Worker V: 1.6 (The Formula)

If you look at my Worker V posts, there is no denying:

  1. My office basics—trousers and skirts, especially—are black.
  2. I have an outfit formula. My outfit formula = my uniform.

I’ve always been up front about the fact that black is my default color, for everything. Clothes, shoes, bags, belts, technology, car interiors—pretty much everything except home decor, curiously. So it is no surprise that it’s the foundation of my wardrobe.

Shirt: Banana Republic  •  Cami: Ann Taylor  •  Belt: Ann Taylor  •  Skirt: BCBG
Vest (in hand): Witchery  •  Boots: Miss Sixty  •  Tights: Target  •  Watch: Michael Kors  •  Bracelets: Tory Burch

But there are other wardrobe staples (and the way I put them together) that define my look and my work uniform. I may mix things up on occasion, but mostly, this is what I revert to when it comes to office wear.

My Uniform, Take 2

This is another work ensemble, worn a week later. Nothing fancy, I admit it, but it follows my typical M.O.:

  • Black base: Classic pencil skirt…I have them in several lengths and styles.
  • Wide belt: Cinching even a simple button-down shirt defines the waist and is kind of unexpected. I wish more ladies cinched.
  • Statement accessories: In this case, bold leather cuff(s). The belt actually counts here too.
  • Texture: The studded belt adds visual texture.
  • Heels: Always. Here, I opted for neutral-toned, lace-up gladiators. I’m kinda totally smitten with these shoes.

Shirt: Banana Republic  •  Belt: unknown  •  Skirt: Ann Taylor  •  Heels: BCBG  •  Watch: Michael Kors  •  Bracelets: Tory Burch

What are the elements of your style? Do you have a uniform? What’s your office wear formula?


  1. Grey is definitely my default color. In the office/classroom, the default is a skirt and a sweater, with variations. I DO cinch the belts. Really admiring the shoes and the cuff in the second outfit.

  2. My uniform is black as well. I try to bring color in with tops and jewelry is not colorful but it’s usually very sparkly – medium bling. 🙂 V – You look great as always!

  3. You look fabulous in both outfits, V! I like the idea of a waist-cinching belt. Might try that myself! And I’m so impressed that you wear such high heels on a daily basis; I’m such a wimp when it comes to shoes and almost always revert to flats, unless I’m only going out for a short amount of time.

    1. Thanks, Leia! It’s true…I don’t really feel “dressed” if I’m not in heels. You should totally go for a waist-cincher…many of the silhouettes in your wardrobe would look great with a belt!

  4. I dont really have a particular uniform, that said I do wear an awful lot of black (its just so much easier) I love blouses worn with pencil skirts or high waisted trousers (or shorts and tights)
    um. those bcbg shoes are to die for!

  5. My dear Vahni, You are fantastic in black. You always make sure to mix and match textures within the colour.
    I love you in that Banana Republic shirt ,though. It gives a lot of light to your face, and soften your whole look.
    Much love to you my dear friend.

  6. this uniform works for you, you look great!

    In my private life my uniform is separates in bright, blocky colours layered over each other with more bright accessories. I don’t seem to wear that many patterns. For work, I tone it down a little and wear a lot of jewel tones (red and purple is a particular favourite) and full, fifties style skirts or pencil skirts. And brooches. Joan Holloway is my office wear heroine!

    1. Franca, you EXCEL in color-blocking, you really do. I so want to do it myself. I just can’t seem to find the right peices or colors to do so. Or maybe I lack the skills!

      Love Joan too. Who doesn’t? I really loved the ladylike dressing of that era. Ladylike but not frilly, clean lines. Wish more women would “dress” these days, you know?

  7. Love your “uniforms” they are versatile, fabulous, yet very professional and work appropriate. I love the Burch bracelets, and your red pedi toes!


  8. I told my boyfriend that I had to change but that it would be quick because I already knew what I was going to wear. He said, “Wait, let me guess: Leggings, boots, big flowy top and a belt?” He was 100% correct, and it was then and there that I realized this is my uniform. Guess it’s time to change it up a little.

  9. I think I have a uniform for life, since I don’t really have to worry about office attire. Generally it’s:
    One black piece
    One piece of statement jewelry
    If I’m wearing a dress/skirt, then I have a waist-cinching belt
    High heels

    It just sort of works in my life because the blazer/cardigan can disguise a whole lot of inappropriateness during work/class and I can take it off when I go out. My feet reject flats, so heels are my only choice. I fee naked without jewelry, and my closet is full of black. It’s actually pretty similar o your uniform!

