Archives for August 2017

Coffee Break: Green Velvet Shoes

velvet shoes for the office - yea or nay? Velvet is looking to be big for fall, but here’s a question for you guys: how do you feel about velvet shoes for the office? On the one hand, so many of us have “office shoes” — shoes that live at the office because we commute in something else, so the practicality of wearing them outside never really matters. On the other hand, wearing something totally impractical may make others think you’ve got poor judgement (or a golden spoon). What do you think, ladies — what you wear velvet shoes around the office? These are (ahem) $630, exclusively at Neiman Marcus.  Velvet 85mm Block-Heel Pump, Green

Here’s a more affordable option in deep red, and one in hot pink.

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What to Wear to a Business Cocktail Party

what to wear to a business cocktail partyReader C wrote in with an interesting question about what to wear to a business cocktail party, and it has definitely been ages since we talked about business cocktail party attire! Here’s her question:

I am due to start on a graduate programme for a large energy multinational. I have a 3 day induction in London, and I am informed that on two of the evenings there will be dinner and cocktails.

What should I wear? Scared of going over the top, but also don’t want to play it safe with jeans and a ‘nice top’.

Interesting! We sort of talked about this years ago when we answered a reader question about what to wear to an interview dinner, but that was a bit different because she was meeting them for dinner, not working all day and then going to dinner. Similarly, we’ve discussed the best networking dinner attire, as well as what to wear to a dinner reception and interview — but it’s been a while.

Here’s my thing: if you’re going straight from the induction activities to dinner, then you should wear basically the same thing you wore all day, unless you’re told specifically to wear something else. Take some time to freshen up your makeup to go from desk to dinner, and perhaps reconsider a portion of your outfit (remove the blazer, switch to different shoes for standing-around purposes, add a cocktail ring so it’s an easy conversation starter while holding your drink, etc). Ultimately I think people will remember your energy and attitude at these things far more than your outfit — so do what you have to do to look awake and alive and feel fresh enough to meet a zillion new people and express excitement for working on their projects. (For me this becomes a mix of “put on Touche Éclat and a highlighter like Haloscope or High Beam while listening to a crazy upbeat, silly song like Rock Me Amadeus” — but for you this may look different. Some of my favorite makeup products for faking a good night’s sleep may be helpful here.)

Readers, what’s your advice — what would you wear to a business cocktail party under these circumstances? In general, do you ever think the kinds of things stylists in movies come up with (such as bustiers under blazers or other outlandish ideas) have a place in the real world? what to wear to a business cocktail party during orientation

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Thursday’s Workwear Report: Bishop Sleeve Top

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

banana republic bishop sleeve blouse for workWe featured a Tibi blouse like this a while ago, so I took note when I saw a much more affordable version at Banana Republic — and it’s among Olivia Palermo’s picks, which are usually pretty good. Not only is this one about a fifth of the price, though, today you can take 40% off everything, bringing it down to even less. It’s available in white, olive, and navy for $68 full price. Cinched-Waist Bishop-Sleeve Top

Psst: just realized there are major new markdowns at Brooks Brothers, including this gorgeous black cotton/silk cardigan for $59.

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Suit of the Week: Banana Republic

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

Brightish purple herringbone skirt suit: yes or no? While obviously not for court, I think this suit could be fun as separates, as well as that rare “look at me” suit for a presentation or networking event, particularly if you’re an alum of a school with purple colors (go ‘Cats!). The jacket is $178, the skirt is $98; there are also matching pants and a dress (with an unfortunate bow in the back, IMHO — a detail that I’m seeing on a few dresses at BR right now).

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A Smart Home: Creepy or Cool?

Here’s a question: is a “smart home,” connected and automated via various apps and devices, cool — or does it strike you as creepy? For those of you who have automated/connected your home, what products do you love the best? (I know there will be many who have a “no way no day” attitude here, and that’s ok too — I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!) As someone who tends to have an attitude of “sure it’s kind of creepy but ugggggh I hate turning on lamps manually on and off every single day when they’re an important part of our lighting design scheme,” I’ve started to go down the rabbithole. Things I’ve looked into (all of which work with my beloved Alexa as well as my smart phone, for what it’s worth):

  • Philips Hue – I got my husband a starter kit for last Christmas — getting it set up was VERY easy, and now we have colorful lights that can dim, be set to routines (such as turning on automatically at sunset), and can be turned on or off by voice command to Alexa. (We have SmartThings set up because we also have one connected outlet that my father wired for us — I think it’s a Leviton — and I will say I prefer the routines through SmartThings than through the Hue app.)  The LightStrips are awesome if you want to add undercabinet lighting to your home, particularly if you have a long bank of cabinets or, say, a long console table, china hutch, or shelf that you wish lit up; we also really like the colorful bulbs for the boys‘ room. (You can cut the lighting strips but each one needs to be plugged in to a power source.) I’ve only just begun experimenting with third party apps that, for example, change the lighting in reaction to music you’re playing.

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Wedneday’s Workwear Report: Wool-Blend Sheath Dress

Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

red dress for the officeWow: I’m really impressed with all the cute affordable dresses that Brooks Brothers Red Fleece has, as well as some awesome suiting dresses with matching blazers (gaah! love!) and a crazy affordable $68 ponte sheath dress with ruched details. This pictured lipstick red dress is, in my mind, the perfect shape — it’s definitely not a wiggle/bodycon dress, but it’s not saying “I wish I were a socialite” like some of the more flared dresses tend to. It’s got the rare high neckline that looks like it would be flattering on a larger bust, and while the lace detail at the hem is definitely a “know your office” situation, I kind of like it. The dress is $158, available in sizes 0-14. Lace-Trimmed Wool-Blend Sheath Dress

This red plus-size dress has sleeves but just hit the sales rack, meaning there are a ton of great sizes left.

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Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

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