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.....)
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.
And most importantly - there is now a "Personal Shopping" tab up in the menu bar. Go click on it - it explains a bit about what services I provide and my likely fee schedule (at least at first.) I'm reserving the right to change the fee schedule as I figure out what works best and what doesn't so much (don't worry, I won't change the fee schedule mid-job unless you ask me to.
And slightly less important, TCFKAG Shops is now on Twitter. I have no idea what to do with that thing - so if anyone wants to give me some suggestions or tips, feel free. Also - just FYI - there is no "social networking icon" on here for Tumblr, but there WAS one for Yahoo! - so I used that to link to my Tumblr in the top header. Because I thought it was funny and ironical. Also I'm a dork.
This is a fashion blog and I think I really owe you some fashion. Like whoa - so I thought I'd show you some shoes that I've seen around the Internets that I just really like. They don't relate much - this is just unmitigated shoe porn for no real reason (other than the obvious.)
| |Just Prance Heel in punch at Mod Cloth ($69.99 - some days I feel like MC here is just too costumey for their own good, but other days I just feel like they get me - these shoes are in that camp. Luckily not available in my size or they might be winging their way towards me.) | |Miz Mooz 'Wonder' Sandal at Nordstroms ($69.90 in the half-yearly sale) potentially a great sandal for summery events or anywhere really. This color is only in one size now, but the other colors are cute too and in more sizes. | |Naturalizer Women's Jodell Oxford at Amazon (~$40.00 - so I'm not usually a huge oxford fan but these Naturalizer ones won me over by being a little longer and leaner than most of the chunky options without having the scary stilletos of the "sexy" options. I like the mix. Not many sizes left in this two tone, but I like it.)
| |Vintage Calfskin Riding Boot at Brooks Brothers ($238.80 - available in a surprising number of sizes. This is obviously completely out of season - and after the heat on the east coast this week, many of you might be quaking at the thought of wearing it. But its a good price for a VERY cool looking boot and might be worth a second look.) | |White Sand Shores Sandal in orange from Mod Cloth ($29.99 - I LOVe the asymmetric cut of these sandals and that they don't have a between the toes issue. And the orange is cute. A real contender for a great summer sandal. 4 for you Mod Cloth, You go Mod Cloth.)
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 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.
So - blazers and fitted jackets are basically the essential workhorse of my wardrobe. I wear them to work most days and throw on some of my more casual ones on with my weekend clothes (it takes my outfit from "I grabbed this outfit at random from the drawers" to "I almost look put together if you don't squint too much.") So - since I did a big post about pants, which I don't even like, I thought I'd do a big post on blazers and jackets. Note - my favorite blazer is a beautiful, ribbed navy blue blazer from Brooks Brothers. It is a wardrobe essential and fits me beautifully. This post, on the other hand, is really about blazers with a little more pizazz (though some workhorses might sneak in.) SO LET'S DO THIS THING! Note: the price ranges on some of these items are a bit higher than my usual choices - but if you're going to splurge for something in your wardrobe, I always think that blazers or shoes are the way to go since you wear them the most.)
Bop Basics Fiance Blazer at ShopBop
($198 - I'm going to do a few basic black jackets too - this one has a nice cut for my longer waisted readers.)Gibson Knit Blazer at Nordstroms
($58.96 - perfect for my shorter waisted readers who prefer a more fitted blazer.)The Blazer in navy at Jones New York
($169 - comes in navy and black as well as some colors - I like that it doesn't have gold buttons on the navy jacket.)
Okay! This is just a spattering, a mere sample if you will, of all the blazers out there. But I like them ... and I'm sure I'll be posting more blazers in the future. So, what is your favorite blazer? Do you have a go-to blazer you can't live without?
I begin this post with a confession - I hate shopping for pants. They are rarely short enough for me (and the petite options frequently are sold out or not as diverse in choices) and so I have to either get them tailored or destroy the hems. And since I'm a lazy person ... I frequently destroy the hems. So I find that I wear skirts more often than not. It is also hard to give good solid pants advice to others, since what pants you like are so very much controlled by body shape and height and general preferences. But, given all that, I'm going to recommend a bunch of pants below that I either (a) own or (b) I know others like a great deal - in case you are looking for some pants. Most will be work pants, but I'm going to throw some more casual pants in there for fun. Most will also be fairly traditional, full length cuts - but I will include some cropped and ankle-pants in their, because I know other people like them (they make me feel even more stunted in my growth than usual.) So here we go.
Martin Fit Straight Leg Trousers in yellow at Banana Republic
($79.50 - much like AT, I have found the quality of BR has gone down a bit in recent years, but these trousers look elegant and nicely designed and come in a variety of great colors for those interested in non black, gray, navy, etc. pants.)Halogen 'Taylor' Curvy Fit Pants at Nordstroms
($79 - I love Halogen's Curvy Fit pants, both jeans and trousers, though some readers on Corporette mentioned that the fabric on these was changed recently to be less sturdy - somewhat like the skirt - so they may not be as fabulous as they once were.)Curvy Fit Polished Sateen Bootcut Pants in navy at Talbots
($89.50 - available in Misses, Petites, Women's, and Women's Petites. Also available in six colors. Like with many of the chains, Talbots quality can be spotty, but I find their trousers generally reliable.)
Signature Glen Plaid Pant at Ann Taylor
($69.99 - gets good reviews - though AT quality is of course a worry.)Slim Cropped Pants in cobalt at Gap
($39.99 - pictured pants available in limited sizes, other colors available in more - comes in regular height and tall.)Mossimo Women's Skinny Premium Skinny Jean
($27.99 - available in assorted washes and in long, short, and regular. I have these in black and for someone who doesn't *do* skinny jeans - these are amazing. Not too tight to be uncomfortable or unforgiving, but tight enough to fit under knee high boots or look cute with flats. And the price is right.)