Reader CT asked: Another Corporette reader (although I never comment, just lurk!) here! I'm a journalist who normally wears pretty conservative outfits. However, I'm obsessed with quirky shoes and would love to get tips on low to medium-heeled shoes I can wear outside of work. I own several pairs of Poetic License flats and love that brand. I love patterns, metallics, glitter snakeskin, polka dots and different textures. Price range: max $200. Any ideas? Many thanks in advance!
Hey CT! This is definitely a question I couldn't resist. I have to say that I tend to go with more simplistic shoes - mostly because they go with more outfits - but I LOVE quirky, patterned shoes as a way to add fun to a conservative outfit or for outside work. I will suggest a variety of fun shoes - and will try to find at least a few that I think will work for both work AND play. And for those I will also suggest work outfits that I think will go well with the shoes (either toning them down or coordinating with them in a way that brings them into the working world.) That way you can have your cake and wear them to work as well!
| |Isaac Mizrahi New York Jenniferle slingbacks at Zappos
($87.99 - These shoes would be fun for weddings or fancy nights out with your significant other [or date nights with NOT SO significant others.] I like that they are close toed but sling backed - making them useful for those of us who tend to wear panty-hose even with our fancy dresses. And since they are still relatively conservative, they'd be a great way to add flair for a work cocktail party or afterwork event.
| |Funtasma by Please Women's College 04 Mary Jane Pump at Amazon
($15.99 - if you follow my tumblr
- which you totally should - you may know that I actually own these shoes. I'm totally enjoying the tartan trend lately and I figured, even if I only wore these shoes a couple of times, the price was certainly no bar. They are actually pretty cute and not wildly uncomfortable. So...tartan shoes....yay!
| |Jacquard Faux Leather Waist Pencil Skirt at the Limited
($69.95 before 50% off sale - I like the subtle jacquard pattern on this skirt, plus the leather waistband which is current without being TOO current. The purple would look great with both the gray pumps and the black and cream striped shirt. Together they'd make a chic but still conservative outfit.)
Jeffrey Campbell 'Bridges' Pump at Nordstroms
($119.95 - the perfect mix of a conservative color and fabric with a fun shape and a little snakeskin mixed in to assuage your funky soul. With this outfit I think you'd look professional and awesome, all at once - and the relatively low heel means they may well be comfortable. Gray is my personal favorite for work pumps because it goes with EVERYTHING, but this shoe also comes in navy blue, burgundy, and black.)
| |Camber A-Line Skirt by BCBG Max Azaria
($110.60 - Houndstooth goes great with cobalt blue and I wanted to recommend something a little different than the typical pencil skirt (not that there's anything wrong with that - I wear them all the time). This a-line ponte skirt looks great for work - its a reasonable length and the a-line is noticeable without being too flouncy.)
Isaac Mizrahi Joy Houndstooth Pumps at Lord and Taylor
($140 - I love houndstooth and love that its back in fashion - and I especially love this pump - that its got a bit of the driving shoe/menswear look going on but the heel and the pump design keeps it quite feminine. With jeans or a cute skirt it would be great for weekends, but it would also be a great "statement" shoe for work wear as well.)
| || |Dolce Vita 'Kadyn' Pump at Nordstroms
($178.95 - definitely more of a "going out" shoe than a "going out to the grocery store" shoe - but whoo boy - can you imagine this with a little black dress. Or skinny jeans that are short enough for them to show and a silk black blouse. Or a black pencil skirt, a purple shirt, and a leather jacket. Yes. I think I like them A LOT.)
| |Sofft 'Valletta' Pump at Nordstroms
($69.90 - POLKA DOTS - really need I say more? A cute, vintage style peep-toe pump with pink and black polka-dots. The reviews are quite good (the worst review is "I wish it were navy and pink," which I agree with but consider fairly minor.) A cute, comfortable shoe for indoor events in the winter or outdoor events in the spring and fall.)
| |Instantly Slimming Three-Quarter Sleeved Dress at White House Black Market
($112 - so everyone should have that "go to" little black dress for work cocktail parties and date nights and just - generally. WHBM has become my go to for all my LBD needs - they have dresses in all shapes (a-line, bodycon, dropped waist, etc. but I like this one especially for work. If only they carried plus sizes as well.)
Nervous System 'Dichotomous' Stainless Steel Pendant Necklace at Amazon
($40 - this necklace, which is modeled off the leaf of a gingko tree, would be nice simple, almost quiet accessory with this outfit. Since I think for a work event I'd keep my accessories pretty neutral (maybe add some silver or mixed metal bangles) but otherwise keep it rather simple.)
Sam Edelman 'Othello' Pump at Nordstroms
($129.95 - so this is not really a 'wear to work' pump - but this would be a perfect 'wear to work' events pump. It would go with basically all of your cocktail dresses, unless your cocktail dress was bright gold, but they are a fun alternative to the more 'normal' neutral cocktail options of black, nude for you, or ... well ... black.)
| |Color Blocked v-neck Sweater Dress from Ann Taylor
($109 - I love this simple, yet pretty, burgundy sweater dress from Ann Taylor. I think for a business casual workplace this would be a great way to add some color. Add a nice necklace and perhaps a belt and you have a simple dress that is complete for the office.)
