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! :-)
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 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.
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 ML asks very politely
[since she's Canadian get it],Hi! I've been looking for a pleated tea length or knee length skirt that's really flowy, but with a non-elastic and sort of wide waistband. I'd like something in either black or gray, or a summery colour, maybe a mint or coral or lavender? I would consider a patterned one. I've only been able to find ones with elastic waistbands, and they are not flattering on me. I usually wear a size 10 or 12, and I'm in Canada, so hopefully from a store that either ships here, or is located here. I'd pay up to $150 (including shipping and duties!), though preferably at or below $100. Thanks!So, if you follow my Tumblr, which of course you should, you'll know that I had to do a little independent research for this one on which retailers are actually in Canada and which one's ship to Canada (though I'm going to try to avoid that since I hate buying something and paying most of the cost in shipping.) But, I also found Shopstyle Canada, which might be useful for you ML and my other readers in the friendly land to the north. But - enough about process, I know you just come here for results. So here they are!
Tradition MD Pleaded Skirt in coral from Sears Canada
($34.99 - I like this one! Exactly what you're looking for I think, right in budget, and it comes in black, coral, and turquoise. I might get all three. Attn other readers - comes in plus sizes as well!)Corey Lynn Calter Desi Blocked Midi skirt in purple, rust, coral at Couture Candy
($129.00 - expensive yes, but more interesting than the other ones - comes in another color pattern
as well.)Worthington Accordian Pleated Skirt with contrasting waistband in white at JC Penny
($14 on clearance - so I actually prefer the black version
of this, but the picture on the website the details were hard to see, so I used the white one so you could see it better. For my tall readers, this comes in tall as well.)
ASOS Sleeveless Midi Dress with Pleated Skirt and Belt in green at ASOS
($54.99 - okay I know this is a dress, but its beautiful and has just the skirt you're looking for, comes in green, orange, and navy, and ASOS ships to Canada for free. I'm actually thinking of buying this green one for myself, that's how much I like it.)ASOS Midi Skirt in Pleated Lace at ASOS
($54.30 - okay, this row is basically just my rebel row - but this is so cute I thought I'd share it - available in both coral and navy.)Lauren by Ralph Lauren Colorblock Pleated Skirt at Hudson's Bay
($50.99 - limited sizes available but yours is one of them Reader ML - I'm not sure how I feel about the pleats not being on the sides of this skirt though. A bit odd.)
Okay ML - those are my favorites - hope one of them works for you. Have fun shopping for a lovely pleated confection for all your summer skirt having needs. :-)
Reader MJ submitted to my Tumblr and asked:
Hey--MJ from Corporette. I am looking for a white denim jean/pencil skirt which is on the longer side (e.g. not a miniskirt or short pencil skirt). Need size 14. Go! Love the new blog!
First, may I salute your brevity in question asking MJ. Short, sweet, and to the point. I'm assuming you probably mean something with an a-line cut or at least a not to tight pencil skirt (I find tight pencil skirt jean skirts to be wildly uncomfortable.) I may also throw in a couple options in other casual fabrics (maybe a linen or cotton) just in case there are some great options in non-denim jeans. All that being said - lets get to work! (Oh - and thanks for reading the blog and the tumblr - I love all my readers!)
Essential Eyelet Skirt from Forever 21
($19.80 - posting this because the pencil skirt looks more relaxed, no white skirt post is complete without an eyelet option, and the price is totally right ... especially if you think this is going to be a "sometimes wear" item.)Stretch-Cotton Zipper Pencil Skirt at Lord & Taylor
($79 - I like the shape since its a more structured a-line and cotton is a great fabric for summer. Might beat out denim in my book.)Calvin Klein Tweed Pencil Skirt at Lord & Taylor
($89.50 - this is probably not ideal for you Reader MJ - but I'm posting it for my readers who might want a more business casual or networking appropriate pencil skirt. I don't even mind the exposed zipper! Tips for those of you looking for these items, Ann Taylor, the Limited, and WHBM have a bunch of other beautiful white pencil skirts right now if you want to add that item to your work wardrobe.)
Okay MJ....I hope these help. Perhaps you'll think outside the denim box? Though I think these denim options are kind of great. I personally cannot purchase any of these because they would have coffee, tomato sauce, or some other destructive material on them by the end of the day. So I salute you in your ability to wear white. Go forth and shop dear reader.
So Commenter L noticed the awesome black and white chevron-esque dress under the yellow blazer in the outfit I recommended yesterday and asked about it. I've actually been unable to find that exact dress - but I'm going to do a post on bold black and white patterned prints - which are a classic and great to wear with yellow, cobalt, kelly green, or other brightly colored blazers this time of year. And in the winter it looks great with the more traditional black (like when you bust out your seasonal black velvet blazer...for example.) So lets get to it shall we? Here's the original picture she was asking about.
Cute dress and I'm frustrated I can't find it! But lets look at some alternatives (focusing on non-linear stripes as a priority, but with some other patterns just for fun's sake.) Also trying to hit a variety of dress shapes, prices, and dressiness levels (as is my want.)
