Some people think that workwear has to be boring, but there are so many amazing women going into offices every day making business look chic and edgy. I used to be one of them, but now I work from home, and my office visits are less frequent and require a flight! However, I still apply these principles when I travel for work.
With many companies going back to the office, now is the time to lean into your personal style and wear those edgy outfits at work! I love dressing up and sharing my style with my coworkers. It’s so funny to think the people I talk to every day, have no idea how I dress regularly.
Dressing professionally sounds so boring, but workwear is so different than just slacks and button-downs nowadays. You can really insert your personal style. Edgy can be interpreted in many ways, but my version includes the principles below, lots of neutrals, and visually interesting outfits. I also love the elevated basics trending now for a chic professional style.
I always describe my style as classic-edgy because I love a simple style but with a little twist. Neutrals are my style, and I love a piece with fun hardware. If I had the money when they were popular, I would own the Burberry trench coat with the spikes on the shoulders circa the early 2010s. If you love the professional-edgy look, keep reading for how I get this style and make it work in the office!
How to Look Edgy and Professional: 5 Top Tips
1. Make Neutrals Normal
Neutrals are the best way to create an edgy look. Dark neutrals especially have a harder look and chicer appeal. However, black and white isn’t your only option, and these days edgy has a ton of different meanings, so who am I to tell you to not wear color! For the sake of this post, I’m sticking with my guns and saying lean into neutrals or darker colors when aiming for edgy in your style. Black is obvious but browns, tans, and even monochromatic looks can go edgy depending on what you pair them with, and of course, you can never go wrong with a classic white button-down.
Also, think about prints! Oftentimes, print is associated with loud or bright colors, but prints like animal print often come in neutrals, like leopard print or the several snakeskin options I share below. You can always add a contrasting color like the burgundy pencil skirt below for a more colorful edgy vibe. Just look for more muted colors if you don’t only stick to neutrals.
In my look below my friend told me I looked like I belonged on the streets of NYC and I was so excited because that is often my goal when dressing! I’ve always been a city girl at heart and love the city style for its functional chic vibe. After all of these years of dreaming of being an NYC girlie, I actually do work in NYC now, and when I go into the office, that’s where I go! I was so happy the first time I realized I achieved my dream of working in NYC (while still living in Texas). I love that black and grey look though it was styled a while ago, but now, I would go with a straight leg and mid or high-waisted pants.
2. Accessories are Key
A black top is just a black top without the accessories. You have to think the whole outfit through when going for a particular style. I am pretty minimal with my jewelry, but I love a good bracelet stack, studs, or hoop earrings in gunmetal and a pebbled leather belt.
Choose bangles over chain links or stronger, larger studs over a dainty huggie hoop. However, with jewelry, I tend to go by the rule of choosing one strong section either larger earrings and a smaller dainty necklace, or a big cuff or bracelet stack, and keep my earrings small and less noticeable. You have to make sure there is balance or the style will be thrown off and distract from the outfit as a whole.
When choosing your bag think about the shapes and materials you’re using. A smooth structured bag will give off a completely different vibe than a softer textured bag like pebble leather. Certain designers are known for their edgy look like Alexander McQueen or Valentino with their rockstuds. There are also amazing similar styles that can be a great choice!
In general looks for structured options as opposed
3. It’s All About the Shoes
Shoes can make or break any outfit, so you must choose your shoes carefully when going for an edgy look. I love anything with studs, but that isn’t the only way to get the edgy look. Look for harsh edges like pointy toes, or architectural designs. You can lean into pronounced hardware such as buckles, clasps, and rivets.
Look for good quality styles. You’ll be able to see in the leather whether it creases easily and if it will be structured or prone to slouching. For an edgier look, choose a more structural option over a slouch. I love Schutz for great quality boots! For a casual edgy look, I would lean towards moto boots, but with a professional edgy style, I recommend Chelsea boots.
Another great style for an edgy look is a chunky boot or loafer with a thick heel. These can be pull-on, high or low, and any color. I have a great tan pair from Dolce Vita that I love, and also just picked out these loafers that offer an edgy vibe to any outfit. I also love the lace-up combat-style boots these days, I have a tan pair of these as well from last year!
4. Mix Materials
Some people think that wearing black is the only way to look edgy, but the most important part is actually the materials. Harsher, structured materials are a great way to lean towards a more edgy style. Denim and (faux) leather are a good start, but I love mixing different materials. I love to mix leather and silk or jeans and chiffon, even a soft cashmere sweater with some boots. There are so many options!
The mix allows the professional part of the outfit to show up. While we’re going for edgy, you don’t want to look like you just hopped off your motorcycle and ran into a meeting. Mixing materials also looks chic and put-together. It allows for a more visually interesting monochromatic outfit. Remember we want to look edgy AND professional when going to work, so the balance is key.
For your edgy piece, look for more structured materials. All cotton denim will be much stiffer but have a sharper look with cleaner lines than jeans with stretch. A 100% or mostly wool sweater will both have a higher quality look and keep its shape more lending itself more to an edgy and professional style. A few more examples below in the images include several faux leather skirts and black leather jackets.
5. Hardware is Important
Hardware can make your outfit even edgier, but it is easy to overdo it so choose wisely and add sparingly. For example, I wear this leather belt with a strong silver buckle quite often and it really completes almost any look. It pairs well with my bracelet stack which I wear almost every day.
There are so many simple ways to add hardware to your look. You can choose pieces that already have hardware, such as chain detail on a bag or buckles on shoes. Hardware can also be anything like a metal hair accessory, pronounced zippers, strong buckles, or buttons on your jackets. A good example is the buckle on my blazer with the green satin joggers below!
Another easy way to add hardware to your outfit is jewelry. I mentioned my bracelet stack earlier: You don’t have to wear chunky bracelets or earrings to look edgy, but it is certainly an option! And I generally wear simple jewelry, piled together. I can’t resist a gorgeous David Yurman or Lagos bracelet to add to my stack.