Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Macey Blazer

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

Happy MLK Day! I hope everyone has the day off, but on the off chance that you’re at the office or working from home today, I thought I would share this gorgeous blazer from Alice + Olivia — I particularly love the little panel on the side where the fabric above the pocket is sort of kitty corner to the rest. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think patterned fabrics like this are where you can really see higher-quality tailoring and intentionality and so forth. A $500 windowpane blazer is going to look very different from, say, a $50 windowpane blazer because of the way the fabrics are laid out and pieced together, and this one is a great example of that. It just looks really chic and cool. The blazer is $495 at Shopbop and comes in sizes 0–12. Macey Blazer

Banana Republic has two more affordable options in light gray and dark gray, and Vince Camuto has one in plus sizes.

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  1. I like the Banana Republic dark gray the best of the three but I’d have to see what the metallic thread looks like in person. Less in your face than the featured print, at least from the pictures.

  2. Anonymous :

    I’m in professional services and work with clients from a particular industry. I want to switch industries. How can I approach this with my manager? I’ll be reaching out over email, but I’m not sure how to phrase the message. (Note that we will chat later. We use email to schedule chats and meetings.)

    • I wouldn’t mention this in an email. Say something bland like “let’s get a meeting on the calendar, I’d like to talk to you about my goals and priorities for the coming year.”

      Then make it easy for her. Know how this could happen. Which clients are available what do you bring to the table etc.

      • +1. Big changes are generally best pitched in person and with you being very well prepared.

      • Yay! Pricey MLK Monday’s! I love Pricey Monday’s and MLK day, though I OF COURSE am workeing! FOOEY! I am not sure that even Mrs. King would spring for this blazer at $495, though it is cute!

        Myrna and I watched the football game yesterday b/c we need to get closer to the guys and we figure that if we know about the touchdowns and scores, we are better abel to talk to the guys, even tho it is kind of dumb watching people freezeing their tuchuses off running after a ball all day! FOOEY!

        I remember when I was in law school, we used to root for the Redskins in DC, and they were OK, but I was a JET’S fan so I kept my mouth shut. Now I wish I had been more vocal, b/c I could have married one of the guys who kind of liked me at the time. He wound up forming a company and I think it is now on the stock market! I missed out, dad says, and he was right! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      • +1 A 2018 planning discussion is a natural time to have this conversation. Ideally you’d have an idea of the path to accomplishing this. If it involves moving to a different team, be clear that your desire for a move has nothing to do with your manager (if true).

      • Prior to the discussion, think through the challenges to this change, concerns and questions your manager will have, etc. and have answers for them. Also do you have a timeline in mind? Have others done this sort of switch in your firm? If so that makes the conversation easier because there is already an example of it (provided it went well). Sell it as a positive thing for the firm in addition to positive for you.

  3. lost academic :

    Definitely working today and praying that the racist jokes my office often makes are avoided today. An iota of tact please, people…. :( (HR is useless)

  4. Friends, talk to me about pants.

    I need 2 pairs of dress/work pants (14/16)- one trouser, one slim – for everyday workwear. Maybe a 3rd in gray (the other 2 would be black). I have purchased and don’t like the following:

    Eileen Fisher crepe slim pants – look too much like leggings, don’t look good on chubby thighs/lower belly (next size up would be too large, they are just not for me). I also prefer more structure.
    Eileen Fisher crepe straight pants – same issue
    Gap bistretch – weird with socks, look like crap (wrinkled, linty) after one wear. Baggy butt at the end of the day.
    Gap stretch wide leg – Ok but the waist is weirdly small where the rest of the pant fits.
    ON Pixie – looks like jeans
    Boden Richmond – more of a spring weight, get weirdly dusty from the bottom of my desk
    Boden Hampshire – 9 weeks backordered but otherwise like for a slim pant, but v. casual
    MM LaFleur (I think Nakamura? Pleated) – too lightweight for the price. Rode up in the crotch (not available in plus, and I generally can’t do plus. I’m a straight up 14 in pants – small waist, junk in the trunk, thick thighs.
    Leith ankle pants – Basically pajamas. So thin it felt obscene to wear them at work.
    Banana – not sure who their fit model is for sizes 14/16, but it ain’t me. Can’t squeeze one cheek in there.

