So - for this post I am going to partake in a bit of navel gazing. In recent months I have desperately wanted one or two really well fitted, attractive women's waistcoats to add to my business casual wardrobe. I mean, I love them on men, and I would love to pair them with pencil skirts and other girly items and just add that slight androgynous flare that I so enjoy. Plus I just think waistcoats are hot. But I haven't pulled the trigger yet and part of the problem is finding the right waistcoat in a budget I can stomach! So...I thought....what better way than doing a TCFKAG Shops post on the very subject. So here goes. To give you an idea of the type of waistcoat I'm thinking, here's a great example from Marc Jacobs.
I love the simplicity of it, the way its clearly fit to work for a woman, and that its a traditional suiting material. Of course, it goes without saying that I wouldn't pair it with a silk (?) midi-length skirt and elbow-length gloves. I was thinking more a burgundy or dark gray pencil skirt with a white button down underneath. And with my new black, patent-leather t-straps added in for good measure. Unfortunately, as is to be expected, this is a bit rich for my blood
So - on to a few ideas..
Houndstooth Wool Vest by Ralph Lauren
($179 - I really like this vest, especially since I'm a total sucker for houndstooth, but I worry that it reads a bit too much "I'm spending my weekend on my ranch up-state practicing show jumping" to really fit in for my workplace. But maybe paired with a red or deep brown pencil skirt and the appropriate heels, I could bring it around. The price is also, still, a bit steep for something that may just be a passing fancy.)Anne Klein Glen Plaid Cap Sleeve Vest at 6PM
($81.99 - I think this vest actually has some potential - if only it fit the model. I think it is at least 1-2 sizes too big for her, making it look baggy and overall unflattering. But if it fit, I think it could give off the vibe I am going for. Plus the price is definitely going in the right direction on this one. My two concerns are that it might look a bit cheap and I wish it had two buttons rather than just one. But otherwise, an option to at least consider. Editor's Note: if you're in the mood for a laugh - go check out the skirt that is made to be paired with this vest - the pleats on that thing are out of this world.)
Navy Waistcoat by Etsy Seller Julihunter
($126.98 - sometimes, when you can't find quite what you want on the mass market - Etsy is a good place to look. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of seamstresses on there making a variety of clothes - some of them even bespoke. I love this particular waistcoat for the color and the shape...though I hope I could get her to change out the buttons. Its not that I don't like them (I do) but I think I'd like something more neutral for the office.)
Emmanuel Ungaro Vintage Fitted Waistcoat at Farfetch
($115.05 - so this particular vest isn't available in my size - but I am super drawn to it and wanted to share it with all of you fine people. I love the details - the textured (linen I think) fabric, the gold buttons, the cut, basically everything. Its a truly lovely piece of clothing. Ah...to be wealthy and skinnier. Though as a side note, I think this is another case of the vest not truly fitting the model, but that's a battle for another time.)Studio Stretch Faux Double Breasted Vest at Express
($47.94 - so, in this case, I'm hoping that this vest is simply too small for this model. Otherwise, I really am not into vests that are intended to button below the breast area, as if serving the girls of up on a tray for everyone you see that day [YES, here they are, I - a woman past puberty, have BREASTS!]. I know its a look, but its not a look I want to rock at the office. But, on the other hand, if this fit such that you could button all of the buttons - it might not be a bad option.) Black Collection Tuxedo Vest from the Limited
($69.90 - man, the Limited has really been pulling out all the stops lately with cool, on-trend clothes that don't look *too* twee for the adult professional and this piece is no exception. I'm a big fan (and seriously considering purchasing it.) I wish it came in more colors, but beggars can't be choosers, right? I like that it buttons up all the way and the back is a silk-like fabric rather than just the same fabric as the front or a solid color jersey. Overall, I think this one might be the one that most closely resembles a men's waistcoat, but of course, cut for women (hopefully.) With a patterned pencil skirt or pants (maybe stripes?) and some interesting jewelry - this could be quite a look for work.)
So - for any waistcoat fans out there who are looking at these options and are simply, underwhelmed, have no fear! I saw TONS of cute, interesting options in the MUCH more expensive designer level. Which usually means that by this time next year, we should be seeing waistcoats just about everywhere. And then you'll have your pick of the litter. (And remember, you can say you heard it here first.) So commenters - would you wear a waistcoat? If so where? To work? For fun? Just so you can feel a little closer to Tom Hiddleston or Neal Caffrey in some small way? Let me know in the comments!
