A Weatherproof Tote for Work

bags-weather-2Is it possible to find a quality work tote that won’t be ruined by bad weather but still looks stylish? How can you protect your bag from the elements? Reader C wonders…

Kat, I’d like to upgrade my work tote bag to something special but I worry about caring for it when commuting in rain and snow. The best thing about my 20 year old vinyl tote is that it’s indestructible, but it’s also pretty shabby. I’d like something classy but worry about the weather ruining it. Thanks for your advice.

We’ve talked about upgrading to a Prada bag (and upgrading your bag in general), what your tote bag says about you, how to lighten your loadthe best bags for commuting (and the best bags for interviewing!) — but we haven’t really talked about this. I’m curious to hear what readers say.

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How to Wear a Vest at the Office

suiting-vests-for-womenIf you’re thinking of adding women’s vests to your workwear wardrobe, what’s the best way to wear them at the office? And where can you buy vests for women in the first place? Reader K wonders…

I work at a relatively conservative-dressing law firm, and I’ve seen a few women, at my institution and elsewhere, wearing suiting vests — as in, the middle part of a man’s 3 piece suit — usually over a white button up. I think they look great. What do you think of suiting vests? Do you know where can I find them?

Interesting question — we have occasionally featured suits with matching vests in our Suit of the Week feature, but not often — I’ll admit it’s a hard look to pull off. Personally, I prefer the most classic vested look — a close-fitting, almost shrunken look. In product catalogs a vest is often featured as a shell, with nothing beneath, but I wouldn’t advise that for the office. Instead, layer it on top of a button-front blouse or even a simple t-shirt (I’d suggest going for a scoopneck, jewelneck, or U-neck, not a crew or V) for a sophisticated, almost monochromatic look. Wear the blazer + vest combo with jeans for a dressed-up but casual look, or go for a vest-like look with a suit by layering a sweater the same color as your suit (either a shell, a proper sweater vest, or a regular, sleeved sweater) on top of a blouse.

These things are practically impossible to find right now in stores, but here are a few versions, at top and below: Smythe / Limited / Bop Basics / Rag & Bone

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What to Wear Underneath Unlined Pants

unlined-pantsWhat do you wear under pants and suits that are unlined? Are you for or against the current trend of unlined clothing? Reader K wonders:

I have a question I was hoping you could address. As a slim, athletic woman I love Theory suits because they fit me like a glove. However, I’m peeved that the skirts and pants are unlined — which has already been noted on your site. I’ve found a number of slips that I can wear under the skirts, but I’m having trouble finding something to wear under the pants. All I’ve found is super-tight shapewear that feels uncomfortably tight at the waist, especially when sitting. Do you have any suggestions?

Great question, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. (We’ve already talked about how to reduce static cling in general.) For my $.02, I’m actually in favor of the move toward unlined pants, for a bunch of reasons. First, I often would find that the lining of my suiting clothes would be the first part to break down, sometimes even shredding — it really decreased that confident feeling of “I look put together today.” (Maybe I’m alone here, but if my underpinnings are in poor shape, no matter what else I’m wearing, everything else feels raggedy too!) Plus, the lining was often a cheap polyester — so while the pants or dress were washable, the lining wasn’t. (OR, the lining would need to be laundered way before the rest of the pants needed a wash.) Also, as someone who often needs to get pants hemmed (yay for being between regular and petite sizes), the lining in pants was just another layer to hem.

A few options for you to wear underneath unlined pants:

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How to Wear Jeans to Work

jeans-shoes-business-casualHow can you wear jeans to work — and particularly, what shoes should you wear? Which business casual outfits look the most professional? Reader B wonders…

I work in public accounting and we have “Jean Fridays,” but HR says no sneakers, tennis shoes, etc., so I can’t wear my suede Pumas or Onitsuka Tigers with my jeans. Please suggest alternate shoes a girl can wear with jeans to the office. I am a size 8 1/2 and feel like distressed oxfords or driving shoes give me clown feet. And black booties are not the look I’m going for (too motorcycle or bar night or something…). Thanks for any advice if you decide to pick this one up!

