A pregnant graduate student took time from growing a HUMAN to ask: I need a baby shower outfit! Baby shower is going to be November 17 on the Northeast and I'll be 6 months pregnant. I'm really tall and usually wear a size 4 (just add a football). I'd loooooove to wear sneakers, I have maternity jeans, but I have a feeling this might be a dress occasion. Help?
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to you and ALL the soon to be new moms who read this blog. I'm actually going to be throwing a shower that same weekend so I'll be thinking of you in spirit. So, let me also start by disabusing you of one notion RIGHT off the bat - its YOUR shower and you can dress as you want to. But, I will agree, that most Northeastern baby showers I've been to tend to be somewhere between kind of church wear and cocktail wear. But, as the mommy to be (and a SIX month pregnant mommy to be) you get a lot of lee-way. So I will go two routes here - I will recommend some dresses that I think are adorable and would look good styled with either sneakers or supportive flats (maybe I can find you some good flats too?) And I will also find a couple of dressy maternity blouses that would take a pair of jeans and dress them up enough to make them baby shower ready - especially with some fun jewelry and a nice manicure and hair do (every pregnant mommy should have an excuse to primp.) So let's get started, shall we?
Dresses with sneakers or flats
| |Easy Jersey Dress at Boden Maternity
($148) - I love Boden for tall readers because their dresses tend to be longer than average - I also LOVE this fun pattern and this "easy" jersey dress that I think could be a go-to both for the rest of your pregnancy and for the post-partum weight loss period. Its just so pretty. They have lots of dresses, both in their maternity line
(I adore that maxi - but wonder if its too springy) and even in their non-maternity line
(I own this and the a-line skirt is so generous and the length so long it just might work for you.)
| |Nom Maternity 'Sophie' Ruched Dress at Nordstroms
($96 - I really, really like the idea of this particular dress for you. First, it is designed to be a midi-dress for women of average height, meaning it will likely be of "normal" length for you. The ruching around the stomach area takes a sheath dress and makes it flattering. The reviews suggest it is a nice, comfortable basic dress that can be dress up [say with a cool Geo blazer like the one below] or down [maybe with a camel colored cardigan....just saying.] This would be a nice piece to have throughout your entire pregnancy, not just for the shower - which makes it a two thumbs up in my book.)
| |Merona Maternity Long Sleeve Ponte Dress - Black and Cream at Target
($22.99 - so if we're being honest with ourselves, there's a pretty good chance that this dress would be short enough on you that you would need leggings with it to make it "appropriate." Though you could decide not to care. But I loved the chevrons and its trendy and cool, unlike many maternity outfits that seem not to care too much about being cool in the interest of being exclusively flattering. This does both. Plus - knowing where you're located - black and white is the way to be mommy-o.)
| |Liz Lange for Target Flutter Maxi Dress from Target
($13.98 - all sizes available - I love LOVE the idea of a maxi dress for this event for you. It's easy, you don't have to worry too much about length [if its a bit too short, no one will care, really] and you can throw a cardigan or a jacket on over it if its not heavy enough. This purple dress is my favorite, but Target also has a nice maxi by Merona right now as well
. The Merona dress comes in a bunch of colors and both of these have good reviews. If one doesn't have a tie or thin belt to go under the boobs, I would add one - it really helps with definition. Nude for you flats or something cool and graphic would be great with these. Or sneakers - sneakers are awesome.)
| |Colorblock Striped Dress at Gap Maternity
($59.95 - I'm sort of in love with the colorblocking of two grays with icy mint on this dress - in non-maternity I would absolutely want it. No question. I'm not sure about length and how it would work on a particularly tall person and never having been six months pregnant, I'm not sure if this style is too fitted for the size of your belly at that point. But if it could work, I feel like this dress would look lovely. Especially with nude or black flats and perhaps the beige sweater I feature below if you get too cold.)
| |Women's Sueded Stud Ballet Flat from Old Navy
($15.99 - so, one of the tricks for buying shoes for this little event [if you decide to do so] may be admitting that these shoes may simply not outlast the pregnancy [or even the event] because your larger than average feet right now will stretch them out. So, why go for the HIGHEST quality when you can get adorable shoes at Old Navy for $16?)
