This was my take on the classic 'sexy secretary' look, but with a modern twist. I started with the basic shape of a pencil skirt and blouse, selecting my leopard print top for the full retro effect. But then I changed up several elements: instead of nylons and pumps, I swapped in colorful tights and boots; instead of a cardigan I wore the fitted tank top as a vest; instead of a solid skirt I opted to throw in a pattern mix with the plaid.
I think in the final analysis though, it's really the mix of neutrals that is the most modern element of this outfit. Classic style rules say that you can't mix brown and black, but clearly that's an idea that has been overthrown in more recent years. To me the pairing looks very chic, and moreover it's a lot more flattering to many skin tones than wearing head-to-toe black. It also allows you a wider range of possibilities for using your leather goods, such as belts and shoes.
Speaking of outdated style rules, I'll share a little secret about this outfit: the smoothness and fit of the skirt is largely owing to a foundation garment. The stretchy fabric of the skirt, combined with the snug fit and geometric pattern, tends to make my thighs look a little bulgy. Adding some tummy and thigh control made the skirt hang straighter and gave me a lot more confidence in pairing it with a shorter top. This allowed the skirt to do what it does best, which is to show my butt to its best advantage. With a form-fitting garment like this one, a good foundation garment can help minimize distractions so that your best features get the focus they deserve.
How do you feel about foundation/control garments -- lifesaving innovations, or outdated and oppressive? Personally I wouldn't want to wear them all the time, but for specific garments they can really polish up the look.
Leopard top: Forever 21
Tank top: thrifted
Bangles: Amrita Singh, via Gilt
Tights: Foot Traffic, via Sock Dreams
Boots: purchased at Scoop in Copenhagen