About This Blog

I love fashion blogs as much as the next girl, but Monday through Friday, you’re probably not going to be rocking a backless silk chiffon romper with a fedora and studded platform stilettos (unless you work as a magician’s assistant or you’re Gwen Stefani… Gwen, you’re all good. You can stop reading now).

In reality, working women are expected to look relatively normal during the workweek (“normal” as defined by wearing things that don’t make our bosses want to light themselves on fire). And, since there don’t seem to be nearly enough opportunities in an office to wear a feather mini skirt, women all too often flounder when trying to come up with fabulous professional alternatives.

Take a quick look around your office. If we’re being honest, it probably doesn’t take long to arrive at the harsh realization that in fact, professional women have a serious image problem. We make up roughly 47% of the workforce and are dying for the chance to climb the corporate ladder, but often aren’t willing to look the part.

With no clear-cut female equivalent to men’s suit and tie (“the dude uniform”), women’s professional appearances all too often fall into one of two tragic, career-busting categories: sloppy or slutty.

Since women aren’t restricted to a suit-and-tie uniform, we should revel the opportunity to infuse some serious swank into our professional wardrobes. But instead, women use this creative license to start stretching the boundaries of what’s appropriate and professional (yeah, I’m looking at you, Little Miss Bra Straps).

It’s true, we (myself included!) all too often abandon those pressed black pants and start rationalizing their replacement by black jeans or even (GASP!) leggings. Instead of a sleek sheath dress or flattering blouse, we throw on our favorite over-sized cardigan that’s been our go-to since college. Think long and hard about how that baggy, pilled sweater looks next to a guy in a suit. Or, even if your office isn’t business formal, how do your leggings and mini skirts look next to a guy in a collared shirt and khakis?

Face it. Even the creepy mail guy looks more put together than you do most days.

On days when we don’t look like total slopfests, we still feel bored of the tailored, knee-length pencil skirts and start convincing ourselves that the little black dress we’d like to wear to cocktails that night is passable at the office. And over time, as that hemline gradually creeps up and that neckline gradually creeps down, our reputations as serious professionals gradually (and often irreversibly) disintegrate.

Fashion doesn’t have to be everyone’s “thing” but when it negatively affects your reputation and upward mobility at work, it’s time to step it up a bit. As a professional woman, you’re already going to have to swim upstream to be successful. Looking polished and professional will make a huge difference in your ability to be effective and taken seriously at the office. Because honestly, if you can’t seem to brush your hair and figure out what reasonably fits you, why should you be trusted to comb through the nuances of much more difficult business decisions?

But don’t despair, I’ve got great news for you: You don’t have to dress like a man or your Aunt Ethel to get ahead.

In this blog, I hope to illustrate that you can have a lot of fun with fashion within the confines of professional appropriateness. If you take a look through the blog, you’ll see that those “confines” lie far beyond the grey pencil skirts and bland black suits you might typically associate with professional wear.

However, there’s no hard and fast set of rules that apply across all professions. It’s critical to be really thoughtful in evaluating your own office environment to determine what is appropriate for you. I try to stay cognizant of the fact that it is impossible to offer a “one style fits all” guide when my readers range from school teachers in Florida to tech entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv to lawyers in New York to fashion merchandisers in Paris. As I’ve gotten to know more of you, I’ve done my best to offer widely varying ensembles that would “work” in a number of different workplaces—from conservative, to casual, to creative. My goal is to reach more than just those women who find themselves in an office environment identical to my own by offering a depth and breadth of office style options and inspiration that span a multitude of professional settings. So regardless of your particular work environment, I hope you can take away some tidbit of inspiration that helps you face off with your own sartorial challenges.

Thanks for following along!



P.S. A special thanks to my mother—a professional woman who set a flawless and impeccably polished example for me to grow up watching. This is my chance to pay it forward…

40 Responses to About This Blog

  1. Al Blair says:

    Thanks for reminding us professionals that we need to represent!

  2. Angelica says:

    Hi there, I came across your blog in Pinterest while searching for work appropriate outfits inspiration. My office is mot business formal, but I have always thought that it is very important for working women to look put together and polished. Thank you for sharing the outfits! Great inspiration!

