How to Lighten Your Load

how to lighten your loadIf you’re carrying a million bags, how do you look professional?  How can you lighten your load and reduce the number of bags you’re carrying? Reader R wonders…

I work in a large corporate environment and recently had a daughter. I’m back at work, but I feel like a bag lady. I’m only 5’3″ and have to carry in my laptop, purse, pump, lunch, and coffee. (Not brave enough to add my gym bag to the mix, although I’d like to.) I feel like the bags overwhelm my frame and generally make me look smaller, younger, and unprofessional. How do others juggle all this STUFF?

Congratulations on your daughter, R!  Great question — I can see how this is a problem for new mothers, but also for other people carrying too much stuff.  We’ve talked about what your tote bag says about you, as well as how to save your back while commuting, but we haven’t really talked about a) how to lighten your load, and b) how to balance your load (particularly if you’re petite) so it looks more managed.

From my perspective, most of reader R needs to do is to reduce the amount of stuff she carries.  Some tips: [Read more…]

Rainboots — for Summer?

Rainboots for Summer? | CorporetteWhat do you wear to keep your feet dry during summer showers? Do summer rainboots exist? Reader P wonders.

A shoe question for you – what are the best shoes to wear when commuting in hot summer rain? I usually wear my tall Hunter rainboots fall through spring, but they’re way too hot for muggy +80 degree summers. Are plastic flip flops okay? They seem most functional, but I feel so weird wearing them with a suit or work dress. Is there something in between?

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I hate having wet feet — here in New York you can easily and unexpectedly wade into a puddle (including in a covered place, like the subway) that’s half a foot deep, if not more. I’m a huge fan of my Hunter rainboots for cooler months (pictured), and honestly I still pull out my rainboots if the weather is at all cool (up to 75 degrees or so, probably), but with kneesocks instead of tights.  I don’t have them, but these “topless” knee socks from Spanx look perfect for wearing boots with bare legs — they’re thin, and leave no elastic mark beneath your knee.

Summer rainshowers are different, though — no one wants to wear a pair of knee-high plastic boots when it’s 95 degrees. My usual commuting shoe, the flip flop (I hate to admit that!) is also unsuitable for wet weather, in my experience — the footbed of the shoe always seems to get too slippery for me in the rain, and the last thing I want when it’s pouring is to go go slowly and carefully. So my usual go-to outfit is: [Read more…]

Cosmetic Surgery and the Office

breast reduction coworkers.indexedHow do you deal with cosmetic surgery (breast reduction, breast enlargement, nose jobs, etc) at the office?  What do you tell coworkers? Reader D wonders…

I have a question about dealing with a very sensitive issue at work. I will be having breast reduction surgery at the end of the summer and don’t know how to deal with questions from my coworkers. I will be out of the office for a week and will look noticeably different when I return. The surgery itself doesn’t concern me, I’m actually very excited about it, but the thought of answering all those prying questions, or just dealing with people’s observations, is making me very anxious. I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this one.

Congrats on your upcoming surgery, D — may it be everything you want it to be, both in terms of pain reduction, lifestyle, and appearance.  As a fellow, ahem, curvy girl myself, I feel your pain.  I’m curious to hear what readers say about this one, but a few thoughts:

  • Grow a thick skin regarding your coworkers.  (Put another way: F’em.)   [Read more…]

The Hunt: Low Heels

Valentino  'Rockstud' Metal Heel PumpSure, 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.

One of the most frequent requests I get from readers is to feature lower heeled options, so I thought I’d do a round-up today of some of the most classically beautiful heels you can get with a height of less than 2.5 inches (trying to focus on 2″ and less because that’s really my own definition of a low heel).  Some of the ones that I’ve mentioned in various posts and not mentioned here include the gorgeous Kate Spade Simon pump, the Joan & David Gila pump, as well as bunch of mini wedges such as ones from Halogen, Madewell, and Cole Haan Readers, what is your ideal heel height?  For those of you who prefer lower heeled pumps, which brands do you swear by? [Read more…]

How to Look Professional in Flats — All the Time

how to look professional in flatsHow can you make flats look good with conservative ensembles, without looking frumpy? Reader N is particularly curious because she has MS:

I’m sure you’ve encountered similar questions in the past, but…here goes: I am 31 and work in downtown Manhattan in a technology org for a big bank. Us females are a rarity in a mostly male-dominated environment. I simply must look good. ;) My biggest issue, specifically, is shoes. I have MS – thankfully without me telling you, you wouldn’t notice (until I throw on a pair of heels >2″….then I wobble around like I’m 3 sheets to the wind. Not cute.) I feel like my options are so limited! I can get away with reasonably flat-soled platforms, but otherwise I feel like I get either loafers or ballet flats. Which don’t always work with my conservative work attire. Any tips that won’t demolish my wallet? Thanks!

I think this is relevant for a lot of women (whether they have MS or not) — not everyone wants to or can kill themselves in 3″ heels all the time. We’ve talked about whether you can wear flats for a court appearance, and we’ve addressed other issues (such as how to buy shoes that you can wear socks with), but we haven’t talked about how to make conservative styles look good when you’re wearing flats around the clock.  It can even be a challenge to find classic heels under 2″! (That said, if you can happily live with a 2.5″ heel your options expand dramatically).  Personally, I still love a lot of the strappy, pointed-toe flats we rounded up for a Hunt last June. [Read more…]

Slips, Camisoles, and More: What Are Your Go-To Pieces?

what-to-wear-beneath-wrap-dressesWhat do you wear under wrap dresses? Are there camisole-slips? Reader V has an interesting question about what to wear beneath clothes that I think leads us to a great larger question: what are your favorite brands and pieces in slips, camisoles, support garments, pantyhose, and more?

I have a question re slips. I understand that people wear them (even the non-control ones) to even out the lumpy-squishies, make things less sheer, improve drape, etc. But for an unlined v-neck or wrap dress, where one might want help with smoothing out lumps and VPL and sheerness, what if you also want to raise the neckline. Are there camisole-type slips that are designed to be seen (so maybe in white or black, depending on the color of dress; not nude-for-you)? I’m not sure what to do for something like a DVF wrap dress — I want to wear a slip, but don’t want to slip up. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thank you!

This is a great question. We’ve talked about how to keep wrap dresses closed, but not what to wear beneath them. While reading her answer I found myself going through the things that I would wear beneath a wrap dress:

  • Spanx Higher Power (either shaper or tights, because I wear them with every dress)
  •  camisole (here’s our last roundup of great camisoles — based on reader suggestions I might upgrade my collection to a half-camisole, such as this one)
  • half-slip on the bottom (similar to this)

Now that’s a lot of undergarments. [Read more…]