Summer’s Not Over Yet — 8 Fresh Looks You’ll Want Now

Let’s face it: Dressing for work can feel like the first task on a very overwhelming to-do list. Whether you’re following a strict corporate dress code or tempting HR side-eye with a crop top, coming up with five outfits each week is no easy task. At least until you meet Mary Orton of The Classy Cubicle.
She took the challenge of weekday dressing and turned it into an opportunity to rethink her office style — trading starched button-downs for silk bomber jackets, stiff work bags for grown-up backpacks, and a job on Wall Street for blogging. Now her full-time gig and our constant source of 9-to-5 style inspiration, The Classy Cubicle reaffirms what we knew all along: Unexpected combos like Birks and a midi can look professional.
Her put-together polish doesn't stop at the board room, though. She owns it in her down time, too (yes, even while whipping up pancakes at home). So, while we imagined a weekend without sweatpants, she curated eight polished on- and off-duty looks with her favorite picks from T.J.Maxx. Ahead, Orton schools us on how to truly dress to impress. Follow her lead, and before you know it, fielding compliments will be your full-time job.
1 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: Smelling the roses
Her Must-Have: The leather backpack

There are a handful of things in life that are guaranteed to make people smile: puppies, babies, Ryan Gosling — and fresh flowers. With her Insta feed as digital proof, Orton has a weakness for peeping bright blooms on her commute. Her on-the-go bag of choice? A grown-up backpack. “I am so on board with the leather backpack trend,” says Orton. “It's a great piece that you can wear casually on the weekends, but also use to add the perfect pop of color to a dressier weekday wardrobe."

Bag, dress, and shoes courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
2 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
"This piece has a really attractive almost shapeless structure, which makes it really comfortable to carry,” says Orton.

For a similar bag, try:
3 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: Post-brunch boutique-hopping
Her Must-Have: The laid-back lace skirt

How do you top a morning filled with friends, French toast, and a cup (or three) of coffee? Preferably, with as many bags of new clothes as your weary arms can carry. To transition from dressy brunch to dressing rooms, go for a piece that's on-trend but still has a little give. “The skirt is classy, but also super comfortable — the elastic waist makes it so you can whip in and out of that puppy when you’re trying things on,” Orton says.

Shirt, skirt, shoes, and bag courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
4 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
“A lot of designers are using lace right now, and I think this is a beautiful way to do it — white on white with a textured design that sets the two pieces apart,” says Orton.

For a similar skirt, try:
5 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: Pliés at the barre
Her Must-Have: The cowl-neck cover-up

Sometimes, the hardest part about working out is the warm-up — that is, what you wear to warm up. Sweats leave you too, well, sweaty, and going sans layers doesn't always prepare you to go from a stroll to a full-on sprint without pulling a hamstring. A regular at her local barre class, Orton has mastered the art of the warm-up just as well her ballerina-esque plié: The secret is in the fabric. "I'm a fan of wearing long sleeves until my muscles are really fired up, so a lightweight mesh is key," says Orton.

Pants, tank, long-sleeve top, and sports bra courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
6 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
"I like a top that’s not skin-tight, so I can really move around in it,” says Orton.

For a similar long-sleeve top, try:
7 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: Dropping knowledge at a conference
Her Must-Have: The kaleidoscopic print dress

When faced with organized mingling, your instincts will tell you to save the all-eyes-on-me dress for the weekend and err on the conservative side. But, a classic sheath dress that boasts a bold pattern combines both looks. "A dress like this is a really cool example of how you can take trendy prints and make them work-appropriate," says Orton.

Shoes, dress, bag, and blazer courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
8 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
“I love the way this traditional cut has been updated with patterned paneling — it gives it a really great structure and really flattering lines,” says Orton.

For a similar dress, try:
9 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: A weekend getaway in the country
Her Must-Have: The colorblocked jacket

Yeah, packing "light" was always the plan, but sometimes a bit of overstuffing is unavoidable (uh, that hair doesn't blowdry itself, you know). Pieces that work in multiple scenarios, like this throw-on-and-go, boxy jacket, are crucial to help minimize the bulk. “It’s a classic mod shape, which really goes with everything on your packing list, from a tee and white shorts to a nice maxi-dress,” says Orton.

Jacket, sunglasses, shorts, shirt and shoes courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
10 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
For a countryside look that comes off as polished rather than overdressed, try a fun colorblocked variation. The three-quarter sleeves keep the jacket in play for both warm and cool climates.

For a similar jacket, try:
11 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: Business lunch with clients
Her Must-Have: The slim-cut blazer

You know those mornings when you're staring blankly into your closet, waiting for a stroke of outfit genius but you've got nothin'? And, despite your best efforts to channel your most creatively dressed self, you need to look put-together stat. Well, a fierce blazer always wins. “My closet is full of blazers, but this one stands out thanks to these notched lapels, which give it a more modern feel,” says Orton.

Blazer, shirt, pants, necklace, bag, and shoes courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
12 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
“The silvery hue is such a great complement to your classic black or gray blazer, but because it’s still a beautiful neutral, it can be worn a million different ways,” she says.

For a similar blazer, try:
13 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
The Scene: A black-tie bash
Her Must-Have: Ankle-strap low heels

We've all learned the hard way at one point or another: Those extra five inches of height never do make it past cocktail hour and inevitably wind up stashed under a chair until the end of the night. Womp. Womp. “If you’re distracted by walking even just five feet in crazy stilettos, your focus probably isn’t going to be where it should be,” says Orton.

Dress, bracelet, shoes, necklace, and clutch courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
14 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
"My ankle-strap heels are the most widely used pumps in my closet,” says Orton. “They go with everything!”

For similar shoes, try:
15 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
Orton's kitchen is her friends' home base for Sunday brunches — especially for a little post-late-night recovery. A self-proclaimed foodie, she puts her collection of bright kitchen supplies to work for both prep and presentation of her mouthwatering menu. As for Orton's outfit? Sweats would be the easy choice — after all, the one-step process of rolling out of bed in exactly what you fell asleep in is quite hard to resist. However, Orton opts for something quite jeanius: denim sweatpants. Not quite jeans, not quite sweats, 100% cozy, and totally fair game to mix with a proper top, like this ladylike button-down and cardigan.

Pants, top, undershirt, shoes, and home items courtesy of T.J.Maxx.
16 of 16
Photographed by Jens Ingvarsson.
“My cabinets are almost as stocked as my closet,” says Orton. “I love to cook. And, I love collecting ridiculously awesome home items, especially when I can snag them for way less.”

For similar pants, try: