Surviving the corporate jungle is no mean feat and only the best live to die another day. Which is why ZALORA has teamed up with NBCUniversal to launch a new makeover show called Style Me Now, to help us regular folk look a little more like we got our sh*t together, no matter where or when.

In the meantime, it got me in my little metaphorical cubicle wondering: Between sneaking into the pantry to stress-eat and poisoning the office water cooler, was there a less destructive method to surviving the workplace? The result: These quick, completely unauthorized, unsolicited and uncalled for style tips to staying alive through weekday humdrum.

At least till 6.30pm.

#1: Wear boots. 

I’m just gonna say it – Nancy Sinatra was ahead of her time. The only thing better than wearing a stiletto is sounding like you’re wearing one when you’re not. Because how else will slow people in front of you know when to give way to a BusinesswomanTM?

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Here’s the tea, sis. Boots are your new footwear de rigeur. Try these MANGO Chelsea boots (with goat leather insoles and a 50% discount) or Marie Claire’s Block Heeled Leather Boots for comfort, effortless style and letting Susan from HR know you actually show up for work. Because if a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, did it really fall?

MANGO Leather Chelsea Ankle Boots

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Marie Claire Block Heels Boot

Also, dance the evening away sans the risk of getting stabbed in the foot by someone else’s pumps. Nice!

Pair it with: A cup of coffee. It’s a look, it’s a mood, it’s a vibe.

#2: Cop a Scarf.

I know what you’re thinking: librarians, Susan from HR and that one art teacher who used to be cool in the 70s. But hear me out, okay? Never underestimate the versatility of a well-placed scarf. Tie it on a handbag, shroud yourself or wear it in your hair. Then win the war against Unreasonably Cold Meeting Rooms. They also double as a cute accessory for your pet. I mean.

Leave the tassels and gaudy prints at home, and snag one with modern flair. Think abstract patterns, pops of color and textures – like the OVS Pleated Scarf below. For something shorter, look for an eye-catching print or a silky sheen.

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OVS Pleated Scarf

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MANGO Snake Print Satin Scarf

Pair it with: A notebook (read: Moleskine) – then snap it purposefully to assert your intention to end meetings. Because lunch. Because happy hour. Because you’re the hero the office needs but doesn’t deserve.

#3: Sunglasses. Especially when it gets shady.

Lunchtime soirees require proper decorum. Protect your eyes from sun damage while avoiding eye contact with insurance agents lying in ambush. Plus take it off for dramatic effect. At Popspoken, we stan a multi-functional product.

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Channel your inner Miranda Priestly in these:

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Ray-Ban Classic Round Sunglasses

 

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Burberry Monochrome Acetate Sunnies

 

Pair it with: Your tissue packet, to chope seats at the food court.

C’mon. We’ve been through this. You’re too smart to be spending $15 on a grain bowl every day. And probably not at the right pay grade either. Even if you are, please don’t.

#4: Big bags. Always.

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Lady Gaga wearing Marc Jacobs and toting a micro-bag by Delvaux on her way to Anna Wintour’s pre-Met Gala dinner in New York City on May 5, 2019. (Jackson Lee, Getty Images)

Jacquemus might be trending the micro-bag right now but let my inner auntie tell you a secret (!!) – Big bags hide all the canapés at the office buffet and your poor life choices. They also serve as a makeshift divider when you need personal space from that weird uncle on the train.

Check out this glazed leather satchel from Fossil: You can’t go wrong with camel tones and extra compartments. Or with Samsonite either – especially in this delicious shade of navy.

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Samsonite Belinda Handbag

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Fossil Rachel Handbag

For a more unisex option: Consider the Edie Tote, designed by Jason Wu which comes in 5 variations for an easy colorblock look.

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Edie Tote by Sometime x Jason Wu

Pair it with: A bag organiser. Fishing out your lipstick and/or wallet is only a power move when you do it in one swift motion. It’ll also avoid awkward moments at the MRT gantry at rush hour. Don’t be that person.

#5: Stay Fresh.

Hygiene is sexy. Repeat after me. Hygiene is sexy.

Fight me if you disagree.

My perennial favourites are Muji’s Teeth Wipes ($4.60) and a good ol’ tongue scraper. Also, invest in some Uniqlo AIRism inner shirts because you’re an adult.

Pop them in a dopp kit, which are a dime a dozen these days. By the way, there’s really no rational reason why you should be splurging on one. But I’m also frequently reminded we are a nation that queues 2 hours for Shake Shack so here’s a chic one from Calvin Klein, inspired by origami folds. Mmmm. Bougie.

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Calvin Klein 2-Tone Dopp Kit

Then if you haven’t already, treat yourself to one of these candles from OVEROSE, available at Cult Beauty in a dusty pink, minimalist glass that’s going to make all your co-workers wonder how. do. you. do. it. omg.

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OVEROSE Candle in Valkiria, Cult Beauty

My personal favorite is the Valkiria – with notes of sweet tobacco, fig and peach. Chase the bad juju away while reminding everyone in the office of that one time you holidayed in Provence. Allegedly. 

Pair it with: Your signature scent. Deodorant doesn’t count. But you already knew that. Right? I thought so.

Style Me Now airs from May 20, 8:25PM (SG time) on Diva and May 26 on E! at 9:00PM with reruns every Wednesdays at 12:00AM and Saturdays at 5:00PM on Diva and every Mondays at 5:00PM and Thursdays at 6:00PM on E!

Written by: Kenneth Chia 

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