Weekend Wednesday: Going Out Bags

This is an occasional feature where we take a deeper look at weekend wear for professional women.

Ladies, which are your favorite bags (or types of bags) to carry when you go out on the town? Do you make an effort to switch bags when you’re going out, or do you often just end up carrying the same bag you wore to work? Do you prefer one brand/style to wear with jeans on dates, and another brand/style to wear as, say, a wedding guest? 



Pictured: / EyesI Need a Vacation box clutch (on sale!) / red envelope clutch / Black grommet clutch


I’ve always had a few nice clutches that I liked for weddings and other fancyish events, but during my single days I often found myself going out on the weekend with the same bag that I’d worn during the work week. (This is what I used to carry in my regular bag for work.) After diaper bags entered our lives, though, I went through a phase where I bought a ton of nice clutches for date nights with my husband, and I even have a few small crossbodies. In my mind, the pros and cons to the different weekend bag options break down like this:

[Read more…]

Style vs. Trend vs. Frump (Or, How to Cultivate Style)

style-vs-trendThere were a few intriguing comments in Friday’s open thread about brooches and whether they were in style, with some readers even suggesting it might be a matter of age. To me, though, this kind of comes down to style versus trend — and I thought it might make an interesting discussion here. After all, don’t stylish women wear what they fancy — trends be damned? On the flip side, if something was once very trendy and is not any longer, at what point does it cross the line into frump and being “out of style”? How do you cultivate a style instead of merely following trends? (Pictured: The Glamourai.)

For brooches, for example, I 100% agree that they are not trendy right now. They did go through a brief moment of trendiness in the early aughts — for some reason 2003 sticks in my head, along with an episode of What Not to Wear where Stacy London was suggesting women add two or three brooches at a time to sweaters, coats, and more. Somehow, though, I had found my way to brooches before that — buying a ton of them at the Eastern Market flea market while I was in law school — and I still wear them now. (Here’s my advice on how to wear brooches.) As some readers pointed out, the excellent blogger Adina at Blue Collar Red Lipstick also wears them — and I also think often of a great post on The Glamourai (pictured) about how to wear particularly heavy ones without ruining your clothes.

Now — this brings us to another dynamic: frump. If something was trendy many years ago and you continue to wear it after the trend has passed, are you going down the slippery slope toward frump? I tend to think of frump as being more about ill-fitting, unflattering clothes and, perhaps, a general harried demeanor (wild hair, stains/wrinkles, unintentional half-tucks), but it’s an interesting question to ponder. For example, years after skinny jeans came in style, I insisted that my style was bootcut jeans, refusing to buy any skinny jeans until years into the trend. Now that bootcuts and flares are becoming trendy again, though, I see readers noting that their style is skinny jeans (or, specifically, skinny jeans with tall boots) — but that look is starting to look more and more dated to me as well. (It’s interesting, as I type this and reach for a word other than frump, to realize that the phrase “out of style” is what I hear most often, but obviously it’s maddening to talk about being stylish and not being “out of style” without feeling like it’s devolving into an “orange orange orange orange orange” kind of situation.)

What’s even more interesting is how quickly fashion trends move. When some retailers put out new clothes every few weeks, and others copy runway styles much, much faster than ever before, it feels even more like you should find your own style, rather than be a slave to trends and replace your entire wardrobe every season. So how do you cultivate style that transcends trends, without risking being thought of as “out of style”? I’m genuinely curious to hear what you guys think about it!

Here are a few specific fashion/makeup things for you to ponder — are they stylish enough to transcend trend? Does your thinking change if we contrast a “hallmark look” (think Iris Apfel and her eyeglasses, Anna Wintour’s bob, Carolina Herrera and her crisp blouses) with “I thought it would be fun with this outfit”? And — when does it cross the line into an affected look, where you think, “ah, she thinks she is Miss Fashion,” perhaps like with the bustiers/ties mentioned below)?

[Read more…]

The Hunt: Purple Pumps

purple-heels-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.

Oxblood, burgundy, port, wine, sangria, claret — I’ve always thought this  purpley/red wine-blood color is perfect for work shoes. Wear purple pumps to work as a neutral with navy and black — add a tiny touch of color to light gray outfits — and have fun contrasting them with pops of yellow, bright blue, and bright red.  Ladies, do you wear purple heels for work? What exact shade is your favorite? Of the trendier styles (pointy toes, block heels), do you have a favorite? Do you have any favorite purple pumps from years past? 

