READERS NOTE: before I jump back in....OMG....I'm here. I know. I keep disappearing for prolonged periods. I'm sorry. Its a combination of work, my health, and August being...well....August. Hopefully as fall approaches (my absolute favorite fashion month - bar-none) I will be re-motivated to post much, much more frequently. But in the meantime, I apologize profusely. Now, moving on from self-flagellation...unless you're into that sort of thing...this post IS about leather after all.
Hello TCFKAG! I have followed you on Corporette and have a question for you. I am seriously loving leather pencil skirts for fall, but am overwhelmed by the options. I was wondering if you had any suggestions. I'm looking for black leather, or vegan leather, knee length and pencil skirt. I can't decide if it should be all leather, or with leather accents, or what. I work in a business casual environment, but it's not exactly a creative place and I wear mostly traditional things. This would be a bit of a fashion risk for me, so it has to look super professional! Just leather :) I'm a 4-6 or size 27, I'd like to spend under $200. Thank you!
Wow! Are you the REAL Blair Waldorf. You can tell me, I'll never tell. ;-) xoxo. Anyway, I'm totally with you on the leather pencil skirt train - I like them, I think they look cool and just a touch edgy, but....then....the little birdie on my shoulder that annoyingly reminds me that I'm a *grown-up* with a *grown-up* job rears its ugly head and I wonder. Should I REALLY be trying to make leather pencil skirts work for the office? My concerns are really two-fold. On the one hand, I don't want to look like I am a young professional who can't tell which "fashion" trends ARE appropriate for the office and which aren't (like, I don't care if you wear your formal shorts with heels to as many dates as you want...still don't think they belong in the office.) Plus, from a practical standpoint, I can't help but think that these things are going to be a bitch to clean. So as you can imagine, I've been giving it some thought. In my struggles, I think I've come up with a couple of general rules of thumb (at least for myself)
So with those general guidelines in mind....ON TO THE PICKS.
- If the skirt is black, I think the leather should only be accents, since to me black leather is by its very nature a bit more "tough" even in pencil skirt form,
- If the skirt is another color, it can be all leather - possibly - but it needs to be otherwise very, very traditionally styled,
- Only one piece of leather accented wear per day. At no point should you look like you're dressed up as Biker Lawyer Barbie for the day.
- And finally, do *not* spend too much money on leather workwear. I think its going to become a dated trend quite quickly for most of us and....frankly....I think the cost-prohibitive nature of cleaning them is going to make them impractical pretty quickly.
Worthington Leather Pencil Skirt at JCP
($98.99 - a straightforward black pencil skirt - though the picture looks brown to me. I like it though because, rather than being too tight or too shiny, the seams and zipper dress it down enough for me to make me think that it would be more work appropriate than many others I saw. One note, based on the info on the website, it does appear to be real leather.*
)Vince Camuto Faux Leather Trim Striped Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($89 - this skirt falls on the less is more side of the leather camp - but I think the stripes give it some interest as well. It also comes in red and black. I like how the side and waist piping in leather gives just that bit of edge that the less adventurous might be looking for. Paired with either a simple black button down or perhaps a very light, silk deep burgundy button down, I think this would look amazing for fall. Plus emerald and darker greens are SO in this season. But for work, PLEASE do not pair it with high heeled gladiator sandals...just for me okay ladies. :-P)Exact Stretch Studded Trim Pencil Skirt at The Limited
($69.95 - so this skirt obviously takes the idea of leather trim and one ups it by adding studding. I'm not sure how I feel about it other than....intrigued. For a skirt that involves STUDDED LEATHER, its surprisingly lady-like. And the price is right - even if you only wear it on nights out. I don't know - might be worth a look see. Again - everything else would have to be very primly styled - perhaps a gray shell with a black blazer?)
Riverside Colorblocked Pencil Skirt from Ann Taylor
($109 - I have to say - I really LOVE the color of this skirt, this darker merlot is right on trend and would work beautifully to mix with the other on-trend seasonal jewel tones (like eggplant and teal.) I also think the color-blocked side panels serve a practical purpose here - leather can be constricting, but with these side panels you can be allowed greater freedom of movement. And I think the merlot color gives this an overall more refined look. Its definitely one of my favorite for the "full" leather effect out there.) Leather Waist Pencil Skirt from Neiman Marcus Last Call
($69.00 - most sizes still available.
This is a Labor's Day Sale. Okay - I think this is the PERFECT execution of leather in a work skirt - the contrasting color of the leather adds interest and brings attention to it but it remains classy. Plus mixing brown and black is fashion forward without being too aggressive or "weird." You won't scare any of the older employees at your office, but the younger employees will think you're cool. And I like the cut of this skirt for people who don't look good in traditional pencil skirts. A real consideration for people looking for leather accents!! Its even available in most sizes.)
