Professional Women and “Empowering” Clothes

empowering clothesDo you find it “empowering” to dress how you want?  Do you think confidence gained by clothes is 100% of the answer for work — i.e., if it makes you feel confident, you can wear it to work?  There was an interesting discussion here — years ago now! — that I just took another look at, and thought would be a great jumping off point for discussion today.

I recently saw someone comment on an old post that another commenter’s words had stayed with her through the past few years, so I took a closer look at the discussion. The post was on patent leather heels — a reader wrote in wondering if they were appropriate; my counsel at the time was to be wary and avoid “eau de hooker,” as I so delicately called it, but that by and large patent leather heels were just fine for most jobs.  The real fun started in the commenting section, when another blogger named Samantha wrote in to disagree with me: [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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The Hunt: Beige Pumps

The Best Beige Pumps | 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.

Now is traditionally the time of year that every fashion magazine/stylist/blog (including this one) counsels you to wear nude-for-you pumps — so I had this whole feature planned where I’d show the different “nude” colors available for each shoe that I picked.  Except: ha! There are, by and large, ONLY light beige pumps in stores right now.  There are a very few pumps with a slightly darker beige (not even a huge selection of regular brown!) — so perhaps this is a seasonal thing and the other colors will be out in a few weeks.  (My picks of other darker nude-for-you heels from the current limited selection: here, here, here, here, here, and here.)  For those of you who do have pale beige skin (or prefer this kind of pale pink/beige color in general), here’s what I like in the stores right now…  Readers, have you recently bought a great nude-for-you pump?  Do you have any favorites from the below? 

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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...]

Fun but Impractical: Shopping for Special Occasions

Impractical Fun ShoppingHow do you stock your closet full of “fun” clothes when your time and energy is usually spent in working clothes or lounging clothes? Is there a way to shop for special occasions — on a budget?  Reader A wonders:

I spend most of my clothing budget on work clothes (I’m a DC lawyer) and casual weekend wear (even going-out clothes are fairly casual here, imo). But when something “special” comes up – a bachelorette party, new years eve, a trip – I feel like I never have anything fun or sparkly or special to wear. I’m wondering how other ladies stock their closets full of things that are frankly, impractical, 99% of the time. Do you buy things on sale when you see them, not knowing when you’ll wear them? Shop specifically by occasion? For example, I have a pair of very sparkly, very high, peep-toe pumps at home that I found on sale, with no occasion (or even outfit) in mind to wear them. The practical part of me says to return them and save the cash, but then I wonder if I’ll be kicking myself the next time I have a fantastic party to attend and nothing to wear.

This is an excellent question, and while we’ve talked about shopping habits (including moratoriums and “crop rotations”) and shopping for non-essential items, we haven’t talked about this specifically with impractical, fun clothes. (For example: the necklace pictured above is definitely fun — but how often will you wear it?  (And: can you wear it twice?)  Erickson Beamon Girlie Queen Necklace, retails for $1728, but available for rent for $250 at Rent the Runway.[Read more...]

Can You Interview in 4″ Heels?

Can You Interview in 4" Heels? | CorporetteAre 4″ heels too high for job interviews?  Is a red sole inappropriate for interviewing and networking?  Reader A wonders…

Hi I was wondering if I could get some advice on shoes. I will be starting law school in the fall and I’m wondering what heels would be appropriate. I currently own a black leather pair of Louboutins that are 4 inches. Do you feel it’s appropriate to wear them with the red bottom showing? Also is 4 inches considered too high? Thank you!

We’ve talked about Louboutins at work here, as well as which heels are too high, but we haven’t talked about either issue in a while. (Pictured: Christian Louboutin Simple 100 Leather Pumps, available in store only at Saks.)  Here are some general tips:

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