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The Millennial Magazine Editor’s Official Office Dress Code

“Do dress codes still exist in publishing?” That’s the question I recently mulled over with my editor as we pondered how often anyone dresses “business professional” in editorial circa 2017. Should you be clad in designer labels? Can you skip heels for flats? Are suits passé or on point? From LA to NY, we chatted with editors from some of our fave glossy mags to get the scoop on what it means to get dressed for work, along with their general dos and don’ts for work attire at any office.

Ali Pew | Senior Style Editor | InStyle

What she advises wearing in a creative role: “My dress code tends to be relaxed, but I always suggest erring on the professional side of casual. The most important rule in anyone’s daily ensemble is to be yourself—wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.”

Just got hired at InStyle and not sure what to wear? “Having a formula or ‘uniform’ makes putting together an outfit super easy. My go-to right now is a high-wasted trouser and a knit top with a sporty twist, mixing it up some days with a structured skirt.”

Why nothing suits ya like a suit (and don’t dismiss denim either): “Suiting is having a fashion moment right now—new shapes and styling tricks make it feel very modern. While it may not work for every person, you can play around with separates like skirts, vests, button downs, and knitwear, and it can look just as professional as a suit. Denim can also be dressed up to give it a polished look. I prefer dark denim with an updated cut, like a trouser-style, cropped skinny, or kick flares. Pair with a great blazer or crisp shirt.”

Stephanie Talmadge | Social Media Editor | Racked

Why she advises mixing casual with profesh looks: “At Racked, there’s lots of elevated shirting, loafers, an occasional pencil skirt or blazer, but they would be paired with something more casual—jeans, sweaters, T-shirts. Nothing’s really off limits, as long as you look like you’re coming to work and not like you’re going out with the other people on your hall for the first time freshman year.”

Wait, so you really can wear anything? “Even though I probably could, I would avoid wearing a cropped shirt or something revealing. People definitely put thought into what they’re wearing though, and I think we like test-driving outfits on each other.”

The best way to get dressed in a casual office: “A high-low mix is always a safe bet—a knit dress with a leather jacket and sneakers, jeans with a collared shirt, a suede skirt with a sweater.”

And how to dress for a professional office: “Pick a couple items that you feel comfortable in and build your work wardrobe around those. Like button-downs but hate blazers? Invest in some in some well-tailored pants to pair with a button-down and loafers or oxfords. If jeans aren’t an option, find some great work pants that you can dress down for the weekend. You can always have fun with colorful outerwear too.”

Sarah Gerrish | Fashion Market Director | Redbook

It’s okay to bend the rules: “In general, there aren’t strict rules when it comes to our office dress code. I tend to take more risks than some of my colleagues since I work in the fashion department. To me, dress codes are contingent on how creative your job is and what department you work in.”

Why she advises dressing up instead of down: “I feel more comfortable when I am dressed up, so I tend to stick to a ‘Casual Friday’ rule for myself and dress up as much as I can Monday through Thursday. The old saying of ‘dressing for the job you want’ is something that I truly stand by—people take you more seriously when you look like you have put in some effort.”

Her best dress code tip ever: “At my first job in publishing at O, The Oprah Magazine, my boss told me that shorts are never office appropriate. I have stuck by that even if shorts are trending; that goes for rompers too. If it’s something you would wear to a club with your girlfriends, it’s not office appropriate.”

What should you wear on day one at Redbook? “We are all mixing pieces to make them work for us in both professional and casual settings. And thanks to Hillary Clinton, pantsuits are back and I love that women are embracing the power suit in the workplace again.”

Sarah Dubbeldam | Founder and Editor-in-Chief | Darling

Leave your stilettos at home: “At Darling, we want everyone to feel comfortable. We’re on the casual side, but you never know who you might have a meeting with or have stop by the office, so we like to be pulled together, conscious of necklines and hemlines for a professional environment. No super high heels since it’s a production environment; we always want to be ready for anything!”

What she advises for a formal office: “It’s all about silhouette and fabrics. Fabrics can be mixed and matched but the key is choosing great quality silk, lightweight wools, or higher-end cotton. For silhouette, it’s best to go with slim pants and skirts with tailored blazers and collared blouses.”

And what’s best for a casual workplace: “Even in a casual environment, I still believe in looking professional. The key to that is having one piece in your ensemble of a higher quality in fabric. It’s also fun to throw in tennis shoes like Converse, eccentric sandals, or metallic shoes with nice denim.”

Erin Sumwalt | Fashion Director | StyleWatch

What are you wearing to work? “Almost anything goes from a sequin top, lamé skirt, or sneakers. It’s all about how you work the pieces into your look. The great thing about working at a fashion magazine is that personal style is celebrated and there really are no rules.”

Why she keeps a secret stash of flats: “I love heels but it’s key to have a pair of flats stashed under my desk for times when I am in the closet styling all day or running around the city on appointments.”

Her golden rule for getting dressed: “While there is a great deal of freedom when it comes to magazine dress codes, it important to remember that you are in a professional environment. Keep the short shorts and party dresses strictly in the closet!”

Heather Taylor is a former entertainment writer turned brand mascot aficionado (and head writer) for Advertising Week’s Icon Blog. She shares her thoughts on pop culture at HelloGiggles and has been published in Brit + Co, The Drum, and BettyConfidential. Chat with her about anything from SNL to the Pillsbury Doughboy on Twitter @howveryheather. GIFs highly encouraged.

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