| |Corso Como Famenka Flats from Nordstroms
($59.50 - Nordies now has a section for "flats under $60 and these are amongst the most well reviewed flats in the bunch. They also come in black, cobalt, mint green, and this nude. So they go with almost all the dresses I recommended. So if you decide to go with flats instead of sneakers, Corsos might not be a terrible choice.)
| |Purple floral statement necklace from GemPearls on Etsy
($35 - Despite the fact that this has nothing really to do with this post, I came across this necklace the other day and thought it was lovely. So in case anyone who reads this blog is on the hunt for an interesting floral statement necklace - here you go. Though do read the reviews as this seller ships from China.)
The Shirts for Jeans
| || |Liz Lange for Target Maternity Elbow Rolled Sleeve Top
($34.99 - I love the look of this top and I think it would look great with jeans and a pair of sneakers - and perhaps a long pendant necklace and bracelets - for a shower. One proviso, the reviews suggest that it runs quite large, so I'd order a size down. Or better yet, try it on in person if you can. But between the color, the fabric, and the length of the shirt being great for a tall person - I really think it might be worth a try. Though if you'd like something more fitted, I also like this top from Liz Lange for Target
as well - it would be a great base piece to go under a nice blazer and to wear with a statement necklace.)
| |Boden Henley Strip Tunic
($88 - I think this maternity tunic would look great with maternity skinny jeans and Keds or flats [and perhaps a knit blazer or sweater over it] or with leggings as an alternative. Its casual sure, but the color is pretty and green is super in. I'd dress it up with a gold or bronze opera length necklace and some dangly but funky earrings. Quick note on Boden, when I bought things there a few weeks ago, there was a 15% off and free shipping coupon on Retailmenot - make sure to google and see if there is a coupon available WHENEVER you shop Boden.
| |Maternity Blazer in Geo with Contrast Lapel by ASOS Maternity
($48.05 - this is, by far, my favorite single item I've posted on this post. I LOVE IT. With a simple black dress or a black maxi dress (perhaps the Merona one) or the jeans and a white top as shown here - this would take any outfit and make it fun and funky and totally shower ready. Seriously, I would wear the HELL out of this throughout my pregnancy and perhaps afterwards...and do you think it comes in non-maternity versions? [Note, its a little heard to tell, but the pattern is in blue and black together - not just black - that's why I like it SO much.] Oh and its a machine washable poly. I think the pearl blue version of this ASOS maternity maxi
would be an interesting dress to wear under this blazer..)
| |Eversoft Open Front Cardigan from Gap Maternity
($49.95 - a bit of a splurge for maternity wear, but I see no reason you couldn't continue to wear this cardigan long after the baby is born. As I've mentioned several of these items would look good with a layering item and I think this camel is the perfect late fall, early winter color to go with many of the jewel tones. Though if you would prefer a brighter, white cardigan
, this Old Navy option is pretty great too and a bit cheaper or this fleece tie belt cardigan
for pure comfort. This cardigan comes in heather gray as well.)
So that's all she wrote for tonight ladies. So readers who have actually BEEN pregnant, did I get things rights? Am I being absurd? Have you got any tips for our OP? PLEASE leave some comments in the comment section! Having never been pregnant or bought a single maternity wear piece, I feel this is not my area of expertise, but I did the best I could! Hope it helped Pregnant Grad Student!!
So, I haven't done a shoe post in awhile (yeah, yeah, I know - I haven't done ANY posts in awhile - no backtalk from the peanut gallery) and, quite frankly, I'm in the mood to do a post about shoes. Glorious shoes. Fun shoes. Some may be work appropriate and some may not. We'll see. There really isn't a theme to this post other than this...I like shoes. And I bet you do too. And its fall and everyone likes to get new shoes in the fall! So here we go.
| |Bold Plaid Flats from F21
($16.80 - Tartan is the pattern of the season and you can afford to add just a bit to your wardrobe with these flats! Who knows about quality (or arch support for that matter) but the truth is, when buying flats in a pattern like this, you really don't expect them to last much more than a season, do you?)
