Where To Start When You Need Style Inspiration

Online Stylists and Inspiration | CorporetteWhere should you start when you need style inspiration? Are online stylists all out of your budget?  Reader M has a great question:

I am a 48 yr. young corporate professional / entrepreneur /contractor looking for professional, age appropriate looks. Can you suggest a website that can guide my “lack of style” sense to better purchases within a reasonable budget, too? I really need a stylist but the internet is my next best option. I tend to like www.marieforleo.com and www.giulianarancic.com clothing but I am a size 16 (working on this part) and 5′ 3′ (wish it could change :) … two big issues… and oh yea, no heels for me. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. I would love to find the info I seek here.

Great question, M! We’ve talked about some of the best personal style blogs before, as well as personal shoppers, but we’ve never quite done a post on stylists, or where to start for style inspiration.  (M, you may also want to check out our post on how to look professional in flats when that’s all you wear.)  I’m curious to hear what readers say!  A few notes:

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The Hunt: Strappy Pumps

The Best Strappy Pumps To Wear With Tights | 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.

As we approach tights weather, I thought it might be fun to round up some strappy pumps (see also our roundup of t-strap pumps).  Although boots and booties are much more acceptable to wear with tights than they used to be (just for kicks take a look at our 2010 poll on peep-toe booties), the most conservative option is still, I think, pumps or flats, whether with straps or without.  So without further ado… readers, what are your favorite shoes to wear with tights?  Have you made any killer purchases recently (or classics that are still available) that go the distance in terms of comfort and style?

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Fun But Professional Patterns and Colors

Fun but Professional Patterns and Colors | CorporetteCan fun colors and patterns ever be professional? Reader S wonders:

The only black piece of clothing I have is one blazer and I don’t have a single white thing. You could find me in a floral skirts with striped tops, long bright dresses, and when I occasionally wear jeans, I always pair them with shirts and blazers. My favorite patterns are stripes and florals, favorite colors are purple, red, orange. Can this ever be professional? I feel very uncomfortable in black and would hate to give up my favorite pieces. The field where I hope to find a job is business causal.

Great question, S! We’ve talked about how to start wearing prints, as well as how to mix prints — but not in a long while (other than this brief mention in our post on how to shop your closet and Play Clothes). So let’s talk about it. First: I don’t think there is anything inherently unprofessional about prints, colors, and patterns — indeed, some of the most adventurous dressers, who mixed prints and patterns in the boldest ways, are some of the male partners I knew at my old law firm.  The easy advice here is that it’s very, very easy to throw on a solid cardigan or blazer that picks up one of the colors in your print, throw it on with a neutral trouser or skirt, and go to work.  But let’s have a bit more fun with it…

Fun but Professional Patterns and Colors | Corporette

Layer multiple patterns and anchor them with a solid piece, either in a neutral (black or white) or a color from one of the prints. (Check out our new Professional Prints board on Pinterest to see the pictures bigger, and click through for the sources.)

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Coffee Break: Tie Stripe Scarf

Brooks Brothers Tie Stripe ScarfBrooks Brothers’ Friends & Family sale is on, and ends tonight! I always like the scarf and accessory selections there, so I’m drooling over these tie stripe oblong scarf — it seems fun in a “borrowed from the boys” kind of way. It was $98, then marked to $68, and it comes down to $51ish with code FF25. Brooks Brothers Tie Stripe Scarf

Deal Alert: Nordstrom’s Secret Sale (?!)

Nordstrom secret saleNordstrom is not usually one to have a secret sale, but not only is there no big announcement on the home page, I can’t even find a good link to send you guys to the entire collection of sale stuff. Yet, I noticed a ton of great workwear that has just hit 60% off (thank you, Shop it To Me newsletter), and thought I’d round up a few…

My best tip for the sale: if there’s a brand you love that I haven’t already mentioned, do a search on it, then filter by “Sale” — for some reason it doesn’t put the largest amount of sale stuff first (e.g., 33% stuff may be filtered before 60% stuff), but it does put all of the markdowns stuff ahead of the full-price stuff.

Readers, did you get anything at Nordstrom’s secret sale today? Any great pieces on sale not mentioned above?

Deal Alert: Ann Taylor Extra 70% Off Sale

Ann Taylor is having a flash sale, offering an extra 70% off sale items with FLASH70 … until midnight.  Tomorrow, it’s an extra 65% off until noon (code FLASH65), and then until midnight tomorrow, it’s an extra 60% off (code FLASH60). Tons of inventory, and only some of it is final sale.  Lots of sizes, too… happy shopping, ladies!