Open Thread: How Doable is the Untucked Shirt with Jacket?

untucked shirt with jacketWe nearly posted this jacket at left for our TPS of the day, until we noticed the hideous buttons (seriously, they’re hids; check ’em out).  But it raised another question for us:  how doable is this look for the office?  Namely, the cropped jacket/cardigan with the untucked/tunic/long tank.  There are a variety of looks possible here — the too-short dress worn with pants, the blousy tunic, an untucked blouse, the fitted tank/sweater that happens to hit past the hips — as well as shrunken blazers, shrugs,

For our $.02: we’ve kind of always presumed it to be completely acceptable for a “business as usual” day — not reserved for casual Fridays, but not the outfit to sport the day you meet the new CEO.  The look is modern — people really weren’t doing this, say, 20 years ago — yet old at the same time (we seem to recall a fairly iconic image of Coco Chanel sporting a similar look).  We’d only wear the look as separates — say gray pinstriped slacks, a purple longish tunic, and perhaps a navy cropped jacket or sweater.

We normally do this sort of thing as a poll, but we thought we’d try an open thread today — please weigh in and let us know what your thoughts are on the look being acceptable or not for the office. Are we wrong? Is this look not doable for the office?  Are only some variations of the look doable for the office (blazer-like cardigan or shrunken jacket yes, but shrug no? fitted tank yes, but too-long dress no?)  (Or, do you only wear cropped jackets with dresses?)

Reader mail – How to wear a boyfriend blazer to the office?

We got this request a little while ago from one of our readers…

Can you help suggest what to wear with a boyfriend blazer? I just got a slim, one-button wool boyfriend blazer (from Iisli – love it) and am not sure what would look best with it.

This is a great question, and we loooove Iisli.  First, let’s have a brief review of different terminology — all of these types of blazers can be worn at the office, but very different rules apply.

boyfriend blazerBoyfriend blazer – So named because it’s as if you stole your boyfriend’s coat, this typically means a voluminous, boxy fit — see the picture of Mary-Kate Olsen, at left.  This is actually the hardest look to pull off at the office, because you need to balance the boxy-ness of the jacket with every other element.  We’d suggest it a pencil skirt or a tight shift dress — or perhaps even skinny trousers.  Play around with layers, if you can — try a man’s shirt underneath it, with all sleeves rolled up.  (These blazers never really attained “in” status — they’re a bit hard for anyone who isn’t MKO to pull off — which means that if you can do it you’ll be cutting edge.  Work it!) [Read more…]

Ten Things About… Dressing Professionally if You’re Busty

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice about dressing professionally if you’re busty (and links have been updated below!), but you can also check out our latest workwear style tips for busty women

What are your best tips for dressing professionally if you’re busty, ladies?

A lot of times for our daily workwear recommendations, people will note that they couldn’t get away with that, as they’re too well-endowed to wear a certain dress.  It’s one of the sad facts of clothes that most “professional” outfits seem to be intended for women shaped more like Jackie rather than Marilyn (or Betty rather than Joan, in today’s parlance).  But well-endowed women have to dress professionally also!  Below, some tips… Please chime in and let us know if you have any others.

1. Know your bra size. If the girls are multiplying throughout the day (and your bra is giving you the dreaded quadra-boob effect) then your cup size is too small.  Alternatively, if your straps are digging into your shoulders, your band size is probably too big.  Take our advice — go and get fitted at a reputable place like Nordstrom’s.  (The absolute best place to get fitted, in our experience?  Department stores in London —  they have the best range of sizes and the most knowledgeable fitters.)  You may find that you’re a 30F instead of a 34D. [Read more…]

10 Things to Know About: Wearing Button-Down Shirts

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Someone was telling us recently that they didn’t wear button-down shirts, didn’t even know how to wear ’em. So, here ya go…

1. If you’re going for the crisp cotton look, go for non-iron. Brooks Brothers makes a great fitted non-iron shirt. Thomas Pink (very high end, typically thought of as a man’s store) makes amazing button-down shirts for women, also, with interesting prints and a lovely fit.

2. Collars and jackets: Collars should stay on the inside of the jacket, not splayed open on the outside.

3. If you have a white shirt, try not to put it in the dryer in order to avoid yellowing. Actually, in our experience the iron-free shirts look best when hung dry. (Just pull them taut, a bit, when they’re wet and you’re hanging on the hanger — it always seems to help the fabric figure out where to go.)

4. If you’ve got a French cuff shirt, do not bother with those tiny knots you can buy at places for $10 — you’re wasting your money and time, because they take forever to put in. Instead, make an investment in a good pair of cufflinks — Thomas Pink has great ones; Nordstrom also has some beautiful ones right now.

5. Tucking: If you’re wearing a fitted, button-down shirt (such as the ones from Pink) you can experiment with how it looks untucked. The key is that it can’t be too long — it should hit mid-hip, and no matter what should not be longer than your suit jacket. Silky shirts should always be tucked.

6. If you want a very clean tucked-in look, there are some stores that make leotard-like button-down shirts. See, for example, Victoria’s Secret or Donna Karan.

7. Non-traditional style idea: Wear a short-sleeved button-down shirt beneath a vest or even a t-shirt. (We’ve given up trying to wear anything but silky button-downs beneath full-sleeve sweaters — the static cling gets us every time.)

8. Non-traditional style idea, Part 2: Wear a camisole/tank top underneath the button-down shirt, tuck in the shirt, and only button it up halfway, so people can see the camisole beneath. See Allison Janey in West Wing.

9. Gaping: If your shirt is gaping, this could mean a few things. A) You need a larger size, and should take it to a tailor to get it to fit you the way you want it to. B) You need to wear a camisole beneath it, so when you turn to the side people don’t get a view of your bra. C) You can experiment with Hollywood Tape and so forth to keep it from gaping — we’ve found the camisole is just easier.

10. Beneath the slightly sheer white shirt: Wear a bra that matches your skin tone, and a white camisole, no matter how convinced you are that no one can see through it. We’ve tried the nude camisole, and trust us: white just looks better.

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