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What the Too-Cool Team at Otte NYC Wears to Work

Photos by <a href="http://drielys.com">Driely S.</a> for Racked</span></p>
Photos by Driely S. for Racked

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Welcome to Working It, where Racked follows street style into the office. Forget pedestrian khakis and button-downs—these fashionable professionals take dress codes to a whole new dimension. Quick, somebody call HR!

Otte was founded in 1999, and since then, designer Kay Lee has turned one small storefront into five across Manhattan, created a robust e-commerce shop with a roster that spans from Alexander Wang to Shaina Mote, and successfully transitioned her in-house line from silk basics to a complete lifestyle collection.

It's no surprise, then, that the team that keeps it all together looks downright awesome. After the jump, take a look at nine different office outfits that aren't your typical nine-to-five uniform—we're talking tattered denim, vintage rock 'n' roll tees, leather skirts, and killer jewelry stacks.

Kay Lee, Founder and Head Buyer, is wearing a MSGM lace top, Otte leather shorts, Saint Laurent shoes, an evil eye bracelet from Istanbul, and Blanca Monros Gomez and Rosa Maria rings.

Your closet's on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?
My Acne shearling coat, Chanel bag, YSL shoes.

Who would you swap wardrobes with in a heartbeat?
Kate Moss! She has a style to die for—very sexy and feminine.

What are your beauty must-haves?
Dior pore minimizer and foaming cleanser, and Kiehl's toner.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I splurge on shoes and bags, and cheap out on fancier dresses for events that aren't practical every day. I try to get them during sale season.

What trends are you into?
I have instincts when it comes to fashion forecasting: Next year lace will be really big, so I'm starting to collect more lace pieces. Birkenstocks aren't really my thing, but I think they look good on other people who have a more boyish style and are tall. I'm short so I need to wear a bit of a heel!

Nancy Zhang, VP and COO, is wearing an Otte top, Opening Ceremony shorts, Marni shoes, a Cartier watch, and a Hirotaka necklace. Her rings are by Demitasse, Blanca Monros Gomez, and vintage; her bag is Céline, sunglasses are Ray-Ban, and nail polish is RGB.

What's the best piece of shopping advice you've ever received?
Instead of buying ten things you'll wear a few times each, invest in one item you love and will wear all the time.

What are your beauty must-haves?
I keep a really simple beauty routine: short and sweet but very effective. I use an oil-based face serum by Ren, BB cream blended with SPF 30 moisturizer for almost bare coverage, and Nars blush in Orgasm. I have over 100 tinted lip glosses and sheer lipsticks—it's an addiction. I've been into Etude House from Korea lately; they're sheer with just a hint of pinkish color.

What's the best perk of your job?
I'm surrounded by girls with an amazing sense of personal style, and there is never any judgment. As a company, we don't dictate any style guidelines for our staff so it allows our team to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. As a result we get a smattering of style inspiration every day that is edgy, punk, feminine, casual-cool, and everything in between.

Alexandra Perlaki, Junior Buyer, is wearing a vintage tee, an A.L.C. button-up leather skirt, Jeffrey Campbell booties, vintage necklaces, and rings from Demitasse, Catbird, Claire Kinder, Odette, Dana Rebecca, Zoe Chicco, and Poupette.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I splurge on accessories and timeless pieces. It's worth more to invest in leather pants and a classic cashmere sweater. I also invest in great quality handbags and shoes. And fine jewelry—it never goes out of style. Any super trendy item is where I cheap out. I give Birkenstocks and overalls another season until they fizzle out again.

Who would you swap wardrobes with in a heartbeat?
Miroslava Duma! Her style is insane. She mixes such unique pieces and really knows how to pull off trends without looking over the top.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?
Definitely grabbing my vintage leather moto vest from Paris—it has a lot of sentimental value—and my vintage Levi's high-rise jeans, they're irreplaceable! Third would have to be my red Céline tote.

What's your worst shopping habit?
Getting too excited and over-purchasing. I'd like to focus more on buying things I can't live without rather than just buying things that I immediately like. It's a work in progress because I love to shop.

What's an item you've spent a lot of money on but regret buying?
All my Isabel Marant sneakers. It was a huge trend, but now I feel like it's faded and I don't wear them much anymore. I love the style and comfort of the wedge sneaker—maybe they will come back in style again.

Melissa Chu, Assistant Buyer, is wearing a For Love and Lemons lace skirt, a vintage Rolling Stones tee, a vintage leather moto vest, Converse high-tops, and a Cartier watch. Her rings are by Nora Kogan, Bittersweets NY, Catbird, Claire Kinder Studio, Wendy Nichol, and Grace Lee Designs; she's also wearing earrings from New York Adorned and bracelets by Shashi, Meira T, Scosha, and Jacquie Aiche.

What's the best piece of shopping advice you've ever gotten?
Quality over quantity, especially when it comes to basics and staples like leather, cashmere, shoes, and super soft tees.

What was worst fashion faux pas?
Head-to-toe matching Bebe Sport and Juicy Couture jumpsuits in the 8th grade. Hilarious and also extremely embarrassing.

What are your beauty must-haves?
Nivea cherry chapstick, Maybelline Falsies mascara, and MAC Brow Set brow gel are my staple beauty products for everyday.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I definitely splurge on staple pieces that will last. My most expensive purchases are mostly on leather jackets and pants, designer handbags, hard-to-find vintage tees, and shoes.

What's your worst shopping habit?
I'm a chronic impulse buyer. Shopping online is the biggest trap, since I don't get to try anything on and I never return things I don't end up liking.

