So - you all know I like to sometimes pick an item out and then find alternative, cheaper, versions of that item.  Well, this time I was looking at L.K. Bennett, a brand that I (like most Americans probably) discovered because of the Duchess of Cambridge, and found actually two items that were beautiful enough to make me want to hunt for them. So here they are.
Armina Sleeveless dress in pink-fuchsia ($725 - I love the construction of this dress...LOVE...also available in black and white - luckily its out of stock in my side so I can't even really consider it.)

Silver Pleat A-Line Skirt in navy print ($158 - somewhat lucky sizes only and unfortunately a beautiful champagne alternative is entirely sold out.)
So - lets get to the shopping for alternatives.  My main goals will be, for the dress, finding nicely constructed dresses that have differently colored tops and bottoms (I like that look because I think it makes it look like you are wearing a blouse and skirt but more sleek and without the risk of the shirt coming untucked and looks great under a blazer.)  On the skirt, I'll be looking for a-line skirts with pretty patterns like this, but I think pleats will be a plus only, since I know only some people like pleats.  SO LETS DO THIS THING!
Mango Two-Tone Pleated Dress at Amazon ($79 - I love that a black and white option, though I hope the skirt is longer on non models.  Note the pleated satin panels on the top.  I would wear it with a contrasting blazer, maybe in cobalt?  And then with gray or nude shoes.  A good look for the office, I think. 
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Can we also talk about these shoes and how much I NEED them in my life?
Eliza J Sleeveless Color Block Dress at Amazon ($138 - I like the pleated a-line skirt and that the belt creates a clear delineation and gives the waist definition.  I think this would be good for work with a cardi or blazer and GREAT for outdoor summer events, like company "picnics" or clam bakes."
Calvin Klein Colorblock Side Drape Sheath Dress at Nordstroms ($118 - I L.O.V.E. love love the side drape.  So flattering if you are sensitive about your tummy/waist area as I am, I think you'll probably ADORE this draping.  Seriously people, I think this might be going on my WANT WANT WANT list.)
Blair Color-Blocked sheath dress from BCBG Max Asazria ($187.60 on sale - love the colors for summer/spring and comes in a mint green/coral combo as well.)
JillRo Color-block Jersey Wrap Dress in peone/navy at Neiman Marcus ($215 - closest dress I've found in color scheme and I think the jersey wrap might actually be more flattering on a lot of people.)
I will note about these first alternatives, that I did find in my hunt some absolutely beautiful options from some designer lines, like L'Agence, St. John Collection, Kate Spade New York, and LotusGrace (this last one was in the post until the very very last moment when I found that Calvin Klein one - but I still love it so check it out.)  I didn't include these dresses though - and I generally don't include many designer options - because my goal is to find affordable (or more affordable anyway) versions of the things I'm inspired by.  That goal isn't met by posting $500 dresses.  No matter how much I love them.  Now on to the skirts!
Riviera Skirt in bright red parasols at Boden ($88 - this skirt actually comes in four designs and I love all of them - especially the Blue Scallop.  I think this could be weekend wear or work wear.  And I find Boden's quality good and they deliver promptly.)
Laviniaturra Knee Length Skirt in Dark Blue at Yoox ($151 - Not the beautiful floral of the inspiration but I love a checked pattern and it would be a great basic workhorse in any professional wardrobe.)
A Brushstroke with Fame Skirt on ModCloth ($54.99 - great for work. Could be paired with green to create a monochromatic look.  Gets great reviews. Click here to see a ModCloth skirt I also like.)
Floral Print Pleated A-Line Skirt from THE LIMITED ($41.93 on sale - okay - what is going on at the Limited - when did they become awesome. I didn't shop at the Limited when I WAS in high school?  They have stepped UP their fracking game.  This skirt is a great alternative to the champagne L.K. Bennett one. Also, side note, for chambray fans, look at this one and for floral fans, this one is cute.)
Floral Pleated Skirt multi-colored from Jones New York ($59 - I like that the floral print on this isn't too literal, the length is great for work and looks like it might be long enough to work for even taller readers and it comes in petite as well.  And the price is nice too.  Jones NY also had a couple other A-Line skirts, and for my animal print loving readers ... you know who you are - check out this one.)
Finally - this row is just a few other things I like from L.K. Bennett.  Just because, they had so many, many options.
Olivia Silk Graphic Print Scarf - Ocean Blue ($161 - you ALL know how I feel about scarves and this one, oh my god, I just...I'm platzing. Also comes in coral/orange print.  More than I spend on scarves but grilled cheesus is this gorgeous.)
Cap-sleeve silk dress in champagne print ($312 - this is actually essentially the same pattern as the skirt above and this is the sold out champagne print (lovely isn't it) - the navy is available as well!)
I am including both of these shoes: the Floral Print Heels ($365) and the Malibu Metallic Leather Peep-Toe Sandal ($277) because I think they'd make great wedding shoes.  I've gotten many wedding shoe questions in the past and both of these would be beautiful options for that...or for any special occasion really.
So that's all they wrote folks ... and in the immortal words of Veronica Mars:
"I'd be the best rich person. I'd be the perfect combination of frivolous and sensible. Money is wasted on the wealthy."

Happy shopping everyone and Happy Friday to boot.
 
Reader LM takes the bow before the event and asks:

Hello TCFKAG! Found you through Corporette (longtime reader/lurker) and I have a fashion question for you... I know I am super-late to the party, but I have been wanting some tie-neck blouses to wear tucked into pencil skirts at work or with skinny jeans and heels at night. I like the styles that tie up high - e.g., closer to the neck rather than the boobs (if that makes sense). Can you help me find some reasonably priced, cute options, preferably under $60? I am open to solid-colored or patterned. I am about a size 8 (usually M). Thanks in advance!

