dominated office (oil industry) and I’m trying to spice up my outfits without drawing too much attention to myself. I’ve always been “one of the guys” so jeans, t-shirts and slip-ons are my go-to, but I’m tired of wearing variations of [this]( outfit everyday to work. (pic is not me, I just don’t have a full-size mirror at work to take one in).

Does anyone have suggestions? The fanciest people get in this office is a nice blouse or scarf, while on the other end some guys wear baseball caps and tattered jeans. So I’d really draw attention wearing heels or a dress/skirt which isn’t what I’m really going for.

I typically stick to neutrals but it seems like I just rotate through the same ~3 pairs of jeans ~3 shoes and ~10 tops and its getting boring. Thanks!!

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Comments ( 12 )
  1. ImportantRice
    June 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    I’m super obsessed with [Stylebee]( for capsule wardrobing, and I extremely regret that my office is not casual enough for me to pull off what she wears. I work in a male dominated (albeit ultra conservative/formal office) so I understand the desire to avoid standing out too much.

    I’d describe her style as day and night both work appropriate and street appropriate but casual and not too “fancy” or formal. It’s got little feminine/artistic tweeks to it, but it’s not like flirty frilly girly at all.

  2. emmalightbown
    June 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    How about starting with accessories? I think they’re a really easy addition without feeling too over the top but feeling like you’ve made a bit of an effort.

    Also maybe switching out some of your jeans for nice wide leg trousers or cropped tailored trousers?

    I would also say you should dress for you – I wouldn’t worry about the opinions of others, people might take notice the first couple of times you try something new but after that I think they just accept that thats your style! I always felt I should dress down a bit to pick up my son from nursery as none of the other mums dressed like me but then thought – why should I bother, I like the way I dress and I’d rather have people think I looked dressed up rather than that I just didn’t give a shit about what I wear.

  3. citranger_things
    June 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    I feel like one really good way to up your game without feeling like you’re wearing a costume is to maintain the same silhouette.

    – Jeans -> Trousers. Black would be just the tiniest bit elevated from black jeans, and a camel or herringbone would add something really fun and different. They could still be straight-leg or even a little cropped if you prefer not to wear a heel.

    – T-shirts -> Blouses in other materials (LL Bean has a linen one with buttons down the back that I’m in love with), button-down shirts. A button-down with rolled up sleeves somehow feels totally different from a t-shirt without actually being dramatically different.

    – Slippers -> something closer to a ballet flat to take it in a more feminine-formal direction, or loafers or oxfords to go more masculine-formal. An ankle boot would also be different and could even be a way to add a low-key heel.

    Another direction would be to change silhouettes while maintaining exactly the same level of formality/femininity. I’m thinking specifically of a replacing those t-shirts with a shift dress that has a t-shirt sleeve shape, like this:

  4. tbgsmom
    June 27, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    How about casual skirts? Denim or khaki cotton skirts are pretty casual, especially if you wear them with flats and casual tops/cardigans.

    You could do a slightly dressier top under your cardigan. I love woven sleeveless top/blouses. Loft always has cute ones.

    I also suggest printed cropped pants, like Old navy Pixie pants.

  5. theygotthemustardout
    June 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I know you said that you don’t normally wear heels because it’s attention drawing, but I feel like just adding a nice heel or chic flat really elevates an outfit.

    It’s amazing how much [an interesting, yet practical heel]( can change an entire look.

  6. CrazyIrina
    June 27, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Start from the ground up. Wearing lingerie for yourself is a good thing and can boost the ego. There are billions of bodysuit lingerie styles that look and feel amazing AND can be worn as a base.

    If you aren’t into lingerie, then a cotton cami can feel nice all day long worn under a standard white shirt.

    Skip the slacks and grab some simple just above the knee skirts in cotton. Pair em with simple black tights + nice socks + 2-in heeled booties..

    … and then finish the whole outfit off with a nice sweater.

    I wear neutral makeup most of the time, but I have some sheer metallics that look pretty, and I can make a subtle glamorous look.

    I also wear my hair pretty simply…a pullback pony most of the time, BUT curled. Super super pretty and takes just minutes to do.

  7. _Pikachu_
    June 27, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Hey, this is my jam! I used to work in the oil industry where I was the only woman in the 40 strong engineering department. If you’re like me, skirts and dresses weren’t great because of field work, so what I focussed on was:
    – rotation of jeans and black skinny trousers
    – dark blouses and wool sweaters, fitted enough to look good but enough like what the men wear to not stand out too much
    – heels, but practical – I.e. heeled ankle boots. I have boots with a 3 inch heel that I can run in (and have done, for evacuations…)
    – blazers!

    If you’re worried about standing out, don’t do it all at once – heels, blouse, blazer – but just upscale one element of each outfit. Then over time, maybe 2 elements. After a while, it won’t feel weird and people will get used to it. As the only woman I tended to just not give a fuck and set my own dress code, simply because I stood out anyway by being a woman, so may as well lean into it 🤷🏻‍♀️ but that’s not for everyone!

  8. gotakealeap
    June 27, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    If you want, follow my Instagram @havedooneywilltravel I post all my outfits, I am in a male dominated industry and I need to be conservative but I also love style. Maybe some of my outfits can give you some ideas in your own wardrobe!

  9. kris10_29
    June 28, 2018 at 12:38 am

    You could keep the jeans, but swap the t-shirt for a relaxed-fit silk blouse (like [this one]( from Everlane) or a fun printed blouse (like [this one]( from Sezane). Instead of slip on sneakers, you could wear some comfortable pointy flats (like [Rothy’s]( or [this pair](!/color/270) from M.Gemi). It’s pretty much the same silhouette, but just a bit elevated in terms of fabric and style.

  10. yaffa5cats
    June 28, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Yes, long fitting blazers in muted colors and textured materials. Loose and your regular casual style.

  11. egodeathbarbie
    June 28, 2018 at 1:14 am

    I’m a woman in software engineering, so I feel you on this one. Lately I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how I can look put together while still being dressed down enough that the guys at work aren’t going to say something snarky. Here are some of the outfits I’ve been wearing lately (none of these are me, just pics from Pinterest):

    1. [Casual – tshirt and black jeans](

    2. [Casual – vintage button-up, mom jeans, black boots](

    3. [Casual – button-up, black jeans](

    4. [Casual – off-white henley, green skirt] (

    4. [A little nicer – plaid shirt and black jeans](

    5. [A little nicer – striped sweater and black jeans](

    6. [A little nicer – cable sweater and yellow skirt] (

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