Thursday’s TPS Report: Ann Taylor LOFT Pleated Empire Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

We like this simple and sweet dress from Ann Taylor LOFT — it’s a lot on the casual side, but it’s still the kind of thing that can be dressed up for the office with a pair of closed-toe pumps and a cropped jacket. (Then, change into some strappy sandals and a wrap and head out on the town.) Clean lines, a few unique but unobtrusive details — such are the makings of a great summer dress. It’s $69 at Ann Taylor LOFT (and comes in a great online-only color, Havana Blue, as well as black). Ann Taylor LOFT Pleated Empire Dress

Suit of the Week: Paul Smith Black & Blue Classic Swirl Suit

We are sad to say that we’re behind the ball on this one — the suit is nearly sold out (if you’re a size 44, you are very, very lucky!). But oh, how we love it: a classic black suit with just the teeniest bit of insouciance with the classic Paul Smith swirl in the piping on the lapel. It’s even wool! Gorgeous, gorgeous. It’s marked down nearly 70%, too: it’s currently $345, with an extra 20% off today, bringing it down to $276 at Couture Candy. Paul-Smith Sale Black & Blue Classic Swirl Suit Black

Wednesday’s TPS Report: Lafayette 148 New York Dotted Patio Blouse

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

Lafayette 148 New York Dotted Patio BlouseSaks has started its spring sales already, including this lovely blouse from Lafayette 148.  We would wear it with a pencil skirt and pumps, or perhaps beneath a suit — we like the idea of the tall collar standing up beneath lapels.  It is linen, which (while prone to wrinkles) can be great when it’s 90 degrees and you’re at a professional event.  It’s on sale for $136, down from $228. Lafayette 148 Dotted Patio Blouse

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

Tuesday’s TPS Report: Tory Burch ‘Simone’ Wool Cardigan

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. We begin the week in splurge mode, with our most expensive suggestions, and wind our way to Friday, where a less expensive item of clothing might be just what you need to make it to the weekend.

Tory Burch Simone CardiganWe love this gorgeous, unusual printed cardigan from Tory Burch. A tight pattern like this works well at the office because it achieves an almost abstract look from far away — yet up close it’s delicate flowers. We’d wear the cardigan with a white tank and khaki skirt over the summer, or on top of a black shift dress. The cardigan by itself is $295 at Nordstrom; re’s a matching shell available, too, for $225. Tory Burch ‘Simone’ Wool Cardigan

Reader Mail: Semi-Formal Attire

semi-formal-attireWe recently got this request in from a reader…

Hi. I have a question about semi-formal attire I was hoping you and/or your readers could answer. I have been invited to attend a law firm event (cocktails and dinner) in early April and the invitation says attire is semi-formal. I was hoping for your thoughts on what is and is not semi-formal and maybe two or three suggestions for dresses that would fit the bill. I am still in law school, so I’m looking for something I could wear to more than one occasion. I’m hoping to keep the price to around $100. Thanks!

Semi-formal: the bane of everyone’s existence. It isn’t formal, it isn’t cocktail, and no one knows what to wear. So… where does that leave you?

Our advice here is to go on the conservative side of cocktail. Your goal is Jackie Kennedy, not Marilyn Monroe (or, ahem, Romy and Michele). [Read more…]

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