The Next Step: Professional Clothes

workwear next stepHow to Upgrade Your Work Wardrobe | CorporetteA lot of people know where to go for inexpensive professional clothes — and then they know the brands that celebrities wear.  But the middle ground can get confusing for people — particularly, how to step up your game when it comes to fashionable workwear.  We talked a few weeks about what the next step is for furniture (based on a commenting thread a while back), and this week I thought we’d talk about the spectrum for professional clothes. (Obviously, some of these brands could fit in multiple buckets — any big disagreements, though?)  Readers, where did you shop when you started your careers — or when you need budget pieces?  What was your next step, and the step after that, and the step after that? When did you notice a big change in quality?  Am I forgetting any brands?  What are your top 3 in each bucket? 

Bucket 1: Budget Fashion

  • Dorothy Perkins
  • Express
  • H&M
  • Loft
  • Modcloth
  • New York & Co.
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Zara

Bucket 2: Midlevel Fashion

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Are Fitness Trackers and Smartwatches Office-Appropriate?

Are Fitness Trackers and Smart Watches Appropriate for the Office? | CorporetteAre Fitness Trackers and Smart Watches Appropriate for the Office? | CorporetteCan you wear Fitbits, Jawbone Up bands, and Nike Fuelbands to the office? Are there types of wearable tech that you shouldn’t wear to work? Reader C wonders:

I’ve been wondering lately about wearable gadgets and which ones are appropriate for the office, specifically in big law. I’ve recently fallen in love with my Nike Fuelband (in tangerine) for keeping track of my running or walking stats, but I don’t really wear it in the office for fear that it’s too sporty looking. Thoughts? Additionally my boyfriend (also a lawyer) has been considering the Samsung Smartwatch. Is there a category of wearable tech that is more work-appropriate?

Interesting question! I know many of the readers have talked about Fitbits, and we’ve mentioned some of the jewelry you can buy to “jazz up” your Fitbit. We’ve talked before about how watches are still a good thing to wear because they imply that you’re a responsible, time-sensitive person — I would even go so far as to say that a Fitbit is a good thing because it suggests you’re interested in health and, to a certain extent, data and analytics. (The WSJ even recently noted that CEOs were wearing them because it was part of their competitive nature.) So here’s my $.02:

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Sponsored Post: Shop Jones New York’s Friends and Family Sale!

JNY sale 2014Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Jones New York, but written by your usual friendly blogger, Kat Griffin.

The Jones New York Friends and Family sale has just started, and there are a ton of lovely pieces.  In addition to the houndstooth suiting and cardigan sweater I was drooling over a few weeks ago (or their washable suiting line that I called out on Washable Wednesday a few weeks ago on CorporetteMoms), there is a ton of great stuff on the site — and it’s 30% off sitewide.  If you’ve never tried the brand, you’re missing out — I’ve thought of them for years as a stalwart for classic yet feminine workwear that is flattering, wears well, and launders easily.  I also like that many of the pieces come in regular, petite, and plus sizes.  Some of my favorites currently part of the sale are below — please note that all prices are an extra 30% off from the prices I’ve listed here.  :)

I love the look of a lot of their suiting, including:

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Deal Alert: ShopBop’s Friends & Family Sale

FYI – ShopBop’s Friends and Family sale has just started, with 25% off sitewide with code FAMILY25.  ShopBop is home to a ton of great brands, and the editor’s picks are usually SPOT on in terms of what’s trendy, interesting, and now — their jewelry collection is also drool worthy.  There are also a ton of great basics, though — so I’ve rounded up a few pieces that are classics that have been around forever (and probably will be).  It’s also nice that they offer free 3-day shipping (although you can use your Amazon Prime membership for faster shipping), and, as always, free returns. Readers, what are you eyeing for the ShopBop sale?  If you had $1K to spend, what would you buy?

Can You Wear a Sheath Dress and Jacket to an Interview?

Theory 'Betty 2' Stretch Sheath Dress | CorporetteAre you required to wear a skirt suit for an interview, or are sheath dresses acceptable? We’ve talked about interview attire (including what to wear beneath a suit jacket) before, but let’s discuss again. Here’s Reader L’s question:

I have an upcoming call back interview at a big law firm. I am a 2nd year associate. Can I wear a Theory sheath dress and jacket or do i have to wear a skirt suit? I only ask because the Theory sheath dress is wonderful, comfortable, and super professional. The internet basically says absolutely not … but this is a West Coast based firm. Any thoughts are much appreciated!