| |Heeled Brogue Oxfords from Boden
($168 - I've seen a lot of high heeled oxfords since the trend started, but these are some of my favorites. Available in this shade and in a darker brown and black, the chunky heel (very on trend) would also be insanely comfortable I would think.)
| |LK Bennett Sybila Pump at Nordstroms
($194.98 - more a head's up than anything else - but for those of you who love LK Bennetts, several of the more classic shapes, including this perfect work/interview shoe, are on a pretty good sale right now at Nordies. FYI)
| |Respectit Ankle Boots in Burgundy at Steve Madden
($149.96 - regular readers of my blog probably know that booties and ankle boots aren't really my thing - but these almost win me over. I *love* the color of the leather and the gold hardware is kick ass. I think with a pair of skinny jeans and a blazer for weekends this would be a great fall look.)
| |Ted Baker London Neevo Pump from Nordstroms
($169.95 - this pump mixes two of the biggest trends for the season - emerald green and suede- but without looking ridiculous (and I like the little dash of gold thrown in.) It also comes in a lovely purple that I'm sure Kat from the 'rette would love, orange, and red. Might be worth checking out if youc an handle the 4" heel.)
| |See by Chloé 'Summer' Pump at Nordstroms
($176.98 - the descriptor is probably right that this pump is more summery, but you just don't see that many pumps in this vibrant yellow color. And I love the brown toe cap as a nice contrast. And the stacked heel would make it much more comfortable.)
| |Trotters 'Opal' Pump at Nordstroms
($72.98 - saw this while looking for other things and it struck me that it might be a great "nude for me" shoe for women who need a darker shade of nude than many nude shoes are. So I thought I'd throw it up here.
| |Printed Pointed Toe Pump from the Express
($47.94 - yes - THAT Express. I can make no claims to knowledge about quality - but this geo print was so cute I had to feature it. Again - the heel is pretty high, so it may be only for the brave of foot. What do designers have against a 3" heel?)
Okay folks...that's it. Literally its just a bunch of shoes I like that I found around the internets. Add more in the comments if you've found shoes recently that you're really into. I'm always looking for ideas! What do you think? Do any of these appeal to you?
Reader Turkey Traveler asks:
I am traveling to Turkey and Greece this fall. I'm looking for a travel dress I can wear into mosques and Greek Orthodox churches and be respectful. My understanding is that this means below the knee and shoulders covered. I want something packable and not super hot (temperature hot). So far my best find is at lands end but would like more color options--lighter colors (khaki, light blue) because it will still be sunny. Budget is 100 or less. I am 5 foot 6, size 2.
Hey Turkey Traveler! Thanks for the question!! I am so jealous - and I love this question because I love traveling and just went on a big trip out West which involved 2500 miles of driving and mixing up hiking clothes, casual wear, and a little bit of nicer clothes - all of it packed in one carry-on. None of it wrinkling. Two thoughts before I get started - one is that I like to go outside the "traditional" travel and "outdoorsy" wear brands for these sorts of things - there are lots of brands and dresses out there that will work perfectly for this that will be nicely in your price range without having to pay the premium that comes with travel brands. Two - I think you might benefit from a skirt and a couple different wrap tops and or breathable button downs rather than a single dress (given that it will be hot as heck and you might want to switch off the tops) so I'm going to offer you a couple options in that world two.
Indispensable Knit Wrap Dress from LL Bean
($84.50 - comes in several colors, though I like this blue as it would be a great base piece to accessorize with. The description says it hits below the knee and as below average height people [what what], I think we should be able to rely on that. Would probably pack well and be nice and breathable.)ASOS Midi Dress with full skirt and belt from ASOS
($71.27 - I actually own this dress in another color - it is an incredibly light and comfortable cotton, perfect for hot weather, but it can be rolled up and packed in a suitcase and come out pretty much wrinkle free. I'm still super happy with the purchase and it was one of my go-to dresses on my trip. I thought I wouldn't like the midi length on me [I'm 5' 3"] because I thought it would make me look dumpy, but because the skirt is fuller and floaty, it actually looks good.)Women's Regular Split Neck Half Sleeve Terry Dress at Land's End
($59 - this dress looks like it would be extremely comfortable for touring around all-day [it is a "knee length" dress, but I'm thinking if you buy the regular height it will hit below the knee] - and if you add a more structured belt and some jewelry at night, I think it will dress up well for dinner. Plus, it is also a color that will serve as a nice base for a variety of other looks.)
