The Best Work Clothes for Different Body Types

best work clothes for different body typesPear… apple… hourglass… triangle… ruler… what’s your body type? More importantly, which are the best work clothes for different body types? Whatever your size or shape, what is your power outfit — the general style/shapes of clothes that make you feel great? Kate and I have studied the comments on our last post on dressing for your body type, and Kate’s rounded up some helpful resources on the topic below, but let’s open it up to you ladies! For the sake of discussion, please note:

  1. your general shape and size
  2. which workwear brands you’ve had luck with and are the first you shop
  3. which workwear brands tend to be misses for you
  4. what your power outfit is for your workweek, OR what the building blocks of your wardrobe are (pants or dress? blazer or cardigan? what shape of dress? what length and type of pant?)

When we last talked about the best brands for your body type, commenters had a lot of notes. (This was from Feb. 2015, so pretty recently, but before the new pants regime at Banana Republic, and also before the lead designer change at Ann Taylor/LOFT.) I’ve tried to be helpful by grouping things below by the classic “body shape” classifications, but looking through comments it seems like people in different groups mentioned the same brands because the waist-to-hip ratios worked for them (so hourglasses and pears mentioned a lot of the same brands, while rulers and apples mentioned a lot of the same brands), as well as for bust-to-waist ratios (so hourglasses and triangles mentioned a lot of the same brands). Obviously bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so the classic “body shape” ideas are a bit of garbage; don’t worry too much if none of the categories (or several) seem to fit.

I found the lists interesting for two reasons. First, a few brands appear on almost every list, namely Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Classiques Entier, and J.Crew — some of that may be because they’re so common that everyone’s found SOMETHING. Also, both AT and BR are known for offering different pants fits, also, which may also explain a lot. The second interesting takeaway: some workwear brands appear on almost no lists. Ladies who love DvF, Rebecca Taylor, and Uniqlo, let’s hear from you!

The brands mentioned by commenters are below — note that brands mentioned most are listed at the top of the list.

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Sleeved Dresses with Pockets

dresses with sleeves and pockets roundupI was just writing something about the best default thing to wear to a networking event (like a conference) where you don’t know what to wear — and my answer was, if all else failed, wear “a sleeved dress with pockets.”  Sleeves because it looks like a complete look — no need for a cardigan or blazer to forget somewhere — and pockets so you have a place to stash business cards, key cards, and more.  Then, I thought to myself: good luck finding that workwear unicorn!  Despite lots of readers (year after year!) saying how much they love sleeved dresses — and dresses with pockets! — very few companies are granting that mystical request.  So I thought I’d do a mini hunt: FIVE sleeved dresses with pockets. (Psst: here’s an old WSJ article about why so many dresses are sleeveless.)

Let’s start our hunt with some of the top-rated dresses at Nordstrom

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Three Work Outfits with Nude Flats

work outfits with nude flatsWhile I have a tendency to feature workwear with interesting details for our main TPS reports, I’ve always thought that the Hunt features were great ways to feature some of the more basic items of clothing that truly make up the workhorses of a businesswoman’s wardrobe. So today I thought I’d try out a new idea, and feature three work outfits using the item from our last Hunt: nude-for-you flats. You can see the full roundup of nude flats here, or nude heels here. (Beige flats are a neutral whether they’re nude-for-you or not, but to match your skin shade to find a nude-for-you flat, see the full Hunt for several options in darker shades. Pictured below are the six shoes we featured, but we rounded up a lot of others in specialty categories like comfort, affordable, wide widths and more!)

nude flats for work

Pictured above: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Below, our three work outfits using nude flats:

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30 Workwear Brands You Probably Haven’t Tried

30 Workwear Fashion Start-ups and Independent Clothing BrandsEvery professional woman shops at Ann Taylor, J.Crew, and Banana Republic for workwear — but what other options are there? I’m always inspired to see the number of workwear fashion start-ups and independent brands specializing in an aspect of workwear. Many of the founders have personally held corporate jobs, or created the brand to fill a gap in the market they saw. (If it doesn’t exist, create it, right?) These are some of the workwear fashion start-ups and other companies on my radar — ladies, which companies are your radar? Which have you purchased from (or which are you eyeing)? 

