Mixing Gingham and Pastels: a Business Casual Outfit Idea For Girly Girls

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Let's not beat around the bush: I'm not a big fan of crisp button-down shirts. I do agree that they are wardrobe essentials (I own a few pieces because they're no-fail fashion must-haves when you want to look professional without trying too hard)—but they're just not 'on brand' with my personal style. I prefer donning more feminine outfits like dresses, skirts, and tops with dainty details like ribbons and floral embellishments.

When I was invited to be one of the panelists for Messiah College's ECHO Mnl—a discussion on Mental Health—I was delighted. Shedding light on mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will always be close to my heart. As my advocacy, anything related to Mental Health is something I will always say yes to!

Thus began my search for a cute business casual outfit. People usually get scared of the phrase "business casual attire" because it doesn't have a clear definition. It differs from office to office because each organization has its own set of cultures (so what may look office-appropriate for you may not necessarily mean the same for another person). But since I work for a fashion lifestyle site at a publishing company, we're not so strict about the slacks-and-polo-shirt rule. Personally, I define business casual as "clean and professional, yet relaxed and informal."

READ: Current Obsession—One Shoulder Tops!

I went to one of my favorite local fashion stores, ForMe, to find a girly business casual outfit. I first tried on their white button-down pieces—but while they did look cute, I just knew I wouldn't be able to wear them as much because they don't just scream 'me'. And so, I challenged myself to find an outfit that is still professional yet "girly".

Then, just in front of me, I saw a lavender pair of pants hanging from a rack. I instantly fell in love. I asked myself, "What would look good with this?" and "Gingham prints!" popped in my head. I looked around and saw a grey checkered long-sleeved top hanging below a red sign that said, "SALE!". It was my lucky day! The top was on 50% off, and I knew right away that the gods of fashion were giving me a sign. LOL.

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Just a disclaimer, I am not being paid to write about ForMe. I just really love the brand—it's proudly local, plus their collections are always so chic and feminine.

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One color combination I'm currently obsessed with is lavender and red. I first saw this unlikely but refreshing color combo inside Zara stores, and now, it's everywhere! I decided to try the look myself by pairing this pastel outfit with my red handbag from Guess.

This chic yet spacious handbag is part of Guess' spring 2018 collection. I chose it because it looks so simple yet it's very bold—it's definitely a classy statement piece for them boss ladies!

So to end this post, here are a few tips for kikay girls looking for office-appropriate wardrobe pieces!

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  • Experiment with prints and colors. Office-appropriate doesn't have to mean boring! Try looking for staple pieces in fun colors like muted pastels. Just make sure not to get attention-grabbing, tacky pieces in shades like higlighter orange! Kaloka yun! Haha.
  • Keep it classy. Don't show too much skin. Keep things professional—but don't worry. Looking conservative doesn't mean wearing your great grandma's clothes from head to toe (though that would be pretty cool, too—vintage pieces are the best! HAHA!). It's all a matter of finding balance. If your top shows off a little skin, then wear a maxi skirt or slacks. If you prefer donning a mini pencil skirt, then you can pair it with a chic turtle neck or even a blazer. Just have fun mixing and matching!
  • Classic heels make all the difference. They make you look taller, and feel more powerful!
  • Find a bold hand bag to complete your look. Enough said.

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