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How to Dress Conservatively Using Vibrant Colors

This year has presented me with two major life changes: The birth of our second child and a new full-time job. While I’m very excited about (and enjoying) my new job, there are two things I’m going to miss—my former co-workers and my vibrant colors. Yes, the standard dress-code in my new position is more professional and the color palette is much more conservative. But that doesn’t mean I have to abandon my signature style … or does it? In this blog, I want to show you how I did tone things down, while retaining my vibrant colors. Think of it as new tones for new times, if you will.

vibrant colors

You may remember this yellow button down from a previous blog. I found these amazing Kenneth Cole gray pinstriped pants that alternate between yellow and white pinstripes. It’s a very subtle insertion of color and a very nice complement to this yellow Club Room brand button down (from my Color Flipping vlog). The pants were only $5 at 3fifteen, as was the shirt…making the grand total on this ensemble a very reasonable $10.

vibrant colors

Let’s stay with the spring colors for a moment, taking a short trip on the color wheel to baby pink. The Perry Ellis button down is an oldie from a Christmas blog a few years ago. The Kenneth Cole slacks are from my “Winter Sun” vlog. The Van Heusen_Studio tie is a new find—courtesy of 3fifteen, for only $2! The subtle hue of light pink and magenta are very calming but interesting, and the total price of the outfit is quite calming on the wallet: $10.15.


Moving right along (the color wheel that is), we will also look at shades of purple. The Santino Milano purple button down (3fifteen) has a very striking tone. To quote Buddy the Elf, it’s “very purple-y”, but it isn’t overbearing. The fabric is very silky, and the cut is amazingly sharp—very conducive to a crisp business casual environment. I happened upon this item after its price tag had received the “blue light special” touch (50% off). I only paid $3.50 for it.

vibrant colors

Next, we’ll take a lighter spin on things with lilac and lavender combos. The shirt/tie ensemble on the left is a very light combination of lilac. I found the Michael Kors shirt at the North Syracuse TS for $4.99. The Claiborne tie was a 3fifteen score for $2 (gotta love those blue light specials). This combo is great for rainy days as the lilac seems to shine against a dreary backdrop.

On the right, we have a moderately bold lavender button down (Stafford- $6.99 at 3fifteen), paired with a gray and lavender striped Van Heusen tie ($2.50 at 3fifteen). I must say, there is something very soothing about the marriage of gray with this shade of lavender. It’s a visual form of lavender therapy.

vibrant colors

Something old, something new, something argyle and something blue! The old in the pic to the left is the Kenneth Cole slacks and the Stafford tie from Spring 2015. The new and blue is the Stafford French blue/ periwinkle button down ($6.99- 3fifteen). I actually wore this outfit for my first day on the new job.

The old in the pic on the right is the pants and the DKNY button down from my recent #sleek vlog. The argyle/new item is this delightful Club Room V-neck sweater vest I found at 3fifteen for $6.99. The blue in the argyle pattern nearly matches the tone of the shirt. With this ensemble, my inner prep is satisfied.

In conclusion, if a change in dress code comes your way, there is a way to retain your vibrant colors. Just dial things down a bit! In addition, you’ll always get a helping hand from your local Thrifty Shopper and 3fifteen. I admit, it’s no hot pink or electric blue, but these vibrant colors still reflect my style. Plus, I’m still excited to dress up for work each morning.

About the Author

This blog was written by Priyantha Fernando, who emulates old school GQ and is a regular blog contributor to our Thrifty Shopper website. Like to offer fashion advice and tips? Share unique finds and what you used them for? How about stories you would simply like to share with other like-minded people? We want to hear from you! Contact us at

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