Let me first thank you profusely for NOT calling them by the other name that shall not be used for these blouses that I frankly think is gross and icky and I react to it like some people react to the word moist.  So - yeah - lets stick with tie-neck blouses, shall we.  And as far as missing the boat, if you missed the boat, then everyone else who's wearing them right now missed the boat by a couple of decades, so missing the boat by a year is just a blip really and hardly can be called super-late.  Fashionably late, sure, but that's the way to be, right?  Moving on to the actual CLOTHES now.  Lets find some blouse that shall not be named.  As a warning, at that price point most of your options will likely be polyester or poly blends, but I'll try to do my best to find some deals on real silk or silk blends too.   

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I'm on a total How I Met Your Mother kick tonight, don't ask me why. These things just happen.
One more quick note about shopping for tie-neck blouses - many if not most of the tie necks are in fact adjustable, so they can either be tied higher up at the neckline or lower at the boob area (for lack of a better term) so what you see on the website is a styling choice of the retailer and not the exclusive way the shirt can be worn.  So you want to double check those product details if you see a tie shirt you like but its tied in the wrong place. 
9 & Co. Solid Tie Neck in Summer Straw at JC Penney ($25 - really for a basic neutral for under blazers or suits - the price sure is right.)
Freeway polka-dot tie-neck blouse from Dillard's ($35.40 - long sleeves and polka dots - yay!  Polyester, yes, but machine washable...so that's nice.)
Max Studio Georgette Tie Neck Blouse in Red at Loehmann's ($39.99 - I adore the v-shaped detailing on this shirt behind the bow and the sleeves and the color.  The tie is low but PRETTY.)
Sleeveless tie-neck blouse in mint green at Calvin Klein ($34 with additional 30% off at check out - poly-blend - love love love - simple, understated, and gives the tie neck the pride of place.  Also comes in a brighter blue.)
Geo Print Bow Blouse from The Limited ($49.50 plus 50% off tops with code - made of silk crepe de chine - I l.o.v.e this print and though the bow may be low, I wonder if its adjustable OR if a tailor could add hook and eye closure to raise it a smidge.  Either way, I think this is my favorite.)
Tie Neck Polyester Blouse in Lemonade at Vince Camuto ($79.00 - new product, I'd wait for sale, but how perfect is a bright yellow blouse for summer?  Perfect under navy or with gray or white - I love this.)
Bow Tie Blouse in black/camelia multi at Ann Klein ($49 - luck sizes only, but includes yours.  Least helpful model picture ever - but looks really cute and great print.)
Nine West Platinum Charmeuse Tie-Neck Blouse at the Bon Ton ($34.98 - ummmm, I think it might be great for an office Christmas party under a black glittery blazer or with a red pencil skirt and black cardi. Its glitz without GLITZ, definitely tie the bow differently.)
So!  I hope these options give you a few ideas to add a little new flare to your summer wardrobe.  Who doesn't like adding a bow to their clothes.  Its like you're a gift that you get to unwrap at night (or someone ELSE gets to unwrap....BAZINGA.)  Man, the dorky tv references are flying fast and hard tonight.  Think that's a sign its time for me to log off.  Well, LM, please come back in the comments and let me know how you make out.  

AND TO MY OTHER READERS, THE CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW AT MIDNIGHT.  HAVE YOU ENTERED?  IF SO, YOU NEED NEED NEED TO SEND ME AN E-MAIL AT TCFKAG@GMAIL.COM.  BECAUSE DESPITE MY BEST EFFORTS AFTER READING MATILDA AS A CHILD, I HAVE NEITHER TELEPATHY NOR TELEKINESIS.  SO ENTER!  WIN!  LET ME SHOP FOR YOU PERSONALLY!!  (AND REMEMBER - FACEBOOK COUNTS.  AND IF YOU HAVE NO SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU COULD EVEN SEND AN E-MAIL TO SOME OF YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST FRIENDS.)  


okay....no more big letters they scare me.  good night all.  good night moon.  good night girl in the polka-dot balloon.
 
Reader AW of the longer and wider than average feet wrote back to ask

Hi TCFKAG, Thanks for helping me with my wide flats request. I noticed that you mentioned that you love navy and berry colors. Those are my base/accent colors too! Would you mind sharing some of your personal favorites? Accessories would be fun too! Sorry for all the ?'s... I wore a military uniform for 10 years and I am slowly trying to build a quality casual/work wardrobe. PS- too shy to share your blog on Facebook, but I did show your blog to my ma and I am thrilled that she is learning to navigate the internet by looking at your blog.

So - I'm totally happy to do this - within reason.  I can't post pictures of everything in my wardrobe because (a) that'd be insane and (b) mostly because of a.  What I am going to do instead is post my favorite go-to items (mostly work though I'll possibly through in a few casual items) - I'll try to find the originals on-line if they are still available for purchase, but if not, I'll find the closest item I can.  

A couple of provisos, though my personal style has improved dramatically in the past three years or so, I am still far from the most fashionable person in the world (or even in the 10 mile radius around my house.) In fact, I never thought much at all about my wardrobe until I began reading Corporette. It was there that I learned a great deal about the importance of fit, of finding my true waistline and understanding what clothes work with that, and of the impression made on others when certain faux pas are made or when you just generally represent yourself sloppily, and it was also on Corporette that I learned a great deal about how certain contrasting colors complement each other - and learned that I had a good instinct for those types of questions. I also discovered that I had a special talent for what I do here - internet shopping for others when given almost any parameters. This was quite the surprise since nothing in my background or in my personal style would suggest having these skills or having the eye to select the best looking or best quality items if I did find them.  [Think these skills sound great and would you like a personalized exposure to my method and some back and forth on results - enter the contest and you will be entered in a raffle just for that. 

