Given the changes sweeping the workplace these days, what’s a woman to wear? That depends. While some fields lend themselves to T-shirts and jeans, others demand a more conservative look. As Gramercy-based lawyer Shermin Lakha puts it: “There’s a certain image that comes to people’s minds when they think of a lawyer.”
The Post tapped five New Yorkers — including a schoolteacher and a Wall Street CEO — and helped them up their style game, with an eye toward the latest looks for fall. Here’s how.
The trend-loving teacher
Naomi Cohen may be 47, but she’s a kid at heart.
“I’m all about sneakers,” says the Upper West Sider, who typically switches between a velvet pair and a sparkly pair while teaching music at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School.
She says she wears pants “90 percent of the time” because she’s often on the floor with the kids, moving around. And while her work wardrobe’s basically just tops and pants, she needs help accessorizing them: “I’m trying to work out how to pull outfits together better, rather than just with a scarf.”
The Post kept her look relaxed by giving her another pair of cool kicks, and swapping her usual scarf with a bright red bag.
Her takeaway: “I wouldn’t have thought to layer a sweater over a turtleneck,” she says. “And of course I loved the sneakers. I might have to go out and buy a pair!”
Styling tip: Layer a sleeveless sweater under a long-sleeve sweater to avoid bunching in the arms.
The creative child psychologist
Victoria Pinderhughes never leaves home without a flash of sparkle.
“[Picking out] jewelry is what makes me late for work in the morning,” says the Detroit-born child psychologist, who’s in her 60s and practices in East Harlem. “Often I’ll start with an interesting pair of earrings or a necklace and work my outfit around that.” She says she often needs help finding purses and shoes to complete her look.
Comfort is essential: “Some of my kids are 3 and 4, and if they drop something, I have to scoot down to the floor to pick it up,” she says.
The Post picked a mixed-print maxidress — bold and easy to move in — and paired it with reasonable kitten-heel slingbacks.
Her takeaway: “I love the whole look,” she says. “I don’t usually wear heels, but these are so comfy. I’ve never worn yellow before, either, but now I think I might have to.”
Styling tip: Choose a comfy (and colorful!) kitten heel to add just enough height to balance out a full-length frock.
The buttoned-up lawyer
Shermin Lakha, the Gramercy-based risk and compliance lawyer, has an invisible line down the middle of her closet.
“I have two separate wardrobes, [one] for work and [one] for my social life,” says the 29-year-old, who favors flirty skirts and floral dresses for fun.
At work, it’s a different story. “There aren’t many women in my firm, so it’s a little more buttoned-up,” she says. “I usually wear some sort of black pant with a top and a black blazer.”
For a feminine take on business-chic, The Post chose plaid and autumnal reds and purples to replace her basic black, and used a belt to define her waist.
Her takeaway: “The belt was a game-changer,” she says. “Blazers can make you feel a bit shapeless but the belt really finished the outfit. I like that the skirt wasn’t a pencil skirt, either. It was unexpected — I would definitely wear these pieces to work.”
Styling tip: Cinch your blazer with a thin belt to streamline the look without adding bulk.
The casual-chic ad producer
“It’s really easy to get stuck in uniform dressing, particularly in New York,” says Nicole Green, 36, who works in advertising and lives in the Financial District. Her “habit” is to pop on jeans and a sweater while overseeing digital, social and broadcast production in her office.
For meetings with clients, she opts for a polished yet trendy look. “I like to find pieces that are a bit different or have something interesting about them,” she says. The Post helped her find a way to combine the two, with a slouchy knit top and a silky skirt.
Her takeaway: The animal prints were a hit. “I love leopard print so much that I incorporated it into my wedding look” for her ceremony at City Hall this past Friday. “I wore gray ocelot-print Cole Haan shoes . . . This isn’t something that I would normally pick out for myself if I saw it on the rack,” she says. “But I could definitely see myself wearing this.”
Styling tip: Treat leopard like a neutral — it can go with just about anything, even stripes and other prints.
The fierce financier
“Wall Street is never first to the [fashion] party because it’s dominated by the big banks, which have strict dress codes of navy, blue and black,” Dani Hughes, 49, the CEO of Divine Capital, tells The Post. “I find it really easy to get stuck in a rut.”
The Woodstock-based banker favors a mostly monochromatic wardrobe, but wishes it had a little more color. She’d also like to look “not sexy, but strong . . . like a viking queen. I think about high necks and big shoulders.”
Her takeaway: Hughes was drawn to the red pumps The Post’s stylist paired with black pants and a jacket whose silver studs along the lapel gave it a tough but cool touch. “The red shoes are just the right pop of color, and the detail on the jacket is unlike anything else I own,” she says. “I would definitely wear this to the office.”
Styling tip: Spice up traditional, dark suiting with red accents for a colorful yet powerful pop.
Crew Credits: Photographer: Brian Zak; Stylist: Anahita Moussavian; Stylist Assistants: Bree Bonagofsky and Sarah Conboy; Hair/Makeup: T.Cooper using ECRU New York
By Anahita Moussavian, Emily Selleck