Shop the look: 1. Zara blouse, $20; zara.com 2. Theory jacket, $425; theory.com 3. BaubleBar collar, $38; baublebar.com 4. H&M skirt, $40, hm.com 5. J.Crew heels, $218; jcrew.com 6. Michael Kors bag, $368; michaelkors.com
Although black and white separates sound like stereotypical work style, updated details can save the combo from feeling cliché. How? We’d start by swapping your usual pencil skirt for a mid-length accordion pleat option (still conservative, but cooler) and tucking in a fluid satin button-down. To set the combo apart even further, reach for extras that add personality—like, say, a boyish gray blazer, burgundy pumps, and a thin, minimalist choker—without comprising your office dress code. Any neutral colored bag goes, so long as it’s big enough to stash your half-eaten breakfast sandwich before running into that big 10 a.m. meeting.