Some Hall of Famers are pictured here — these are best selling styles that come back year after year, priced $15-$595…


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Curious for some of our older roundups? Here they are from 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2010. Our featured favorites for today include:

[Read more…]

Labor Day Sales (The Early Roundup)

labor day sales 2016Happy Labor Day, guys! Any fun shopping plans for the weekend? (Have you been waiting to pull the trigger on any purchases because you’ve been waiting for any sales?) Labor day sales are already starting, so I thought I’d round up some major ones I’m seeing:

  • Nordstrom Summer Clearance – I mentioned this yesterday, but it’s official now: their summer clearance event started.  Pictured at top: love this suede jacket. Pictured below: For weekend wear — I’ve heard great things about these jeans and this t-shirt, and the tank and cold shoulder dress are really highly rated — and they’re all new to the markdown section.
  • 6pm – Labor Day Clearance Event, starting at 50% off MSRP.
  • Ann Taylor – Extra 50% off all sale styles; ends Sunday night.
  • Anthropologie – Take an extra 40% off sale items (limited time, discount reflected at checkout!).
  • Brooks Brothers – Labor Day Clearance Event; up to 60% off spring & summer styles.
  • Club Monaco – Up to 60% off sale and clearance when you take an extra 40% off with code FAREWELLSUMMER.
  • Express – Labor Day sale, 40% off everything! (Ooh, including the reader favorites, the machine washable Editor and Columnist pants.)
  • J.Crew – Online only, take 30% off $200+ or 25% off 125+.
  • J.Crew Factory – 50% off everything, plus extra 50% off clearance with code WOOHOO.
  • Last Call – Labor Day Sale, extra 30-75% off everything, including new fall & clearance.
  • Loft – Get an extra 50% off all sale styles, and for the rest of the site, buy one style, get the next 50% off.
  • Neiman Marcus – up to 65% off, plus extra savings on online clearance.
  • Reiss – Summer sale, up to 50% off reductions!
  • Talbots – 25% off fall merchandise, and major sales in the clearance section.
  • Zappos – Their usual huge selection has some hidden sales going on, including a big selection of Vince Camuto (clothes and shoes) and Pikolinos shoes marked down.
  • labor day sales for workwear

Pictured: jeans / tank / tee / dress

7 Etsy Shops for Workwear

etsy stores for workwearI’ve always been impressed when readers have mentioned some of their favorite stores for workwear on Etsy — and I’ve even bookmarked a few over the years! Still, Etsy can be a pretty big place, so I asked Ashley Wermick, a fashion writer and editor, to take a look to kick off the discussion — what are YOUR favorite Etsy stores for workwear? What are you constantly on the hunt for that you hope an indie/custom seller can help you find? (Welcome to Corporette, Ashley!) – Kat

Sure, you’ve browsed Etsy to find handmade candlesquirky art, or even bridesmaids’ gifts — but how about office attire? There are hundreds of shops that sell professional, well-made clothes that can take you from the boardroom to casual Friday and beyond.

Here are seven Etsy shops to watch for workwear. Not only will you snag some stylish new duds, but you’ll help support indie sellers and small business owners. It’s a win-win.



Collage photo links: 123

Does Olivia Pope give you major wardrobe envy? Do you wish you could dress like Beyoncé on the daily? Then look no further than heartmycloset.

With designs based on TV characters, celebrities and vintage silhouettes, shop owner Cynthia creates inspired workwear in your choice of color and fabric, tailored to fit you perfectly. Because items are made to order, you can customize the fit — and the style — to suit your needs. Prices range from $66-$190.

[Read more…]

Beauty Wednesday: Dry Shampoo

dry shampooLadies, what is your favorite dry shampoo? What’s the top quality you look for — and what turns you off about other dry shampoos?

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite dry shampoo (after trying a few) has remained Psssst!, the super cheap, super old-school-looking dry shampoo. Here’s how I apply it before bedtime: I pick up the top two inches of my hair (like where bangs would be if I had them) and spray the dry shampoo at the sections from the front and the back). Even though I have dark brown hair and the spray is stark white, it all absorbs overnight. After that, my hair is kind of a non-issue. It doesn’t smell like anything; it doesn’t look oily; it doesn’t feel overly textured or cornstarchy — it just is. That’s kind of what I’m looking for in a dry shampoo, to be honest — to be able to spray it on and forget about it. (I wish there were a name for this, but I’d say the “ability to forget about it after I’ve made the decision to wear it” is increasingly something I’m looking for in beauty and fashion.)

[Read more…]