    I’m waiting for more EF pants, Talbots, Halogen, and Vince Camuto ponte to arrive, but I am disheartened. I just want to wake up, put on pants and a shirt, look good and professional, and go.

    So…any other pant recommendations?

    • I really like the MM Lafleur foster pants. The fabric is much thicker than the Nakamara. Maybe a bit more casual but still dressy enough for me to wear to my business-casual office with a blazer. The stretch is actually really flattering on me.

      I also have wide hips and junk in the trunk, and I find the fosters really flattering. For reference, I find the ON Pixie pants much too tight in the thighs (except the Pixie chinos).

      • I also have the Foster pants and find them more flattering than the Nakamura. That said, I think they’d have been too casual for my law firm days, but they’re perfect for my business casual Office.

      • +1 – I wear a 6 in the fosters, and carry much of my weight in my thighs and found the stretch very flattering, more so than many other brands. Pixie was too tight for me, and I didn’t love the fit of the Richmond pant.

    • I have a pair of the Express Editor boot cut pants. Not sure if they make a slim style. Maybe also try Macy’s. I don’t have specific brand recommendations, but when I was looking for pants last year it seemed like they had a good selection.

      • To clarify, I ordered online from Macy’s. I don’t always find a good selection in store.

      • You might try Donna Karen there is a lower priced line at Macy’s and a higher priced line that Saks carries) — I keep trying their pants on, and when the waist fits, there is just slightly too much material in the hips/upper thighs, so that might solve your problem (hourglassy tending towards menopausal apple with squat-toned thighs, here).


        I have MMLaFleur Foster’s and do agree they are a substantial stretch fabric, although I’m not wild about the sheen on the pants for more formal looks.

    • Try Loft, Julie fit! :)

      • These are my perfect pants. I wish they made them in jeans.

      • +1. I’m a pear, and these usually work for me.

      • +1 I tried so many, many pants and I found these to work best for me.

        FYI though the hems fell out of the straight leg pants I ordered after only one wear. It was not expensive to fix, but I did think that was pretty freaking ridiculous. I would still buy them again, but only because they so frequently go on sale, and only at a sale price.

        • Yup, they fell out of my pants too. But agree the quality and fit are still great… especially for the sale price.

          I took the opportunity to learn how to mend them myself. Not too hard for me!

      • I have only about 4 pairs of work pants these days—two slim ankle, two trouser, one each in navy and black—and they are both Loft Julies. I do the Riviera ankle slim and the custom stretch trouser in the 31in inseam (when available). I’m 5’7” and a 14 in both styles; I do the shorter hem on the trouser to avoid having to hem!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      The Eloquii Kady -a narrow pant in a mid-weight with slight stretch. Try them, they are amazing. They come in regular fit, Viola (for pears) and Gena (for larger midsections). I am an hourglass and the regular fit is fine and allows for a choice of length.

    • I’m your shape: I like my NYDJ ponte trousers.

      • I also like NYDJ trousers. They work for me and have washed well. I just bought a third pair (I generally buy one pair every winter).

    • I like the Talbots side zip trousers, preferably in the Lindsey fabric. They make a “curvy” fit in a couple styles and those also have worked well.

    • Greensleeves :

      I am the same shape and size. I really like the Vince Camuto Ponte ankle pants right now. I am usually a 16 and wear a 14 in those. I have them in three colors. I’m not much help on trousers though. My go to used to be Halogen, but I don’t see much on the Nordstrom website right now. The one pair I have that I really like right now is Classiques Entier and that brand has disappeared. Depending on your budget, I also have two pantsuits from Boss that I really like, so that might be a brand to try.

    • Anonymous :

      I like Talbots Windsor fit. It’s definitely a trouser, almost a wide leg trouser, but they are usually available in a decent cloth weight which adds some structure, and accommodate junk in the trunk and larger thighs. It’s much more of a loose, skimming look.

