Poll – How Casual A T-shirt Can Be Worn Beneath a Suit?

tees-beneath-suitsLast week, we were surprised to see comments saying that a t-shirt is not appropriate to be worn beneath a suit, and we thought, a) perhaps we’re talking about different things, or b) perhaps we’re terribly wrong. So we thought we’d explore.

For our $.02: Agreed, agreed, you can’t wear a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert shirt beneath a suit, nor can you wear the kind of v-neck from the Gap that you would paint a garage in. And of course, a silk or cashmere sweater or button-down shirt is preferable. But, we would say that a “dressy” cotton t-shirt like the ones we linked to that day, or very classic tees in a thick cotton or machine-washable fabric (e.g., a crewneck without a ribbed neckline), are totally acceptable to wear beneath a suit, particularly in a solid color like white. Our reasoning here is that we’ve just never studied another woman’s clothing that closely beneath her suit. Is it too tight? Too sheer? Too old-school rayon shell-like? If it isn’t any of those things and the suit looks good, the top generally fades into the background. It’s there to provide the woman with an option to take off her jacket if she needs to, but — as we’ve said before — we generally think you should keep the jacket on if you’re roaming the halls or going to meetings. In addition to being acceptable, there’s a benefit — if it’s machine-washable, it makes a working woman’s life that much easier.

which-tees-can-you-wear-to-work can-you-wear-tees-to-work which-tees-go-best-beneath-suits

But enough of our two cents — what do you guys think?
tee beneath suit

Psst: Check out our guide to the best tops under suits!

Poll: Are silk dresses appropriate for the office?

silk-dresses-for-workSome have raised doubts about our TPS reports that feature a silk dress. We think the concerns come from the fact that some cheaper silks can be almost sheer — they can show VPLs; they show sweat like nobody’s business; they wrinkle easily; there are static electricity problems if you’re wearing hose. (To which we say: avoid the cheapest silk — avoid buying clothes at stores that target teenagers and others who like disposable fashion (H&M, Forever 21, etc, etc).)  Even then, a lot of these problems can be solved with a slip and properly-fitting undergarments.  Picture at left:  silks, originally uploaded to Flickr by larry&flo.

But that’s just our $.02 — what do you think, guys?
silk-dresses-for-work

Poll: Which Spring 2009 Trend Will You Wear to Work?

We’ve been seeing lots of reports of trends and — as is far too common! — we’ve been rolling our eyes at the prospect of wearing any of them to work. We thought we’d take a poll…

First up: a brief overview of some of the trends we’ve seen reported in multiple places.

The boyfriend blazer (illustrated by Aqua Boyfriend Jacket, The jumpsuit (illustrated by Black Halo Strapless Jumpsuit Nude clothes (illustrated by Derek Lam’s scarf dress Cropped pants (illustrated by Sonia Rykiel’s cotton silk harem pants
The boyfriend blazer (illustrated by Aqua Boyfriend Jacket, $88 at Bloomingdales) The jumpsuit (illustrated by Black Halo Strapless Jumpsuit, $390 at ShopBop) Nude clothes (illustrated by Derek Lam’s scarf dress, $2390 at Bergdorf Goodman) Cropped pants (illustrated by Sonia Rykiel’s cotton silk harem pants, $985 at Net-a-Porter.com)

And now, the poll — will you wear any of these in the near future?
2009 trends

Poll: Are all sheer blouses bad for the office?

are-sheer-blouses-bad-for-workThis has come up a few times with regard to the TPS reports, and one of our readers suggested we take a poll on it — which we enthusiastically agree with. Are all sheer fabrics bad for the office, such as chiffon, slightly sheer silk and jersey, and so forth?

For our $.02: A black sheer fabric is always going to be veering into boudoir territory.  (We will admit, though, that we have a sheer black blouse that we wear underneath sweaters and sweater-vests.)  However, women’s blouses have traditionally been in fabrics like silk, crepe, and even chiffon, all of which tend to be slightly sheer — it’s one of the reasons women in the older days had to wear slips and camisoles as a matter of course. (And: We have just spent far too long searching Google Images for one of the many examples we know we’ve seen of anyone from The Thin Man through Tootsie through Working Girl wearing sheer blouses, all to no avail. Grrrrr.) Our point, though: as long as your undergarments are covered tastefully by a camisole, a slightly sheer blouse or sweater peeking out beneath a jacket is not unprofessional.  (Although we would say that full-on sheer, like Salma Hayek’s wearing, is unprofessional.  We don’t even think a more demure camisole would have saved that one.)

What say you all?
sheer-blouses-ok-for-work

Poll Results: Towering Heels

Christian Louboutin’s Marie Antoinette shoeAbout a week and a half ago, we asked a pivotal question: at what point does a high heel become TOO high for work? As always, the poll is still open, but the initial results are in:

– 44% of readers said a medium heel height was most appropriate for work — 3.5″ being the absolute highest.

– 33% said 3.5″ or higher was acceptable, so long as the shoe itself was appropriate for work — nothing a teenager would wear.

– 12% said any heel height was fine, so long as you could walk in it

– 9% said low heels were the only ones appropriate for the office: 2.5″ or under.

Pictured above: Christian Louboutin’s Marie Antoinette shoe, available only in Paris boutiques. [Read more…]

Poll: How High is Too High?

Naturalizer Marleigh ShoeOur readers are thinking along similar lines, because a second reader wrote in to wonder if there is a limit on how high a shoe can be before it’s unacceptable for work.

I recently bought some shoes, including these (pictured) (3″ black patent with tweed edging–for $30, I figured why not). When I tried them on, my husband remarked that they were “awfully tall,” and after initially thinking they would be a nice edition to my shoe collection, I began to wonder if they were not appropriate. So I guess my question is: is there a heel height cutoff, past which one should not go? I’m of average height (5’6″), and dress pretty conservatively at work (suits, pearls, the whole thing). I was planning on wearing these heels with pantsuits primarily to minimize the shiny tall heels aspect, but my husband’s comment has me wondering if they are too much for even the plainest black suit. Is there consensus on this? Does it matter on other factors (such as how tall you are to begin with)?

Above: Naturalizer Marleigh Shoe, now on sale for $30 at Naturalizer.com. [Read more…]