Women's Woven Clip Waist Skirt
in french walnut from Land'd End ($16.99 on-sale - another one where I think you'll have to buy the regular height to get below the knee, but I think this would be a great, light weight neutral skirt for traveling with - it would basically match any top or shoes.)Carla Skirt in white Periwinkle from Dobbin Clothing
($38 on sale - I like the idea of this skirt for this trip - its light, would pack well, hits below the knees but is a-line and would breathe, and the pattern would go with most colors.)Casual Chino Skirt in orange from Boden
($58.50 - okay - so not precisely neutral - but fun! They do come in white, but the orange is going to wear better over the course of a vacation - get dirtier and frankly (I think) scream tourist a little less. Because, is it only me, but do we only become neutral wearing, slaves to matching when we are on vacation?)
Women's Petite Cotton Voile Drop Shoulder Tunic in navy at Land's End
($19.99 - I think this shirt would go well with any of the shirts highlighted above - navy being such a great color - and its a very ambidextrous shirt. You can tuck it in, you can leave it out for a more relaxed look, and since you'd likely wear a tank-top under it, if you wanted to you could carry it in your bag with you just to put on when you needed to go into a church [especially in Greece, I'm unsure about street norms in Turkey with regards to covering one's shoulders.]). Merona Women's Three-Quarter Sleeve Double Layer Tee at Target
($14 - I like this faux-wrap style a lot and the double knit is heavy enough to travel without getting wrinkled but light enough that it will be comfortable in most weather. It can also look dressed up enough for dinners out while still looking in place on the street during the day. It comes in bunches of colors, but I like this purple. A nice option to consider.)
Okay! I hope these options help you out in shopping for your vacation and you find one or two options you like! One more tip before you depart - there's a reason that scarves are very popular in Greece and Turkey even with women who do not cover their hair for religious reasons. You might want to buy a couple scarves (either at home - or even better once you get there!) both for awesome stylistic purposes AND for sun protection. Plus, then you can use the scarf to wrap around your shoulders inside churches and other places of worship and feel extra secure that you are respecting the holy spaces. Win, win, win. And if you happened to find a nice Turkish scarf and wanted to send it to TCFKAG for all her awesome blogging...well...that certainly wouldn't be remiss. ;-) Just kidding. Sort of. HAVE FUN!!!
I have been absent from this blog for an unacceptably long time - I am aware. Unfortunately, my health has been...not good over the last month. But I am hoping to have an upswing soon. Today I was inspired by a black and white polka dotted dress
I saw in Boden's daily e-mail advertisement - reminding me of my favorite pattern and one of my favorite dress shapes, the belted sheath. I am also a fan of this particular neckline, which allows you to wear either statement jewelry *or* a pendant - but still maintains a mostly modest high neckline (especially for those smaller of chest.)
Now - having found such a terrific dress - I thought I'd go about styling it three ways. One for pure fun, one for a more "sexy" date night or night out with the girls, and one for work. But we'll go in reverse order - most demure to least demure. ;-)
Styling it for work
BP Moveover Pointed Toe Flat at Nordstroms
($49.95 - red is so often the color of choice with black polka dots ... and don't worry, it'll make an appearance down flow, but for work I was thinking about keeping things a bit sleeker with patent, pointed toe black flats.) Franco Sarto Instinct at 6PM
($47.99 - Recommended for those more interested in heels - I think the Mary Jane cut gives it a dash of vintage, but the pointed toe and angled block heel keeps it firmly rooted in the present - and comfortable for work at that.)Fornash Enamel Bumble Bee Bangle Bracelet in black and gold at SimplySoles
($25 - again going a bit against expectations here - I like using a simple palette of black and gold to keep the outfit relatively neutral - while adding a bit of a wink with the bumble bee motif on the bracelet to acknowledge that the outfit is still fun and youthful.)Studio Silver 18k Gold enamel Carnelian Pyramid Pendant from Macy's
($37.50 on-sale - finally, I've added a bit of color to the outfit, but again - I think - not in the way people expect. When wearing polka-dots, most expect colors to be bright and bold, but I think tempering that and bringing it in a bit in a more controlled way gives the outfit a more refined look. I really like these three items together for a work accessories plan for this dress.)K. Amato Fan Teardrop Earrings in black and gold at Designs by Stephene
($47.50 - a perfect match for the bumble bee bangle, but also incredibly reusable in their own right - I like these earrings a lot as a basic workhorse for any wardrobe - or at least a workhorse with some edge to them.) Giani Bernini 24k Gold over Sterling Silver Diamond-Cut Teardrop Leverback Earrings from Macy's
($110 - honestly probably a bit much for this particular outfit, but so pretty I couldn't resist recommending them. They'd certainly keep the outfit in the really focused black and gold world. I love them just as they are, as single pieces of jewelry.)