Reader KG asks:Hi TCFKAG! I'm in my mid-twenties and have been thinking about trying to create a more cohesive personal style lately. So far my shopping style is haphazard and I just buy what I like. My closet isn't bad, it's just not memorable. I'm trying to go about this by selecting a fashion icon (Jackie O) and trying to go from there. But I get a block when I'm actually shopping. What I really would love is a list of 5-10 modern Jackie O must-haves to get me started on building an awesome wardrobe. The details: Size: generally size small/2/27. I'm a skinny hourglass. Price Range: Lower is always better. Max prices would be $30ish for shirts, 100ish for pants, 75-100ish for dresses, $50-150 on shoes. But I love to fall in love and goggle at out of reach clothes too, so don't feel too limited. Hair color/skin tone: Super pale skin, brown hair Event: Everyday work and weekend clothes. I work in a pretty casual industry, so I don't need suits or really formal stuff. Shoes: Size 9.5, and definitely partial to flats.Hey! Look - I'm back. Sorry for the longer than expected delay in return. I got back from a PHENOMENAL vacation (go here to see photos) and then I got very, very, very sick. So my return to the world of vicarious shopping and blogging was delayed. But here I am and your question tickled my fancy. It also gives me a chance to expound for just a bit on a topic that has come up several times on Corporette and just generally in work environments I've been in in the past (but which doesn't necessarily apply entirely to your question). I have absolutely no problem with people having a defined personal style; in fact, I think its a great way (though not the only way) to guide your wardrobe and your closet into a cohesive unit - thus allowing the set of clothes you own to work well together as separates and saving you both time and money in the morning. But, with any style choice, you have to walk a fine line in the workplace. With the Jackie O inspiration, frankly, it would look incredibly odd for a twenty-something to be walking around right now wearing pill-box hats and chanel suits. And as with one of my recent posts, people who are more "goth" or edgy in their personal style have to find a way to reign that in for work. But I don't think this just applies to "out there" stylistic choices. If your style is "preppy" for example, a fairly well accepted style choice in the work place, I still don't think you can buy your entire work wardrobe from Lilly Pulitzer or LaCrosse. And if you're into fashion and really like getting dressed up and looking trendy, I would think twice about wearing an Akris suit everyday to a more casual business casual firm, no matter how awesome you would look, because the edginess would likely throw off your superiors. What am I trying to say? With any style-inspiration, its all about taking that inspiration and working elements of it into a modern business or business casual wardrobe. No matter how loyal you are to the "look", you have to remember that your work wardrobe is *not* about expressing personal identity (with, of course, the exception of dressing to match the gender you identify with) - its about looking professional and pulled together. But there's also no reason that has to be boring. Hence the meeting in the middle. So just remember, you want to be remembered as the woman who filed a kick-ass Motion to Dismiss or solved the network problems that had been plaguing the office for months; that is what your office identity should be. You do *not* want to be "Jackie O girl" or "Mad Men girl" or "goth girl." Your style should be a secondary identity but not a primary one. If you pull that off, then you have achieved greatness my friend. NOW! Moving on to the actual meat (and FUN) of the question.I guess the first question is .... what did Jackie O wear? Of course her style changed somewhat throughout her life, but she was known for clean lines, classic styles, simple colors, collarless blazers, and in her early years a-line skirts. She was a style icon of her time and always looked pretty amazing. She was also very New Englandy (is that a word....it is now) - trending, especially later in life, towards a sort of maritime look in her casual wear. Now, I have to admit up front a STRONG affection for Jackie - and frankly the whole Kennedy clan. I'm from New England (in fact a large chunk of my family is from Newport, RI) and I'm Irish-Catholic. What does that mean? That means that there were pictures of JFK and Bobby Kennedy up in all of my elderly relatives houses next to the pope. They were a very big deal for Irish-Americans in the 50s and 60s and it may be hard to understand now, but Jackie was their princess. My now deceased great-uncle went to JFK and Jackie's wedding, just so he could see them come out of the church and shoot a picture - the resulting picture (she looking pretty startled) was one of his most treasured possessions. But really - how could you not love them? (By the way, that's a rhetorical question, I am well aware of the reasons that JFK was problematic.)
So - given this is my first post back AND its Jackie O, I'm going to do a slightly different format. I'm going to post a picture of her that caught my eye - trending from the more business formal to the more casual - and then I will post more modern items that I think would do a good job of recreating a similar look - without making it look like you were playing 1950s or 1970s dress-up (I will be doing various J.O. eras - she had fabulous style in all of them.) So lets get started!
So - the Chanel suit with the pill box hat is, of course, a classic. Its practically iconic. But I also think its pretty dated for a young attorney at this stage of your career (and I'm just going to assume point blank you're not wearing pill box hats to work.) I also think its critically important that you get something that highlight the waist a bit more and is, frankly, a bit more flattering. But I have some ideas about suits that might give the same effect but without the stiffer, throw-back vibe.
| |Front zip moto in coral from the Limited
($49.99 also in yellow - I honestly think in your case that separates are the best way to go, since you don't need a full suit. You can get the vague look with a bit more modern flair.)
| |TopShop Fleck Bouclé Jacket at Nordstroms
($150 - a bit above what I imagine you'd want to pay for a blazer - but otherwise I think its perf. Its cute and modern and I love the color - and if you can get past the horrendous styling on the model it would be great for work (especially with gray.)
| |Bouclé Jacket at Mango Outlet
($79.99 on-sale - I think this blazer is cool and may fit a bit more with her later style - more in the seventies look - but I really like it. Especially if you tried something a little interesting and paired it with a black turtleneck, for example.)
So - other than the unfortunate Chanel suit - one thing Jackie was very good about was picking dresses that emphasized her natural waist. Now - I'm not sure where your waist is precisely, but I'm going to assume for the purposes of this exercise that, like her, you had a fairly mid-range natural waist (which was great for her - it seems to have allowed her to wear things that hit everywhere from just below the rib-cage to almost a dropped waist....the lucky duck.) So here I'll be showing a few work appropriate dresses that have nicely defined natural waists - but would also work as essentially a business casual suit separate with a blazer thrown over them (perhaps one of the blazers above - who knows.) For that reason, I'm sticking mostly with the neutrals here, black, gray, and navy.