 As for my workplace style, I dress to be business appropriate for that office, but with just enough color and flare to give the impression that I have enough self-confidence and dymanism to escape the "office wardrobe" of slacks or a skirt, a button down shirt, or a shell and a cardigan every day.  I came to this idea somewhat organically, but if you pay attention long enough to pictures of most powerful female politicians, business people, or non-profit management, they are rarely dressed in just black, gray, or navy. So what I'm saying is - there's a reason this is a shopping blog and not a "fashion" blog where I take pictures of my daily wardrobe (well, that and I'm an attorney hunting for a job...so I guard my internet presence.)  


Finally, before we get started....HELLO AW'S MOM!!!!  Welcome to the crazy world of my mind and the slightly strange hobby that has rescued my budget by allowing me to shop for other people rather than myself.  Now on to the clothes! 

Silk Shell from Ann Taylor in Plum Brandy ($44 - but not available anymore - see also Ponte Peplum Shell at AT Loft ($44.50 - 
Draycott Skirt from in navy at Boden ($52.80 for this option - prices vary based on color.  Fabric is stretchy and soft but utterly professional.  I love it.)
Pewter pumps from Bella-Vita Zappos ($89.95 - two shades of gray) and Cole Haan at Amazon ($147.48 - very lucky sizes only). I love my pewter shoes, wear them daily basically.
Lambswool Navy Blue Blazer at Brooks Brothers 
($139.20 - This is on-sale and an pretty damn good deal for BB. I have a very similar blazer to this (linings different) from a couple of years ago.  I LOVE it and wear it sometimes 4 days a week. In fact, I kind of want to order this  too so I can lessen the load on the first one, plus...POLKA DOTS.  Here is a link to another good looking navy blazer - but I think its in suiting material so less easy to pair with different color bottoms in suiting fabrics..)
Signature Silk Dots Shirt from C. Wonder ($128 - so, I have a lovely silk polka-dot button down shirt from Land's End Canvas maybe two or three years ago (?) that was a Corporette recommendation.  So its obviously not on sale anymore, but this C. Wonder shirt is similar and I love coral and coral-like pinks in spring and summer.  If you want something in red or navy though, I'd check out these great options at Boden. 
Nic + Zoe Red Ponte Sheath Dress (no longer available)  I just recently saw this Land's End dress that is VERY similar.  The radish or cobalt would both be great with Navy.
Tina Silk Blouse with multi dot print from Pendleton (no longer available - but see the Pendleton blouse I posted below.)
Double Strand Beaded Turquoise Necklace on Amazon ($52) and Turquoise clip on earrings ($19.99) own both. I'm including them here because turquoise is a GREAT third color to bring into a berry/ navy outfit.  
3/4 Sleeve Ponte Knit Drapey Faux Wrap Dress in rich eggplant by Land's End ($22.97 but lucky sizes only - I actually own two eggplant purple faux wrap dresses but neither are for sale anymore - but this is the general idea. If and of you, my lovely readers, are the lucky size - I'd snap this up quick. I find my versions of this to be SO very, very, very versatile.
Halogen Seamed Pencil Skirt in Red Beauty from Nordstroms ($41.40 - it seems almost silly to put this up here - but they are the most basic building block of my wardrobe.  I don't actually own this color; I own black, slate gray, fuchsia, and cobalt blue. But this color looks pretty on the screen, so I might just add it to my collection!
THINGS I DON'T OWN BUT THAT I WOULD BUY IN A HOT MINUTE
Striped Knit Boat Neck Dress in navy at Banana Republic ($109.99 lucky sizes only on-line but other sizes may be in-store.)
Floral Print Blouse from Zara ($49.90 - just think with the navy blazer - might need to have a hook-and-eye closure added on the neckline to raise it a bit.)
Floral Ruched Wrap Dress from M&S (35 pounds - but free shipping to US for limited time.)
Capped Sleeve A-Line Dress in sea glass at Talbots ($109 - could wait for it to go on sale since it almost certainly will.  I'm including this because I love the sleeves and the waist definition.  I also think you should consider pairing this shade of blue with all of the navy in your wardrobe, its a beautiful combo. Add in gold, green, or yellow jewelry and you have a showstopper.)
Andrea Tunic at Pendleton ($128 - available in Misses, Petite, and Plus sizes.  I like that its a tunic so you can wear it belted as shown or tucked in and I love the pattern and I've been thrilled with the quality of my Pendleton purchase.  My only tip would be to keep an eye on it and see if it goes on sale, I got my silk blouse from Pendleton for $29.99.  So...maybe don't pay full price?

FUNNY EDITOR'S NOTE: For my readers who also read Corporette (i.e. a sizable majority of you, I believe, I just saw  this suit at Brooks Brothers while looking for something else and it appears they've also gotten into the long suit jacket "trend" (that I had no idea was coming back.)  This one is a MUCH more appropriate office length and I like the light gray color more.  It is practically screaming for a belt though.  (I'm still not completely sold on this look - despite the fact that Ally McBeal was on television during my formative years and thus influenced my perception of "workplace wear" AND the Cake song "Short Skirt Long Jacket" that would be stuck in my head all day and make me feel like a BAMF wherever I went.

SERIOUS EDITOR'S NOTE: As you can see, I tried out a new format today.  What do you think?  Does it work and can you associate the links and notes more easily with the pictures or does it break up the flow too much?  Any comments you could give me would be so helpful!  Leave it in the comments below and I'll love you forever and ever!

So there you have it people, my sense of style...or else, some snapshot of my sense of style.  Noticeably absent are the Captain America pajama pants and my LL Bean sweatshirt robe that I spend an inordinate amount of time in.  But we all have our vices, mine just happens to be superhero pajamas.  There's nothing wrong with that!  
 
