The Hunt: Silk Button-Front Blouses

The Best Silk Button-Fronts | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We rounded up some of the best crisp button-downs around this time last year, but we haven’t ever rounded up the best silk-button fronts.  I’m still a fan of the ones with a pointed collar (instead of a rounded or band collar, or a split neck) for a more classic look — the collar looks great beneath a suit blazer, layered underneath sweaters, and more.  For my $.02, I’d suggest wearing a cotton camisole (with the arm holes adjusted fairly high) beneath them so you can try to get at least two wears before you have to take them to the drycleaner.  There’s a ton of selection out there — readers, which are your favorite silky button-downs?  Do you have any laundry tricks (either to extend the wears-per-launder or to make them look nice without drycleaning?) Any must-haves (or do-not-buys?) [Read more...]

Bra Care: How Often, and How, To Wash Your Bras

How often do you wash your bras — and how do you care for them? Which bras are best for under work clothes? Reader C wonders:

Could you please do a post on best bras for under work clothes, and also on how often one ought to be replacing bras? I have switched to (what I thought, at least) were high quality bras from Natori (size 32D), which I really like and also take moderately good care of (handwashing only; hang to dry; washing every 1-2 wears; rotating every day among 7-10 total bras). But they still only last about 1 year. Is this the normal lifespan? Or is there something I’m doing wrong in my purchasing and/or care? Many thanks!

We haven’t talked about this in a few years (here: a few of my favorite t-shirt bras, a poll on readers’ favorite lingerie brands), and we’ve never talked directly about how to wash your bras — so let’s discuss. (Pictured: Nothin’, as per previous reader requests on our lingerie discussions…)

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How to Play “Closet”

How to Shop Your ClosetHow do you “shop your closet”?  It’s frequent advice from stylists and fashion magazines — but what does it really mean?  I’ve noted before that one of my favorite weekend activities has always been to play “Closet,” meaning much the same.  (Pictured: my closet!) Reader R wonders…

I know you have covered wardrobe basics before, but I have a slightly different question in that vein. I am always intrigued when you mention having spent time in the weekends in the past trying different pieces together. I would like to do that, but feel hopeless in that regard–most of which is probably my own lack of fashion sense, but I also suspect that a lot of my wardrobe pieces don’t actually go together. Outside of having lots of boring black pants and white shirts, how would you suggest building a wardrobe that is both interesting and has lots of different combinations? Are there certain fabrics or colors that are more mix-and-matchable across seasons? Or should one stick to say, subdued blazers and pants but interesting tops? Or is it just a matter of having fun and bold accessories? Thank you!

Playing Closet is, without a doubt, one of my favorite games. It’s a perfect activity for this time of year, when you’re bored of everything in your winter closet but not yet ready to shiver in your spring clothes yet (but, perhaps, are still gearing up for doing a seasonal closet shift). Just a warning: you make quite a mess. Clear a few hours here so you can start AND finish the game by putting stuff away. [Read more...]

How to Look Professional With a Wool Allergy

professional nonwool sweatersWhich are the best sweaters if you suffer from a wool allergy?  Are there any other tricks for looking professional while avoiding wool? Reader P wonders:

Like a lot of people I seem to know, I am allergic to wool. It makes me itch. Even cashmere. Even soft merino wool. Even if the sweater is a mixture with only 5% wool. My question is–where do I find good quality sweaters made of silk, linen, cotton or other non-wool fabrics that are light enough to wear under a blazer or suit jacket in the winter?

We’ve talked about how to look professional in cold weather, but not the allergy question, which is something I’ve gotten a few times over the years — let’s discuss.  I’m curious to hear what the readers would say here. A few suggestions — [Read more...]

The Hunt: Work-Appropriate T-Shirts

The Most Work-Appropriate T-Shirts | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We just rounded up demi-camisoles, but I thought we’d take a look at that other versatile layering piece: work-appropriate t-shirts. These are great for days where the temperature is in flux (or the office radiator is on the attack), as well as a way of injecting some color into your wardrobe to mix up the sea of neutral basics. Try them belted, tucked, untucked, or layered (I especially like a simple T under a suit), and remember — if you’re wearing them to work, t-shirts should be in impeccable condition. Readers, which are your favorite work-appropriate tees? Which brands do you buy again and again? How do you distinguish between a lounge-only T and a work T? 

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The Hunt: Demi Camisoles

The Best Demi Camisoles | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I’ve always been intrigued when, amidst a discussion of great camisoles or what to layer under wrap dresses, numerous readers have expressed their love for the demi camisole.  There are a number of companies making these things, and the general idea is the same: you get a bit of fabric to raise the neckline of your dress or blouse for modesty, you don’t have to deal with bunchy/extra fabric around your middle, and they can even be a great way to make regular shirts more friendly to nursing/pumping moms.  Some of the brands (such as HalfTee) even make half-shirts with sleeves, which I think would be great beneath silk/cashmere tops to to extend the time between laundering.  I’ve mostly heard of women wearing them on TOP of regular bras, but every woman is different.  I thought I’d round up a few — readers who swear by demi camisoles, which brands are your favorites?  Readers, do you prefer demi- or full camisoles? [Read more...]