Thursday’s TPS Report: Stamped Structure Leather Trim Top

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

Classiques Entier Stamped Structure Leather Trim TopNordstrom has a ton of nice Classiques Entier on sale right now, and I’m liking this structured, thick tee with leather trim details. It seems like a great way to elevate ankle pants or the like for the office — I can particularly see it being great if you tend to run hot (or you have an aggressive radiator in your office). The top was $198, but is now $98.98. (And please check out this gorgeous dress and matching jacket, also — they’re not in the price points for our Thursday posts but I love that dress!) The pictured top: Classiques Entier Stamped Structure Leather Trim Top

Here’s a more affordable option, which also comes in plus sizes.

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

 

Suit of the Week: Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci Floral Jacquard SuitFor 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 Nina Ricci floral jacquard suit strikes me as incredibly unusual. First, I’ve never seen a wool floral jacquard quite like this one. Second, the curved panels and cutaway peplum make it look incredibly lux (a good thing, considering the price). And here’s the most unusual thing about it: it has all of these fantastic design elements, and yet it still seems like it’s totally wearable for a conservative job. The jacket (Nina Ricci Floral Jacquard Jacket) is $1990. The skirt, while apparently sold out at Barney’s, is still available at MyTheresa.com for $1050.

The alternatives pale in comparison, but here’s a blazer + sheath dress option with a similar vibe for about $60 total (!), and knitwear brand Misook has a bunch of nice collarless navy blazers and separates, in both regular and plus sizes, at Last Call. Meanwhile, for those of you with an extra $10K burning a hole in your pocket, may I direct you to this vaguely similar blazer.

Psst: Check out the Secret Sale at Kate Spade Saturday — up to 75% off! (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Nina Ricci womens suit

Tales from the Wallet: Financially Preparing for Grad School

financially preparing for grad schoolWe had a great discussion a few weeks ago about wedding finances, and now it’s time for the next post in our Money Milestone series:  grad school. We’ve talked about how to adjust your new student budget once you get to grad school, how to pay off student loans, how to juggle grad school and a full time job, and even whether you should get an MBA — but not this. Some of the best tips came from folks on the Corporette FB page and some of my personal FB friends, so a huge thank you to everyone! (Check out U.S. News & World Report’s Paying for Graduate School Guide for some additional advice.) (Pictured: J.Crew Factory Magic Wallet, $14.50.)

Before Grad School

  • Live like a student before you go. Keep your expenses down while you’re saving up — and create a new budget. This helps you save more, and also prevents culture shock once you have to dial back your lifestyle when you get to grad school.
  • Manage what you’ve already borrowed. Form a strategy to pay down your existing debt. In some cases you may even want to postpone applying to grad school until you have more of a handle on your finances and achieve a higher credit score (which can earn you lower interest rates). Consider deferring your undergraduate loans if it makes sense for your financial situation.
  • Make sure you know the numbers. In a recent post, Above the Law mentioned a new, “brutally honest” student loan calculator that shows you your future monthly payments in comparison to your expected salary after earning the degree.
  • See if your current employer offers tuition reimbursement. It may be slow going but you can pay for a grad school degree through this method alone!
  • Set up a 529 plan for yourself. While you’re saving, you get a deduction on your state taxes, and you can then use that account to pay for your grad school expenses. If you have money left over in the plan, you can roll it over into your kids’ plans. (Rules vary widely by state.) Resist the urge to raid your 401(k) for tuition costs.

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Wednesday’s TPS Report: Annie Dress

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

Hobbs Annie Dress I was excited to see that British store Hobbs not only has a web presence, but is also shipping to America — and they have a pretty nice outlet section as well.  I like the little details on this greige dress — the darts up and down the bodice, the high neckline, the ladylike hem . . .  It’s a bit of a summery dress, but I think it could still be dressed up for fall with some dark brown knee-high boots and a burgundy, olive, or chocolate sweater — what do you say, ladies?  It was $280, but is now marked to $185. Hobbs Annie Dress

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

Coffee Break: Samantha Pump

Fitzwell Samantha Pump | CorporetteI’m not a big fan of metallic toes, but I love this little accent on these Fitzwell pumps, and I think all of the colors look gorgeous.  (It’s available in black suede, pictured, navy suede, black leather, and leopard pony, ha cha cha). I always think of Fitzwell as a comfortable (but affordable) brand, and these seem true to form — the shoes are $69-$79, and available in sizes 5-13, in regular, wide, and extra wide sizes, at ZapposFitzwell Samantha Pump

(Here’s a similar option in flats.)

Psst: check out The Corporette Guide to Comfortable Heels if you’re on the hunt…

The Best Shoes to Wear with Tights

best shoes wear with tightsAre tights appropriate to wear to the office? What sort of shoes or boots look best paired with thicker tights?

Reader M wonders:

With winter coming on, I would love to see a post about what sort of footwear is appropriate to wear with tights in a conservative office. My current work shoe wardrobe consists entirely of your run-of-the-mill low-heel no-frill pumps. These work fine with hose, of course, and seem mostly OK with thinner tights (particularly if they are the same color) but they don’t look quite right with thicker tights, like sweater tights or fleece-lined tights. I think I might need a bootie, or maybe an oxford pump, but I’m unclear on the professional/conservative boundaries of these trendier styles. Or maybe the answer is that thicker tights are just generally inappropriate for the conservative office altogether?

Interesting question. I know fleece tights were hugely popular among the commenters last year, and I’ve always been a fan of sweater tights and the like. But: are they professional? And what shoes look best with them?

(Pictured: Nordstrom ‘Love’ Sweater Tights, available at Nordstrom for $28.)

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