Styling it for a night out with the girls - bright/vintage fun
Faceted white bead vintage necklace from etsy seller Bonnie's Vintage Attic (
$29.95) or again for those preferring a more mainstream retailer Panacea Epoxy Flower Necklace, White at Cusp by Neiman Marcus
($45 - I *like* a white necklace for this [to be honest, its inspired by a vintage white chunky necklace I inherited from my aunt - it gives the look a vintage fun feel for summer without relying on many of the tropes that people frequently do with black and white dots. White, other than pearls, is really an underutilized color in our jewelry lexicon and I think it would look great with this outfit.)Ceramic Studs - yellow lemon dots - by etsy seller Hermoosa
($24.95) or for those who prefer more mainstream retailers Kate Spade New York stud earrings in yellow and white at Nordstroms
($34.80 - now 40% off - I love the bright vintage lemon yellow and white with black and white polka dots in the summer. And I personally prefer studs - though there are lots of fun chandelier or teardrop options out there too.) Now, if based on these earring suggestions you really wanted a yellow necklace idea, you might consider this one from Dillard's
- though I'm not convinced about the starfish accents. Bruno Premi in emerald green at Yoox
($59 - I know that a green shoe is a bit different here - though not totally out of nowhere since green and yellow go so well together - but I love these sandals [the block heel would be good for dancing and walking but they still have that sexy look] and I think adding a kick of green at the bottom of the outfit would be just what the outfit needed. Though for those of you who prefer a wedge - and are a lucky size 9 - these Butter wedges
might be just the thing for you. If, however, you were worried about the shoes being the only green in the outfit, you could consider something like this vintage bangle I found on Etsy
(pictured above) that works in both green and yellow - as well as a few other colors - and would be a great way to work the shoes and the rest of the jewelry together into a cohesive whole ($5 used at Sissy's Touch of Grey.)
Styling it for a sexy date - finally - here's the red!
As way of introduction - I feel like you can either go with reds or cobalt blue here as a theme for your accessories (if you decide not to go straight black ... which you can but would overlap too much with my above posts so....). So For each of the items I'm suggesting to style for date night, I'll recommend something in fire engine red and cobalt blue. Pro-tip though, I wouldn't wear ALL blue or red, I'd wear say red shoes and red earrings - but maybe a silver or gold necklace, just to mix the color up, but I'll leave the mix up to you! And whichever color you pick, make sure to bring it on the bright red lip!
