The question of how to maintain your personal style in the workplace is one that comes up over and over again. I always see girls in vintage groups wishing that they could wear their pretties to work, so I thought I’d write up this little 101 guide on how to be a professional and a pinup, at the same time when possible!
First off: know your office and your field. Unfortunate as it is, it is possible that you just aren’t able to let your retro flag fly in the workplace. This varies a lot depending on how conservative your field is overall, but also by specific offices. I work in a creative, non-client-facing role in a small organization in a field that’s not particularly conservative, so I definitely can get away with a lot of personal flair within the limits of the dress code. Pay attention to what other people in your workplace are wearing, particularly the people who are in the roles you’d aspire to. Think one level ahead. This isn’t to say that you have to dress exactly like those people, but it should give you an idea of how much “personality” you can inject into your wardrobe.
SO you’ve considered your workplace and decided that you can try adding some pinup style. Excellent! Let’s b-b-break it down.
Accessories are a great way to dip your toes in the water with retro style and see how comfortable your work (and you!) are with it. Pearls are always timeless, as are colorful beads. Jewelry is often a place you can get a little bit extra creative as well – you may not be able to wear cherry print clothes to work, but cherry earrings might be a cute touch. Try wearing brooches, though I’d stay away from anything oversized or novelty to start out with.
You’ll never go wrong with classic patterns. Polka dots, stripes, plaids – they’ve all been around for a very long time for good reason. Florals can also lend a very feminine vintage vibe. Your ability to wear novelty prints will vary by office, but personally, I feel like fruit patterns are generally pretty widely acceptable while still being fun.
Cleavage is the enemy of professionalism pretty much across the board (more’s the pity!). Avoid anything low-cut or super tight at work. Pussy bow blouses and Peter Pan collars have a lot of retro flair and have the bonus benefit of being pretty trendy in “mainstream” style right now! Cute cardigans and sweaters are a great way to add a little bit of a retro flair to a look as well as work-ifying dresses and tops that might otherwise be a bit too fancy.
Good news! Demure swing skirts and sharp pencil skirts are both great for the workplace, so whichever style you prefer, you’re set! Note: you want to look for a traditional pencil skirt that’s mostly straight up and down; the curvier wiggle skirts might be a bit too clingy. I will recommend Pinup Girl Clothing’s Doris skirt as my ideal work skirt (read my review here); it has a very retro silhouette, but in a subtle way. Wide-legged trousers are also a very chic vintage style for the office; you might not be able to go as over the top as some of the reproduction brands, but you can definitely get the same vibe.
Even if you wear a uniform every day, you can still know that you’re a pinup under it all…literally. A pretty bra and panties or even a garter belt if you can get away away with it can do wonders for lifting your spirits when you aren’t able to show off your style the way you’d want to.
I hope that answered some questions about retro office attire! If you have specific questions, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram or Facebook! I’d be happy to do a follow-up if more info would be useful.