    • Anonymous :

      Try the brand Nic & Zoe. They make a wonder stretch pant.

    • Everlane

    • Anonymous :


  5. I also have trouble with pants but my particular variety is having a long waist and big (relatively) thighs. I have had good luck with Ann Taylor.

  6. Slipped up at work yesterday and am feeling HORRIBLE about it. Counted the timelines for a matter incorrectly (not court deadlines, just for a hypothetical contract review scenario); it’s for an internal draft but no harm done, but partner was incredibly curt about it (in a 1am email, no less) I’m usually very meticulous but I’ve had loads on my mind recently (both at work and in my personal life).

    I’ve apologized and spent the better part of this morning working on a new draft from home, but this feeling – ugh.

    • I feel ya–I always beat myself up over mistakes worse than anyone else. One of the best pieces of advice I got on the practice of law was along the lines of: humans make mistakes, you are human, therefore you are going to make mistakes every once and awhile. You’re going to do everything you can to check and recheck to minimize those mistakes because a lot is riding on you. But mistakes are still going to happen. The number of size of the mistakes are not the important part; the important part is how you handle them. You have to admit to them and them move forward on fixing it. The mistake is forgivable; the cover up is not.

      Thinking about that advice always makes me feel better when I do make a mistake. But sounds like you already have done the right thing by owning it and moving forward to fix.

    • AnonInfinity :

      We’ve all been there. It stinks, but you will get better at shrugging and moving on when there’s no harm done. It’s always a good idea to think about how it happened and figure out how to be reasonably sure it won’t happen again, but the anxiety/bad feeling spiral does no one any favors. Everyone is human and these little things happen all the time. I’m not sure how long you’ve been at your job, but it did help me once I started seeing partners make these (and worse) mistakes — we’re all human and it’ll be okay! It happens to everyone, I promise.

    • Do NOT worry. We all make mistake’s. I once forgot to send in our breif to the court about waving the statue of limitations, and the court refused to hear it later and dismissed our case. The cleint did NOT get any money, so we just told him that it was b/c of a “retrospective application of a new law” that caused the dismissal, not my own mistake, so she went away. The key is how you present what you do, not what you do (or don’t do, in my case).

  7. Office Jeans -- is there a denim Julie-fit pant somewhere out there? :

    We have switched to jeans-OK at work.

    Is there a denim equivalent of the AT Loft Julie fit pant? My jeans all seem to have a slightly lower rise that results in a muffin-top / unsightly rolls that I don’t have when I wear Julie (or my AT Logan) pants that probably sit higher on the waist (or have better contouring).

    I’m self-conscious when wearing blouses and only wear sweaters with jeans, which is too casual; I’d prefer a blouse with denim for work (otherwise, I’ll just keep wearing my business-formal workwear).

    • My go-to jeans are JAG at Nordstroms.

      • Office Jeans -- is there a denim Julie-fit pant somewhere out there? :

        I’ve tried those. I had bad flashbacks to maternity pants and really didn’t think that they worked (at least on me).

    • I wear Julie fit at Loft, and have had very good luck with the Treasure & Bond jeans at Nordstrom. Different pants have slightly different fit and different rises, so order a couple sizes to try. They stretch, but no diaper butt. More generous in the butt and thigh. And very reasonable price for the quality and often go on sale. I have multiple pairs – all in black (more my style).

    • Try Mac and Me Jeans, available through Mainstreet Boutique!

      Seriously, holy grail. (denim, but this hidden stretch waistband) Kinda hard to get your hands on.

      I also like Democracy–esp. the Absolution! Available at Nordstrom Rack, Mainsteam Boutique, etc.

    • Love Wit & Wisdom at Nordstrom. I have muffin top issues and these pants are magical!

    • I’m a total julie fit. When I did Stitch Fix they sent me Kut from the Kloth jeans that were perfect. I believe they have a few fits and are available at Nordstrom.

  8. Has anyone lived/spent a significant amount of time in Springfield, IL? I am considering a a move there from Chicago, but haven’t been able to find a ton of information about the city online. I am in my early 20s and would likely only be there a year.