(Update: We’ve also rounded up 25 brands making bags and shoes for work!)

Pictured at top: Of Mercer / MM. LaFleur / Carrie Hammer

Independent Boutiques for Workwear

  • Argent – “We make smarter workwear. Someone had to.”
  • Citizens’ Mark (eco-friendly) – “Modern suiting for a generation of socially conscious, empowered women on the rise.”
  • Executive Ponies (Australian company) – “For the girl bosses and business babes.”
  • Gurjot New York – “The first collection ever designed for businesswomen, by a businesswoman, providing the best quality, fit, and design.”
  • Kit and Ace – “Technical clothing for men and women.”
  • Layo-G – “A luxury brand that provides edgy, tailored clothing for modern day women.”
  • MM. LaFleur – “A wardrobe solution for professional women. MM.LaFleur creates luxury apparel and accessories with the same attention to detail as a high-end fashion house.”
  • Of Mercer – “[F]ashionable and work-appropriate dresses, blazers, suiting & accessories for desk to dinner and beyond.”
  • Pivotte – “[E]asy care & worry free clothing for women on-the-go. Shop updated classics in technical fabrics for work, play, travel & everything in between.”
  • The Unstainable® Workwear Collection from Elizabeth & Clarke (taking preorders) – “Using a similar process that a flower does to repel the morning dew, our tiny Unstainable® fibers keep spills suspended above the fabric, preventing stains.”

Companies Perfecting the Office Dress

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How to Keep White Blouses White

Keep White Blouses WhiteWhile Kat recently rounded up white work tops for spring, we haven’t discussed keeping those tops white in quite a while. Before researching this post, my knowledge of how to keep whites white was limited to “wash them in the washing machine” (or more realistically, just don’t buy white shirts!), but to my surprise, there are many simple strategies to keep white blouses white. (If you haven’t seen it, check out our advice on washing “dry clean only” clothes, too.) Here are several easy tips:

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Summer Foot Care: 10 Products To Help with Blisters, Sweat, and More

summer foot careWhile we may be happy to welcome the warmer weather, our feet might not be. To help you tackle cracked, rough heels that remain after winter; painful blisters from shoes you haven’t worn in months; sore feet from high heels; and sweaty feet, we’ve rounded up several foot care products that can help with summer foot care.

FootGloss All-Natural Foot PrepThis balm stick made from all-natural ingredients (and also made in the U.S.) is designed to prevent blisters. Just apply it to your foot where your shoes rub them, and it’ll reduce the friction that leads to blisters forming under those tight spots. FootGloss is free of fragrances, petroleum, and parabens; instead it does the job with castor seed oil, olive fruit oil, beeswax, and more. It’s available for $21.95 (for two tubes) at The Grommet and for $12 (for one o.5-oz. stick) directly from FootGloss.com. Psst: If you’re plagued with blisters from stiff, unforgiving shoes, check out our Guide to Comfortable Heels.

Band-Aid Friction Block StickHere’s another foot care product that prevents parts of your shoes from chafing and irritating your feet and creating blisters. (This one has a slightly lower price.) The main ingredient is an oil, like FootGloss — hydrogenated vegetable oil in this case — but unlike FootGloss, it’s not fragrance-free. Still, reviewers seem to like how it smells. The stick is still listed on Band-Aid’s site but is now sold out at most online sources, so you may want to buy right away — I have a feeling it’s discontinued. You can buy what looks like an older version of the product at Amazon (free shipping; not Amazon Prime) for $9.99 (.34 oz. stick), Walmart has a couple 2-packs left for $16.20, and some Target and CVS locations still have it in stock. Foot Glide and its predecessor Body Glide are similar products that are also available at Amazon.

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