Reader MU gives me ALL the specifics I so adore and asks:
Hi TCFKAG, I saw in the C’rette comments that you’re back in the hospital. I hope it’s a brief stay and that your medical issues are resolved. Hope to see you commenting in good spirits on Tuesday! I finally have a problem worthy of your skills! I’m going to an outdoor wedding in July in Baltimore. The ceremony is outside, and is followed by an outdoor happy hour. I already have a dress I’m looking forward to wearing – it’s a slate blue sundress. The real issue is shoes! I was thinking of gold or neutral sandals, but the competing priorities seem almost impossible to reconcile. They need to have either a wedge or a wide heel (so I don’t sink into the ground heel first) and can’t be too casual (since it’s a wedding). I feel like I have some leeway. Ideally, they’d have a heel of ~2 inches. (I’m a wimp and probably won’t survive an hour-long standing cocktail hour in anything much higher. My vanity, however, knows darn well I don’t look great in something super flat.) I feel like some demographics may be useful in your search. I’m in my mid-thirties and wear a shoe size of 10 (dress size too, come to think of it). My foot is on the wider side. For example, Cole Haans are always too narrow. I’d like to keep it under $150. I’m willing to spend on these because, given the parameters, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of them. Not sure if this matters, but my dress is fit and flare, and knee-length. I have a sandal very similar to these Clarks Woodward Alder, but they seem too casual for me. (All the wedges I’ve found seem to have cork siding, and while I’m sure there is some leeway, it just looks too casual to me.) Take care of yourself!

Thank you for the well wishes MU - I am, in fact, home from the hospital (came home Sunday evening so I got to enjoy the beautiful weather on Monday).  I even went to work today, which was a challenge.  But, I have to put my game face on since this week is a very hectic one as I prepare for my very first court appearance as a full-fledged attorney, representing my pro bono client in a pre-trial hearing in her divorce case.  So wish me luck readers!  Aaaanyway - back to the issue at hand.  For the readers following along at home, here are the sandals that MU mentioned in her post.
These are very cute sandals and I like them a lot - but I have to agree that, with the dress you've described and the sound of the event, I'm not sure they're dressy enough.  But I'm sure I can find you a few better options.  So shoppers start your...credit cards and lets do this thing!
Naturalizer 'Egypt' Sandal from Nordstroms ($78.95 - great comfort brand - not sure if the heel is chunky enough but I like the simple line of the sandal with the coin like metallic pieces for decoration.  Also comes in a slate blue that might match your dress. :-)  Just in case you decide to go mono-tone.)
Bandolino Anippe Wedge Sandal in rose gold from Zappos ($53.99 - there is also a gold version, but I love this rose gold one so I'm throwing it out there - there's only one of the rose gold left in size 10, so act fast!)
Dolce Vita Women's Helia Wedge Sandal in white at Amazon ($114.55 - if you'd consider white as an alternative to nude I think this is a very pretty sandal and the gold embellishments keep it from being boring at all.)
Ross Hommerson Dejon Wedge Sandals in Gold Cork at 6PM ($31.50 - so, wave off any attempts to institutionalize me here - but I think these are really cute.  Rather than just using cork as a throw-away on the heel, here he has used it intentionally to make a more interesting shoe, and there are gold flecks throughout the cork.  Its an entirely different take on the neutral wedge sandal and I have to say, I think I'm a fan.  So weird.)
Donald J. Pliner Decimas wedge sandals in gold at 6PM ($89.99 - so since 6PM doesn't have reviews, I looked these up on Amazon and they have great reviews - but only two of them - and you'd be getting a good price, they cost $169 or so at Amazon.)
Nine West Vocals Wedge Sandal in mixed metallics at Amazon ($59.25 - I love mixing metallics, especially in shoes, it allows you to mix metallics in the rest of the outfit which totally opens up your accessorizing choices for the evening.)
Aerosoles Women's Bakers Dozen wedge sandals in gold snake at Famous Footwear ($59.99 - I know not everyone is wild about snake prints but I like them since they add a wee bit of edge to an outfit.  I also think the uncovered wedge doesn't take as much away from this shoe as they usually do - maybe because it isn't true cork?)
Aerosoles Women's Zenthusiasm in neutral at Famous Footwear ($68.99 - so this is another pair you might need to check my brain for but...I love the way they've purposefully taken a series of casual elements and put them together in such a way that, when paired with a dressy outfit would look, I think, appropriately formal.  Especially for an outdoor wedding in the summer.  And yet, on the flip side, paired with a denim skirt and a moto jacket on the weekends it could work with that too. These shoes confuse me - its like they're camouflaged or in deep cover.  But, I like that about them. Anyway, might be worth a look see.)

And finally - I wanted to mention a product (or more like a group of products) that might really make your day.  Or week.  Or month.  Or whatever.  They are small plastic things that you stick on the bottom of your heels that allow you to walk in grass - I used them when I was a bridesmaid in an outdoor wedding and it worked like a charm.  Below are the three most well-reviewed options on Amazon.
Crystal Starlettos Heel Protector  $14.99 per pack of two.  Technically best reviewed of the lot, with four and a half stars, but only has seven reviewers.
Heels Above High Heel Protector - Clear $11.99 per pack of four but free shipping is not included as it doesn't qualify for prime. But with 38 reviews it has 4 stars - not half bad for something like this.
SoleMates High Heeler High Heel Protection $12.65 per pack of two. Comes in a glittery option - I believe this is the version I used at the aforementioned wedding - they worked well, though one got irretrievably stuck on the heel of the shoe (luckily the shoes weren't my favorites.)
Okay readers - what do YOU wear to weddings like this?  Flats? Wedges? Stacked or chunky heels? Or do you use these heel protectors so you can wear stilettos or other heels?  Leave a comment in the notes with your preference.

Oh...and while you're here....you might as well think about entering the CONTEST which ends FRIDAY.  That's is SO SOON.  I mean really, if you are procrastinating on this, you're only hurting yourself.  :-)  So enter today!  (Thanks for tolerating my contest announcements over here - I feel like public radio during a fundraising drive.  But without the tote bags or the boring history DVDs to give away.)
 
