Business Attire- What Ivy League Girls are wearing to work

by Jamak Khazra on February 11, 2010

Recently Bluesuits hosted a shopping event for Columbia Women in Business conference committee where our guests could shop directly from the company with special student discounts.

Columbia Women in Business President in Bluesuits shift Dress

Columbia Women in Business President in Bluesuits shift Dress

Bluesuits collection focuses on proper business attire for young professionals as well as seasoned executives. With the recruiting season in full swing and the CWIB conference scheduled for later this month, this was a perfect opportunity for the students to find proper business attire and dress to impress.
It seems that Michelle Obama’s Dress style has become the dress code for women business leaders of the future.
While we recommend a charcoal, Navy or Black skirt suit as proper interview and work attire in our professional attire guide these Ivy league girls are going for pantsuits and shift dresses.
Mary Martin, the president of Columbia Women in Business was looking to build her work wardrobe. She will be working in the consulting industry and was also trying on a sheath dress.
Mary got her cue from a female partner at Boston Consulting Group who was wearing a beautiful dress in a meeting at the firm. A few other students purchased pantsuits and skipped the skirt altogether.

Bluesuits Three button Classic Jacket and Boot Leg Pants

Bluesuits Three button Classic Jacket and Boot Leg Pants

As the day went on every single woman who walked in asked to try a shift dress, some liked the sleeveless shift dress with a jacket, some liked the cap-sleeve dress and some went for the length sleeve dress.While these women will be among most successful business women of the future they were no strangers to the world of fashion and had very strong opinions about fit, fabrication and style.

Molly Kennedy from Columbia Business School Class of 2011 getting fitted for a shift dress

Molly Kennedy from Columbia Business School Class of 2011 getting fitted for a shift dress

The shift dress is looking great on everyone

The shift dress is looking great on everyone

Rest assured I did advise everyone to purchase a jacket, skirt, pants and dress to start a work wardrobe and build their wardrobe with co-ordinates.
So has the office dress code changed? What is your experience? Are suits out?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

jayci February 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

If these girls are taking style cues from Michelle Obama, I am worried. The First Lady wears many beautiful things, however her clothes are not appropriate in a conservative industry like law or banking. If these women want a style mentor that is polished, professional, and feminine you can’t go wrong with Former Secretary of State Condolezza Rice. Her clothes were rich and beautiful without distracting from who she was or what she was saying. In contrast, whenever Michelle Obama makes an appearance everyone talks about what outfit she is wearing rather than what policy she is advocating. When you are known more for what you wear versus what you say or what you think, you have failed the professional wardrobe test (see Michelle Obama Look Book on

I’m a lawyer in Houston and office attire tends towards slacks, button down shirts, sweaters, and dresses. For lawyers skirt suits are generally not required unless you are in Federal Court or in a court with a more traditional judge. I’ve attended interviews in a smart pantsuit and everything worked out fine, however it is always a good idea to have all three pieces (jacket, skirt, trouser) to have the most flexibility in your wardrobe. Even today many offices in the midwest, south, and overseas have very conservative dress codes so these future business leaders and consultants need to be prepared for it.

Julie Hardee February 28, 2010 at 11:52 pm

Michelle Obama is not hawking policy. She is the First Lady. Condolezza was the Sec. of State and dressed in a more plain manner. Hillary Clinton is secretary of state and she also dresses in a much more plain manner.

If there is room in a young woman’s profession to wear interesting things and perhaps show personal style – she can follow Michelle. If she works in a boring, stale industry – she better follow Condi & Hill.

kandi March 25, 2010 at 10:22 am

While a shift dress is always nice to have, suits are NEVER out when it comes to the corporate dress.

Barbie May 21, 2010 at 7:59 am

if you do not like the dress code of business professional/casual for the company/organization that hires you, either don’t work there or don’t constantly complain and push the bounderies of the dress code. you and everyone that works around you will be much happier if you found somewhere else to work that suited your idea of dress code. like an assembly plant or lawn care. but, be warned…the good ones that pay okay, WILL make you wear a uniform!

Dee November 29, 2010 at 9:36 am

I was looking for formal wear style trends when I came across your site. For the past 6 years I have worked in a company where the dress code is so casual that my boss wears shorts to work! I am now moving to a new job and I’ve started stocking up on more formal wear and I found the article and comments useful. At my new workplace, shift dresses are accetable which works great for me and my wallet (I have a couple of shift dresses that are more formal than casual). It is good to get the skirt, pants and jacket but also consider the culture at the workplace because if its more business casual you do not want to come across as too rigid!

marleny March 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I’m 19 years old and work for an insurance company. First job after high school that i actually dont have to wear a uniform. So I really dont have an idea what to wear. I am also a thick person so i dont know whats actually right for me to wear and doesnt make me look way older.

Robin Jimenez February 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

Please send me a catalog. Robin Jimenez

Jamak Khazra February 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Hi Rodin,
We don’t publish a print catalog but you can always check our website to see Bluesuits Collection

pauline rothstein June 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

A few years ago (maybe 5) I bought a suit and 2 pair of pants from you. Still all in good condition.

At that time you had a beautiful white flare dress, pique I think, or cotton. I don’t see it on the website…do you have something like it?

Also, I would like a pair of lined wool pants in navy for next winter. The ones I have are camel and a hounsstooth check. Is this too early to order them. I can come in to see you if you have either the dress or if it is time to order pants.

Many thanks,

Pauline Rothstein

Jamak Khazra June 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Hi Pauline,
Thank you for the post. You can order the pants online from this link
All of our pants are fully lined. Alternatively you could make an appointment to stop by and shop in our showroom. Here the link to make an appointment
And lastly here the flared dress

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