Great question, Reader B! We’ve talked about business casual for women, as well as how to wear jeans to work (but back in 2009!).  A lot of this depends on how your jeans are hemmed, but here are a few pointers:

  • A more traditional, structured shoe like a pointed toe pump will almost always elevate a denim look.
  • The wider your pants’ ankles are (bootcut, baby bootcut, etc) the more pointed your shoe needs to be — but shoes with rounder toes can even look better with skinny jeans and the like.
  • You don’t need heels — if you’re more of a flats person, look for either a teeny tiny kitten heel (found with shoes like the Stuart Weitzman Poco) or a pointed-toe flat, like the trendy Nicholas Kirkwood loafers.
  • When in doubt, go for a dark rinse denim with little to no distressing — rips are not appropriate for most offices.

I’ve rounded up a few images from Pinterest to aid you visually, below, and maybe even give you a few business casual outfit ideas…

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54 Presidents’ Day Sales (and Kat’s 11 Favorites)

sales175 puny

  • Happy Presidents’ Day, guys!  I hope all of you are enjoying a long, relaxing weekend — with plenty of time for sales (because there’s some good ones).  The roundup of our top 54 noteworthy sales is below — my favorite 11 are in bold.
  • 6pm.com – President’s Day Clearance, 70% off MSRP or more.  Up to 75% off neutrals from Frye, Cole Haan, Ivanka Trump, and more. Up to 65% off Nine West styles, as well as workout gear.
  • Alexis Bittar – Sale pieces are up to 50% off.  (Prices are better than their NYC sample sale, honestly!)
  • Amazon – Take 20% off select clothing with code 20PRES15, and 25% off select handbags, shoes and gear with code 25OFFPRES.
  • Ann Taylor – Extra 50% off sale styles with code STYLE.
  • ASOS – 20% off full-price items with code PREZDAY20.
  • Athleta – Free 2-day shipping on all orders with code FREE2DAY.
  • Bare Necessities – Free shipping on all orders. Bras: buy one get one 75% off. Sleepwear, shapewear, new spring shoes: buy one get one 50%.
  • Barneys Warehouse – Extra 50% off clearance for savings up to 80% off; extra 30% off all outerwear and cold weather accessories.
  • Bloomingdale’s – The Big Brown Bag Sale: Save 20-60% on select items.
  • Bluefly – President’s Day Sale, now up to 80% off the site!
  • Boden – 20% off all cold weather wear: knitwear, coats, jackets, and skiwear with code BRRR.
  • Brooks Brothers – President’s Day Sale, save up to 60% off.
  • Club Monaco – Extra 30% off sale styles + extra 40% off clearance with code GREATSALE.
  • Cole Haan – 25% off almost everything now through February 17, use code PRES25.
  • DVF.com – Weekend sale, enjoy 30% off new sale styles.
  • eBags – Extra 15% off your entire purchase with code ABE. Winter sale and clearance: save up to 70% on best-selling bags and brands.
  • Eloquii – Last chance sale , up to 70% off.  40% off all original ticket dresses and jackets.
  • eShakti – Buy 2 get 1 free.
  • Express – Clearance – up to 70% off, plus take an additional 40% off already reduced items. 
  • Figure 8 Maternity – The Great Winter Sale – save up to 60% off in their largest sale of the year.
  • French Connection – 60% off all sale styles, plus free shipping with code PRES60.
  • Halsbrook – Use code FINAL25 to take an extra 25% off sale (final sale only, alas).
  • Inhabit – Cold weather clearance: 70% off all styles sitewide.
  • J.Crew – Just for today, online only: 25% off your purchase of 125+ with code TODAYONLY.
  • J.Crew Factory –  40%-50% off everything plus get an extra 10% off with code LOTSTOLOVE.
  • Jones New York – President’s Day Sale, extra 40% off the entire store!
  • Journelle – Lots of lovely bright unmentionables marked as much as 50% off.
  • Karen Millen – 30% off selected seasonal styles with code X6OFJY5N.
  • Kate Spade New York – Additional 25% off all sale items with code SPRINGFLING.
  • Kate Spade Saturday – 25% off everything (including sale!) with code EXTRA25 (through 2/16).
  • Lands’ End – $10 off when you spend $50, $25 off when you spend $100, or $50 off when you spend $150.
  • Last Call – Extra 10% off on top of sale, up to 30% off everything, extra 50%–60% off cold weather and boots.
  • The Limited – 40% off full-price items, extra 50% off sale items. 30% off Collection suiting.
  • L.K. Bennett – Additional 40% off all sale items with code PRES40.
  • Loft – Extra 60% off all sale styles. 
  • Lord & Taylor – 20% off almost everything, including clearance, with code PRESIDENT. Buy one get one 50% off, shoes and select day dresses. 50% off women’s quilted coats, up to 60% off select handbags, 40-50% off fine jewelry.
  • Macy’s – Extra 20% off with code PRES (extra 15% for home and select departments) or $10 off your purchase of $25 or more (select departments) with code PRES25.
  • Madewell – Extra 30% off all sale styles with code AMOUR.
  • Nasty Gal – Freakin’ Weekend Sale, get up to 70% off.
  • Neiman Marcus – New styles added to clearance.
  • Net-a-Porter – Free shipping for a limited time.
  • New York & Company – Semi-annual pant event, plus $50 off orders of $100 or more with promo 2178.  Free shipping, no minimum.
  • Nine West – Up to 70% off. 30% off select new arrivals, extra 20% off select sale items.
  • Nordstrom –  Clearance Sale: Up to 40% off select items through 2/22 (see our workwear sale picks here).
  • The Outnet – Extra 40% off select items. Up to 65% off Roland Mouret, Proenza Schouler; up to 60% off New York Fashion Week: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Zac Posen, Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg, and more.
  • Pendleton – Extra 30% off clearance with code VIP30. Ends today!
  • Piperlime – 30% off select spring styles with code WINNING.
  • Rebecca Taylor – Extra 25% off sale + new resort styles just added, with code RTSALE25.
  • Shoes.com – Final sale! Select styles $24.99, $39.99, $59.99.
  • Sierra Trading Post – Extra 20-30% select items; up to 60% off merino wool apparel.
  • Talbots – Extra 15% off markdowns for savings up to 80% off.
  • Target – Save 20% off tons of stuff in their wear-to-work shop.
  • Tory Burch – Extra 25% off all sale styles with code SALE25. Last day!
  • White House | Black Market – New reductions up to 60% off.