EDITOR'S NOTE TO MY OTHER READERS BEFORE WE GET STARTED:

Do you enjoy this blog? Would you like to have me help you revamp your wardrobe or get all your Christmas shopping done in August?  Well - then you should enter my contest!  Remember, all you have to do is (1) promote this blog on any social media platform or website, (2) send me proof of such promotion to tcfkag@gmail.com, and (3) wait to see if your name is one of the three lucky names drawn to win the raffle for my personal shopping services performed via e-mail.  Click through to the link just above here to see the full description but most important important take-away: 
  • IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PROMOTED TCFKAG SHOPS FOR THE PROMOTION, SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH A SCREENSHOT OR A LINK! 
  •  IF YOU HAVEN'T PROMOTED TCFKAG SHOPS - YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO THAT (REMEMBER THAT FACEBOOK COUNTS) BECAUSE THE DEADLINE IS FAST APPROACHING.  
  • THE CONTEST ENDS AT MIDNIGHT ON MAY 30th!!!!  
  • And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming.


Reader AW is looking for a guiding hand
:

Hi, TCFKAG. I love your blog. I had a baby 3 months ago and my feet grew from a size 10 to an 11 wide. I work for the federal government and I would like to purchase a few pairs of comfortable, dressy flats--preferably almond toe-- under $120. Something like these Bandolino Genie flats. I've been looking for black, brown, navy and nude (beige). I like patent material and embellishments, although those things aren't a "must". Thank you for your time TCFKAG. 

For those shopping along at home, here are the (very nice, in my opinion) navy and/or black flats from Bandolino that Reader AW likes so much.  I think they would be great for my readers without size 11W feet - they are a beautiful, professional flat with just enough something, something to prevent them from being too grandmotherly (we can't all be Macklemore.)
So I have got to say, your feet growing and widening after child birth is definitely a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, all new shoes!  On the other hand, you now have feet that would make excellent flippers (my 16 year old swimmer self is totally envious by the way.)  But moving on, those Bandolino's seem quite nice - too bad they don't come in either an 11 OR a wide.  [Insert me shaking my fist at the shoe gods here.]  But I'm sure I can find you some options you like.  I'll try to fit all your preferred color needs - but if I come across another color you might like [cough gray cough] I'll make an executive decision and throw it in there.  One other last minute thought - would you consider a loafer or oxford (they are super in right now).  If so, you might consider looking at men's shoes - many retailers, like Cole Haan for example, make absolutely beautiful oxfords and even some loafers that would look lovely on women and a size 9 wide (or possibly even regular) width men's shoe would be MUCH easier to come by.
Vaneli Serene quilted flat with patent toe-cap at Zappos ($125) - a bit expensive but for some reason I'm very drawn to these.  They have the patent toe cap you like and the quilting is very classic.  They come in a variety of color combinations between the shoes and the toe cap.  Reviews are quite good.
Naturalizer Valya Pump in Inky Navy at Amazon ($68.99 - navy patent leather - the only color left in your size but also navy which you do need!  So, there are a few Naturalizer options in this post, I am not a secret shill for them, but as a brand they seem a good option for those with wide feet.)
Walking Cradles Women's Ringo Ballerina Flat at Amazon ($130 - a bit above budget but the one review says they are like "walking on air" - and I like that they are simple but with a little bling.)
Hush Puppies Candid Wedge in tan at Amazon ($49.99 - so, I bought the coral and cream version of this shoe a couple of weeks ago and I love them.  They are so comfortable, SO comfortable.  I don't ever notice it has a wedge and I wear them basically everywhere.  They come in lots of colors but I thought you'd like the tan for your brown shoe option, trust me on this ... you should DEFINITELY check these out.  Oh - AND you'd be paying $10 less than I did two weeks ago, which at that point was $20 less than everyone else was charging so you'd be getting a deal!  Seeing the price go down again just makes me want to buy them in two or three more colors!!)
Naturalizer Women's Heath Flat at Amazon ($59.99 in the color shown - this comes in several colors including black and an AWESOME gray or brown tweed which would be AMAZING for winter.  But I love this pewter and I think it would be a great workhorse in your wardrobe so I'm suggesting it.  But there's only one left in stock as of tonight so....get on that if you want it!  Otherwise check out the black version which is also pretty amazing.)
Ros Hommerson Metro flats in Camel Kid from 6PM ($59.99 - not sure what shade is actually nude for you, but I hope these are close, if they are I like the bow with some subtle shine and they may breathe for summer.
Naturalizer Vision Flat in Inky Navy at Amazon ($69.95 - another Naturalizer where only navy is available but its cute and I wanted to give you another navy option so - here it is.)
Comfortview Ava Pump in the natural cognac combo at Amazon ($29.77)
Aerosoles Teashop Ballet Flats in red tweed at Amazon ($59.99 - maybe not for summer but once fall roles around I think these flats would be amazing and a great office shoe - probably one of those surprise workhorse items.)
Bass Women's Bedford Skimmer in red at Amazon ($69 - available in black also - love the classic styling but I think the red brings it into the modern world.  A very nice looking option.)
Naya Ava Dark Pink/Dark Venom Floral Flat at 6PM ($64.99 - this bottom row is for shoes that you might not need but you may never have known you wanted - since, you know, my bottom row is where I go rogue.  Anyway, I thought these floral flats are fun as all get out and would be great for going out to drinks or dinner or even to a casual wedding or cocktail party.  Fun way to add a pop of color to an all black ensemble as well!)
Giorgio Brutini Men's Loafer in wine at Amazon ($52.95 - men's wear inspired loafers and oxfords are all the rage right now in women's shoes - why not go straight to the source?  This loafer is lovely, it looks well constructed, and the color is to die for.  And of course a men's size 9 is easier to find - plus I wonder if you'd even BE a wide in men's shoes.)
Ross Hommerson Monet peep-toe flats with polka dots at 6PM ($34.99 - because everyone needs fancy shoes, right?)

