New York designer spotlight: Office-appropriate women’s dresses

NYC clothing labels Carrie Hammer, emploi New York and M.M.LaFleur are dedicated to outfitting professional women in stylish, unstuffy dresses.

Our latest designer spotlight profiles a trio of NYC clothing labels that specialize in women’s work wear: Carrie Hammer, emploi New York and M.M.LaFleur. All three lines create office-appropriate dresses that easily transition from the boardroom to the bar.

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Mercer contrast-lined dress, $95 (normally $119), at

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Greene tulip-skirt dress, $95 (normally $119), at

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Lafayette smoking dress, $103 (normally $129), at

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Pearl stretch scuba dress, $95 (normally $119), at

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Bleecker detachable-peplum dress, $103 (normally $129), at

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Marina Ufaeva

Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

Mercer contrast-lined dress, $95 (normally $119), at

Marina Ufaeva of emploi New York (

Who she is: Russian-born Marina Ufaeva moved to New York in 2004 to pursue her law degree at Cornell University. When she landed a job as a Wall Street attorney, Ufaeva struggled searching for an office-appropriate wardrobe that was both stylish and affordable. “I always had trouble finding a great dress that was comfortable, professional and feminine,” she recalls. As a result, in February 2011 she turned to making her own frocks out of her Upper East Side apartment. Despite Ufaeva’s lack of formal design training, coworkers and friends started placing orders for themselves, inspiring her to quit her high-powered gig to launch emploi New York the following October.

About the line: Ufaeva’s structured sheaths ($99–$212)—all named after New York City streets—feature clean cuts and convertible details, such as a detachable peplum or foldable contrast lining, to seamlessly make the transition from boardroom to cocktails. “You don’t need to worry about mixing and matching [with dresses]—you just need one piece,” she notes of why she focuses on frocks. The collection is manufactured in Brooklyn using locally sourced wrinkle-free fabrics, including crepe, cotton and scuba, a stretchable polyester. Since Ufaeva is a big supporter of women’s causes, emploi New York partners with nonprofit organizations such as Coalition for the Homeless ( and Step Up Women’s Network ( to host monthly clothing donations that provide wardrobes for ladies reentering the workforce.

Where to buy: Purdy Girl (464 Columbus Ave between 82nd and 83rd Sts; 212-787-1964, and Anik (1355 Third Ave between 77th and 78th Sts; 212-861-9840, Or use code “TONY” at for 20 percent off all purchases through August 7.

  1. Marina Ufaeva of emploi New York
  2. Carrie Hammer
  3. Sarah LaFleur and Miyako Nakamura of M.M. LaFleur

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