    • I can give a better reply with an idea of why you are going there and whether you’ve lived outside of Chicago before (and if so, where).

      • +1. It’s only a year, you can do anything for a year. But a big part of the answer is whether you’ve ever lived outside of Chicago area before.

    • My first job after college was in Springfield, IL – although that was long while ago.
      I was in my 20’s and found a good group of friends (mostly through work and friends of friends – like anywhere).
      Spent about 3 years there before coming back to Chicago for grad school
      It was an education and I think of the time fondly.
      You can do anything for a year – and 1 year will go by in a snap.

      • Thanks everyone for the comments – I have lived in Chicago for about five years, including college, and am originally from a city that has roughly 3X the population of Springfield (about the size of Cleveland/Wichita/St. Louis). I’d be moving for a job in state government and would likely know no one upon arrival.

        • I have lived in Springfield for a long time. When we moved here, we missed the storefront restaurants and local theater in Chicago. But living here is easy. And Chicago is only a train ride away. If you are a lawyer, the local bar associations (including a women’s bar and a government bar) are good ways to meet people. Also, there is a Young Philanthropists Association and other organizations that meet and socialize. Of course there are lots of churches. The University of Illinois at Springfield is close and offers events. Its auditorium is outstanding. The Springfield Art Association holds lots of different kinds of classes if you are interested in something like that. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is wonderful and worth more than one visit. I hope you enjoy your time here. It will go by quickly!

    • Yes, I recently left Springfield for Chicagoland after three years. I was working for a horribly dysfunctional agency and had very few options other than to move.

      It can be nice – short commute, low cost of living, very friendly people. It’s also sometimes frustrating because it’s a very ingrown government town. Just keep in mind that it’s the way it is because the people in power like it how it is. There isn’t any room for yet another big-headed outsider to change things up.

  9. Thanks everyone for the comments – I have lived in Chicago for about five years, including college, and am originally from a city that has roughly 3X the population of Springfield (about the size of Cleveland/Wichita/St. Louis). I’d be moving for a job in state government and would likely know no one upon arrival.

    • I grew up in central IL, but not Springfield. It’s small. You’ll either love it or hate it. If you want to enjoy your time there, you’ll want to make new friends who can introduce you around. A few thoughts:

      It’s a cute town, not a lot to do. Think more arts/ history/ outdoors. You’ll want to get the schedule of performances for some local theaters and UofI-Springfield. The lakes are fun in the summer. And the Lincoln stuff is really interesting. You just have to be more deliberate about seeking out things to do. Lots of chain restaurants (although find a local bar for the horseshoe sandwich). It’s not Chicago or St Louis, and it’s not trying to be, so try to appreciate it for what it is. No moaning about how you miss your fave Korean restaurant down the street, or how you used to go out every night.

      Speaking of, you’ll want to introduce yourself as from “hometown” not Chicago. People are very distrustful of Chicagoans, because they’ve heard the “joke” that everything south of I-80 is “southern IL” and they don’t like it. They’re also used to people who very clearly are only there for a year or two and clearly see it as inferior. Watch yourself for that vibe. Part of that vibe will be too many trips out of town. If you’re going back home or up to Chicago every other weekend, you’re probably going to be miserable in Springfield. Stay there and try to integrate yourself, give yourself a chance to make friends.

      I like small town living, but I moved away as soon as I could and will never live there again, so I’m not totally unbiased here. I think moving there as an adult is different, and you will likely really enjoy your time there, if you find a good group of friends and make an effort to plan out your time.

      • Anonymous :

        I a man the Anon above who asked for more information. I agree wholeheartedly with the long response above. I grew up in Champaign and have lived in all 3 areas of the state – southern, central, and Chicago. Springfield is in central and they will be offended if you consider the city to fall into either of the other categories.

        I’d also recommend to be prepared for what might in other locations might be considered a more modest way of life. For example: no stainless steel in your apartment kitchen, very little focus on designer anything, less international or coastal US travel. More vacations to a cabin, driving a practical older car- you get the drift.