For my $.02, I think that while a skirt suit is the default conservative option, pants suits are becoming more and more acceptable — and a sheath dress with a matching blazer isn’t that far behind. A few notes on this, though:

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FIFTY Columbus Day Sales – and Kat’s Top 8

33 Columbus Day Sales! || CorporetteHappy Columbus Day!  Sales are already heating up so I thought I’d round up the noteworthy ones — my top picks are in bold.  As always, we’ll add any new ones we hear about over the weekend, so please stay tuned!

  • 6pm – 10,000+ shoes, clothing, and accessories for $20.
  • Ann Taylor – 40% off your entire purchase.
  • Anne Klein – 30% off sitewide.
  • Anthropologie – 15% off full-price dresses.
  • Banana Republic – 40% off your purchase.
  • Bare Necessities – 50 bras, 50% off.
  • Bergdorf Goodman – Tons of stuff in the 5F collection, with prices up to 75% off.
  • Bloomingdale’s – 25-50% off selected merchandise.
  • Bluefly – Up to 75% off outerwear. Warehouse sale 80% off.
  • Boden – 40% off, mid-season sale. One week only!
  • Brooks Brothers – Select women’s shirts (and men’s dress and sport shirts) 3 for $189 or up to $98.50 each.
  • Cole Haan – prices up to 60% off.
  • Club Monaco – Up to $100 off with code FALLSALE.
  • CUSP – The Denim Event: $25 off one pair, $75 off two pairs, $125 off three pairs.
  • C. Wonder – Extra 50% off sale items.  $5 shipping through 10/15 only.
  • Dorothy Perkins – All sale items are half price or less.
  • DvF.com – Additional 25% off sale items with code EXTRA25.
  • eBags – Up to 65% off.
  • eShakti – 30% off sitewide.
  • Eloquii – Up to 70% off.
  • Express – All sweaters 40% off, all outerwear 30% off. $25 off every $75 you spend (excluding jeans), with code 1870.
  • Forever 21 – Extra 30% off sale items with code TAKE30.
  • French Connection – Up to 40% off selected styles.
  • Gap – Buy 1+ item, save 20%; buy 3+ items, save 30%; buy 5+, save 40%.
  • Hendri Bendel – $50 off $250, $100 off $350, $150 off $450.
  • Hugo Boss – Sale, up to 40% off.
  • Intermix – Additional 30% off all sale items.
  • J.Crew – 30% off full-price styles with code WEEKENDPLANS.
  • J.Crew Factory – 50% off entire site.
  • Jones New York – $50 off a $200 purchase.
  • Karen Millen – Mid-season sale with up to 30% off.
  • Kate Spade – Take 20% off all sale merchandise with code FALLSALE20.
  • Kate Spade Saturday – 20% off all outerwear and sweaters with code BUNDLED.
  • Kohl’s – Additional 20% off with code YES2FAM.
  • Lands’ End – 25% off with code COOL.
  • Last Call – Additional 30% off everything.
  • The Limited – 40% off sitewide, including sale items… and (online only), 60% off select sweaters.
  • LK Bennett – Prices up to 50% off in their sale section.
  • LOFT – 50% off select fall favorites with code EXPLORE, additional 50% off all sale styles.
  • Macy’s – Super Saturday extra 20% off with code SUPER.
  • Madewell – The Finally Fall Event: 30% off fall-ready styles with code OHFALL.
  • New York & Company – Buy one get one 50% off on new arrivals. $100 off $200 purchase with code 3812, $50 off $100 purchase with code 3811.
  • Nordstrom – Prices up to 60% off. 
  • Piperlime – 20% off with code FALL20.
  • Reiss – Sale prices up to 50% off in their outlet.
  • Shoes.com – Take 15% off sitewide (plus free shipping) with code SHOES15.
  • ShopBop – Prices up to 70% off.
  • Talbots – Up to 50% off full-price styles.
  • Theory – Friends & Family shop 25% off with code THEORYFF2014.
  • White House | Black Market – $50 off your entire purchase of $175+.

Readers, are you looking forward to any big sales this weekend? Which ones will you check out first?