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...]

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.

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The Best Clothes If Your Weight Fluctuates

What to Wear if Your Weight Fluctuates | CorporetteWhat wardrobe items should you invest in if you’re losing (or gaining) weight?  What clothes will fit even if you regularly fluctuate by 10-20 lbs?  Reader K wonders what the best clothes are for someone dealing with weight fluctuation:

I have a story idea; the work wardrobe for the weight fluctuator. Me and many of my friends bounce around by 10-20 lbs. It is expensive to buy everything in two sizes. I thought it would be helpful to do a post on the type and style of clothing to invest in if you want to have an office wardrobe that works when you’re up or down.

For instance; I have a lot of wrap dresses as they are forgiving and flatter across a 15 lbs spectrum. Sheer blouses can be belted in at any weight. I own a lot of dresses as they can be belted in if I’m training for a half marathon or without a belt they’re more forgiving after Christmas party season. I steer clear of non-stretch, and very fitted fabrics as they tend to look bad when too tight or too loose. I make sure to buy work pants with belt loops so that they’re not falling down after an ugly breakup has left me without an appetite. A longer camisole with a blazer over it can hide if I can’t do up the top button on my pants. Fitted work shirts can be paired with a camisole if the buttons won’t close over an increased chest.

This is a fantastic question, and I’m so curious to see what readers will say — we’ve talked about when to give in and buy a larger size, as well as how to keep a working wardrobe while losing weight — but we haven’t talked about this.  When I was younger I regularly fluctuated 10-20 lbs, generally in the same clothes — but when I was at my thinnest, I found that even a few pounds made my pants fit differently, so I knew pretty quickly when I was gaining.  Now that I’m heavier, of course I’ve said that I don’t want to invest the money in a good wardrobe because I’ll inevitably lose the weight (right? right!?) — but I’ve found that there are a few items that I can buy now that, for whatever reason, I can imagine being great even if I lose 10-20 pounds. So here’s my list:

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Colorful Pants and Professional Women

Can You Wear Colored Pants to Work? | CorporetteAre colorful pants appropriate in an office setting?  Are they for young’uns only?  Reader J sent in this question a while ago:

Question – today’s trends are to wear colored pants.  What are your thoughts on wearing colored pants to an office setting on casual fridays?  And, more relevant to me, what are your thoughts on wearing trends such as this if you’re over the age of 35?

I am obviously all for colorful pants, and I don’t think there’s an age limit on them.  I’ll even make a few arguments in favor of colored pants before turning it over to the readers, because I’m dying to hear what other ladies think.  In my mind, the pros to colored pants: [Read more...]

Must a Blazer BUTTON to Fit?

Must a Blazer Close to "Fit"? (And other fun questions of plus-size fashions)... | Corporette Hot on the heels of yesterday’s reader question about feeling frumpy in a suit, I was thinking about Drop Dead Diva. I stopped watching the show a while ago (her guardian angel was still the guy from Mad Men back when I watched), but I’d always wanted to do a 360 review on the lead character, lawyer Jane Bingum, and her fashions, if only because she’s one of the most stylish and plus-sized TV characters I can think of. I have some problems with her fashions, though — the ridiculously high heels, the overdone makeup, etc, etc. My BIGGEST problem, though, has always been that the vast majority of her blazers couldn’t be buttoned (not even kinda-sorta) — the picture at left demonstrates the problem.

But then, as I was falling asleep last night, I started wondering: maybe I’m the one who’s been wrong to think that a blazer must button all these years.  Maybe the trick for a busty girl (or an overweight girl) — short of massive and expensive tailoring — is to buy jackets that fit in your arms and back only, but not worry about it fitting across the bust.  This flies in the face of everything I know about suits — but when I think about it, Jane definitely does not look frumpy. I might say this is one of those times that your fashion sense speaks to your judgement — were this a 360 review, I might say as either an underling or a boss I would wonder why she didn’t buy suits that fit — but again, I’m rethinking this now. [Read more...]

The Best Splurges

The Best Splurges || CorporetteWhat items are “worth the splurge” if you have a healthy amount of discretionary income? Reader S wonders…

Here’s my idea for a post – what are the central items that are “worth the splurge” for those of us with a healthy amount of (but not unlimited) discretionary income? I’m thinking there are certain purchases – the classic Burberry trench, a Chanel clutch – that would be well worth the amount spent, since you’ll potentially be using the item for a decade or more, but what are some non-obvious items that would fit into this category?

FUN question, reader S!  There are definitely things I bought in my 20s — when I was single and making six figures at a law firm — that I wouldn’t necessarily buy now, with a husband and kiddo in the mix (at least not without thinking about it looong and hard).  Since I’ve always known that my weight tends to fluctuate, most of my splurges have been in the accessory category. Here’s my $.02, but I can’t wait to hear what the readers say…

My top splurges:

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