Is this a familiar picture? Littered with shoes, spare dresses, random jewelry, and maybe even a bra, the space underneath your desk is a daily reminder that your 9-to-5 outfit doesn't work as well from 5-to-9. No matter how relaxed your job's dress code is or how much you keep versatility in mind when you're shopping and dressing, you always seem to end up in a situation where you're trying not to touch the floor with your bare feet as you change into a new outfit in the office bathroom.
The antidote to all of this is Mama Cax (née Cacsmy Brutus), a lifestyle blogger who you've probably seen flooding your Instagram feed and appearing in images all over the internet (including on Refinery29). "Living in New York, I find myself wasting so much time in my commute. After a long work day, I rarely have the option of going back home for a quick change before a night out. It just seems very practical to me." To Mama's credit, practical is one of the last things you think of when you see her outfits. Rather, they're imaginative, joyful, and vibrant — and sure, the fact that they're so easily manipulated into so many different environments and dress codes is great, too. Magical, even.
"For me, it's all about comfort and having fun. Accessorizing assistive devices is just as fun, too. If someone uses hearing aids, canes, or prosthetics, don't be afraid to accessorize them to match your outfits." Though Mama's adamant that she doesn't have any rules about how she gets dressed, we were able to suss out a few tricks to reign in our under-desk situations.
Says Mama, "A woman in a suit stands out, but anyone in a colorful suit is bound to turn heads. It's comfortable and with a simple change of shoes or the proper accessory, it can go from casual to chic. For a nighttime vibe, you can either switch your dress shirt with a bandeau or crop top or simply switch work shoes to heels."
Mama created this bandeau from a lightweight scarf from Fanm Djanm. One twist in the front and some tucking and pinning can create a sexy top that you create in a matter of minutes.
No doubt you know the power of a really well-fitting jumpsuit. But have you really unlocked its magic? Mama explains: "Throw a T-shirt over it and you're ready to run errands. With some nice shoes and a blazer, it becomes office-appropriate. It even transitions nicely into nighttime if you add some jewelry. Just be ready to get full-on naked when you have to use the restroom."
For evening, Mama relied on accessories to liven things up. If your jumpsuit is monochromatic like Mama's is, try a patterned piece, like she did with her Fanh Dhanm headwrap.
A simple dress in a bold color is a no-brainer for work, but in the evenings, it can feel a little safe. The way to switch things up after hours is actually to put on another layer (Which might seem counterintuitive!) in a complementary color. "Wearing yellow is like wearing happiness. It speaks for itself and needs very little accessorizing," Mama explains. "This kimono one gives me so much life. It's perfect for those chilly evenings."
Of course, some jewelry never hurts.
There's actually a secret to this outfit. The black "top" is actually one of Mama's favorite LBDs. "For busy days, I just wear a body-con dress and throw a skirt over it. In the evening, I simply remove the skirt to reveal the sexy beast underneath."
When it's just you and the LBD, Mama says to cool it with adding extras: "A little black dress doesn't need much. A nice plum or red lipstick does the trick. I paired this one with an African-print clutch."