How to Look Professional With a Wool Allergy

professional nonwool sweatersWhich are the best sweaters if you suffer from a wool allergy?  Are there any other tricks for looking professional while avoiding wool? Reader P wonders:

Like a lot of people I seem to know, I am allergic to wool. It makes me itch. Even cashmere. Even soft merino wool. Even if the sweater is a mixture with only 5% wool. My question is–where do I find good quality sweaters made of silk, linen, cotton or other non-wool fabrics that are light enough to wear under a blazer or suit jacket in the winter?

We’ve talked about how to look professional in cold weather, but not the allergy question, which is something I’ve gotten a few times over the years — let’s discuss.  I’m curious to hear what the readers would say here. A few suggestions — [Read more...]

The Hunt: Work-Appropriate T-Shirts

The Most Work-Appropriate T-Shirts | 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.

We just rounded up demi-camisoles, but I thought we’d take a look at that other versatile layering piece: work-appropriate t-shirts. These are great for days where the temperature is in flux (or the office radiator is on the attack), as well as a way of injecting some color into your wardrobe to mix up the sea of neutral basics. Try them belted, tucked, untucked, or layered (I especially like a simple T under a suit), and remember — if you’re wearing them to work, t-shirts should be in impeccable condition. Readers, which are your favorite work-appropriate tees? Which brands do you buy again and again? How do you distinguish between a lounge-only T and a work T? 

[Read more...]

I Can’t Wear a Suit — But Want to Show Authority

I Can't Wear a Suit But Want to Show Authority -- How? | CorporetteWhat do you wear when you want to show authority without wearing a suit?  We’ve talked about what to wear when a suit doesn’t feel right, but Reader R is looking for authoritative clothes that aren’t intimidating and travel well…

I recently started a new job as in-house counsel. As part of my responsibilities, I will be traveling internationally to conduct audits and give training sessions. The job is great, but I’m not sure what to wear! My de facto would be to wear a suit, but my boss suggested that I should avoid wearing suits, since the appearance of a “suit” tends to make people nervous. Some relevant factors: (1) I’m often the only woman in the room; and (2) I’m also often the youngest person in the room.

Basically, I need pieces that say, “Position of authority, but non-scary” and travel well. Help!

Congrats on the new job, R!  One of my older friends was a lawyer for a TV network in the 80s, and I remember her telling me that she would leave her suit jacket in her office when she had to go talk to the comedy writers or producers — it was less intimidating, less “this is coming from The Man.” So you’re not alone in wanting to thinking about what your clothes say to people.  For my $.02: Put some thought into exactly what response you want from people.  For example: Do you want them to respect that your word is the final word, and they should do what you tell them? (Play up the authority.)  Do you want them to come to you with problems that might not be communicated to the home office otherwise?  (Play up the approachability, but keep some authority.) Do you seek to really understand their problems and make friends in the office? (Turn the authority way down.)  (As for the “looking younger” part of your question, you may want to look at our older post on the difference between acting young and looking young at the office.)

For my $.02, I would go with what you feel most comfortable in, and modify that (taking into account, obviously, the office culture for where you’re going). If you’re comfortable in: [Read more...]

Happy Presidents’ Day – 46 Sales (and Kat’s Top 12)

sales175 punyHappy Presidents’ Day, you guys — I hope everyone is enjoying a long weekend. I rounded up 46 sales happening this weekend; my favorite 12 (the ones that I’d check first) are in bold.  Ladies, where are you shopping today? Have you already gotten any great deals this weekend? 