        If you approach this as an opportunity to see a different way of life and embrace it, I think you will have a great year. But yes, don’t travel back and forth to Chicago every weekend — make some friends, check out the city. Good luck!!

      • Anonymous :

        Springfield is a essentially small “company” town.
        Government is why most people come and everyone is used to young people cycling through.
        And so you shoul find it easy to get linked into a good group of friends.
        Concur to watch your vibe as to seeing Springfield as “inferior” – it is very off putting (true no matter where)
        And yes, you do need to be pro-active in finding and making weekend plans.
        Find the charm that is there, and not compare to XXX.

    • Downstater :

      That seems to be the situation nearly all young people in Springfield are in, so making friends ought to be easier than normal.

      Springfield has my favorite sandwiches in the universe, too. Go to Headwest, you will not regret it.

  10. A while back there was a thread with a list of contemporary black American authors recommended to read – can someone direct back?

    • Anonymous :

      That was a great thread! I’ve had trouble searching past threads lately here so I’ll give you my recent read- Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me. I had to read it twice and absorb it. Although I did not agree with some of the views, somehow the whole vibe of it permeated into my subconscious and changed how I view some things now. At 50, that doesn’t happen often anymore. Looking forward to others comments on this topic today!

    • http://c**.com/calvin-klein-scuba-crepe/#comment-3755747

      It looks like the s!te search doesn’t work anymore but I was able to find it using g oogle search (s!te:c**.com blah)

  11. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a very basic black ankle boot that would look good will dresses and pencil skirts? I think I’m looking for a thinner heal rather than chunky…seems dressier to me. I have some Sam Edelman ankle boots that are on their last leg that I really need to replace but I can’t find anything I like. Help!!!

    I just found Pelle moda Yeva and Yelm – – I think that’s the style I’m looking for. What do you all think of something like this with dresses/skirts and black tights? Any feedback on this brand? Never heard of it…

    • Vince Camuto at Nordstrom.

      • I said Dan Edelman but meant vince comuto. This year’s vince has a huge platform…looks tacky in my opinion.

    • Anonymous :

      How much are you on your feet? Do you have wintry/wet/snowy weather?

      I live in Chicago, and am on my feet a lot. So a tiny heel is totally impractical, but La Canadienne are what I wear. Pricey,but durable. There are a lot of dupes. Blondo. Suspect the weatherproofing is not as good.


      There are some at 6pm and some have more narrow heel, if you prefer. I have multiple pairs, but wear my wedges and narrowish but still a bit of a block heel with a high shaft the most. I prefer the heel with high shaft the most with skirts.

    • I have these and love them: http://www.rockport.com/outlet/total-motion-kalila-piping-bootie/kalilapipingbootie.html?dwvar_kalilapipingbootie_color=kalilapipingbootie_blackleather&google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=&utm_term=&utm_content=s_d{c|pcrid|208566569181|pkw||pmt|&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI95qjyu_a2AIVj0sNCh31lA2gEAkYECABEgJHr_D_BwE

      Rockport generally is very comfortable and many of them are more sleek than the typical “trudge through snow” bootie. I’m in the Southeast, though, so “trudge through snow” is not highest on my priority list.

  12. Anonymous :

    Not everyone who reads here is American, Kat. Some of us are at work. :)

    • Even some of us Americans are at work. All my friends have today off, but my company is stingy with holidays (we don’t get Presidents’ Day either)

      • I am at work too although we do get Presidents’ Day off. Several of our Fortune 500 clients are working today as well.

        • anonymous :

          I am one of those F500 clients at work today. No Presidents’ Day off, either. We get the bare minimum of holidays.

      • anon associate :

        There number of lawyers in my office today is surprisingly large. Probably half of us, if not more. Our office is technically closed.

        • Small law :

          We get memorial day, 4th of july, labor day, thanksgiving, christmas, and New years day off, so. I’m here.

    • We get *columbus day* off, but not MLK. We get Presidents’ Day and a floating holiday that most people use on MLK.

  13. Re the garment of the day: I think this readership can handle the phrase “cut on the bias.”

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