The Corporette Workwear Hall of Fame

corporette workwear hall of fameWelcome to The Corporette Workwear Hall of Fame! I started this blog in 2008 -- and I've been fascinated to see how, every so often, a company gets such a rave response to a dress, bag, or blazer that they keep producing the item, year after year.  There may be new colors or patterns, or slight adaptions like pockets or sleeves -- but in general it's the exact same product.  These classic, best-selling styles are exactly the pieces you want to use to build your work wardrobe.  We always mention the Hall of Famers in our biweekly Hunts (where we go on the Hunt for a classic workwear piece), but I thought it would be great to collect some of these heavy hitters into one easy place for readers to review the items.  Thus: the Corporette Workwear Hall of Fame was born.

Workwear Hall of Fame: Cascade Faux Wrap Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Karen Kane Cascade Faux Wrap DressSo: a week or so ago I found this other Karen Kane dress, which I really want to like — short sleeves, flattering, ladylike cut… but I just can’t bring myself to get behind the print. (There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just not my jam.) So I poked around, hoping to find the same dress in a different print — and it turns out that it comes in a bunch of long-sleeved versions, in solid colors, for fall. Nice. I’ve pictured the “wine,” but it’s also available in royal, navy, and black (for $108); for a bit more you can get a black and leather trim version ($158). Karen Kane Cascade Faux Wrap Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]

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2016 Update: This dress is now in our Workwear Hall of Fame! It’s been around for years, keeps coming out in new colors and prints in long sleeves and short sleeves. It’s stretchy (which for me means Spanx is a must, but you do you), machine washable, and works for desk to dinner and beyond.  It’s available in plus and regular sizes at Nordstrom, Amazon, and more. If you happen to be a nursing mom, it’s a great option — the neckline is stretchy enough to make pumping or nursing easy, it’s machine washable, and some of the prints can be great if you want to hide stains.

stretchy machine washable sheath for work

The Hunt: Button-Down Shirts

button-down-shirts-for-women

2017 Update: All of these button-down tops are in our Workwear Hall of Fame, and links below have been updated — you may also want to check our most recent discussion of the best women’s dress shirts.

Sure, 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.

Of all The Hunt features we’ve done, I’m kind of surprised that we’ve never done one on the best button-downs for women — a crisp white blouse is a classic for the office.  (All of these shirts come in white, even though I’ve mostly featured colored shirts so you can see the details better.) Now, a few points: yes, yes, most women’s collars do not button down, so these should all properly be called “button front” shirts. But most of these stores call them button-down shirts, and that’s what I’ve always heard, so I’m going to go with “button down.” A second point: a big decision (as far as blouses go) is whether you want one that is non-iron. Personally, my iron is gathering dust because I always buy the non-iron ones for myself — but I have heard (but not researched) that there are some health concerns regarding the chemicals that treat a fabric to make it “non-iron.” So — readers, if you HAVE researched the subject, please weigh in. Finally, a few random tips: a) if you prefer silky button-fronts, check out our Hunt for that one, b) if you’re busty, check out our guide to specialty shops for busty blouses, c) this post is being updated, but you can still check out our original top 10 ways to wear a button-down shirt, and, finally, d) as a laundry tip, I’ve had great success with putting the shirts in the dryer for no more than about 15 minutes and then hanging them up to air dry.  Oh, and I’m on Team White-Camisole-Beneath-White-Shirt–but many others are on Team Nude Camisole; you can check out our discussion here.  Readers — which are your favorite button-down shirts? Do you purchase non-iron shirts? And what are your best tips for laundering (and wearing) a button-down shirt? [Read more…]

Commuting Hall of Fame: Hunter Rain Boots

Hunter Original Gloss Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Whether NYC gets 3 or 30 inches of snow this weekend, it seems pretty sure that it’s going to be an unpleasant, yucky weekend. Truth be told, I usually prefer my Hunter boots (with warm socks!) to my snow boots unless there are major snow drifts — here in NYC the problem is more slush than anything. (On semi related notes, Hunter recently came out with a foldable, packable version of their boot, and here’s a tutorial on how to clean your Hunters after they get a bit waxy/gunky looking.) These violet Hunters are $135 at Zappos and Nordstrom. Hunter Original Gloss

2017 Update: We’re adding these boots to our Workwear Hall of Fame! Even though you probably don’t want to actually wear them AROUND the office, they are amazing for commuting to and from work, particularly once slush and massive puddles get involved.

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Coffee Break – Karmen Pump

The Most Comfortable Heel for $20 | CorporetteSo I was looking through our previous discussion and poll on the most comfortable heels, and found this little gem: a few readers noted that they LOVED the pumps at Payless, particularly those by Comfort Plus by Predictions. And sure enough, online, this thing has 82 glowing reviews. So, ladies, if you’re looking for a comfortable pump under $20, give it a try. The Karmen pump is available in white, black, black patent, red suede, “tan” patent, navy, brown croc, grey croc, and red — all colors just $19.99. (There’s also a brown boot from the same line, on sale from $49 to $20.) Karmen Pump

Readers, have you tried the Comfort Plus by Predictions line at Payless? Do you agree with the readers who loved it? If you’re on the hunt for more comfortable heels, check out our guide!
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Coffee Break – Asymmetrical Mini Letter Necklace

This post was originally written in November 2012, and updated in May 2016.
Asymmetrical Mini Letter Necklace- One LetterYou guise: I LOVE THIS NECKLACE. I ordered it a few weeks ago from Bauble Bar (I got a “G”) and was so, so thrilled about it that I’ve been wearing it everywhere. It’s such a far cry from my statement necklaces — it’s so delicate, and I love the way it nestles against my neck. I highly recommend. The necklace is $220, available in 14K gold or 14K white gold, and you get a pair of open heart studs free with any purchase with code MAYABRENNER at checkout. (If you’re not a member of Bauble Bar yet, click here for an invite.) You can get up to two letters on the chain through Bauble Bar; if you want three you have to go through the designer’s websiteAsymmetrical Mini Letter Necklace- One Letter

2016 Update: I still love these necklaces, so I’m going to add them to our Workwear Hall of Fame.  I have one in silver, one in gold, and one in rose gold, and wear one of them pretty much daily.  They’re delicate, interesting, and pretty.
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Weekend Open Thread

Valentino Patent Leather Rockstud Slingback PumpsSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

I’m usually able to resist the allure of designer shoes… but my goodness these are gorgeous. Love that rocker vibe mixed with what looks like a pretty flattering design and a walkable 2.5″ heel. The one review on Saks is ebullient — the woman is so pleased with the blush version that she says she’s off to buy other colors. Impressive! But — for $895 I think I’d have to be happy with just one pair. Valentino Patent Leather Rockstud Slingback Pumps

2016 Update: These heels are now in our Workwear Hall of Fame — they’ve been around for years now, win amazing reviews, and keep coming back in new styles and colors.

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work fashion blog press mentions