Louise Et Cie 'Scorpio' Peep Toe Pump at Vince Camuto
($69.99 - there are as many red peep-toe pumps as there are people in the world, but this one is different and special while still looks like it would be comfortable. It is a textured fish-scale leather in a bright red and the heel and toe accents are dipped in gold enamel. It is under 4" in height. I love that its an elegant and different take on the classic red pump.) If you're interested in close-toed shoes, consider the Adrienne Vittadini Cecilia Pump in Red at Belk.Kamalikulture Zaylie Sling Backs in Cobalt Blue at Zappos
($69.99 - definitely hot looking - the reviews are mixed with some concern about the strength of the sling though. I think it would be okay for a sometime shoe maybe? If you're looking for a more traditional cobalt pump though - perhaps consider the Guess Rolene pumps on sale at 6PM right now
- they look pretty good.) Gold Wing Earrings found on Shoptiques from Langford Market, Texas
($12.90 - okay - the shipping on these is absurd because, well, they ship from a little boutique in Texas - but I feel I would be remiss if I did not share these awesome earrings with my dear readers! So here I am, sharing. They also come in a green and gold that is cool too.)Orion Teardrop Earrings at Nordstroms
($15 - I may or may not have done this whole red or blue thing just because of these earrings. I love these earrings. God. Earrings like these make me wish I could pierce my ears.)Akuamarina Silver Leaf and Murano Gold Round Pendant Necklace at Forzieri
($70.40 - I know I said I'd stick with red, but this gold murano glass pendant goes so beautifully with this look that I couldn't help it. Seriously, I love this necklace. If you do want red - this version of it is red
and this other murano glass necklace from the same company
is a beautiful, fun red and yellow necklace (might go great with the look above this one as well). House of Harlow 1960 Plectra Pendant Necklace in blue on Zappos
($60 - so this is designed to be opera length, but I think you can make it shorter to be worn around the neckline of this dress. And I love the color and the way it would go with these earrings. Its pretty cool!)
Okay - since this post is already getting out of control a bit, I'm going to leave it there - though I think if I WERE putting together a date look with these pieces, I might add a bracelet or possibly a different belt than the one that comes with the dress. But...for now I hope these items lend some inspiration.
So one dress, three looks. What do we think dear readers? Are you happy to have me back? Have I lost my touch? How would you style it? Leave a note in the comment section below!
P.S. Do you have trouble remembering the names of necklines? Look at this amazing resource I found when looking for the name of this neckline! Its great (though it doesn't include this specific neckline - which I'm still not sure what to call).
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 Jenny Dictatrix (JD for short) is bedeviled by her search for interesting knit pencil skirts:
Hi TCFKAG, I have been trying to hunt down a knee-length jersey knit skirt for summer that goes a little bit beyond boring basics. I have one in from Target in black and white stripe that I wear all the time, and I'd love to have another option in that same style. My current skirt is slightly full with a fold-over waist, which I like but isn't necessary. Ideally I'd like to find something in cool geometric print - something that reads a little more city than beach, if that makes sense. I looked at Target B&M store, Splendid, American Apparel, and Alternative Apparel with no luck. Any ideas? <3, JennyDictatrix
So - I'm a bit unsure what shape you want - so I'll try to propose a variety of shapes including pencil skirts, a-line skirts, and things more on the drapey side. But I'll definitely go for things with cool geometric patterns or other things that make them look more trendy and not like a swimsuit cover up. So lets get going y'all.
| |Vila Belted Skirt in aquatic blue at ASOS ($15.27 - limited sizes - so I generally hate this "paper bag" belted waistline that this skirt has - but the color was cute enough that I thought I'd share it. Plus, the a-line is nice and it looks comfy. Maybe if you wore a blazer over it, it would hide the waistband?) | || |Milly Camille Pencil Skirt at ShopBop ($150 - normally I would never recommend a jersey, unlined pencil skirt that cost this much - but because of your mention of something graphic, I thought I'd post it. It has a really cool, futuristic graphic feel to it. Mixed with cobalt and black you would look like an astronaut lawyer but in the BEST way possible.)
Okay! Hope one of these works for you. I like some of them, love others of them, and some of them aren't for me. So I bet one of them will work for almost everyone! :-) Yay! I love jersey skirts for summer, there's something nice about a breathable fabric for summer (especially if its heavy enough that it doesn't show every bit of pudge.)
Happy shopping and may the odds be in your favor. Let me know what you buy! Post all about it on tumblr - ha!
Reader ET wrote in a really long time ago and asked:Hi! I'm looking for a nice crochet lace dress, preferably with a fitted waist and short sleeves. There's a lot of lace out there right now but nothing that seems quite right. A contrast with the underlay isn't absolutely necessary, but I don't like all white/cream. Cream lace with black/navy/purple underlay, or some dark lace in general would probably be the ideal. I love the black crochet lace with cream underlay of this dress: Wilfred Quai Dress the only issue it being a bodycon that I struggle to get myself into. It's a bit pricier than what I'd like for something I'm not sure about, but am otherwise willing to pay around that much if it's really perfect. I actually would have liked this Maitland Lace Dress from Anthro okay except that the skirt kind of fell flat. I tried it on and it just didn't do anything for me. I'm typically a size 12 if this helps at all. Sorry if I'm giving too many requirements! Thank you!
