With a new season ahead, it's time to work on those style skills and update that professional wardrobe. As the new spring trends arrive online and in stores, start browsing now — before you make the first purchase. Here are some ways to put some spring into your office clothes, even if you work from home.
Start with a bold suit. Color is the thing this spring. Two-piece tailored suits are popping into view in bold, saturated hues. Yes, pastels are a seasonal favorite, but the stand-out colors — tangy orange, hot pink and lemon yellow — make a huge statement, especially when worn head-to-toe.
Take a shortcut. Wide-leg trousers are sweeping the office suite, but tailored short suits are another way to put some edginess into your professional wardrobe. Keep the shorts on the longer "Bermuda" hem length, and save the shorter shorts for after hours. Cropped pants and culottes are other stylish ways to go shorter.
Mix it all up. Spring is the perfect time to add some fashion flair to your work wardrobe. Mix prints, pairing patterns with checks and plaids. Inject some whimsy into your everyday basics that can often get a little boring. Color is the key to this new way of "clashing" your prints and patterns. Just stick to the same tones when layering your pieces.
Don't forget animal prints. Leopard prints have been a hit for a while, but this spring, zebra prints are roaming into office corridors everywhere. The black and white pattern is a great companion to solid separates you probably already have in your closet. Wear an animal print top with high-waisted black trousers for a jacketless change of pace.
Get vested. Get more mileage out of suit skirts and trousers by investing in a vest this season. A vest paired with a ruffled blouse or a turtleneck sweater is a great transitional piece and will expand the possibilities of your suit separates.
Dress up the dress. Dresses can be one-piece wonders for working women, but the newest warm-weather dresses can easily be transformed with layering. Layer a T-shirt under a silky slip dress, or toss on a cardigan sweater for a more polished look. The knit mididress is a game changer, too. Match ankle boots to these dresses for a change of pace.
Jump to it. Jumpsuits can be a whole new option for the working wardrobe. Don't overlook them. The black jumpsuit that you wore to the office holiday party can easily be dressed up with one of this spring's new boxy jackets. Just belt the jacket and then add some chunky jewelry and platform heels for a whole new vibe.
Dress up jeans. Dark-wash jeans are considered appropriate dress for many offices now. Leave the ripped ones for the weekend or when you're working from home. But check out a new pair of high-waisted flares for a trendy update. Top them off with a colorful floral kimono or a jacket for two different takes on casual jean day.
Don't forget the black suit. You probably have one (or two or three) hanging in your closet. Take apart the pieces to give them each a new life. Add a colorful jacket, a pair of checked trousers, a pleated midiskirt or a leather motorcycle jacket. Trench coats are always classics to top off any outfit.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. This is the best way to update any office outfit. A new pair of snappy Oxfords, a colorful satchel, a wide belt or a printed scarf are all quick ways to add a new twist to everyday clothes. Spring ahead, rework your wardrobe, and give yourself a style promotion.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.