Andrew Young, Art Director, is wearing a 3.1 Phillip Lim leather jacket, an American Apparel tee, Saint Laurent Paris jeans, a Salvatore Ferragamo belt, a Burberry London watch, a Miansai bracelet, and Giuseppe Zanotti shoes.

Where do you personally draw the "too casual for work" line?
No such thing. I come in sweats and a blazer.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?
I'd rather burn. I've invested too much into Thom Browne to live with just three pieces.

Who would you swap wardrobes with in a heartbeat?
Pharrell Williams. I'm sure we wear the same size.

Your worst fashion faux-pas?
The time I wore a purple pasty to the 1999 VMA Awards. Everyone loves it to this day, but I still don't know what I was thinking.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I splurge on footwear, accessories and my barber. I'm cheap when it comes to Sallie Mae.

Let's talk trends.
I've been doing the all-black thing since Puff Daddy inspired me in the mid-'90s. You'll never catch me in floral.

Rose Mayo, PR and Marketing Coordinator, is wearing an Otte Ellen dress, a Sequin NYC necklace, and Bionda Castana boots. She's also wearing rings from Catbird, WWAKE, and vintage; Tai and Poupette bracelets; and Manon Chain earrings.

Where do you draw the "too casual for work" line?
I used to think jean shorts were too casual, but the Otte office has such a mix of personal style that I've worn them a few times this summer. When I know I'll be chained to my desk, I'm fine showing up in fun sneakers, shorts or jeans, and a tee—but if there's a chance I'll be in meetings or out of the office I kick it up a notch. You'd definitely never catch me in sweatpants or athletic gear at the office.

Your worst fashion faux-pas?
I was a total grunge kid in high school. I didn't wear skirts or dresses from ages 12 to 17, and didn't start carrying a purse for the first time until the last few months of high school. So much of that trend has come back in style—even the Kool-Aid colored hair, mine was actual Kool-Aid!—but I was so much less aware of proportions and fit back then.

What are your beauty must-haves?
Sunscreen! I never leave the house without SPF on my face, neck and arms. I'm also a lip balm addict and prefer C.O. Bigelow's Rose Salve, and I need mascara for my half-blonde eyelashes. I have really dry skin, so I use coconut oil as my body moisturizer and Frank's Coffee Scrub—both are gentle and I like knowing I'm not adding more toxins to my body.

What fashion rule do you shamelessly break?
I don't think anyone would call this a written rule of style, but I definitely love to play around with color and am often drawn to things in bright shades over neutrals. I have a reputation in the office for showing up in head-to-toe shades of blue pretty often, too.

Beverly Powell, Inventory Manger, is wearing a 3.1 Phillip Lim sweater, a Rag & Bone skirt, Isabel Marant sneakers, Tai bracelets, an Anne Klein watch, and a Monogram necklace.

What's the best piece of shopping advice you've ever gotten?
Dress for your body. Know your body. Always try it on!

What's the best perk of your job?
Being able to see and try on all the merchandise before it hits the stores. There's nothing better than knowing that you have first dibs.

Where do you draw the "too casual for work" line?
A track suit. It's just a no!

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?
My MPE monogram necklace, it's my late mother's initials. But with 40+ pairs of sneakers, ultimately I may be on the 10 o'clock news for trying to save my collection.

Who would you swap wardrobes with in a heartbeat?
Oh gosh, Kelly Rowland! She is effortlessly chic and stylish while still looking cool and comfortable. While we're at it, I'll take those abs of hers too.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I splurge on my annual girls' trip. We have the time of our lives, but when we get back its PB&J for the rest of the month. I have never been one to spend big on little things like tees and tanks. My son just uses them for his hand towel anyway.

What's your worst shopping habit?
I have a terrible online shopping addiction. One word: GROUPON.

Lisa Tselebidis, E-Commerce Manager, is wearing a Shaina Mote dress, Grenson shoes, Essie nail polish in Geranium, and M.A.C. lipstick in Lady Danger

What's the best piece of shopping advice you've ever gotten?
Stay true to your style and only buy what you feel 100% comfortable in.

Your closet is on fire! What three items do you save from the flames?
My Givenchy Antigona handbag, J Brand leather pants, and a pair of Diesel jeans that have the perfect fit.

Whose wardrobe would you swap with in a heartbeat?
Elin Kling. She can do no wrong and always looks effortless and cool.

What are your beauty must-haves?
Sunscreen, nail polish, and a good eyebrow pencil.

What trend do you really like, and what would you be caught dead trying?
I like minimalism. Boho is just not mine. I was experimenting with it when I was younger, but it's just not for me.

What's your worst shopping habit?
This might be a bit less common, but I tend to overthink my purchases. I try to only buy items I really love and know I will wear for a long time. But sometimes I take it too far and end up not buying anything or waiting too long, and it's sold out.

What fashion rule do you shamelessly break?
Don't wear navy and black together. I do it all the time and I think there's actually nothing wrong with it—it looks great.

Kacy Green, E­-Commerce Assistant, is wearing a Zara top, Forever 21 jeans, Aldo shoes, a vintage ring, and a Club Monaco bracelet

What's the best piece of shopping advice you've ever gotten?
If you don't love it, don't buy it! Anyone who knows me could tell you I don't exactly stick to that, but it's still some of the best advice I've ever gotten.

Who would you swap wardrobes with in a heartbeat?
Definitely Olivia Pope! She's always a ten, although we never see her summer wardrobe and I can't imagine her owning denim cutoffs....so maybe not.

What do you splurge on, and what do you cheap out on?
I splurge on a good coat. I'm an Island girl, born in Antigua, who will never get used to New York winters. I definitely cheap out on fleeting trends—no investment pieces there.

Let's talk trends.
I'm all about a crop top. Birkenstocks, Uggs, Crocs: To me, those can go on a bonfire.

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