Rescue last minute dressing problems with classics

post banner for last minute work outfit ideas post (instant style)

What to wear when you are in a hurry

Every professional woman has faced this or a similar situation. You are checking your emails while having breakfast and see that your boss’ secretary had sent you an invitation for an important business meeting with customers after the EOB (end of business). Of course, this meeting doesn’t permit you to go home to change. This means your usual morning routine doesn’t work and the outfit you planed for the day doesn’t work either. You had prepared a Casual Friday look of chinos and a Tee, but the meeting requires a Business Casual work outfit.

No reason to panic when you know the following instant outfit tricks. They will solve your problem whenever you have a last minute call for a wardrobe change or you are just not in the mood to create and outfit.

Go for instant chic with classics to solve your last minute dressing problem

Go for instant chic in a classic color combination when dressing in a hurry. #styleadvice Click To Tweet

In the above “emergency”,

  • Go for fool proof classic color combinations. Just go for an all neutral colors look. Great neutral color combinations are navy with beige, black and white, navy and gray, tan and winter white, or red and gray.
  • In winter, a skirt and cashmere sweater with a necklace and classic knee-high boots are always a great work outfit combination for a mature woman. Other great options are a wool skirt with a twinset and a statement necklace.
  • In summer, a white button-down shirt with a navy blue, mustard or gray summer wool straight or pencil skirt or a polka dot skirt are eternal classic options for a dinner with clients.
  • In summer, a sheath dress with a cardigan, pumps and a pendant necklace provides instant posh chic and looks professional. See an example of a chic summer meeting with the clients outfit at the link.
  • In winter, a wool sheath dress with a cashmere turtleneck sweater underneath, a pearl necklace and knee-high boots provides an instant posh chic work look that also suits you well when going out for dinner with clients.
  • Be aware that at the restaurant, your bag becomes part of your outfit. Thus, make sure its style goes seamlessly with your outfit also once you take your coat off.
  • In case that the weather requires outerwear, your outerwear is an outfit too in which your clients will see you. Thus, style your outerwear as well. A trench coat with a silk scarf is a no-brainer in spring and fall. In nasty cold winter climate a wool coat in a classic color with a scarf and matching hat or beret gives you an instant great look when wearing boots.

How I styled a red with gray last minute work outfit

Let me illustrate the above points by means of an example of a cashmere sweater with wool skirt outfit in two colors, namely, red and gray. It’s an all gray outfit for indoors with just a pop of red for interest. I chose the red cashmere turtleneck sweater to be the focus. You can also style this red turtleneck with pants on an extremely cold day.

style blogger presenting a winter office outfit idea to wear when dressing at the last minute
Anne Klein cable-knit sweater with Eddie Bauer tweed skirt, GNW gray tights, DIY statement belt, Vince Camuto suede boots, Celine bag, and Paloma Picasso sunglasses (all own)

How I styled my outerwear

When you have to go for lunch or dinner with your clients, customers or boss, your outerwear becomes a work outfit too. Thus, always style your outerwear and make sure it looks professional/meets the work dress code. Just in case. I wore my black and gray A-line faux fur coat with a black hat, a red floral scarf, red gloves, and a red bag. You see that the bag is large enough to carry some work material and matches with the red sweater when I take my coat off. It conveys the message “I’m willing to take work home.” In other words, “Dress to impress.” When you want to learn more about How to Dress for Success in Midlife you may want to buy my book.

over 50 years old woman in classic winter outerwear for the commute from the office to a business dinner
Faux fur coat (similar here) with cashmere silk floral print scarf, red leather gloves, black beret, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Celine bag, GNW gray tights, and Vince Camuto boots (all own)