  3. Kim and Anna McDonnell says:

    We really enjoyed looking at your 2014 year in review. Such beautiful outfits for all seasons and venues! Although I’ve been out of the workforce for some time, it’s helpful to see what “classy” sophisticated women are wearing this days, and my “tween” daughter is getting educated on fun, appropriate clothing – rather than the “grunge” she unfortunately gets exposed to on a daily basis! We LOVE this blog!

  4. Gabriela Arleen says:

    Hi there! I just found your blog. I have to say you are a breath of fresh air!! I love your style, it’s beautiful, classy, stylish, oh and REAL!!.. Thank you so much for the lovely inspiration. Looking forward to all your lovely styling tips and outfits!!

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  6. Lauren says:

    Hi Mary

    I love love love your blog. Are you able to do an edit on wardrobe basics – the items which are your go to. I am looking at updating my wardrobe and would love to know where to start! Keep up the inspirational work!

    • Mary Orton says:

      Thank you! That’s a great idea — I’ll definitely give it some thought and hopefully come up with something good!

    • Loren says:

      What’s your dress ‘code’ like at work according to Mary’s categories…corporate, creative or casual? It would be my pleasure to help you with a list of basics that you could rotate/mix/match. I have a ‘corporate’ list I already made for spring/summer. Creating wardrobe edits and clothing in general is my hobby.

  7. jennifer says:

    I love this blog. My favorite fashion blog ever because you GET it. I work in a conservative environment and I love clothes and fashion and I find that it can be hard to mix the two.

  8. Benchwarmer says:

    I actually don’t work in the workforce but couldn’t agree with you more about looking more polished in general. I get dressed to go to the supermarket and pick up my kids just because I enjoy clothes. Cashiers have asked me, where I’m going and I’m like, here. I joke to my friends, I wish I had a job because then my clothes would have a chance to get out and be seen lol. I have never followed a blog before or been one to look at instagram pictures. I don’t often relate to the style that people pull together but I absolutely LOVE your style. I looked through a bunch of archives and I recognize clothing from Brooks Brothers and J Crew and even spotted a few things I already have lol. What really excited me was when I saw you paired the Amber Olive multi regent blazer from J Crew with the same olive no. 2 wool pencil skirt (it matches the maroon no. 2 pencil also). To give it a casual edge I pair it with a chambray shirt, either a light blue wash from Eddie Bauer or J Crew’s keeper chambray in dark rinse. I got the matching amber olive multi skirt too with the zipper but didn’t put them together bec. it’s more formal. I love that zipper style skirt and got it in charcoal too. I’m looking forward to following your blog and thank you again for getting me to pull the trigger on a new brand…Boden. I seriously never would have bought it had I not discovered your blog. I got the catalogue in the mail, loved the clothes but thought I’m not buying clothes from England lol and I have no patience to figure out my size lol. That fit projector advice was fantastic. You are a fashion fairy godmother!

    • Benchwarmer says:

      Oops! I made a mistake on the brand of the light wash chambray shirt I pair with the J Crew Regent blazer in amber olive multi, it’s from LL Bean Signature, Medium Indigo. I prefer the look of the J Crew keeper chambray in dark rinse with that blazer, but it’s an alternative look to go with the light color too.

  9. Catherine says:

    My favorite place for fresh inspiration – love the chic look. and all very doable combos!

  10. Lauren says:

    You are my go-to for style inspiration! I just bought several pieces from Boden, and was so excited to see you wearing their pieces as well. I love your unique + classy taste. Thank you!

  11. Michelle O says:

    Can we see a shot of your mother in her style options:
    – to see how her impeccable style choices have now transferred to her descendants
    – in celebration of Mother’s Day
    Thank you.
    M. Olsheski

  12. Kathleen says:

    Hi Mary!

    I am obsessed with your blog. Thank you for creating a place for workplace fashion inspiration that is classy, conservative, and cute!

    Currently, I am struggling with finding ideas on how to professionally decorate my office. And if your wardrobe is any indication, I bet your office or cubicle is decorated perfectly. You should create some posts or let us peek into your office!


  13. Annie says:

    I recently graduated from college and am reluctant to admit that since I have joined the working world, my “favorite over-sized cardigan” is still a go-to option.Thanks for the inspiration and insight into a more professional wardrobe. I haven’t cut the cardigan habit cold turkey but we’re making progress. I’ve enjoyed your sense of style & humor– looking forward to future posts!

