How to Wear Ankle Length Pants to Work

how not to wear cropped pants for workCan you wear slim ankle length pants with a blazer to look professional? Reader M asks a pertinent question:

Can you comment on how to wear slim ankle length pants with a blazer to create a professional look? I tried this last week and missed the mark because my shoes were too casual I think. Would love your input on this.

Oi.  OK.  We know I’m not 100% on board with this trend, generally thinking that cropped pants are too casual for very conservative offices.  That said, logic dictates that they’re here to stay, so we may as well talk about how to look as professional as you can in them.  So I just looked at a zillion pictures of cropped pants — some by themselves, some with matching blazers, and a very few with mismatched blazers, and I have a few notes.  But first, let’s look at the picture above, which I think shows some of the worst styling mistakes I’ve seen, and demonstrates both rules really well: [Read more...]

Everything You Need To Know About Dry Cleaning Your Suits

everything you need to know about drycleaning women's suitsHow often should you dry clean your suits? Is dry cleaning bad for suits, and something to be avoided?

If you had asked me before last Thursday’s post on whether you can create a black suit from different black pieces, I would have said that we had absolutely, totally talked about this before on the blog, at least once or twice.  (At least in our Guide to Interview Suits, right?) But going through the archives, I couldn’t find any post really on point.  Since I do think these are important basics — particularly since it’s the end of the season and many readers are likely considering what to do with their winter suits — let’s talk about it today.

Here are a few simple propositions:

- Dry cleaning is something you should generally avoid as long as possible because you’re exposing your clothes to a lot of chemicals.  [Read more...]

How to Keep Pet Hair Off Your Clothes

how to keep pet hair off your clothesHow do you keep your clothes looking nice when you live with animals?  Reader A has a great question about pets and clothes:

I have a question about caring for your clothes when you live with animals. I have a wonderful dog, who unfortunately sheds. His fur also builds up a lot of dander, and when he walks past me, the dander often brushes off on my pants leg or tights and leaves a white-ish residue (similar to the texture of dry shampoo). I use a lint roller constantly to get rid of the hair, but I can’t seem to get rid of the white residue unless I dry clean it. Any tips, other than washing my dog every day? Thanks!

Pet hair can be a real problem.  Having never had a pet, I’m really looking forward to the wisdom from the readers here.  Some suggestions, off the top of my head:

1)  Lint brush, lint brush, lint brush.  In a pinch, the FedEx pouches are great lint rollers.  Your dog’s dander sounds like you might also want to try out something like a special pet hair remover sponge or some of the other offerings on Amazon such as the magnets, stones, mitts, or brushes.  There is even a Furminator (which seems to be, ahem, pretty popular). [Read more...]

The Red Dress at the Black Tie Event

1Can you wear a red dress to a professional black tie event?  Reader “Confused in VA” writes in, wondering:

Is it ok to wear a red gown to a professional black tie event? The event will be in the evening with dinner.

Hmmn.  We’ve talked about what not to wear to a black tie event, how to do black tie on a budget, and whether cocktail dresses are appropriate for black tie events — but never what colors are appropriate.  To be honest, my gut reaction here was “If you are the honoree or the hostess of the event, knock yourself out.  Otherwise, step away from the red dress.”  But after some Googling, it seems like a red dress is becoming more and more popular — even Tim Gunn says “absolutely” to bright colors at evening affairs.

Still, for my $.02, I would stick to dresses in muted colors for professional events — a dark plum or an emerald, or a navy — and leave brighter colors to details like your clutch, or your bag.  [Read more...]

Business Casual — Without Being Overdressed

someecards.com - Are sleeping bags business casual? How do younger women do “business casual” in a male-dominated environment — without ending up looking like the mom (or younger sister) of the group?  Reader S asks:

I have a question about work attire: is it possible to be “over-dressed” for work? Without getting in to too much detail, I work for a medium sized engineering firm as an engineer. I am the only female engineer in my group so it’s really hard for me to gauge what would be deemed appropriate work attire for my office. Most of the men dress business casual (as in jeans, or khakis at best, and a polo shirt- even on client meeting days) during the weekdays, with casual Fridays being jeans and a t-shirt. I usually wear dress pants, and an appropriate top; Fridays I wear jeans and an appropriate top. Am I overdressed? The only other person who wears dress pants is the group manager. I should mention I’m only 3 years in to my career.

I can totally see this being a problem. The guys are wearing jeans and polos and look like regular workers — meanwhile, if you wear jeans and a t-shirt you end up looking like their scrappy younger sister, and if you wear trousers and a nice top you look like the mom of the group.  We’ve covered whether you can dress “too nice” for work, and also how to transition to business casual from a more conservative environment, but I don’t think we’ve really talked about this exact question.

For my two cents, here are a few tips — I’m really curious to hear what the readers have to say on this one, though. [Read more...]

How Often Can You Repeat Your Outfits at Work?

1Can you wear the same outfit over and over again to work? How often can you rewear an outfit? Reader N wonders…

Do you have any tips about how often you can wear the same outfit to work? Or posts on outfit frequency? I tried to search in the archives but couldn’t find anything.

This is a great question, and one we haven’t talked about before. A friend of mine was just describing a former coworker who wore the exact same outfit (dress, tights, shoes, jewelry) multiple days in a row — and how no one could figure out what her deal was (but everyone was wondering!). So: don’t be that coworker!

Personally I think you can repeat the exact same outfit, but the more memorable it is, the less often you can repeat it. [Read more...]