So, there may not be universal agreement on this, but I think Jackie's 70s style was absolutely fantastic. She didn't fall prey to some of the more hideous excesses of the period, but instead stuck with her figure flattering, chic look - but added a little more flair and a little more.....disco....for lack of a better term. Take this look for example. 50s and 60s Jackie would never have rocked a super swag, collar popped trench coat and corresponding trousers. And yet she looks fabulous. Also...I think she's the only reason that sometimes I think that very sparing use of the turtleneck in your wardrobe is absolutely a go (see e.g. with the Mango Blazer above.) But generally, what I would take away from this picture, is the power of a well tailored pair of straight leg (or slightly boot cut) trousers, a fitted blouse or short, and an awesome trench coat.
Now, I will acknowledge, it is essentially an exercise in futility recommending pants blind over the internet because of simple size preferences, fit preferences, and the magic "it" that is impossible to capture via the world wide web. But take this from Jackie O - you should want your pants to fit - and don't trust catalogues as a judge for how pants fit - if you have lines pulling across the front forming that sort of spider shape across your pelvis (you know the one) they're too small. If when you sit down, they ride up and show your whole sock, they're probably too short. If when you walk, you trip over them, they're too long. And if they dig into your stomach and make you uncomfortable, they're too small. My best tip - buy the size that fits your thighs, hips, and stomach....the rest can be altered (and get a Nordies debit or credit card so you can get some free alterations too.) Okay...moving on, here we go.
| |Seasonless Straight Leg Pant at White House Black Market
($88 - I know I just said how I wasn't going to recommend pants - but I like the look of these - they're a bit different than all the other "straight" or "wide" leg pants. Might be worth a gander at this price. Readers - has anyone worn or purchased these?)
| |Silk Chiffon Houndstooth Blouse from Brooks Brothers
($91.20 - in trying to figure out what the modern equivalent to the turtleneck would be - I bet it would be something like this blouse. Its formal, but with a pattern and a bow to keep it interesting. In fact, Jackie liked neck bows as seen here
, so you'd be keeping it on theme.)
| |Mark New York Asymmetrical Zip Front Belted Trench Coat from the Bon Ton
($140 - so I'm going with a bright color on this trench because sometimes we forget that Jackie was actually *really* fashionable. She wasn't just demure and proper; she was one of the first First Ladies who was young enough to be a "fashion icon." Yes her style seems a bit prim now, but she was cool
back then, so a Jackie O inspired wardrobe doesn't have to be all prim all the time. Is all I'm saying.
The Kennedys as I assume many of you know are Cape Codders - they have a huge house on the cape and most of the kids grow up there and spend a lot of their time there in the summer. I'm not sure what Jackie's relationship with Newport was, but I think she also spent a fair amount of time on the beach in the summer. After JFK died, she married a yacht dude (I won't pretend to know what he did.) Basically, her casual wear definitely had a fancy maritime theme. Three elements that really defined her look were her cropped pants, her scarfs (traditional square ones, I think), which she would wear on her head or around her neck, and her flats (not pictured above as she's wandering around barefoot....like a peasant...or Britney Spears during her breakdown. But in other pictures it appears for flats she favors a box toe or a slight point with a buckle or other minimalist decoration on the toe box and either flat or a low square heel. We won't discuss in too much detail her taste in heels, we'll chalk it up to the era.) As such, I'll focus on these three items for "casual wear" assuming - probably rightfully - that you have t-shirts or blouses that you can wear that will go nicely with these items.
| |Caslon Chino Ankle Pants from Nordstroms
($34.80 - so, the Halogen brand cropped pant
which comes in a variety of cuts and fabrics gets great reviews at Nordies, but I think I like these chinos a bit better. The cuff gives them a little more of a relaxed flare, while still keeping them looking good - plus I love this navy color - though they come in like 20 colors.)
| |Slightly Curvy Perfect Twill Ankle Pants from Eddie Bauer
($39.99 - if you are considering a more formal cropped pant - I think these Eddie Bauers might be a good fit for you. They are mostly fairly straight, with the pressed seam in the front, but the slightly curvy cut will fit your slim hour-glass shape better. I wish they came in more colors though...I feel like the whole point of cropped pants is fun colors; I'm almost sure of it. For ones that maybe aren't as curvy friendly but come in WAY more fun colors, check out the Hampton fit cropped pants at BR
| |Linen Straight Leg Pant from C&C California
($48.99 - so these are a bit off the radar - but for a modern "oh, you know, I'm just running from the beach to my yoga class to coffee and I just threw this look together" pant - I really am drawn to these. They look amazingly comfortable and yet way more stylish than most similar pants. At least worth a look - especially if paired with an appropriately "just thrown together" tunic and some jewelry.)
| |Vintage Christian Dior Paisley Silk Scarf from American Apparel
($50 - I may or may not be having a stroke right now, since I'm willingly listing an item from AMERICAN APPAREL - but this scarf is SO PRETTY and is allegedly vintage Dior. Either way, I love teal, I LOVE paisley, and it would go amazingly with the color palette we've been building so far [always an important consideration when adding new items and accessories.])
| |Vintage Waves Square Silk Scarf from Lord and Taylor
($30.44 - I love this bright yellow, it would really take a lot of gray and navy and even black outfits into summer with just a tie of a scarf. Plus this is a color I know Jackie favored [at least in the color pictures I saw of her] and I just think its lovely. This particular scarf would go especially well with say a gray or navy dress as a way to add some interest without needing to add layers in the heat of the summer. Plus its a great price for silk!)