Further instant outfit ideas

style book author in summer work outfit of an abstract print dress with color matched purse, shoes and beltBanana Republic shirtdress, Kieselstein Cord lizard belt, Gucci dionysus buckle, Nine West pumps, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Gucci bamboo top handle bag (all own)
style blogger in fake suit with pop of teal pumps and top Tahari blazer, snake tail buckle belt, Hermes collier de chien, unbranded tote, Salvatore Ferragamo heels (all own), trousers c/o White House Black Market, top c/o Chico’s
mature woman in LBD with glen check blazer and statement belt, zebra pumps Tahari glen check blazer, Nine zebra print pumps, unbranded briefcase, DIY necklace, statement belt, pantyhose (all own), and LBD c/o Covered Perfectly
mature woman in work attire of skirt, blazer top with pumps G-III skirt, GNW cashmere sweater, Vittoria blazer, Aldo, leopard print pumps, Seiko watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Esprit bag (all own), necklace c/o Almo Jewellery
work outfit with pearls, chambray button down, jeans, red blazer, leopard print heels Vittoria red wool blazer, Oliveo chambray button-down shirt, London Jean boyfriend jeans, Aldo leopard print heels, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Festina watch, Kieselstein Cord belt and H buckle (all own)
stylist over 50 in business attire of button-down, pants, jacket, loafers Oliveo linen blazer, button-down shirt and Italian denim bootcut pants, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Prada bag, pendant necklace (all own), wooden sport watch, c/o Jord, and pearl studs c/o Wendy Mignot
#midlifestyle woman looking elegant in LBD, trench, pumps, pearls and purse Burberry trench coat, Ellen Tracy sheath, Kieselstein Cord belt with 3 horses buckle, Anne Klein pointy toe pumps (all own), multi-color pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Clasp and designer purse c/o Bellorita
summer office outfit for a meeting Clavin Klein sheath dress, Moda International cardigan, Esprit ba (all own),and necklace c/o Almo Jewellery
midlife woman in black and white pencil skirt, boots and twinset Max Mara floral print boots, Carved bone and citrin statement necklace, Oliver Perry twinset (all own) and Fashom RD Style jersey pencil skirt
midlife lady in monochromatic outfit with scarf Calvin Klein sheath, GNW tight, Manolo Blanik booties, Moda International (dyed) cardigan (all own) Joyita scarf c/o Uno Alla Volta, amber necklace c/o Uno Alla Volta
#workstyle fashion blogger in sheath, cardigan, high heel boots, tights and lots of necklaces Calvin Klein sheath, Sofia cardigan, GNW tights, Vince Camuto boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, multiple strings of pearls (all own), studs c/o Wendy Mignot, Akoya saltwater pearls c/o The Pearl Source Inc
midlife woman in all neutrals pants and blazer outfit with colorful bag London Jean boyfriends, True or Dare Madonna floral print patent leather pumps, Coach striped fabric bag and Vittoria linnen blazer (all own)
stylist in all neutral color office look Unbranded black skirt, L.K. Bennett wedges, Vittoris blazer, unbranded bag, pantyhose, Anne Klein scarf, Hermes collier de chien bangle, MD&G sunglasses, GNW top, 3 strings pearl necklace, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle (all own)
professional outfit with a-line skirt, blazer, cashmere sweater Ann Taylor blazer, GNW sweater, Burberry skirt, opera length pearl necklace, Ivanka Trump pumps, pantyhose and unbranded bag (all own)
#fashionover50 woman in classic American Casual Friday look with blazer, button-down shirt, pumps and jeans Tahari blazer, Oliveo white button-down shirt, statement belt, London Jean boyfriend jeans, Esprit neckerchief, Hermes collier de chien, structured work tote, and Ivanka Trump cap-toe pumps (all own)
stylist in fake twinset and tweed skirt GNW cardigan, GNW top, Halogen tweed skirt, pearl necklaces, Sanchez riding boots (all own), wooden sport watch c/o Jord, and Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source
Nicole in summer professional attire with short sleeve twinset Moda International cashmere sweater, August Silk shortsleeve cardigan, Anne Klein slingbacks, Hermes collier de chien leather cuff and bangle, artisan necklace, Jaeger tote (all own) plus skirt c/o eShaktistyle blogger in street wear in red with a pop of blue Outerwear: Armani cape, Prada satchel, Gloria VanDerBilt pointy toe pumps, pantyhose, silk rose pin, puma buckle belt, G-III above the knee skirt, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own) and gingham button-down c/o Whistle River

Stylist’s tip: Have a blazer that goes with everything or an instant meeting outfit at work so you have the right outfit in a last minute business meeting situation. #instantstyle Click To Tweet

Stylist’s tip: A great option to stand out of the crowd of black, gray and brown winter outerwear is to go for pops of color with your accessories like the scarf, gloves or head cover or even the bag.

I always look in the winter sales for gloves in colors beyond brown and black. I was lucky to find the red leather gloves (see outfit photo), but unfortunately I did not find pink, light gray, orange, or sunflower yellow leather gloves. I am still looking.

Have you had a last minute meeting notice and had to dress for it at the last minute? What are your instant outfits when you have a last minute dressing emergency? Do you have a rescue plan, i.e. something at the office that you can wear when the secretary called too late?

Like these instant work outfit ideas? If so, please feel free to pin them to your Pinterest board.

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

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