The Hunt for Budget-Friendly Interview Suits

budget friendly interview suits for womenSure, we all know what work wardrobe essentials 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. Today: we’re hunting for budget-friendly interview suits for women!

Obviously, we cover a Suit of the Week every week, and we have our regularly updated Guide to Interview Suits as well as our recent overview of brands of suits for women for every budget— but we haven’t specifically looked for budget-friendly interview suits in a few years, so let’s round them up! (Here’s our last discussion on cheap interview suits, as well as our discussion of whether you can mix black separates to make a suit (noooooooo!).  In general, if you’re hunting for an interview suit, keep an eye out for options with a) suiting separates b) available in a solid, dark, neutral color, c) that fit your budget. By buying suiting separates you can get a better fit off the rack (such as by buying a size 10 pant and a size 12 blazer, and maybe even a petite skirt even if everything else is a regular size) — and you can make several outfits, particularly if there are two blazers, such as one that’s collarless and one that’s the traditional lapel+button. (If you have problems finding suits in your size range, check our Guide to Plus Size Suits, Tall Suits, Petite Suits, and Maternity Suits!) Readers, which are your favorite budget-friendly interview suits? 

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The Hunt for Nude-For-You Heels

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.

Beige pumps and other “nude” heels are starting to hit the stores, so I thought we’d do a hunt for nude-for-you heels today. The theory is thus: the closer to your exact skin tone you can get with any shoe, the more elongating and flattering a look it can be with sheer hose or bare legs. (Here’s our last guide on when and how to wear pantyhose if you need a refresher!)  Ladies, do you have any favorite beige/tan/pink/caramel/brown pumps that you love because they match your skin tone and are YOUR nude heels? What style of nude-for-you heel are you on the hunt for most this year — block heel, a strappy heel, a wedge, a classic pump, or something else?  (Looking for nude flats? Check out our last roundup here.)

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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.

We haven’t gone on a hunt for the best dress shirts for women in a long time — so let’s take a look, ladies! Which are your favorite spots to check first if you’re looking for a classic, button up dress shirt, whether for interviews or beyond? Do you prefer a crisp dress shirt (like the ones we’re featuring in this article), or do you prefer a silkier dress shirt? A few older articles may be of particular interest in this discussion: 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) one of our all-time top posts: 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.

Pictured at top, clockwise: blue / blue / white

First, some of our Hall of Fame styles — these are the best-selling, classic styles that have been around for years and are always highly rated:

Pictured above: pink / stripey / blue / white / blush

And, before we get to our featured styles for today, here are some of special interest categories for women’s dress shirts:

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The Best Affordable Cashmere For Work

affordable cashmere for workSure, 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.

Which are your favorite affordable cashmere sweaters for work, ladies? Which ones do you reach for, for warmth, style, or comfort — and which have held up after laundering or dry cleaning? We haven’t talked about this in a while, and cashmere sales are starting (Neiman Marcus, Uniqlo, Lord & Taylor, and Nordstrom all have some crazy markdowns right now) — so let’s discuss.

Pictured at top, clockwise: black / cream / navy / blue.

Pictured below, some of our Hall of Famers: boatneck / crewneck / turtleneck / faux wrap / turtleneck

 

Before we get to our featured cashmere sweaters for work for today, let’s talk about some greatest hits:

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The Best Tees For Layering Under Blazers, Cardigans, and More

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.

Which are the best tees for layering under blazers, cardigans, and more? What qualities do you look for in a work-appropriate t-shirt, how many do you own, and how long do you expect your tees to stay looking new?  We haven’t had a discussion on the best tees for layering for work in a while, so let’s revisit some of the basics, at least for my $.02. First, t-shirts make a great layering piece because they’re washable and generally no-fuss (such as tops requiring ironing).  Furthermore, a work t-shirt should be something designed to be seen — you should be able to take your blazer off during the day without worrying that it’s see-through, clinging to your bra, too low cut, tattered or torn, or otherwise too casual.  Personally I think any pockets will usually make a tee too casual for a conservative office, as does a wider rib trim at the neckline — I love my relaxed slub t-shirts for the weekend, but I think a slub knit or linen blend would make it too casual for work, as would a pattern like a space-dye. Finally, while a tank top can be great for certain situations, it isn’t always the best for layering for two reasons — first, it won’t necessarily be appropriate to wear by itself at your office (see our last discussion on whether going sleeveless is professional – know your office!), and second, it may necessitate more laundering and drycleaning than a t-shirt would because a t-shirt would cover your armpits and protect the top layer from sweat. (But: if you want a seamless look and just want to add opacity/raise a neckline, a camisole for work, demi-camisole, or tank top is definitely the look for you.)

How about you, readers — which t-shirts do you think are the best tees for layering? Do you prefer to layer tees, tanks, camisoles, or something else beneath suits and blazers? What do you look for in a work-appropriate t-shirt? 

Pictured at top, a few of our Hall of Famers: black / red / blue.

Some of our Hall of Famers, the best-selling, classic styles that have been around for years, include:

Above: black / pink / blue / red.

Today’s featured tees for layering include:

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The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and More

The Best Knee-High Boots for Commuting, Work, and Beyond | 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. Today’s hunt: the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, or more. 

As work-appropriate booties have surged in popularity, we recognize that knee-high boots aren’t as strong a trend as they once were — still, I see a ton of women still wearing them, and I repeatedly see readers noting that they prefer knee-high boots for their lifestyle (or just for general personal style reasons).  I mostly see women commuting in them and wearing them with skinny jeans on the weekend, so I thought I’d focus this Hunt on flat, low-heeled styles. An important caveat: I see a lot of women swearing by flat over-the-knee boots for commuting, but OTK boots are solidly in “know your office” territory — in our last poll most women didn’t think they were appropriate for their offices. If you are on the hunt for an OTK boot, I’d either go low (very inexpensive, like this $38 pair) or high (do the classic Weitzman OTK boot) and call it a day — or make an actual trip to the store to find a good OTK boot somewhere between those two.

As we’ve noted in our past roundups of flat knee-high boots for work, watch out for slouchy boots, heavy treads, or Western influences — and if you intend to wear them the entire day at the office, make sure your outfit is intentional (and not that “I never got around to changing my commuting boots” look).

First, some specialty styles to include in our roundup of the best knee-high boots for commuting, work, and beyond:

Pictured below: some of our Hall of Fame boots — the best-selling styles that have been around and loved for years!

the best knee high boots for commuting!

Pictured above: one / two / three

Curious about our older roundups? Here are links to 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 — and our last discussion on whether knee-high boots are appropriate for the office. (Do you still think this is a question at all, ladies?)

Today’s featured knee-high boots for commuting or work include:

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