  10. Black and gray are totally my default colors. To me they always look good on. But I am trying to be a little more creative and step out of that black mode. Yet, even with my attempts I still reach for the tried and true black on black ensemble, or at least black base with a bold accent. I suppose that is my uniform. – Katy
    PS Love the first outfit! You look lovely.

  11. my friend would love your style especially with the staple color of black..she is a lover of black too…and I think it suits you well…I love the tips and your gorgeous shoes…

    my style??? anything casual and not comfortable…mostly I experiment with colors but it always boils down to brown, black, blue and purple…I just realized that while looking at my wardrobe hahahah…

    great post V


  12. I think I’m similar in that my default is black/white I tend to prefer black jeans and black blazers then usually combine them with a white slim fitted shirt and black tie. That’s my go to number although grey is mixed in every now and then. I think when you’re wearing black it’s important to break it up with textures like your furry vest and the studded belt, it just gives the whole outfit a bit more variety rather than being simple black head to toe. My only beef with black is that black clothes tend to loose their colour quicker than others. You have to be careful when looking after them and if the garment is still in good condition but faded reach for the dye!

  13. Love the looks, V! I actually like the questions you asked, and I think I will borrow them for a future post about what my uniform is…with credit to you of course!

    But my uniform is statement shoes and layering. I do wear a lot of black, but I think wearing either bold or unusually shaped shoes and layering is a part of my “signature look”.


  14. These (utterly well declined) dark tones (conspicuously) are made to extol your (exuding) “GLAMazon-ittude” ( Haughtiness + Charisma), AND about the second outfit I (naturally) can’t help BUT say that these next to your toes bloody twists of RED (“fetishistically”) are far to be accessory Dear Vahni . . .
    à Bientôt, Antoine

  15. I have way too many black pants and skirts but I pair them with colourful prints or plain shirts so that’s my signature look. And I have to say I love wide belts. Though I wear a lot of skinny belts, I love a wide cincher to define my waist

  16. Although this is very business-like, it is still very very very chic and edgy!!! I love your sense of style.

    I don’t have a uniform; however, my signature style is definitely comfy-chic. My go-to outfits lean more towards the oversized tops, leggings and wedges with chunky accessories. 🙂 I like dressing up my outfits with accessories.


  17. I love wide belts, high-waisted skirts, and personally for me a low heel. It’s just something very classy, feminine, yet timeless and powerful about certain cuts and silhouettes. I always like how even if your outfit may be an all-black palette, you tend to always have details/character in every separate piece you layer.

    Can’t wait to see how you “style” you iPad2 (the casing) !


  18. I’m like you — I go for black, black, and more black. It’s comforting to know that you can just through on your most comfortable and clean black pieces when you’re in a rush and they will all match perfectly.

  19. You look great in both these outfits. I am loving the nail polish, of course. Was it a dark purple on your fingernails? Whatever it was I loved it, dark and glossy!

  20. Your black seems anything but boring. It’s the accessories and the way you play with texture I think.
    My go-to is black and white print or a jumble of color. lately I’ve been trying to break out of the formula and I feel uncomfortable, like I’m wearing someone else’s outfit. I can’t imagine you in anything but rich tones. And solids. I think I’d freak if I peeped over here and you were glamming camel and pink.

  21. I love these outfits, especially the black on black! I have a few go-to formulas: skirt + boots, button-up + pencil skirt, trousers + top. I guess I like to mix it up. 🙂

  22. Navy, black and grey – definitely these three colours that make up the most of my wardrobe. Like you, I do accessorise with colour (particularly) on my nails but otherwise – gimme neutrals every day!!!

    Love your looks V, xx

  23. Girl, you said it best when you posted on my blog… we must be sisters from another mother!! haha!! I love pencils too! wearing one today in fact! I wear a lot of black but I also add sass like I did today with a red belt. I like a pop of color in my looks. I LOVE those heels by the way! I need some HEELED gladiators badly!! 🙂

  24. You are a magician. I love how you can make head to toe black look anything but boring with the proper use of texture and accessories. I’m kind of obsessed with you belt in the second look. And how tiny does your waist look?! I go through phases with belts. Sometimes I cinch anything and everything and other times I prefer loose, slouchy looks. Perhaps it depends on what I’ve had for dinner! As for colour, I’m all about grey! My closet is overcast and I love it! Happy day to you V!! xoxo

    P.S. After seeing this post, I’m quite likely spending my afternoon with a bottle of red nail polish!