| |Harmony close toe flat in dafodil from Sole Society
($59.95 - I have to tell you, I LOVE these, and I'm thinking of getting them for myself. And they feel like exactly what an updated Jackie O casual flat would be. You have the box toe and the buckle on the toe box and yet the color and the patent really scream fun. Plus the yellow will add some pop to otherwise neutral weekend or casual [or work] attire. These are kind of amazing....I might be personally in love though I recognize they are not everyone's cup of tea.)
| |Sesto Meucci Exedra Flat from 6PM
($96.99 - so based on pictures of her actual shoes - these may be the most similar to Jackie O's casual flats that I could see on the current popular shoe market. Which, is kind of funny, because this sort of vaguely male style flat is totally back in style right now. And these would be insanely comfortable [they also come in tan] but they are not as cute and adorable as one might hope. I have no idea if it was a Jackie O thing or a that period thing, but there ya go. She did wear more dressy flats for formal occasions (based on the pictures at least.)
So, we have come to the end of our epic journey....the Little Black Dress. Perhaps not as famous for her choice of a LBD as, say, Audrey Hepburn, our First Lady in question sure knew how to make one work. I especially like the one in the above picture - completely appropriate for the wife of the President and yet stunning none the less (though I think in the modern day we'd ramp up the jewelry and the shoes just a bit.) The bottom two dresses are different. The one on the left is presumably still during the Presidency and it is a more formal event. But I like the deeper dip in the neckline. You can see her jewelry and her toned arms. This is Jackie O outside a boatneck! Huzzah! On the right is something entirely different. This is later in life (probably in the 70s - a google image back search couldn't turn up an origin) but her tastes have matured and she has been freed to be more sexy and fashion forward. Despite all that, and in the middle of the fashion....adventures that were the 70s.....she still looks classy and timeless. She could turn up to a gallery opening today in any of these looks and look in place - and in the end, isn't that the goal? (Well not always, but sometimes. Probably not with Lady Gagas meat dress.)
| |T by Tadashi Off the Shoulder Bandage Dress at Nordstroms
($138 - also available in red and blue - this dress is presented in honor of Ms. O's sexy later years. Because having Jackie O as your style icon doesn't mean being prim and proper forever.... sometimes it means off the shoulder bandage dresses. That's what we are remembering with this dress. ;-].)
| |David Meister Illusion Top Cocktail Dress at Neiman Marcus
($161 - I like this dress a lot - I feel like its classy with just a bit of sex appeal, just like Jackie. It would be great for a formal work cocktail party type thing or as a guest as a wedding. Its screaming for dangly earrings, bangles, and brightly colored shoes [and possibly an opera length necklace, if it doesn't mess with the effect of the neckline.])
| |Bridge V-Neck Dress in Black from Reiss
($240 - also available in red - I feel like this picture likely does not do this dress justice. But it is the ideal sheath dress for fancy occasions, the perfect blank slate on which to build your jewelry and shoes and hair and make-up; with the up-side being that you can wear it to work as well. Also if you click through you'll see the back dips down just a little, which I really like as a detail. To bad the picture is so terrible.)
| |Kate Spade New York Lorelei Dress in "black/clotted" at Piperlime
($248 - okay my budget is all out of control on these....look at them as long term goals? Sorry. But I love the checkered design on this one and the pockets and the classic shape. I also think it would be wildly flattering on someone with a slightly curvy figure [I say that as someone with a slightly but not super curvy figure....if that makes sense.])
| |JS Collection Peek-a-boo lace Cap Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress at Edressme
($270 - so I was trying to avoid lace, mostly because I feel like we're all going to look back at this period in 10 years and wonder if there was something in the water that made us all have a lace fetish, but everything else about the cut, the shape, and the fit of this dress is lovely...so here ya go.)
| |Carmen Marc Valvo Crepe Bottom Cocktail Dress at Bergdorg Goodman
($226 - so - I won't lie, this is only available in a size 6 - but I just think its lovely so I'm sharing it anyway. If any of my other readers are a size 6 and are looking to add something in the same style to their wardrobe, this might be a good match for you!)
So that's all she wrote folks. Did I miss any clear "Jackie O" necessary wardrobe elements? If so, give Reader KG a heads up in the comments! And I'm glad to be back - I missed you all!! Look forward to hear from all of you going forward over the next few days/weeks. And since I couldn't share ALL the amazing photos of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis I found during the making of this post, I will leave you with just a few more (clearly its too bad I don't have the picture of her looking shocked/terrified from when my great-uncle jumped out and took her picture on her wedding day.....)