So that's all she wrote, at least for now.  Reader AW, I know it took me a bit of time to get back to you, so I hope I'm not too late and you haven't already found all your new shoes.  Either way - going forward - I hope these ideas will help!  Also, just a general tip, I found in my searching that the Endless/Amazon site and the 6PM site had the most options for cute wide shoes (Zappos was pretty disappointing actually).  So - hope that info is helpful going forward.
 
So I saw this necklace on ModCloth, called the Statement of the Art Peacock Necklace (which is unfortunately not available anymore), and it reminded me how much I LOVE peacock patterns.  So I thought I'd do a post with a bunch of peacock items - just because I can.  Do you all like peacock as much as I do?
Peacock Feather Serving Bowl at jeansclaystudio on Etsy ($45)
Edible Cake Topper, 30 Peacock Flowers, at LittleHopeCakes on Etsy ($24)
Peacock Feather Etched Red Wine Glasses at daydreemdesigns on Etsy ($64.50)

So - there you go!  Just a few peacock items to wet your palette.  Readers, do you have a favorite peacock item?  Do you wear it on clothes or just as accessories?  Let me know in the comments!
 
Reader NYNY writes in from a mysterious location and asks: 

Hi TCFKAG! I've been on a quest for some time with no success: I'm looking for red pumps in leather that isn't patent. I don't know why, but all I can find is patent, which always gives me blisters.  Add in that I fear red patent tends to look strippery - but that may be my office, where several staff members wear stripper shoes all the time (like these Qupid Neutral Platform Pump).  I wear a 7.5 or 8, prefer closed toe for year-round wear, like a 3 inch heel but would go up or down an inch, and want no or minimal platform. I'm willing to spend up to $150ish for the right pair. I frequently wear a lot of black, grey, and navy, and I've long loved wearing red shoes with a fairly neutral outfit. But I just can't find them lately. Can you help?

So - I'm going to start by addressing one issue in your letter - I'm fairly uncomfortable with the declaration that all patent leather shoes are "strippery" (or actually that any shoes are "stripper" shoes unless a woman is wearing them to dance on stage while taking off her clothes - but that's another matter entirely.)  But, what I'm not uncomfortable with is saying that certain shoes aren't necessarily work appropriate and are best saved for going out to clubs or bars or wherever else you want to wear them, and I think the platform pumps you linked to fall firmly into that category.  Here's why - I think work shoes can have one (or even two) of the following things: high heel, platform, bright color, patent leather, embellishment, or peep toe (know your office) - but if there are more than two of those on a given pair of shoes, you should think long and hard about whether the shoes you are holding are work appropriate.  But, moving on, I don't have to agree with you that patent is non-work appropriate by nature to understand that it may not be your style or preference - so I'm happy to help you find a nice, non-patent red pump (and I agree, they can be a real bitch to find.)  So let's give it a try, okay?
Cole Haan Juliana Leather Pump at Lord & Taylor ($109.99 ! - great price and beautiful shape - a great option!)
Nine West Selene Pump in red leather at Amazon ($48 - the reviews on this pump are decidedly mixed but it comes in so many colors that its hard not to recommend sometimes.)
Guess Rolenas Leather Pump at Lord & Taylor ($52.49 - I enjoy the color is "blood orange" - its RED - sorry, Project Runway joke.)
Kelsi Dagger Lillian Curved Leather Pump at Neiman Marcus, Last Call ($47.40 - clearly a bit too high, but so bad ass looking I'm sharing it. I love the curved side, my favorite heels have that and its beautiful.
Suede Leather Pumps in red at Mango Outlet ($54.99 - I know suede wasn't your first choice but the price is sure right on these and the shape is lovely.)
Naturalizer Clava Pump in dark venom leather (!) at 6PM ($31.99 - great shape and I like a darker red - and the price sure is right.  The reviews on other websites, if you google it, are great so this would be a really great option. Also best color name or best color name?)
And now for my tradition of a couple of less rule bound options:
Tahari Zoe Patent Leather Pointed-Toe Pumps in coral at Lord & Taylor ($59.99 - I *love* the shape on these and thought the color is called coral it looks like its a reddish coral.  Even though its called patent leather, it looks like these would be beautiful for the office in the spring and summer.)
Frye Regina High Heels in vintage red at Zappos ($188 - I love the shape and color of these - for a high heel these would be amazingly comfortable I bet.  Seriously.  There's a lower version too.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Have you entered the promotional contest yet?  HAVE YOU?  And if you have, did you remember to send me the email documenting your entry?  Without the email I won't know how many people to enter in the raffle!!  So promote away dear readers - and then send me an e-mail at tcfkag@gmail.com with a screenshot or link showing your awesome efforts.  :-)  You are all awesome.  Thumbs up!
 
Reader SZ asks:

I love your recommendations on Corporette. Up to a swimsuit challenge? I'm going on a beach vacation (yay!) which requires swimsuit shopping (boo!) I'm looking for something cute and on-trend but practical enough to play with my kids. I'm tall so I prefer tankinis (no bikinis for me since the kids.) Relevant facts: 5'10" so most 1-pieces are too short (and "long torso" suits usually look like grandma-wear) I'm generally slim but with post-baby pooch and muffin top. Super self-conscious about this. B/C cup I'd normally go for something like this: J-Crew Pintuck Bandeau Tankini, but I need to find something that won't fall down or (maybe even worse) fly/float up to reveal my mid-section when I'm playing and swimming. I also like prints but it seems like the more updatedl prints are all in bikinis - double boo. Price up to $200 - I'm desperate! Thanks!