  25. You are wearing one of my many favourite accessories: Belts! You look lovely “V,” as always! And shall I get started on that bracelet = beautiful! -xxoo

  26. I def associated you with black, V. You do wear it so often! But I think that your playing with textures helps to really keep your outfits interesting. I’m also obsessed with the shoes that you’re ROCKING! I think readers are often surprised to find that a bunch of my outfits are ones that I wear to work…the beauty of working in fashion/retail is a pretty flexible dress code. And I’m the kind of girl that given an inch, will take two!

    xo, Ashley

  27. I love your fab uniform! You understand your shape so well, and work it to perfection darling! Very professional, very confident and just the right touch of vavavoom 🙂 Those heels are amazing, but are you telling me you can wear them out, NOW? I am emigrating, I was just considering breaking out my jean jacket, feeling like a wild child 🙂

    My uniform is a dress, bolero, statment ring or bangle, wegdes and lipgloss. I dress up every day, it feels good. Eternally overdressed did we say? Oh yes 🙂 Hugs for you Vahni. Now, on to your next post!

    xx Anika

  28. look fabulous in anything you wear!! I love the strappy sandals..perfect for this time of year. Now only if I could wear mine..its still too chilly here in MICH…maybe a high of 60 today….whoa, heatwave!! lol

  29. Dresses, dresses and more dresses! Colorful, mostly above the knee with flat shoes. I walk around the office a lot! And fast! Even though I work in a corporate environment, being a creative allows me a lot of room to have fun, thankfully. It’s the most comfortable fun uniform ever.

    The House in the Clouds

  30. is that the same belt in both the first and second outfit?? i’m really in love with that close up of the belt. it’s gorgeous.

    so.. when i had an office job it was approx. 4 years ago and honestly, there are so many things i would go back and do differently in the office style department. i felt like i was either going too risqué or too boring. i hadn’t at all found a balance and i didn’t have a formula with which to put my outfits together. then once i started working in production it was all jeans sneakers and tshirts you didn’t mind getting dirty in case you were dealing with equipment. that’s not a great answer, but it’s honest! =P

    Kristy Eléna – Full Time Fabulous
    Vogue Gone Rogue
    Twitter: @kristyelena

    Follow Full Time Fabulous on Bloglovin’

    1. Hi Kristy…no, the belts are different. One is woven, plain black leather, and the other is black leather with tiny gold studs on it.

      Even I would change some of what I wore in the past…I needed a little more spice, I think. But that’s what I love about fashion—it evolves! Hopefully, as we do! But certainly, if you have an active job, one cannot doll up quite the same, you know?!

  31. Oooh my favorite items are : the black studded belt. I use to have a punk meets prep style so I’m all about studs and metal hardware. The leather cuff is also super awesome. I am and have been currently in the market for a michael kors watch. There are some really cool ones out like the white ceramic style and the clear lucite style. Yes I feel you on black, as much as I love colors…when I don’t want to think I know Im always safe with black. Love it!

  32. I’m with you on black! Its my uniform and wardrobe staple too. Your work outfits are always fabulous and I love the tough accessories like the leather cuff and studded belt you throw in there to add some spice to the mix.

  33. Thanks to all of your for sharing your default colors and “uniform” formulas. I am so grateful for each of you, and for your sweet comments!

  34. Hey V- thanks again for posting some great outfits. I wish I could wear pencil skirts but big thighs and cankles prevent me from doing so, so my uniform is boots or pants for me!!
    My uniform recently has include mix and match bangles, leather & studded wrap bracelets and nugget bracelets of multiple sheens/metals. I haven’t gone shopping much recently but I am on the verge of getting a new job, and then I get to refresh my wardrobe if I get the one that is a raise and is in FL!

    1. Hey “Victoria”…thanks! Accessories go a long way, that’s for sure. I’ve been feelin’ the leather studded wrapped bracelets myself.

      Good luck on your new job and potential move!

  35. I’m not a big fan of black, however, I have one classic pinstripe suit ensemble and one work-appropriate LBD for the BIG MEETINGS. For regular work days I stick to a base of dark brown or blue-grey.

    Does anyone do Navy anymore?

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