What to Wear to a Big Meeting at a Casual Office

big-meeting-attire-casual-officeWhen you work at a company with a casual dress code, how should you step it up for a board meeting — or for other important meetings — when you want to look professional but don’t know what others will be wearing? Reader A wonders…

I have a fashion question: How does one dress for the board meeting of a “casual dress” company? We are a start-up — this is our first board meeting — so I really don’t have a precedent to call on. During a normal work day, my boss (the CEO, age 45+) and I typically wear jeans and a sweater or T-shirt, as we only have phone/email contact with clients. However, it seems like the board meeting calls for a more professional look. I asked my boss about it, he said “What you’re wearing is fine.” (Faded jeans, a long-sleeved Tshirt and a scarf.) He is not the type of guy I would normally take fashion advice from, and I’m not sure he fully understands the nuance of female dress! Most of the other officers and board members are lawyers, lobbyists, or CPAs. I don’t want to show up in jeans, but I don’t want to be the only one in a suit either. Is there something inbetween? Dress slacks and a cardi? I am age 35+, and a size 14 (XL), so I don’t want anything too clingy or “young”. Suggestions?

We’ve talked about how to do business casual without looking overdressed, a casual-but-professional uniform for womenwhat to wear to a casual office on your first day, shoes to wear with jeans at work, and more — but not this.

Interesting question, A, and I’m curious to hear what readers say. For my $.02, I would avoid the “dress slacks and a cardi” look when everyone else is in jeans because you inevitably end up looking like the mom of the group. So I’m going to offer you two suggestions and suggest you go with the one that feels right — but again, I’m curious to hear what the readers say.

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Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Striped Ponte Blazer

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

Striped Merona Ponte BlazerFunny, funny: I always think I don’t like stripes, but I apparently do like striped blazers — I keep coming back to the Old Navy one from last year, which is still available (right now only in XXL, but keep checking — I haven’t been stalking it, but I feel like they’ve been refreshing the inventory on it frequently).  Another entry in the category, though: reader favorite, the Merona Tailored Ponte Blazer from Target — now in not one but two striped versions.  I’ve featured the black and gray, but there’s a springier navy and white one as well. It’s available in sizes XS-XXL for $29.95 (select sizes and colors marked to $15).  Striped Merona Ponte Blazer

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

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The Hunt: Tweed Blazers

The Great Tweed Blazer Roundup of 2014 | CorporetteSure, 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.

It’s been a while since we last rounded up tweed blazers, so I thought I’d go on a hunt for some on the market right now.  Some of my favorites are below — ladies, which are your favorite from the options below? Have you bought any tweed blazers recently, or do you have some in your closet from years past?

Other options in the budget price range, not pictured below: Ann Taylor (three great options in regular, petite, and tall sizes, all $72-90 with code FASHION50), Talbots ($75-$130, regular, petites, woman, woman petites), White House | Black Market ($99), Calvin Klein ($104),  Anne Klein ($139), Limited (three great ones in regular, petite, and tall sizes, all for $168 full price), and J.Crew ($186 with code STYLETREAT).

Here are some plus-size options, not pictured below: here, here, here, here, and here.  Also, I’ve tried to note in text where there are petite or tall sizes available throughout the piece.

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The Hunt: Tweed Blazers

Rebecca Taylor Jacket Stripe Tweed PeplumSure, 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.

As the weather gets colder, I thought I’d poke around for some fresh interpretations of tweed blazers. Ladies, have you bought a tweed blazer recently? Do you have one from previous yearsthat you can’t wait to wear again?

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Tuesday’s TPS Report: Plaxico Jacket

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

Diane von Furstenberg Plaxico Jacket Ooh: I like this DvF twill jacket. Of course, of course: I love the purple. But I like the idea of a darker, but lighter weight jacket, for in-between weather like we’ve been having here in NYC the past few days. I’d wear it with complimentary colors, probably — a light blue button-front blouse, a mint green shell, an emerald or cobalt sweater — or with other purples. It was $465, but is now marked to $249 at Last Call. Diane von Furstenberg Plaxico Jacket

(Psst: Speaking of sales, have I mentioned the new Corporette Bargains page?)

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
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Wednesday’s TPS Report: Boyfriend Blazer With “Fluro” Trim

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

ASOS Boyfriend Blazer With Fluro TrimI’m not sure how I feel about the entire suit for this look (although A for effort, ASOS — a fresh take on a suit that also might fly in an office! Hooray!) but I actually quite like the gray blazer with fluorescent yellow trim. Love the flouncy details at the back, and the really classic cut with that pop of bright, bright color. It’s available at ASOS in gray/yellow and navy/orange for $99. ASOS Boyfriend Blazer With Fluro Trim

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