Its still kind of cold, rainy and gross outside here in lovely New England, but the first signs of summer are hitting...in my ask box!  So, I have a few favorite places to look for swim suits, Lands End and Athleta.  So I'll point you to a few favorites there.  I think these particular stores will be good matches for you because they sell more athletic suits, meaning they will be less prone to pulling up or otherwise being a pain in the but to swim in. So let's do this thing.  
Women's Regular Beach Living Graphic Wave V-Neck Tankini Top from Land's End ($23.40 - comes in a tall size also - you of course can pick the bottom you like.)
Women's Long Beach Living Bardot Floral Scoopneck One Piece Swimsuit from Land's End ($50.40 - I wanted to give you at least one cute long one-piece option - and for my bigger busted readers, this comes in up to DD.)
Women's Regular Shape & Enhance Floral Surplice Tankini Top ($59.40 - I like this one and it has some shaping built in that will help make it more flattering.)
Land's End has several other long suits that you should check out, plus, I like this zip front cover up which might be nice for hanging out on the beach for long periods with your kids and then leaving to head back to your hotel or whatever.
Bombay Bra Cup Twistini Tankini at Athleta ($76 - comes in two colors and two designs, has built in cup in a variety of sizes, and comes in tall size as well.)
Sara Bra Cup Halter Tankini at Athleta ($72 - this is quite like the one you like from J-crew, but it comes in a tall size and with a built in cup and with a variety of colors.)
Space Dye Kata One Piece at Athleta ($79 - another tall sized one-piece and this one is down right sexy.  I like it!)
Okay - those are just a smattering of my favorites at Athleta - you should check it out.  I love their suits.

So these are my favorites at my two favorite swimsuit stores.  Some other places to check out are REI, LL Bean, and Target.  Speedo, the competitive swim suit brand, also sells some tankinis that are pretty good and would likely not ride up if you want to check those out as well.

Hope this helps!  Have a great vacation - and hope the swim suit problems fade into the background of an otherwise awesome trip.  :-)  
 
Reader LK de-lurks and inquires:

Hi TCFAKG, I lurk in C'rette, sometimes comment. I need help with wedding attire. I am going to a family wedding in late September in NYC. The wedding itself is held in the Botanical Gardens, and I will also be attending the rehearsal dinner and the Sunday morning brunch (both to be held in Scarsdale). I asked my cousin (groom's sister) for pointers and she replied: "As for dress code. My understanding is that for the wedding itself long (but not poufy) and/or black would be fine but black in general is the norm for New York. I am aiming for dark and below the knee but most probably not to the floor (though I went to a wedding in NYC the same formality last week and there was a lot of floor length even in dark colors so that would be fine). . It's definitely more formal than a little black dress though, but I think even one step up is fine with multiple steps also being ok. For the other events: Friday I am going cocktail and probably black - often the bride wears like white with a pattern though [bride] may not but I would avoid that specifically. Sunday brunch I am going to wear a skirt and flats - like business casual but not so worky. If that makes sense. I don't think the weekend will be very warm, so keep that in mind" Do you have any further insight? any shopping options? Mostly for the wedding itself, I can probably manage the rehearsal and look for something for the brunch. I actually live overseas, but can do online shopping. I am usually a small/4 in AT/BR. Incidentally, I am 5'3", and husband is 6'3", so anything that makes me taller would be appreciated. I have no set budget, but I'd like to spend no more than $300. Thanks! L

So, I'm starting to think I should change the name of my blog to "TCFKAG Shops for Wedding Guest Attire."  Just kidding (sort of); who doesn't like shopping for pretty dresses.  Here is my quick summation of what you need:
  • Rehearsal dinner: black or dark colored cocktail dress.
  • Wedding: Midi-length or tea-length black or dark colored formal dress - perhaps a long gown if something is awesome.
  • Sunday brunch: Fun business casual.
  • Overall - lighter fabrics because it may be hotter than hell.