Preview: Presidents’ Day Sales!

sales175 punyHappy Friday! Here’s a quick Presidents’ Day Sales preview for you — we’ll post the complete list of sales on Monday.

  • 6pm.com – Up to 70% off Frye; up to 65% off Nine West. Up to 80% off Anne Klein, Nine West, Vince Camuto, Seychelles, Charles by Charles David, Calvin Klein, and more. Up to 70% off women’s clothing, including Tahari by ASL, Nic + Zoe, Jones New York, Anne Klein, Pendleton, Adrianna Papell, MICHAEL Michael Kors, etc. (through 2/14).
  • Ann Taylor – 30% off full-price styles; extra 50% off sale styles with code STYLE.
  • J.Crew – 40%-50% off final sale styles with code WEEKENDMUST.
  • J.Crew Factory – 40%-50% off everything plus get an extra 10% off with code LOTSTOLOVE.
  • Kate Spade New York – Additional 25% off all sale items with code SPRINGFLING.
  • Kate Spade Saturday – 25% off everything with code EXTRA25 (through 2/16).
  • Last Call – Extra 50%–60% off cold weather & boots; up to 30% off everything else.
  • Loft – 50% off select full-price styles; extra 50% off sale styles.
  • NordstromClearance Sale: Up to 40% off select items through 2/22.