Okay, reader ET, I'm really sorry this answer is SO belated - I actually sort of hope you've found your dress already. Or that you've successfully phoned home (I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself, literally...couldn't do it.) Anyway - on the off-chance that you haven't - I think I've seen some good ideas out there for you. But first, for those following along at home, here are the dresses Reader ET sent in as examples.
Click through to see actual dress with black underlay - there was no picture of it on the model.
Both of these dresses are pretty - but nothing is wildly special about them. And I do love when retailers use "body-con" to just mean "really tight" instead of what I think it *should* mean, which is form flattering. Ugh. So lets get started on finding better options.
| |Midi Dress in Crochet Lace from ASOS ($64.49 - so the burgundy in the picture is apparently no longer available (boo), but the black version's details didn't show up well so I went with this picture instead. I like that this is fit and flare, though its sleeveless and not contrasting, and the price is right. I recently bought my first "midi" dress form ASOS and I surprisingly like the length, its fun and "twirly, if that makes sense.) | |Eliza J Lace Cap-Sleeve Dress at Dillard's ($106.80 - available in all sizes - I like the light blue crochet with what looks like a silver lining - its not a pairing you see much. I also like the belt to emphasize the fit and flare. I hope its longer than it seems on this model and I also wish the pictures on Dillard's was better so we could see the details better
| |Elie Tahari Lolly Dress in teal/coral at Elie Tahari ($358 - okay, so obviously this is WAY out of budget, BUT, it is also already on half off and all sizes are available at the Tahari site - so the price may drop further. I also think it fits your needs well and when I saw it, it was so pretty I took a picture of it through the store window at the mall.) For anyone who likes this, Muse has a similar but clearly not as cool version.
| |Sonia Black Lace Bodycon Dress from Reiss ($230 - so this is another "splurge" i.e. out of budget dress - though slightly less dramatically so. But I like many things about it, it has the black over cream overlay that you like. Its bodycon, but from Reiss, so it probably means bodycon as in form flattering. And the detailing at the waist and boob area (for lack of a better term) gives almost the effect of a belted dress without actually wearing, you know, a belt. Perhaps it will go on sale?) | |Graceful Gaiety Dress at ModCloth ($164.99 - I adore this dress and there are only two left, but hey, one is in your size ET. I just think this dress would stand out in the best possible way - its vintage but not dated. And the color would look AMAZING on a wide variety of skin tones. I know its not exactly what you came here looking for - but I want to throw it in the mix.)
| |Ivy & Blu for Maggy Boutique Cotton Lace Dress at Nordstroms ($178 - so its hard to tell from the picture - but the description says this dress is a lighter pink lace overlaid on a brighter pink lining. I bet it would look lovely in person. I like the elbow-length sleeves and I'm a sucker for a boat neck. Also, I think with a structured blazer you could probably wear it to work. An interesting option anyway.) | |Hand Crochet Dress from Boden ($187.60 - this was one of the few truly *crocheted* dresses I could find out there - most just being lace with a crotchet like pattern. This is the navy dress, so you can't really see the details, but click over and zoom in and the detailing in the crochet is beautiful. I know its long sleeved, but the sleeves are fairly lightly knitted so they may stay cool for the summer.) | |Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique sleeveless A-Line dress at Zappos ($169.99 - its really a shame this one is sleeveless because its a really pretty take on this whole contrasting overlay look - the lace/crochet/cutouts are entirely different and the shape is just great. If its not right for you Reader ET, I wonder if other of my readers might like it for summer and spring parties and events ... or Easter Sunday. :-P)
Okay - so those are a lot of options - most of which don't precisely fit your needs but are cute anyway. Let me know if you like them (or if you've already bought something since I'm a slowpoke.) I hope you find something that makes your crochet loving heart go pitter-patter. Good night and good luck.....at the mall. (God I'm such a dork, why do you all come here?)
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.
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.
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."
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!
| || |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 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.)
| || |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.)
| |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 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.