  14. Suwayda says:

    I never comment on blogs but I have to say that I really appreciate yours. I recently graduated from university and office dressing no longer feels daunting! Your blog really captures the art of dressing. Thank you.

    P.s I love that you incorporate colour in a lot of your outfits.

  15. Helen says:

    Thank you for your lovely blog, Mary. Your timeless style is much appreciated in a world of one-size-fits-all women’s ready mades. I look forward to the hunt!

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  17. Agata says:

    Thank you so much for creating a content for a professional working woman!!! Amazing website!

  18. Salim Dawood says:

    Very nice articles please can I enquire what the name of the grey colour on the walls for yiur backdrop in your Christmas decoration article

  19. Megan says:

    Hi Mary,
    First off, I love your blog and the inspiration you bring to working women everywhere.

    Secondly, I have some questions that I feel many of your other readers would love to see you address in new posts. Namely:
    – What’s your approach to budgeting (or not) for your clothing purchases?
    – What’s your approach to/recommendation for shopping to create a work-appropriate wardrobe? I.e. do you shop all the time? Only seasonally? Buy things in outfits? Make lists to fill holes in your wardrobe?
    – A little detail around tailoring, which I assume that you do. How much should one spend to tailor an item relative to it’s price? What’s worth tailoring and what isn’t? How to find a good tailor? etc.

    Thank you so much for all of the inspiration!

  20. ireeny says:

    we need more classic styled beauties like her in the blogworld!! please don’t stray from your style I am an avid fan!

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  22. Nice post. I was cecking consrantly this blog and I am
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  24. Cindi Brankin says:

    I love your blog! Your style is totally simple, yet chic and elegant. As a mom of teenagers, I am especially careful with my wardrobe choices. I never want to look “old” nor do I want to look like I raided my daughter’s closet. I know you are far from your mid-forties, but your blog carries over to woman in my age group that want to look current and chic. Thanks.


    Love all that you do. Keep it up!

  26. Maheswari says:

    I love this blog! Great Idea. Keep it up.

  27. Angela J. says:

    I love this blog. I am horrible when it comes to styling for work. I love your style, and would LOVE to see more options that are “cost friendly”. Since I am building a whole new wardrobe for work, budget friendly items are a MUST. I look forward to seeing more of your post.

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  29. Hi!

    First off, I LOVE your website!

    I’m a wedding planner working with a bride who loves the tags you used with your key escort cards at your wedding. Could you pass along how you made those tags?

    This is the photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQCCpHzcwvhHxFuJN2TVPV8iTC88ryuOwYjQ6VMZx2Fui_94A900V7I/

    Thanks so much!


  30. Sarah says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and what caught my eye was your amazing sense of fashion! I later saw that you are a Milwaukee Wisconsin native…this is also my hometown and where I currently live : ) I am so drawn to fashion and blogs such as yours, how did you become such a professional in this field? I often feel I have chosen the wrong profession, currently a nurse, but dreaming of trying something I actually have a passion for. I love Milwaukee but its not necessarily the most happening and stylish city out there, but you’ve seem to make it happen. Any suggestions or advise would be much appreciated. Thanks!

  31. I have only recently discovered your blog. So wonderful to see your styling options for the corporate world. Thank you for sharing.
    You are also a great role model for younger women just starting their careers, both in terms of the fashion advice you provide but also your entrepeneurial spirit.

  32. Resham Sethi says:

    Hi Mary! I just found your blog and I absolutely love your style! Very elegant and sophisticated yet fun and practical !! Your styles resonate with what I’ve always believed in: Work wear shouldn’t be boring and we are not Gwen Stefani! LOL!!
    Im addicted to your blog and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all your styling tips!

  33. Resham Sethi says:

    Hi Mary! I absolutely love your style! Very elegant and sophisticated yet fun and practical !! Your styles resonate with what I’ve always believed in: Work wear shouldn’t be boring and we are not Gwen Stefani! LOL!!
    Im addicted to your blog and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your styling tips!

  34. Tobi Roberts says:

    This is so needed. I can’t wait to see if you can help with my wardrobe!

  35. Tobi Roberts says:

    This is so needed. I can’t wait to see how you can help my wardrobe!

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