Thursday’s Workwear Report: Pleat Ponte Sheath Dress

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

work clothes in nordstrom saleThis dress has been around for a few years, and I think I’ve posted it at least twice in different iterations over the years — honestly I have to stop myself from posting it more often because every time I see it I think, man, what a great dress. Sleeves, a work-appropriate hem, a flattering jewel neck, and interesting waist details — sign me up! It’s available in black, navy, and a surprisingly fetching mustard yellow, sizes 2-16, regular and petite sizes. Right now it’s $64 (!), down from $108. Ellen Tracy Pleat Ponte Sheath Dress

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

Psst: The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts this morning for cardholders! We’ll have a roundup of our favorite work clothes soon, but in the meantime, here’s a quick primer on the sale: Nordstrom holds this sale once a year where they mark down NEW clothes (fall and winter clothes) early, before the season starts. Prices go back up after a certain time. Right now you need to be a Nordstrom cardholder to enter the sale; if you don’t already hold one you can sign up here. I did a quick swing through the beauty department this morning and will note that there are a lot of major discounts on beauty “appliances,” if you’re into that. Several products from Clarisonic, FOREO, and some great sets including several Diptyque candles for barely more than you pay for one. A few quick things jumping out to me from the sale section also: TONS of Zella, one of readers’ favorite legging brands, as well as tons of nice plus-size picks from Vince Camuto and Eileen Fisher, both of which are “featured brands.” Those tend to sell out first, so here are four of my favorite picks from Vince Camuto right now, all currently marked $46-$105:

nordstom anniversary sale picks for work clothes

  • white blouse (available in petites and several other colors) now marked to $46, will be $69 after the sale
  • black flare skirt, regular and petites, now marked to $58, will be $89 after the sale
  • red dress (plus sizes and petites also, also several other colors), now marked to $72, will be $109 after the sale
  • blazer (LOVE this one — plus sizes also), now marked to $105, will be $159 after the sale


Suit of the Week: ALTUZARRA

Altuzarra Topstitch BlazerFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

This suit won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (or even everyone’s fantasy cup of tea), but I keep coming back to it — I think because the proportions feel right to me, at least for a suit with a longer blazer.  Full length pants! Nipped in blazer with collar! Slightly longer blazer, yes, but not humorously so. The matching dress shares the topstitch details, while the pants don’t seem to have any of the details.  Ladies, what are your thoughts — do you like the proportions or do you prefer trendier details like ankle pants and collarless blazers? The blazer (ALTUZARRA Topstitch Blazer) is $1795, and the pants (ALTUZARRA Flare Leg Serge Pants) are $795; the dress (ALTUZARRA Stripe Sleeveless A-Line Dress) is $1595.

It’s difficult to find matches with topstitched details, but proportionally, here’s a slightly more affordable version (lots of the higher-end designers have this look right now!), and here’s a plus-size suit with a collar and nipped waist.


The Best Work Clothes for Different Body Types

best work clothes for different body typesPear… apple… hourglass… triangle… ruler… what’s your body type? More importantly, which are the best work clothes for different body types? Whatever your size or shape, what is your power outfit — the general style/shapes of clothes that make you feel great? Kate and I have studied the comments on our last post on dressing for your body type, and Kate’s rounded up some helpful resources on the topic below, but let’s open it up to you ladies! For the sake of discussion, please note:

  1. your general shape and size
  2. which workwear brands you’ve had luck with and are the first you shop
  3. which workwear brands tend to be misses for you
  4. what your power outfit is for your workweek, OR what the building blocks of your wardrobe are (pants or dress? blazer or cardigan? what shape of dress? what length and type of pant?)

When we last talked about the best brands for your body type, commenters had a lot of notes. (This was from Feb. 2015, so pretty recently, but before the new pants regime at Banana Republic, and also before the lead designer change at Ann Taylor/LOFT.) I’ve tried to be helpful by grouping things below by the classic “body shape” classifications, but looking through comments it seems like people in different groups mentioned the same brands because the waist-to-hip ratios worked for them (so hourglasses and pears mentioned a lot of the same brands, while rulers and apples mentioned a lot of the same brands), as well as for bust-to-waist ratios (so hourglasses and triangles mentioned a lot of the same brands). Obviously bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so the classic “body shape” ideas are a bit of garbage; don’t worry too much if none of the categories (or several) seem to fit.

I found the lists interesting for two reasons. First, a few brands appear on almost every list, namely Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Classiques Entier, and J.Crew — some of that may be because they’re so common that everyone’s found SOMETHING. Also, both AT and BR are known for offering different pants fits, also, which may also explain a lot. The second interesting takeaway: some workwear brands appear on almost no lists. Ladies who love DvF, Rebecca Taylor, and Uniqlo, let’s hear from you!

The brands mentioned by commenters are below — note that brands mentioned most are listed at the top of the list.

[Read more…]

Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Dale V-Neck Sheath Dress with Sleeves

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

black office dress with sleevesHappy Wednesday, ladies! This sheath dress with sleeves looks great — and it’s been price-matched, so the black version is 10% off. (The white version is even lower, but the navy is still full price.)  I like the length (38.5″), the flattering V-neck, the sleeves and waist detail, as wel as the “stretch lining.” For some reason all colors are available online only, sizes 2-14. Catherine Catherine Malandrino ‘Dale’ V-Neck Sheath Dress

Here’s a similar plus-size sheath dress with sleeves, available in sizes 14W-24W.

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


Coffee Break: Stacked Heel Pump

business casual stacked heelWhen we were doing our roundup of basic black pumps for work yesterday, I found this great — but admittedly more casual — stacked heel pump, and it’s too good not to share. I normally hate a wooden heel (or more accurately, a heel that looks like wood), but I kind of love it now.  (It reminds me for some reason of the last time I went to London and all the women were wearing black skinny jeans tucked into dark brown boots.) I’d wear the heels with a casual, breezy shift dress (like this one or this one), and trendy delicate jewelry.  They’re $129 at Nordstrom, available in sizes 4-12. Louise et Cie ‘Jianna’ Stacked Heel Pump

Tuesday’s Workwear Report: ‘Fily’ V-Neck Wool Blend Cardigan

V-Neck Knit Cardigan: Boss 'Fily' V-Neck Wool Blend Cardigan Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Oooooh — these aren’t exactly my colors, but I can still get behind this gorgeous wool-blend cardigan from Boss. I love that ribbed lower panel, the fitted shape, and even that it comes in a twinset, a trend that I have a sneaking suspicion might come back sometime soon. (I’ve seen a TON of higher-end designers doing them again.) Boss ‘Fily’ V-Neck Wool Blend Cardigan

Two lower-priced alternatives are here and here; here’s a plus-size option.

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