  • 6pm – Winter clearance! Good deals on bags from Cole Haan, boots from Cole Haan, Frye, and Stuart Weitzman, and clothes from Anne Klein, Kenneth Cole, and NYDJ.
  • Amazon – Spend $100 and receive 20% off on clothing for women, men, kids and baby. Select styles.
  • Ann Taylor – 40% off full-price styles, including new arrivals.
  • Anne Klein – Presidents’ Day Event – Savings up to 60% off when you take an additional 25% off sale
  • Banana Republic – 40% off your purchase with code BRSALUTE.
  • Bare Necessities – 5 Days Only: $20 off your $99 purchase, plus free shipping — use code PRES20.
  • – 20% off select hair care tools, including T3 and Solano.
  • Bloomingdale’s – Big Brown Bag Sale, save 20-65%.
  • Bluefly – Presidents’ Day Sale – Clearance sale, select styles extra 50% off.
  • Brooks Brothers – Clearance 50-60% off, plus free shipping on $200+ — ends today.
  • Club Monaco – 30% off already reduced merchandise with code WEARNOW.
  • Cole Haan – 30% off almost all bags & accessories, and select already reduced sale items.
  • C.Wonder – take an additional 50% off sale styles.
  • Design Within Reach – save 15% on everything you need to make the modern bedroom.
  • DSW – Shoe clearance, 235+ styles $25 or less.
  • DVF – Additional 20% off with code FEBRUARY20.
  • eBags – Presidents’ Day Savings – save up to 70% + an additional 10% site wide.
  • Express – Last day, 40% off every single item.
  • Figure 8 Maternity – The Great Winter Sale – save up to 60% off in their largest sale of the year.
  • Halsbrook – Take an additional 30% off on already reduced merchandise with code PRESIDENT30.
  • Hugo Boss – New additions to sale, now up to 50% off.
  • Inhabit NY – 70% off all fall & holiday styles.
  • J.Crew – online only, extra 50% off final sale items with code EXTRA50.
  • Karen Millen – 20% off our seasonal edit, plus take an additional 20% off all sale styles with code KM20LOVE.
  • Kate Spade – Tons of new styles just added to sale.
  • Last Call – Extra 35% off everything, including new spring styles.
  • The Limited – 50% off all full-price items, plus 30% off all sale items.
  • LOFT – Extra 60% off sale styles.
  • Lord & Taylor – Take 20% off regular and sale, 25% off clearance plus extra 10% with your LT Card and promo code PRES.
  • Macy’s – Presidents’ Day Sale, extra 20% off ends Monday with code PRES.
  • Madewell – extra 30% off all sale styles with code XOXO.
  • New York & Company – It’s the Semi Annual Pant Event — all pants & jeans, buy one get one free. Also, Presidents’ Day Sale – up to 80% off.
  • Nine West – Sale up to 70% off over 150 styles, plus get an extra 20% off select sale styles (prices as marked).
  • Nordstrom – Shoe Clearance, save up to 40% (check out my deeper dive into the brands on sale, here).
  • The Outnet – Up to 60% off on Alexander Wang and Roland Mouret.
  • Piperlime – 25% off chic steals.
  • Pottery Barn – Ends tonight, save up to 60% on hundreds of items including new markdowns. Today only, free shipping on almost everything with code FREESHIP.
  • Rachel Roy – Presidents’ Day Sale, up to 60% off RRR sale.
  • Rebecca Taylor – Sale on sale. 25% off all sale styles (save up to 60% off). Use code 25OFFSALE.
  • Scoop NYC – The ultimate closet warehouse sale. Enjoy up to 80% off after taking an additional 50% off all sale styles.
  • – Presidents’ Day Sale, extra 25% off sale shoes with code PRESIDENT.
  • ShopBop – almost 2000 items added to the sale! Save up to 7% off fall/winter collections.
  • Stuart Weitzman – Winter Sale, tons of boots marked 50% off.
  • Tory Burch – Extra 25% off sale styles with code SALE25.
  • West Elm – Extra 15% off markdowns, ends tonight (plus get free shipping with code FREE15).
  • Zappos – End of season clearance.

Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Sam Edelman Lucca Bootie Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

The Nordstrom shoe clearance sale is on, and it’s pretty fabulous.  There’s a good selection from brands like Cole Haan, Stuart Weitzman, Frye, L.K. Bennett, Kate Spade New York, Børn, Anyi Lu, and more! (Some are lucky sizes only, so you should definitely filter by your size). For today’s holiday open thread, I’m liking these chic Lucca booties, from Sam Edelman — I’m not normally a fan of that much hardware, but something about it just seems awesome. It was $159.95, but is now marked to $107.16 (lots of sizes left in brown and black suede, ranging from size 5 to size 13. Sam Edelman Lucca Bootie

Psst: in other sale news, 6pm is running a $14 sale today — happy hunting, ladies!


Professional, Maintainable Hair

What is the Best Professional Hairstyle? | CorporetteWhich are the best professional hairstyles or cuts?  How should you upgrade your hair as you climb the corporate ladder?  Reader M wonders:

After a lifetime of basically ignoring my hair (I’ve either kept it quite short or in a ponytail), my career is really taking off and I need to have a more ‘corporate’ look. (I work in technology, almost entirely with men, but am moving into a position where I need to represent our team to C-levels.) Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start, or how to find a cut/style that will be professional but not require oodles of time. Any tips would be much appreciated.

Great question! If you’re comfortable with short hair, you may want to keep it there — it’s hard for me to think of a short haircut that would be unprofessional, so long as it’s maintained well and styled neatly.  That said, here are a few more tips:

- Work with what your hair wants to do if at all possible — for example, get a cut especially for curly hair.

[Read more...]