If you’ve ever “dressed up” for a job interview or big presentation—i.e. slipped on heels three inches higher than you’d normally wear, or opted for a starchy blouse and bottoms combo that’s never seen the light of day—chances are traditional workwear has made you feel a wee uncomfortable.
No matter what your everyday style preferences are, wearing something that feels out of your element can do more harm than good. For one, how can you project authenticity and confidence (and bring your A-game), if you don’t even feel like yourself?
That’s why the shift in millennial dress codes has been an exciting one to watch. As formal suiting continues to take the backseat to more casual sartorial choices, one category has come out triumphant in the work uniform about-face: Denim. Need proof that everyone’s classic wardrobe hero is on the verge of taking over? Look no further than the powerful ladies at Girlboss HQ.
Styled in their favorite items from Levi’s®, our creative team showed exactly why dressing for yourself is the key to work confidence. Ahead, discover their styling advice for bringing jeans into your 9-to-5 life (without looking sloppy), plus some fun tidbits about how they get it all done each day. Goodbye power suit, hello Canadian tuxedo.
Chloe Parks, art director
Aesthetic: “Vintage-inspired, feminine, and a bit experimental.”
Work style: “It’s really important to me to feel like I’m being my authentic self at work, which means being comfortable and relaxed. A nice pair of jeans says, ‘Hey I’m cool, but also professional’ and ‘Isn’t it crazy that I can talk?’
One thing you’d never wear to the office: “Flats. I’m 5′ 2” and always feel more powerful with a little extra height.”
Morning commute: “I have been blessed by a commuting angel (love you, girl) and I walk to work. Yes, in Los Angeles. You would think that would impact my footwear, but you’ll see me teetering in heels down Sunset Blvd most mornings, bright and early. I’ve also recently taken to reading a book on my walk to work which surprisingly doesn’t make me feel dizzy and unsurprisingly makes me look really, really smart.”
Jerico Mandybur, editorial director
Aesthetic: “Comfortable, mood-based, down for whatever.”
Time it takes to get ready: “About 20 minutes in sheer panic.”
Go-to denim buy: “501s are my dream jean. They never go out of style, and they look great with anything. Likewise, my denim jacket is the perfect, timeless piece of office outerwear (brrr, aircon).”
Advice on how to master wearing jeans in the workplace: “Just go for it. People don’t care what you wear to work nearly as much as you think they do. Denim is the perfect gateway drug into casual-ifying your work look, ’cause it’s always on trend and can still look pretty buttoned up, considering how relaxed you’ll feel.”
Alison Ives, branded content editor
Aesthetic: “Easy, streetwear-inspired, punctuated by bright pops of color.”
Work style: “My entire career has been in media, so fortunately I’ve never felt pressure to cull a wardrobe of tapered pants and blazers. Because of that freedom, I feel like I reinvent my work style every day.”
One thing you’d never wear to the office: “Football jerseys. I’ve never quite figured out how to dress those up.”
Go-to denim buy: “A worn-in denim jacket feels like armor. It completes every outfit and gives the impression that you put a lot of thought into your look because of its finishing power.”
Workday walk-through: “I wear a lot of different hats in my role at Girlboss. Some days are heavy on writing or editing freelancers’ work—other days I’m in the podcast booth working on a cool brand collaboration.”
Trick for feeling more confident at work: “Deep breaths, mental pep talks, and a fresh swipe of lipstick. Loving my outfit helps, too.”
The power anthem you blast before a big meeting: “It’s a toss up between ‘This Is America’ and ‘No Tears Left To Cry.’”
Best work mantra: “You got this.”
Neha Gandhi, editor-in-chief and COO
Aesthetic: “Clean lines, fluid shapes, solid colors. I’m a big fan of silhouettes that don’t touch the body.”
Wake-up call: “6:30 a.m.”
Coffee preference: “Two shots of espresso, a little water, one Splenda. Full disclosure: I use a Nespresso for my AM coffee at home—no fancy coffee maker with fresh beans, and truthfully, I can’t tell the difference.”
Work style: “Apart from a few cocktail dresses and gym clothes, I don’t buy anything that can’t be worn everywhere I go—from work to dinner to the farmer’s market to a party. I suppose what that means is that my party clothes aren’t all that “party” and my casual clothes are a little buttoned up. But everything should be comfortable.”
Why denim is the perfect workwear hero: “It’s so seamless in its ability to go anywhere. And because my look does tend to lean on blazers and more buttoned-up pieces, a good denim addition lets me add a touch of fun into the mix—and that’s an instant confidence boost.”
Workday walk-through: “I prefer breakfast meetings to after-work drinks, so at least three days a week, I have a work breakfast—either with someone I’m looking to explore a partnership with, a new writer, a PR person, or someone looking for mentorship—and then go into the office sometime between 9 and 10:30 a.m. I’ll usually take a call en route to the office, and then will try to tackle my hardest project of the day once I’m seated at my desk. At Girlboss, we limit internal meetings to 11 a.m to 3 p.m. PST, so that’s usually what I do for the next few hours (1:1s with my direct reports, check-ins on projects we have going on, strategic brainstorms, and so on). And then, from 3 p.m to 7 or 8 p.m., I try to get at least two more projects done, sometimes with a few external calls thrown in if I’m recruiting for an open role. And then, before I leave for the day, I’ll write down three things I need to get done the next day on a Post-It, so I can walk in focused the next day.”
Favorite work app that helps you stay productive: “Station. It lets me avoid having a million tabs open in my browser, and instead keep everything that has a web app available in one place, where I can easily toggle between things like Slack, Google Analytics, LinkedIn, Invision, Asana, and Dropbox.”