Lodis Accessories Burton Way Wide Covered Buckle Waist Belt at Zappos
($53 - I like this belt with this outfit - I think the sweater dress could really use belting on a lot of us who look best with a bit of waist definition and the green adds another color to the mix that grounds the outfit and keeps it in neutral territory. I really like this combo all together.)
Isaac Mizrahi 'Perry' Pump at Nordstroms
($139.95 - this is definitely a fun, bright shoe that would adapt beautifully to the work week. Not only would it go great with all things black because of the black on the buckle, but it would also go really well with gray and navy. I also think, though, that this would be a nice way to work in a couple other jewel tones into your wardrobe - like burgundy and emerald green, since these shoes would look great with both. This shoe is so seasonally appropriate, it might actually be MADE of fall.)
| |Gabriella Rocha 'Shelby 3' T-Strap pumps in Teal patent leather at 6PM
($21.99 - also available in a pretty sweet looking purple patent leather, I think these pumps would be great with an a-line skirt or dress on the weekend for going to casual but slightly dressy events or even for events that involve more walking since they look pretty comfortable with the stacked heel.)
| |Ivanka Trump 'Ilyssa' Pump at Nordstroms
($125.90 - this is maybe not the most fall/winter appropriate colors - but I love the oxford detailing on this shoe and the colors are undeniably fun. Its a different take on a classic shoe; and definitely something I'd wear to both work and weekend events.)
| |Miz Mooz 'Coco' Bootie at Zappos ($139.95 - for a weekend shoe, this bootie might be just the fun, sensible shoe you are looking for. I love the color - the bright cobalt really would be a fun way to add some vibrancy to an outfit, and the stacked heel looks quite sensible. Plus the ruched leather and prominent buttons look just fun.)
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 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.
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 LM takes the bow before the event and asks:
Hello TCFKAG! Found you through Corporette (longtime reader/lurker) and I have a fashion question for you... I know I am super-late to the party, but I have been wanting some tie-neck blouses to wear tucked into pencil skirts at work or with skinny jeans and heels at night. I like the styles that tie up high - e.g., closer to the neck rather than the boobs (if that makes sense). Can you help me find some reasonably priced, cute options, preferably under $60? I am open to solid-colored or patterned. I am about a size 8 (usually M). Thanks in advance!
Let me first thank you profusely for NOT calling them by the other name that shall not be used for these blouses that I frankly think is gross and icky and I react to it like some people react to the word moist. So - yeah - lets stick with tie-neck blouses, shall we. And as far as missing the boat, if you missed the boat, then everyone else who's wearing them right now missed the boat by a couple of decades, so missing the boat by a year is just a blip really and hardly can be called super-late. Fashionably late, sure, but that's the way to be, right? Moving on to the actual CLOTHES now. Lets find some blouse that shall not be named. As a warning, at that price point most of your options will likely be polyester or poly blends, but I'll try to do my best to find some deals on real silk or silk blends too.
I'm on a total How I Met Your Mother kick tonight, don't ask me why. These things just happen.
One more quick note about shopping for tie-neck blouses - many if not most of the tie necks are in fact adjustable, so they can either be tied higher up at the neckline or lower at the boob area (for lack of a better term) so what you see on the website is a styling choice of the retailer and not the exclusive way the shirt can be worn. So you want to double check those product details if you see a tie shirt you like but its tied in the wrong place.
So! I hope these options give you a few ideas to add a little new flare to your summer wardrobe. Who doesn't like adding a bow to their clothes. Its like you're a gift that you get to unwrap at night (or someone ELSE gets to unwrap....BAZINGA.) Man, the dorky tv references are flying fast and hard tonight. Think that's a sign its time for me to log off. Well, LM, please come back in the comments and let me know how you make out. AND TO MY OTHER READERS, THE CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW AT MIDNIGHT. HAVE YOU ENTERED? IF SO, YOU NEED NEED NEED TO SEND ME AN E-MAIL AT TCFKAG@GMAIL.COM. BECAUSE DESPITE MY BEST EFFORTS AFTER READING MATILDA AS A CHILD, I HAVE NEITHER TELEPATHY NOR TELEKINESIS. SO ENTER! WIN! LET ME SHOP FOR YOU PERSONALLY!! (AND REMEMBER - FACEBOOK COUNTS. AND IF YOU HAVE NO SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU COULD EVEN SEND AN E-MAIL TO SOME OF YOUR NEAREST AND DEAREST FRIENDS.)
okay....no more big letters they scare me. good night all. good night moon. good night girl in the polka-dot balloon.
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?
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.
As you may have figured out, I like to be inspired by a particular item and then find variations on a theme. Well, I was toodling around on Nordstroms and saw this adorable Eliza J Seamed Drop Waist Dress
and thought...that would be fun. A little red dress post. Now this dress would clearly look best on my readers with a longer waist - but I will endeavor to find dresses to fit a variety of body types. So let's shop. But first! The inspiration.
And now - onto the picks. I'm sticking with cocktail numbers here. Envisioning things you could wear to nice cocktail parties or maybe weddings, nothing too formal. Maybe a couple of work appropriate numbers will slip in, you never know. Also, as I usually do, I'm trying to keep the prices pretty reasonable. Or at least have a range of prices!