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Suit of the Week: Akris

For 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 ice gray suit is apparently one of Saks’ top sellers right now. I’ve written before about my love of light gray suits — light gray pants particularly, because they’re more versatile than white pants in the spring and summer. You could even look at this as an alternative to a winter-white suit — I think you’d get a lot more wear out of it because it doesn’t have the stigma associated with white as being fussy and so forth. I like the very sleek, fitted style of the wool jacket, and the cropped portion is intriguing. The pants appear to fit well, and they have a classic straight cut. All in all, it looks like a great suit for work. The jacket (Akris Ice Cropped Wool Jacket) is $3,590, and the pants (Akris Maxine Wool Pants) are $895.

By the way, Saks has a ton of lucky sizes in Akris right now, so search your size — there are some serious markdowns like this dress and this dress.

Here’s a more affordable suiting option from Boss (on sale at Nordstrom) — the pants are sold out, alas, but the sheath dress and jacket are still available (lucky sizes only).

(L-all)

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Tales from the Wallet: How to Set Financial Goals for the Year

How to Set Financial Goals for the Year | CorporetteLadies, do you set financial goals for the year? I started setting explicit financial goals when I left my cushy BigLaw job a few years ago — I had been so comfortable there that I could easily move every other paycheck to an interest-bearing money market fund, and then I took a job at a nonprofit, making about a third of my former salary. Suddenly faced with the prospect of austerity, I decided to set financial goals for the year.

Every year, I’ve kept my goals short, choosing just three or four, and I’ve gone back at the end of the year to see how I did. In 2010, my goals were to “1) bank all Corporette income, 2) renovate kitchen within budget, 3) max out 401Ks, and 4) pay down at least $10K of (my husband’s) student debt.” A few years later, when my first son J. came along, the goals were to “1) save 10% of our income, 2) max out J.’s 529 on top of our savings, and 3) assess all investments and figure out fees, performance, etc.” (That last one was a doozy and I wrote about it in our post on asset reallocation.)

(Pictured: Everyone says Comme des Garçons makes the best wallets — this gorgeous red continental wallet looks lovely.)

The “save X% of our income” goal is a mainstay on the goal list for me (sometimes 10, sometimes 15) and I’ve usually done a bit of planning to figure out how to get there. For example:

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Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Twirl Seamed Dress

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

We’ve featured this twirl dress before, and it’s one of these things that they just keep making in different colors and different sleeve lengths, etc., from season to season (it’s always highly rated), and now they have a skirt made from the same fabric. This is sort of a classic U-neck sleeveless look, and it’s in a really pretty dark blue. I think it’s very flattering, I think it’s easy — it’s just a hall of famer. They do make a petite if you’re worried about it being too long. The dress is $118 (from $198) at Bloomingdale’s in sizes XS-XL. NIC and ZOE Twirl Seamed Dress

Nordstrom has several options for the twirl dress in plus sizes, as does Amazon.

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

(L-all)

Coffee Break: Suede Tote

I always think of Clare V. as being known for her clutches, but there’s really been a groundswell of these Simple Totes lately. They all have a wonderful French look, and a lot of them are suede or haircalf, with some canvas. If you’re looking to carry files to and from the office, these bags give you a modern, clean, and minimalist way to do it. The prices for the totes range from $325 to $525 at Shopbop; the one pictured is $499. Clare V. Suede Simple Tote

Here’s a more affordable option.

(L-all)

The Hunt: Winter Coats That Work As Hard as You Do

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We’ve talked before about how to buy a great winter coat — but we haven’t done a roundup in a while! Which winter coats have been your favorite this year, ladies? Do you vary your coat choices based on your outfit (e.g., wearing a longer coat with a skirt/dress)?  Do you buy a new coat each season, or once every few years?  How many coats do you keep in rotation at one time — and what do you do with the older ones?

For my own answers, I still love my dark green Cinzia Rocca coat that I got a few years ago — but I also wear my Primaloft coats from Lands’ End if I’m running around with the kids (I have a shorter one as well as a longer one), as well as a few wool coats I inherited from my grandmother. I definitely vary my coat based on my outfit — I would never wear a shorter, hip-length coat with a skirt or dress. Just due to closet space limitations, I’ve kept my coat collection pretty small!

Before we get to the roundup for today, here are a few general categories to consider for winter coats for work:

Pictured below: the Hall of Famers readers swear by: one / two / three / four

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Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Paperbag Belted Stretch Wool Pants

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

I think these stretch wool pants are lovely. This is a really classic look, and it reminds me of Katherine Hepburn. I think bodysuits’ popularity is waning, but if you happen to have any that are work appropriate, these pants are perfect to pair one with. Otherwise, just wear these with a regular blouse tucked in. The navy pinstripe is nice and will always be in fashion, and I like that there are no cuffs, as I’m not a fan of cuffs in general. These are 99% wool with 1% spandex, and they’re available in sizes 2-16. (Note that they’re labeled dry clean but not “dry clean only.”) The pants are $229 at Nordstrom. Classiques Entier® Paperbag Belted Stretch Wool Pants

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

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

(L-all)