Assuming that summary is right, I'll suggest a few options for all three events (I know you said just the wedding but I don't do things half way in these here parts).  And since its my site and I'll do what I want to, I might also offer up some fun shoe and/or accessories ideas.  Because I'm awesome like that.  So here we go.  One last note, since you didn't clarify where you live overseas, I'm mostly sticking with American retailers here - but for future submissions and other readers, I can search on country specific websites (at least for some countries) so you can at least tell me where you're coming from.  
REHEARSAL DINNER
Black one-shouldered draped sleeveless cocktail dress from Calvin Klein ($49.99 - I actually just recommended this to a friend for a wedding this summer, she ordered it and likes it a lot.  It so classy and sleek but could totally be glitzed up with red shoes or metallic jewelry.  I'm a big fan and am thinking about getting it myself, the price is certainly right.)
Petite Seamed Detail Sweetheart Body-Conscious Dress from ASOS ($64.49 - lovely classic shape and I assume at your height you can wear petite sizes - only issue is, based on the picture, it looks like you'll need to get a slip under it.)
Calvin Klein Strapless Neon-Trim Dress at Dillard's ($59.40 - another fairly simple yet classy number from CK - though the neon pink adds a twist.  Its a cotton/spandex blend, meaning it should breath well in the heat, and you could maybe add interest with a pink wrap.  Overall pretty cute - though not sure if Dillard's will ship to you - might have to find it elsewhere!)
Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Ruched Matte Jersey Dress at Nordstroms ($118.00 - the Suzi Chin line has lots of great dresses for this sort of thing but this is one of my favorites.  56 reviews and it has 4 stars and I just think it looks really flowy and flattering - maybe consider one of the non-black colors...I know, scandalous, but the purple is cute!)
Nue by Shani pink and navy two tone cocktail dress from eDressMe ($92.00 - so this is kind of a curveball both because its final sale and because its not really what you described but something about it just called to me, plus eDressMe ships world wide so that's a plus.  Only available in a size 6, so may run too big, but sometimes these sorts of dresses run kind of small, so it may even out in the end.)
Paper Dolls Mirrored Lace Body-Conscious Dress at ASOS ($98.43 - another color option, I love cobalt and black and think its both super on trend right now but also classic.  ASOS ships internationally I believe and I think this dress is fabulous.)
Corso Como Dover Pump at DSW ($109.95 - I feel like red pumps are a great combo with black dresses and the cut-outs at the back of these give them a little interest.  I don't know, they're cool.)
Ivanka Trump Ariell High Heel Ankle Strap Pumps at Bloomingdales ($105.00 - metallics are my other favorite with black dresses and I'm super into gold right now, so here you go.  I also really like black and gold together, like these ones at Piperlime, but they're only available in limited sizes so I went with the Ivankas instead.)
THE WEDDING
ML Monique Lhullier Black Knit One Shoulder Sequined Side Ruched Dress at Bluefly ($115.97 - a comfortable fabric but the ruching, sequins, and asymmetrical strap adds interest.)
Tadashi Shoji Portrait Collar Pleated Mesh Gown ($298 - I LOVE this one - someone in my life should have a formal event so I can purchase it please.)
Adrianna Pappell Illusion Yoke Pleated Dress at Nordstroms ($158.00 - extremely well reviewed and looks very flattering - a bit prim and proper but lovely.)
Adrianna Pappell Pleat Bodice Rossette Ballgown at Nordstroms ($238 - fun if you want to go true ballgown.)
Starlight Hearted Dress at ModCloth ($202.99 - loyal readers of the site will recognize this dress as I've posted it before and still love it - may not be long enough but the poofy skirt and gold accents might make it work, especially if paired with awesome metallic gold shoes and fabulous jewelry.)
JS Boutique Cap-Sleeve Beaded Pleated Evening Gown at Macy's ($136 - yay navy, yay sparkles.) 
Tadashi Shoji Asymmetrical Ruched Mesh Dress at Nordstroms ($228 - I love Tadashi Shoji, I think they make some of the most interesting clothes out there, and I like the design of this one.  Flattering and interesting all in one.)
Lauren Ralph Lauren Illusion Yoke Matte Jersey Gown at Nordstroms ($180 - a sleek simple long option with a nice price point to boot.)
Adrianna Pappell Lace Fit and Flare at Nordstroms ($178 - I love the see through detailing at the bottom.)
Adrianna Pappell Short Sleeve Sequin Mesh Gown ($278 - SPARKLES - this row is having non-black dresses because I'm stubborn and because of reasons.)
Colorblocked Blanche Dress at Kate Spade New York ($249 - a little whimsical but styled right it'd be great.)
Dalia MacPhee Strapless Pleated Ruffle Chiffon Gown ($298 - another repeat but that's because I'm in love with it.  The color and shape are gorgeous - though reviews say it runs large.)

Okay - the shoes here really depend on what you buy - but you could wear either of the shoes from above again with most of these.  Now - I know you said you had the brunch on lockdown (and I'm sure you do) but I came across a few casual dresses that would be great for it, so I thought I'd pass them along.
THE BRUNCH
Adrianna Pappell Embellished Jacquard Sheath Dress at Nordstroms ($138)
Colorblocked Ribbon Waist Sleeveless Dress at Ann Taylor Loft ($69.50)Petite Sleeveless Seamed Ponte Dress with Pockets at Land's End ($69 - want this one badly for myself.)

All of these would look great with a nude sandal or wedge pump and a white, beige, or contrasting color blazer or sweater.  Okay!  Hope this post helps.  Let me know what you end up buying - I'm sure you'll look glorious no matter what you choose.  Happy shopping and may the odds be ever in your favor.  Readers - do you have any recommendations for Reader LK?  Do you agree that NYC wedding means a black dress?  What colors do you like to wear to weddings?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Have you entered our promotional contest yet?  Why not?  You should really do that now.  Like now.  Yes now.  GO DO IT.  (Okay - done now.)
 
As the headline suggests, I'm having a little contest.  Since my blog is like a new baby bird, trying to spread its wings and fly, I'd like to give it a little more readership by getting some word of mouth going.  But, I wondered, how should I do that.  So I sat down to think about it....as one is want to do.  And I thought and I thought...and I turned into a heavily muscled man made of bronze.    
But then inspiration struck like a bolt of lightening - I'll have a prize!  Who doesn't like a prize?  What is the prize you ask?  How do I win the prize?  WHAT'S GOING ON HERE????   
Okay so here's how to enter and how to win.

  • Promote TCFKAG Shops on your own blog, facebook, Tumblr, or wherever you have readers or followers who might do what you say (ideally you would say something nice, but content is not a requirement of entry.)  
  • Take a screenshot of the promotion or a link to the promotion and send it to me at TCFKAG@gmail.com.
  • One entry per website, but if you have more than one blogging platform you can enter for each one.
  • The contest starts today and ends Thursday, May 30th at 11:59 PM.
  • At that point, all entrants will be entered in a random lottery.
  • Three (3) winners will be selected to win personal shopping from me via email.
  • Email personal shopping can take the form that most suits your interest but can include any of the following: (1) style advice based on pictures of you in outfits you already own, (2) wardrobe refresh advice, (3) shopping advice (of course), (4) dressing for your body-type advice, (5) gift ideas for those you know and love or (6) on-line shopping lessons (give a woman a fish, she eats for a day, teach a woman to fish, she eats for a lifetime.)  But the process will differ from what I do on the website because it will be interactive and involved.  You can ask follow-up questions and the answers will be better matched to your tastes and needs.  Plus it'll be fun.

So - if you're interested - START PROMOTING.  Word of mouth is the best way to spread the news about a new blog and I'd love to get some more regular readers!  Let's do this thing people...I'll give periodic updates during the course of the week about how its going.  And lets just hope it doesn't end up like this.
But instead ends up more like this!