So - I wanted to do a post about business appropriate work items for people who like to dress with a bit of edge. Now let me be clear, these aren't just for people who are dressing all in black to look more grown up or to be more intimidating. These are people who are, perhaps, goth in their personal style or otherwise like to look tough or edgy in their style. Now - much of what I post here would normally fit the "ladylike" or even "girly" side of the coin. And I'm not going to recommend studded belts or collars for work (which I know you wouldn't wear unless you work in a VERY creative field) - but I'm going to suggest some edgier work wear items to be paired with otherwise neutral items to allow you, my little gothic lovlies, to slip some of your edgy soul into your work wear without scaring the puppy-shirt loving office administrator or the 70-year-old managing partner.
| |Tracy Reese Brocade Pencil Skirt at Neiman Marcus ($90 - so I clicked on this because I liked the skirt but then I liked the sweater with leather sleeves too. I think a brocaded burgundy skirt like this is sort of sneaky edge; a bit vintage but cool if paired with a very modern top - like here with leather. I really like this version; not too much like a couch cushion and a lovely color.) | |Marc New York by Andrew Marc Black Sheath Dress with piping at Nordstroms ($138 - love the piping here - not only would it be great for women with longer or mid-length waists to emphasize their shapes, but it takes a plain black dress and adds interest without making it work inappropriate. Also the shape is a bit different but not crazy. With a cropped jacket in any color this would be great for work.) | |ASOS Pants in Wide Leg in Berry at ASOS ($34.99 - these are maybe questionable, but I love the idea of these with a wide, black leather belt and a black or contrasting shirt and then a long, beaded statement necklace [or the Boden military blazer right below this!]. Usually berry isn't an "edgy" color, but I think the combination of the palazzo cut and hard styling could make this an exciting outfit, you know?)
| |Fitzrovia Jacket in navy with white piping at Boden ($98 - "Military style" blazers are all over the place right now, but I like the piping and color of this one, which keeps it from being *too* casual or military. I think the ones that are military khaki green are too casual and some of the more super structured ones are a little hard to wear for a lot of women who aren't petite - this would look nice on lots of shapes and is nice.) | |Gliding on Style Top at ModCloth ($47.99 - I don't usually love peplum, but if you paired this with a black pencil skirt and a bright colored pendant necklace and fabulous earrings and heels and...god...curvy women would look amazing. Anyway - seriously cool.)
| |Antonio Melanie Rikki Pinstripe Waistcoat at Dillard's ($119 - I am of the opinion that everyone should wear waistcoats. Wear it with a silk blouse and then a looser pair of trousers. Or get the matching pants and have an androgynous day or a colored pencil skirt and show off your butt. Either way, if it fits right, everyone loves a good waistcoat and you can pretend to be Tom Hiddleston or Matt Bomer for the day.) | |Fashion Star Pencil Skirt with Leather Appliques by Daniel Silverstein at Saks Fifth Avenue ($150 - leather skirts are very trendy, but I think leather pencil skirts may not be work appropriate but I think some of the pencil skirts with leather detailing are exceptions. Just a leather waistband though are no fun - this one is FUN. Paired with a burgundy blouse or blazer and black heels - this would be beautiful. I actually wouldn't pair it with a black shirt so that the leather can shine.) | |Cooper & Ella Crochet Trim Blouse in black at Piperlime ($89 - okay there are a million black blouses in the world - but I like the crochet detail on the shoulders of this one - adding a little difference. Also, the soft way it hangs, and the v-neck is a nice cut but isn't too low.)
| |4.collection black and gray printed flare dress at Saks Fifth Avenue ($298 - I hope this dress would be longer on women of average height - but I love that this is an A-line dress but not girly - which they often are. Add a fitted black or gray blazer and maybe a gray leather belt and whatever color shoes your mind can imagine and you've got a great look. Plus this is practically made for dramatic jewelry.) | |Ann Klein Faux Leather Skirt in tan ($49 - limited sizes - I think this is one of the exceptions to the general rule against leather pencil skirts are inappropriate for work because it is so neutral and simple. Another exception are a-line leather skirts, like this one that Banana Republic used to have. I think the key is that the skirts not be too tight, not be black [black being very "biker" for some reason] and that the skirt and styling be as neutral as humanly possible.)
So - what do you think readers - do any of you have an edgier look? Are these things you would wear? What do you think - other than my love of skulls, I'm not particularly edgy (one of my skull scarfs is sea foam green - you can't really consider me to be hard core whatsoever....I find my love of skulls to be generally ironic.) Leave some comments in the comments sections (and if you don't know where that is, click the link in the title and go through to the post's main page and look at the bottom of the screen! Don't worry, your e-mail won't show up.)
Reader DB asked for light colored summer suits
Now - since this was a question from a personal friend I don't actually have a traditional "question" to put here but the question really got me excited; I am actually going to give her recommendations via e-mail, but the request inspired me to do a post on the subject. When the weather gets warm but you work in a line of work that requires suits everyday (or even just sometimes), nothing beats a summer weight light suit to keep cool but still give off an air of authority and put-togetherness. Though I will note that I personally would not wear a light colored suit to court or to an interview (unless the court was a more casual court - like for example probate - where practitioners are there frequently - it seemed the wardrobe for lawyers was maybe slightly more laid back.) But for meetings or depositions or something a little less formal, they can be a great option.
One last big plus, in my book, is that I think light colored suits can be used as separates MUCH more easily than other suits - I use the jacket from my tan/beige Talbots suit to wear over dresses all the time (see this post from yesterday on Tumblr
) and I find the skirt is great for pairing with other jackets or cardigans because it reads as just a neutral tan skirt (which admittedly most black skirts from suits can as well, the jackets are usually the problem.)