So I came across a few items at Dillards today that I thought would form the base of a really nice outfit (technically the two skirts are alternatives to each other - but that's neither here nor there.)
The first skirt is the Antonio Melani Perla Skirt
($109) - I love the stripes and the high waist line - and the one review is truly excellent. The second skirt is a slightly darker take on the same theme from Cremieux
, it is also high waisted and I like the belt, but overall it looks a little less elegant I think and its one review isn't as good. But it is cheaper at $79 (and it comes in fun limeaid/sand and poppy/sunbaked options.)
The next option is also by Cremieux, a "Novelty-Button" Knit Blazer in bright yellow
(also comes in red) for $119. I actually like the "novelty buttons" because I think it adds some interest to the blazer - which I think would go great with the nude/neutral skirts.
In terms of recommending a shirt - my first instinct was to recommend something white or pale neutral - which of course I think would be nice. But instead I'm recommending this Hinge Silk Blouse
from Nordstroms in this lovely purple - purple is complementary to yellow in the color wheel and I think it would temper the yellow of the blouse in a nice way. Plus its just lovely. ($68 - the blouse also comes in a cream and a tan if you'd like a neutral option.)
For shoes, I'm sticking with something fairly neutral, but going with a little quirky with the side cut outs. These are Via Spiga Gaia pumps in camel from Zappos
($138 - on-sale) - I like the construction of them with the somewhat stacked heel. Don't know how comfortable the side cut outs would be but otherwise I think they're lovely. For people who prefer lower heels - I really like these Nora Mid Heel Loafers from Tory Burch
(on sale for $177) - I don't mind the bits of red added to the outfit, I don't think they'd be noticeable and I think loafer pumps in any height would add a nice touch to this outfit.
For jewelry, I think you could stick with something pretty simple in shape for the necklace - like a pendant that would peek through the neckline of the blouse - but I'd love to see you introduce a third color, like the green in this T Tahari Faceted Pendant Necklace
also from Dillards ($32). I think the combination of them all together would actually be lovely.
What do you think? Would you wear it? What jewelry would YOU pair with it? Leave some notes in the comments!
I've gotten a couple questions about maxi dresses recently - so I thought I'd do a bit of a master post. So here goes.
Reader Kumquat Weekend asks:
Oh illustrious TCFKAG, can you please advise? I just bought two lovely maxi dresses. Solid colours. Cap sleeved, U-neck... they look like really, really, really long t-shirts. T-shirts that flow and drape and make me look like a queen. How on earth can I accessorize these for work? Sweaters? Blazers? Shoes? Belts? Necklaces? Any/all of the above? (I know maxies are often considered a workplace no-no, but my environment is business casual and I'm willing to risk it.)
Hello Ms. Weekend! So, I will address this first - and I will start with a confession, if you had asked me six months ago I would have said "I really don't think that maxi dresses are work appropriate, even at a biz casual office." But then I joined Tumblr and started following some hijabi and otherwise conservative dressing fashion blogs and realized I had been so-so dumb! I've seen so many women absolutely styling maxi dresses in awesomely stylish and beautiful manners. I'm a big fan. A few ideas with the dresses you've described based on what I've seen on those websites. (1) I would probably pair them with a blazer - something fitted and maybe with those sleeves that role up and reveal another fabric or are scrunched up (not too formal but still adding a little structure.) (2) I think adding a belt, something wider and leather or perhaps with a design, would be a really nice way to add structure to the dress and add some formality without too much weight or a ton of cost (plus it adds definition at the waist, which is nice with something like a maxi dress.) (3) For scoop neck dresses, I think that substantial, statement dresses are really nice for work. Not only does it add interest to the neckline, it covers up a bit (which is nice). You could also add a scarf if that's something you like. I think that big bangle bracelets would also be nice (especially with a three-quarter-sleeve jacket.) Finally (4) in terms of shoes, I think the key is to wear either closed toe pumps or a formal sandal - not something flat like gladiator sandals or something that reads "beachy." You don't want people to think you're going work to beach to night (no matter what Lucky Magazine says you should do.) Here are some pictures with inspiration, if you're interested.
Here are the sources of the images above:Mango Chutney (Archive - the 70s)Simple Modesty (Archives)My Dress Ways (Archives)
All are cute outfits that I think are super work appropriate (don't read into two of them being green - just random chance.)Reader B questions:Hi TCFKAG, I am looking for a long (or 3/4) sleeved maxi dress. I prefer a printed chiffon, but I am not really committed to a specific fabric or print. I need it for a wedding in Indiana (I'm expecting hot and humid) in June, so something wedding appropriate (not a lot of white). I've looked at my usual haunts, and am coming up empty. Since I need it by the end of this month, I have to either be able to get it in store, or shipped within a two week timeframe. Any ideas for me? I'd like to keep it under $100, but definitely under $150. I'm looking for a L/XL or 12/14. I love this one, but its out of my budget: Rachel Zoe Silk Maxi Dress. I also fell in love with this and was going to buy it, but its not available: Rachel Pally Aurora Print Maxi Dress.For those shopping along at home, these are the dresses that Reader B is inspired by.
Those are both lovely - I especially love the Rachel Pally dress - lets find you a few options.