Bailey 44 'She Walk in Beauty' Faux Leather Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($196 - so this is at the very top of your price range, which is a bit steep for something that is likely a trendy item - but I *do* love me some navy. Again, much like with the AT skirt above, the side panels would allow for movement but here there is no colorblocking, which I know some would prefer. On the other hand, I actually like the seam on the front of the AT skirt above. I think the differences add up to a taste preference more than anything ... as well as a $100 price difference of course.)Classiques Entier Leather Trim Jacquard Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms
($178 - so, if I had to guess, I would guess that you are going to be seeing SO much jacquard this season that you may get royally sick of it. But I really like this version with leather trim at the hips and pockets. Another example of just a little leather rather than a lot, but jacquard will never go entirely out of style - so I think this skirt might have real staying power, meaning that the price tag might actually be worth it. And Classiques Entier is a fairly decent quality line. Try pairing with a dark emerald green to be so on trend you might explode.)ASOS CURVE Exclusive leather pencil skirt with jersey trim at ASOS
($89.44 - so sorry Blair, this one isn't for you, but I wanted to highlight this for my readers who shop in the women's section. ASOS CURVE has a few cool looking leather skirts right now, but I like this one as a potential work skirt - the color is more neutral than black and if you perhaps go a size up (to avoid too much cling - don't no one want cling at work) I think it could look great. Plus, again, the jersey trip would allow for movement. A nice option! P.S. The skirt also comes in black if you're into that sort of thing.)
*FINAL EDITOR'S NOTE: I haven't specifically addressed it in this post, but the plus side to your budget is that essentially all of these options are faux leather - so your concerns about vegan options are likely moot. In any case where the leather was not faux, I would have noted it.
So dear readers (if I have any left after my prolonged absences) - would you wear these skirts to work? What do you think about leather in the workplace. What does your WORKPLACE think about leather in the workplace. Or am I just really uncool and is leather totally okay. Its okay, you can call me a fuddy-duddy, I go to bed 9:30 most nights. I have embraced my fuddy-duddiness in all its glory. LEAVE NOTES. SEND MESSAGES. I'm happy to be back and need motivation to stay back! :-)
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.)
SFBayAssociate asked:Hey TCFKAG, So the TPS Tory Burch Walsh dress is the awesomesauce. LOVE IT OMFG. However, the belt that comes with it (basically a self-belt) is a fail. Too thin, too boring, too bland/hard to see. Would you like to find me a better belt to complement this dress? It must be with free shipping and free returns. I'd prefer to spend under $50, but under $100 is max. I would really like something I can wear with other dresses or such. I am lucky to have a naturally defined waist, but am very much a pear, if that helps. Size 2, generally speaking. I plan to wear the dress with gray or nude-for-me heels, and my jewelry is all white gold. If you're feeling particularly inclined, I'd be curious as to what necklace you would suggest too. I don't own any costume jewelry, just a couple simple fine jewelry pieces. Maybe this is another question for another day - basic costume jewelry pieces that aren't expensive but aren't cheap looking. I find the idea of building a fashion jewelry wardrobe completely overwhelming. Thanks! SFBayAFirst of all, I hate you and your ADORABLE dress owning. Seriously, that's one of my favorite things that Kat has posted in, possibly years, and I wish desperately that it was in my budget right now. For those shopping along at home who don't follow Corporette or who don't remember this particular TPS item, here it is (its available elsewhere in red as well I believe). As an initial matter, I think generally a silver or gold belt would look great (silver for you probably since you stick with white gold jewelry) - or perhaps a bright yellow or green (if you could find it cheaper), maybe a nice purple or gray, or in leather a nice light tan or brown or possibly ox-blood (though maybe with some sort of designs.) I also have a navy dress that I got from Asos that I wear with a light blue/teal belt that looks really pretty together. I'm going to give you a few options below.
These three are a little more out there or don't work for you for one reason or another...but I'm throwing them up here because its my blog and I can!Maison Bonet Leopard Print calf hair belt from Bluefly
($76 - I think this would look great with your dress with the nude shoes, but its not free shipping...maybe consider being flexible?)Mossimo Supply Co. Skull Embossed Belt
($16.99 - Because SKULLS!)Halogen Beaded Stretch Belt at Nordstroms
($52 - might be too sparkly for work but would look lovely with this dress).
Hope these ideas help SFBayA! Let me know what you go with or if you want more ideas. As far as jewelry, with this notched neckline, I think an opera length necklace in a bright color or a silver or gold would look lovely. Here are a few options just to wet your palette. I would also definitely wear some nice colorful or chunky bangle bracelets to add some interest with this dress if you wear it to non-work functions or without a jacket.
I like this trend of jackets with leather sleeves or leather detailing but otherwise non-leather. Here are two options - one spendier then the other. On the left is a Vegan Leather Jacket
by RD Style and sold at Piperlime
($79). Its got a nice casual vibe and would look cute with jeans on the weekends or over a dress for going out. On the right is a slightly more stylized version from Aqua Jacket - Army with Leather Sleeves (comes in both the darker Olive and a lighter Stone). This one has a more drapey quality, though the back arches up at an interesting angle. At $178 its definitely pricier, but the arms are also real leather.RD Style Vegan Leather Jacket at PiperlimeAqua Jacket - Army with Leather Sleeves at Bloomingdale's