Okay - that was a digression that I didn't mean to take - lets move on to the suits!
| |Factory linen suiting blazer in pearl at J-Crew Factory ($111 - most sizes still available - this is the odd situation where this goes with the item next to it. I personally LOVE the dress/suit combo and this pearl color is beautiful. I know some people have objections to J-Crew Factory quality (I've never bought there, their stuff doesn't work for my body shape) but this is so lovely maybe its worth the risk?) | |Factory linen Button Tab Shift Dress at J-Crew Factory ($96 - I *love* the shape of this dress. In fact, I'm wearing a Tahari dress today in this exact shape. Together with the blazer this would make a lovely, lovely suit for meetins, depositions, maybe even court for more casual motions sessions. I just...love it. I know quality may be an issue - but the pricing is decent and they're both linen so great for summer.)
| |Tahari ASL Two Piece Pants Suit with shawl collar at Lord & Taylor ($125.99 - the colors are listed as ivory and beige, though it reads darker and the jacket is linen but pants are poly - though that may be a good way to avoid pant wrinkles while still staying cooler. This suit is sort of suit separates really, but I liked it so much I picked it anyway - and shawl collars are great for my bustier ladies. | |Tan-Tor Seamed One Button Jacket and Seamed Pencil Skirt at Reiss - US ($360/$180 - if you had told me a year ago that I'd be taking you to the nearest mental institution to be checked out. But this is beautiful and for the long of waist it would look amazing - there are pants as well btw. I think its also a nice way for younger persons to rock the colored suit; plus, each separate would be GREAT on its own. Basically, high five Reiss - well done achieving the near impossible of making me want a SALMON suit.)
| |Anne Klein Suit, Four Button at Macy's ($139.99 on-sale - available in all sizes up to 14 - I don't personally like four button suits, but I know for those who do, they are very hard to find. My biggest worry with this suit is it may be polyester - so it may not breathe great for summer but the price might be worth it. Also I swear I don't work for Macy's but they're having a suit sale this week.) | || |Tahari by ASL Chain Trim Tweed jacket and skirt at Macy's ($114.99 - this may be the item that makes you all think I've gone batty, but this pink and white tweed is lovely. And I amazingly (mind-blowingly frankly) love how the chain trim is executed here. It is delicate and worn with minimal gold jewelry and nude or brown or light peach/pink shoes, I think it adds interest to a conservative suit.)
So that's all she wrote for now folks. Go forth and lawyer or doctor or banker or computer/civil/mechanical engineer (or robotics...can't forget them or a friend of mine from college would be sad) or politic or activist in nice light colored suits for summer. Because here's my thing about light colored suits - and actually all slightly non-traditional clothing choices - especially for younger women. I think bright colors and big jewelry, as long as its still within the professional sphere, is a huge powerplay for a professional woman. It says "I'm here, I'm me, I wear feminine/androgynous/colorful/punky clothes, and I'm still going to kick your ass because I'm better than you."
Anyway - that's my theory. Wear what you want with enough confidence - following the basic rules of decency and dressing to flatter as best you can - and you will be perceived as more powerful. At least in my experience. I L.O.V.E. seeing female execs or partners or whatever who rock fashionable chic looks that are just a little edgy* - it works for me. Does it work for you dear readers? Let me know in the comments.
And by "edgy" here I don't mean the shameful display of "punk rock fashion" that we all saw at the Met Ball - I mean business execs or partners at law firms who have wardrobes that are just outside the "business" norm - so they don't wear all black, navy, and gray or they DO wear all black, navy, and gray but in interesting ways - and they have fabulous or artsy or hippie jewelry. And they wear interesting shoes. That sort of thing. Things that differentiate their wardrobe from the corporate uniform. I love it. Especially when it tells me something about them as a person.
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.
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.
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 LS wrote:I have a deep purpley-pink cardigan that goes so well with everything in my wardrobe I wear it about once a week, and would love to find a blazer in the same color for under $100 or so. This jacket from White House Black Market is the perfect color, but I don't want to go up near the top of my price range for something with peplum and dramatic gap under the button... it's just a little too trendy to be a workwear staple for me. I'd also be open to other shades of pink - especially blush - and even prints incorporating pink, as long as the blazers don't look too Barbie or ladies-who-lunch. I'm a size small, and can't wear blazers with three or more buttons without looking disproportionate. Love your blog! You've already convinced me to buy one Land's End dress, and I'm seriously, seriously tempted by that Free People maxi you posted yesterday (hopefully it goes on sale soon).Okay! This is a fun one since purple and other berry shades are my absolute favorite colors and serve as the backbone of my personal wardrobe. I actually have a terrific blazer in this exact shade from H&M (unfortunately its about four years old) that I wear all the time on weekends and occasionally to work when I'm feeling sassy. I also think a darker blush blazer would be lovely for spring and summer. So lets get started shall we? For those shopping along at home, this is the WHBM blazer that LS likes.
While I have to agree that this is a lovely blazer in theory (purple, fitted, would go with lots of things for summer), the construction is all wrong. The button is too high for a single button jacket and the peplum is hitting the model in entirely the wrong place. I think we can do better. I am going to look for purple and pink blazers for you with a fitted shape - and I may even throw in a burgundy or berry one two since its in the same color family and I think you might really like it. So here are some options.
Apt. 9 Ponte Knit Blazer in ship red at Kohls
($21 - I think this color reads as a blush pink rather than red and the shape is classic - and who doesn't like a ponte knit blazer for summer. Kohl's quality can be hit or miss, but the price here cannot be beat.)Tailored Blazer in snapdragon from Madewell
($89.99 - in the world of bright pink blazers, I think this is my favorite. It is beautifully constructed keeping it more on the side of Elle Woods, attorney-at-law and less on the Barbie goes to court. A definite option if you want a brighter pink.)One Button Blazer in rose at Anne Klein
($129.00 - a bit above budget but I'm including because I think Anne Klein makes some of the most beautiful looking blazers I see around - and this shade of pink is lovely. They have a two button blazer in red
that is in the budget, if you were interested in that instead.)
