The Hunt: Camisoles for Work

camisoles for workSure, 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 haven’t rounded up the best camisoles for layering (or demi camisoles) in far too long — so let’s discuss. Which are your favorites, ladies? What do you like about them — simplicity, stretch, shaping powers — something lacy or pretty? — or fun colors or prints to add a pop of color or fun to an otherwise basic outfit? What color camisole do you think is best under white blouses? (I’m on Team White all the way!)…

First, some picks in a few special interest categories:

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How to Do Business Casual in Cold Weather

How to Do Business Casual in Cold Weather | CorporetteWhat are the best strategies for staying warm during a wintry commute while still looking professional when you get to work? How can you look stylish and professional in the winter? Reader M has a question about business casual in cold weather:

I’m graduating this year and moving somewhere cold, and I have no clue how to dress business/business casual in the winter. (I have tons of dresses and cardigans and skirt suits from my summers, but rarely any winter clothes.) Specially, I’m wondering — what kind of coat should I buy? What kind of shoes/boots should I wear under work pants? What do I wear to walk to work in the snow/rain? I know this is pretty basic question, but I’d love a post on this topic!

Great questions, M. Some thoughts for you:

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What to Wear to Work When It’s Unseasonably Warm

What to Wear to Work When It's Unseasonably Warm | CorporetteI don’t know about you guys, but I can barely believe it’s November — it feels super warm to me. We’ve talked before about when there are arbitrary date cutoffs on clothing (such as when to stop wearing tights, and whether you can wear bare legs in winter), but not in a while — so let’s discuss.  Ladies, how many of you have done the seasonal closet shift and put away all your warm-weather clothes — and how are you adjusting? Are there any clothes you haven’t seen for a few weeks that you’re excited to wear again? On the flip side — are you rolling your eyes at anyone wearing things that you think look ridiculous considering some stores are already blaring holiday music?

For my $.02, I’m excited to pull out some of the longer cardigans that I’ve put away already because they look silly with my shorter winter coats — and I may just have to pull out my favorite sandals when I go out on Friday night.  (Must. paint. toenails.)

Pictured: Misplaced snowman, originally uploaded to Flickr by Richie Diesterheft.

 

Frugal Friday: Long Sleeve Turtleneck

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

Halogen turtleneckI’ve often suggested layering pieces beneath sheath dresses, but it’s been hard to find good pictures, so when I saw that this lightweight turtleneck not only had good reviews, was recommended by reviewers as being a great layering piece, and then Nordstrom actually SHOWED it as a layering piece beneath a sheath dress, I had to post it.  The lightweight turtleneck layer isn’t for everyone, obviously, but if it is for you it’s been hard to find recently — this Halogen turtleneck comes in black, gray and white and looks perfect.  Layer it beneath cardigans, sheer blouses, sheath dresses, vests, blazers, thicker sweaters (they’re particularly great beneath itchy ones!), and more. The turtleneck is hand washable, and $39; it comes in regular and petite sizes XS-XL. Halogen® Long Sleeve Turtleneck

Here’s a more lux version (Vince) if you’re on the hunt, and here’s a plus-size version (Lands’ End) that also comes in regular, petite, and tall sizes in a zillion colors.

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

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The Corporette Guide to Stylish Cardigans for the Office

stylish-cardigans-workWe shared our first Corporette Guide to Cardigans way back in 2010, so we figured it was time for an update — and the timing is just right for those of you who freeze in your air-conditioned offices during the summer, or are shopping for easy layering pieces for the fall.  We’ve talked about how how to button cardigans for work in the past, as well as how to buy seasonless cardigans.

Ladies — which is your favorite KIND of cardigan to wear to the office? Do you have a favorite brand or style that you keep buying, or have stocked up on recently?  What are your biggest struggles with finding stylish cardigans for work, or styling them to look appropriate for work? 

 

stylish cardigans for office1. Banded. These cardigans have some banding at the bottom and (usually) on the sleeves, which makes their shape a bit blousy or boxy. They can come with a matching shell for a twinset look, or be worn by themselves with, for example, a button-front shirt or blouse, or a nice tank or tee (such as the cardi pictured, Saxxon Wool Cardigan, available at Brooks Brothers in nine colors for $148). Because these kinds of cardis have their own shape, they’re less than ideal for wearing with dresses, and, for our $.02, best with pants. Ideally you want full-length sleeves so that you can easily wrap it around your neck if you need to — that said, three-quarter length sleeves are very popular, such as this Halogen cardigan (20+ colors, regular, petites, and plus sizes, for $27-$56). If the twinset is very boxy (think a more Jackie O cut), then they can be worn over your shoulders, almost like a cape. Other examples: reader favorite Supima Cardigan at Lands’ End ($19-$89, a zillion colors and prints, regular, petite, and plus sizes), reader favorite Charming Cardigan at Talbots, $19-$99, this merino cardigan in 12 colors for $39 at Uniqlo, or this J.Crew cashmere cardigan (16 colors!, sizes XXS-XXL; pictured at very top). One of my budget favorites has always been August Silk — look for them at spots like TJ Maxx, but Amazon also carries them, as does Macy’s.

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Camisoles Beneath Blouses: White or “Nude”?

seamless camisolesWhich are the best camisoles to layer beneath blouses? Is a seamless camisole important, or a nude-for-you camisole? Or is a white camisole the best thing under a white blouse? Reader S has a question, and I thought it might be a fun topic because I’ve said before: I am a fan of plain, non-lacy white or black camisoles (with a nude-for-you bra) beneath sheer blouses, rather than “nude” camisoles. They make it clear to the non-fashion people you work with that it’s safe to look at your blouse — a solid camisole avoids that weird Barbie look of “it’s sheer and I think I see skin but there’s no bra or nipple and I’m so confused…” I also think it streamlines things in your closet, because if you need a camisole to raise the neckline of a dress, you’d want a white or black one anyway. But maybe I’m in the minority. Here’s S’s question:

I recently got several lovely silk button up blouses. I love the feel and look, and the step-up in fabric. However, they are kind of sheer. I have been searching high and low, and can’t find a good nude camisole that doesn’t show all the straps and seams and edges under the silk, making it look cheap and not well put together. Not the look I’m going for. Why can’t they make the camisole equivalent of these panties?

nude camisolesIn addition, most of the “nude” camisoles I have found look like they’re nude on a banana cream pie, but not on me. like this one (pictured at right).

I’ll weigh in with a few answers for S, but I’m curious to hear what readers say about this whole issue. [Read more…]