The Hunt: Linen Blazers

The Best Linen Blazers of 2014 | 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.

I think a classic piece every woman should have for summer is a linen blazer.  As noted in our last summer blazer roundup, there are other lightweight options for summer — silk, seersucker, cotton pique, etc — but nothing breathes quite like linen, and there are a ton of great options for linen blazers in stores right now.  Ladies, what is your favorite fabric for a lightweight blazer?  Have you bought any linen blazers recently that you’re loving (or have any from previous years that you can’t wait to break out of your closet)?

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Summer Work Clothes: How to Look Professional When It’s Hot

Summer Work Clothes | CorporetteWhat should you wear — and not wear — to look professional (and stay cool) when it’s hot outside?  Which summer work clothes are the best?  We’ve recently gotten two reader questions on the issue.  First up, Reader M wonders:

Hi. I’m 30 years old. I am a rock and roller. Meaning that I work in the music industry. In the past my job was to chaperone the concert site. I was very good at my job. Got a new job in Orlando, FL, that has me now working at a desk. I am now a supervisor. I came into this job in the fall so I had some leftover black wool slacks, nice dark wash denim, and black sweaters to get me through. It’s now almost spring (feels like summer) and I don’t know how to do professional for summer. I work in a business casual environment, which helps. I like to keep all of my color in accents like purses, shoes, scarves, etc. I wear monochromatic. It’s my signature and super versatile when starting a new wardrobe. Can you advise cuts, fabrics, etc. of office appropriate summer wear for a newly professional, young lady like myself that’s trying to beat the heat without looking like a concertgoer?

Reader T also wonders:

I am heading to D.C. from California this summer for a legal externship, and am in need of advice on the dress code in the legal world when it’s 95 degrees. I worked on the Hill for several years and (sadly) recall a lot of flip flops and sundresses during the hotter months. I imagine that this won’t be the case in a legal setting/government agency, but I would love some basic outfit formulas, fabric suggestions (is tweed taboo?), and other ideas for a 30 yr. old to look like a lawyer while fighting the humidity and sticking to a budget.

In terms of outfit formulations, my go-to looks are boring, but they’re classic for a reason: think sheath dresses plus a blazer (to be added once you’re inside), and nice, lightweight trousers (look for cotton or cotton blends) with a nice tee and a classic pair of pumps (and ideally a matching blazer). (Pictured: Cole Haan Air Carma Open Toe Pump, on sale at Zappos for $169.99 (was $275).) As we’ve noted before, natural fabrics like cotton, silk, and linen are going to breathe a lot more than non-natural fabrics, so do pay attention to that when buying new pieces.  (Also: pay attention to the laundry instructions. That $20 pair of pants starts to look less appealing — and less of a deal — when they start to smell to high heaven after two wears and the only way to launder them is to get them drycleaned.)

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The Hunt: Strappy Pumps

The Best Strappy Pumps | 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.

As the weather turns/stays nasty, I’m often reminded of a trick I’ve employed for years: wearing a skirt and tights to work with commuting boots (either snow boots or rain boots — I’ve always preferred a skirt in truly nasty weather since my pants seemed to always get yucky from the knee down) — and then switching into regular heels at the office.  Personally, I vastly prefer strappy pumps for wear with tights — styles such as the Mary Jane, a T-strap, and ankle strap have always been much more comfortable.  We haven’t rounded up strappy pumps in a while, so I thought I’d hunt down a few.  (Check out our roundup of strappy flats as well as regular pumps if you’re on the hunt for those.) Readers, do you share my preference for strappy pumps with tights?  Have you bought any great strappy heels lately?

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How to Buy a Great Winter Coat

How to Buy a Great Winter Coat | CorporetteHow can you find a great winter coat? Reader M asked us to “share some guidance and advice…”

I’m curious to hear what the readers say here, because despite a lot of poking around online, I haven’t found a lot of other articles talking about this.  Here’s what I know:

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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…]

Open Thread: The Best Products for Summer

silver-liningsIt’s May 1, and here in NYC the sun is shining, things are in bloom, and it seems as if Bare Leg/Flip Flop Commuting Weather has finally arrived.  (Of course, we all know that you’re not supposed to walk for miles in flip flops, but everyone here does anyway.)  I was thinking it might be fun to have a conversation of some of the best products you’ve bought that can help working women through the summer and changing seasons.  Some ideas:

  • Silver Linings, which are shoe inserts with antimicrobial silver ions to help de-funk your shoes (or keep them from smelling in the first place)
  • Zakkerz, which help you temporarily hem your pants with magnets
  • Sunscreen in a brush — I haven’t tried this yet, but I just ordered some for my son (Tickle Time) and noticed while researching it that bareMinerals makes some as well.  Given that I hate the greasy feel of sunscreen on my face, I’m looking forward to seeing how this works.
  • A wrap.  I’ve sung the praises of your basic wrap before, but I think they’re particularly great for the office at this time of year.  A) If you’ve layered a blazer on top of a dress or lightweight top and are still freezing, you can add a wrap on top of the blazer.  B) You can use it to cover your legs if you’re freezing in a skirt.  C) Add length/coverage to your skirts while you’re sitting (I explain this more fully here).

Readers, which are some of the products you count among your best summer finds?