NOTE: As per usual the bottom couple is where I throw a couple of curveballs because I like to keep people on their toes.Floral Vines Print Linen Blazer in mineral red at Ann Taylor Loft
($98 - I know its not what you wrote in looking for but the pattern is remarkably pretty so I thought I'd throw it in there. Paired with pewter gray, tan, black, navy, or even say a dark purple this would be a great way to add interest to an otherwise streamlined outfit.)Draycott Blazer in soft red at Boden
($69.99 - love the cross hatch pattern - also available in navy and ivory.)Romeo & Juliet Couture One-Button Blazer in Burgundy at Neiman Marcus Last Call
($49.50 - I surprisingly like the gold hardware on the pockets and the color is great. The one review says it runs small so order a size up. And I will endeavor not to hold the designer's stupid name against it.)
Okay! So those are my best suggestions as of now. As you can probably tell, there are way more blazers in various shade of pink out there right now then there are purple ones, if I had to guess I'd say its because of the season. I would bet there will be more purple blazers in the late summer and fall. But I think some of these pink blazers are lovely if you wanted to get one of those now and then wait and get a purple blazer later (not that the two purple options aren't cute in their own right.) Choices choices choices. But you know what they say, I can lead you into the land of temptation, but I can't make you drink (or something like that.)
Happy shopping and may the odds be EvEr in your favor.
Reader Gail the Goldfish solicits:Hi! I'm looking for a basic medium-grey wool or wool-blend suit. Think lawyer interview suit. I've tried the usual suspects of Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Talbot's, and everyone's jackets are just too long right now. The leading contender is the J.Crew super 120s 1035 jacket and pencil skirt in heather flannel grey, but it's still on the long side, so before I pull the trigger, maybe you can find something I'm missing. I'd like to keep it under $350 for jacket/skirt, and if it had a pants option as well, that'd be a bonus. I'm a 0/2 on top and 4/6 (usually a 6 lately) on bottom, so separates are a must. Thanks!So first, if I may, a picture of the main contender. (For reasons that escape me - J-Crew doesn't seem to have taken a picture of the 120s pencil skirt on the model in the heather grey....but I'm sure you can envision it in all of its heather grey glory.)
So - basic interview suits. They are an essential wardrobe staple for anyone going into a "business"-like or law field (my friends in academia tell me they get buy just fine without them...I can't quite get my mind around that fact.) Now, I think suiting is one of the few places where women could take some sartorial lessons from our X-chromosome deficient brethren; generally as men move up in the world and start buying nicer suits, they also start getting those suits tailored as a matter of course. Yes there *are* men's off-the-rack suits, but even Men's Suits departments at stores like JC Penney have a tailoring department. So while I think the ideal would be for us to find The Suit that fits our body perfectly and makes us look trim and fitted in a comfortable suit, we might be better off finding a really nice suit that comes close and then getting it tailored so that it goes all the way. Does that make sense?
Okay - moving on. What I am getting from your question is that you are probably short of waist/torso and that you are finding that the popular brand suits, as epitomized by this J-Crew suit, are simply too long these days. Well, you are preaching to the choir sister. I made the mistake of buying one Ann Taylor suit that was too long in the torso and, needless to say, I never wear it because I feel like I'm wearing my mom's suit or something. (And I know I could just see my above rant about tailoring....but I have since acquired nicer suits so...) So - I am going to collect a few of my favorite places to find suits for people with slightly shorter torsos or with a more fitted blazer. One tip - some of these may be over the $350 retail - but they often go on sale - or you should hit up the outlets (the Brooks Brother's outlet brand is actually great and two of my interview suits comes from there.)
I'll start with Brooks Brothers (my favorite suiting - bar none - which has a few items that might work for you.)
But - they are making it more than a little difficult for me to do my job - because all their pencil skirts are sold out on-line (bet they have them in-store though. Would be worth a call.Wool Two-Button Jacket at Brooks Brothers
($159.20 - I like that its still a full length jacket - not actively cropped - but it sits high enough on the waist that it won't make a short person look, well, super short. Nice construction as well.)Wool One-Button Jacket from Brooks Brothers
($159.20 - a nice, shorter waisted option. There is also a two-button wool jacket not available in your size on the website - but if you went into the store they might be able to track one down for you.)Lambswool Blazer in navy from Brooks Brothers
($139.20 - not at all what you were looking for - but I own this blazer - or a similar earlier version and it is the BEST purchase I've made in years. It is amazing for work or weekends and I love it so much. I should buy three more.)
So as I said above, these options all come from the primary Brooks Brothers brand of suiting. But if you live near a BB outlet, I would go check out their outlet suits, they are made specifically for the outlet and so are cheaper (and I guess lower quality) - but I've never had any issues with them. Definitely at least worth a look see.
Another place I would look for suits is Nordstroms, especially the Classiques Entier suits at Nordstroms. I especially like Nordies for this because, if you purchase from them and have (or open) a Nordies debit or credit card, you get a certain amount of tailoring for free. Here are a few of the suits there I like best.
Classiques Entier Speckled Weave Jacket
and Pencil Skirt
at Nordstroms ($160.80 and $94.80 - though this jacket has a slightly different peplum cut, I think its still conservative enough to be considered an "interview" suit and would be quite flattering on someone who was short waisted - especially if you have a bit of an x-shape.)Classiques Entier Platine Weave Jacket
and Pencil Skirt
at Nordstroms ($160.80 and $94.80 - more traditional suit shape, but I like that its nipped in nicely at the waist and the light gray color would be very flattering for a lot of people.)Halogen Pinstripe Suit Jacket
in navy at Nordstroms ($70.80 and $41.40 - I'll confess, I know nothing about the Halogen suiting line - but the price is so good on this suit that I thought I'd throw it out there in case you were interested in giving a deal a chance.)
Another few options for other places where you might find good fits are:
Anne Klein Blazer and Pencil Skirt in gray at Macy's
($150 - Anne Klein has several nice, simple suits at Macy's - not 100% sure about quality but they look like decent interview suits and they come in separates.)Platinum Washable Wool Jacket (2-button) in navy at Jones NY
($229 - see matching skirt here
.)Boss Black Juicy 6 Jacket
($356.98 - above budget - but maybe keep an eye on it if it goes on sale at the Annual Sale - because its a lovely suit and seems to really fit your needs.)
Okay! That's enough suits for this morning. What do people think? Where do you get your interview suits? I know I've left out some obvious choices (Theory) - but I did it on purpose - those don't work as well for the shorter and stumpier amongst us. But feel free to share what the taller and willowier like too. We clothe everyone around these parts. :-) Happy shopping and may interviewing ever be in your favor.
Reader EM writes:
Hi TCFKAG, I love the blog and was hoping you could help me with a jewelry problem. I'm looking for a floral necklace that has delicate-but-realisticish blossoms. (This is really inspired by someone I saw years ago, didn't have the money to buy, but have never seen else.) The closest I've seen lately was actually in a Hart of Dixie episode. It's the necklace Lemon wore here: http://wornontv.net/1174/. But ideally, I'd be looking for something a tiny bit subtler. I'm open on color and style. Thank you! Em
Okay - this ask is SO well timed because I *just* saw a necklace like this the other day and thought it was lovely. Of course - I didn't bookmark it or anything so now I can't find it ANYWHERE, but now I'm going to work really hard to find alternatives. Also I'll offer up some other options as well! (And can we all agree that this is one of the best looks Lemon has ever rocked on the show? Its lovely AND modern - she so often looks like a total throwback but this is just wonderful.)
Now a couple of randoms that are less related to what you like and are more just pretty. Bloom necklace with ruby briolette at SMV Designs on Etsy
($40 - I love the gold and ruby together.)Anne Klein Burst and Bloom Frontal Necklace at Nordstroms
($44 - not really floral - but the colors are just lovely.)Minimal Chic Polymer Clay Flower Necklace at Eri on Etsy
(item actually sold - but check out her similar work - I love the different, modern take on the floral necklace.)
Okay Reader EM! Hope these ideas help. I think lots of them are lovely and would be wonderful for the spring and the summer. I especially love how they could be dressed up for a cocktail look (ala Lemon) but could also be dressed down for work - for example with a black or navy sheath dress and a brightly colored cardigan in the summer. They'd also be a fun way to add a pop of interest to a jeans and blouse look on the weekends. Altogether an excellent look. Two thumbs up EM. Let me know if you choose any of them! :-)
Its been awhile since I did a polka dot post - and those were mostly darker shades. Well, Ann Taylor inspired me today to do a post on summery polka dot prints.
The scarf is the Retro Dot Border Silk Scarf in guava
($68) - its made of silk, which I like, and I love the color combo for spring or summer. Or even for fall or winter to add a pop of color. The skirt is the Summer Cotton Stretch Dot Pencil Skirt
in guava also ($88) and of course you KNOW I like it. Now on to the slightly more complicated question - I think I even like the full outfit
together - though it might be a bit too much pink for work for me. A wise friend recommended a green polka dot skirt instead on the bottom and I think that would be brilliant. Either way - here are a bunch of polka dot items in bright colors for spring and summer (and just for whenever you're in the mood for bright colors.) I'm also doing a mix of casual wear, work wear, and even cocktail dresses - for all your various polka dot needs. ;-)
Hi TCFKAG! I'm a new BigLaw associate and got my ears pierced a few months ago. It is now time to move beyond the starter studs and buy some earrings. For now, I'm looking for workhorse earrings I can wear over and over (my goal is to make it until Christmas on a handful of pairs, then let the relatives do the rest), but that aren't just plain studs. Here are a few ideas I had: JC Penney Love Knot Earrings Sterling Silver Earrings
, JC Penney Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings
, and Love Knot Dangle Earrings on Etsy
. But I bet you can do better. I'm open to any design and any metal. I'd like to stay under $50 per pair. -- A Blog Admirer
Hey! Thanks for the question - and those are all really cute. I'll try to find some similar options for you. I might throw in a couple ones with some pretty, neutral gemstones (just in case you're interested.) For those shopping along at home - here are the three that Reader E likes (I think the love knot dangles are my favorite.)
These are all so cute! The love knots are super nice (I never knew that design was called that) - and of course a little huggie silver hoop is a nice basic. So these are great options. But lets see what other options I can find for you.