Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Long-Sleeve Dress With Keyhole Back

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

Armani Collezioni Long-Sleeve Dress With Keyhole Back Love. This. Dress. I’m not sure how I feel about the head-to-toe red, but the fact that I’m on the fence about it says it’s probably worth trying. But the dress — oh, the dress! Love the wide bateau neckline, the keyhole back, and the darts and pleating at the waist are gorgeous — we’ve seen a million dresses like this, yes, but this one does it the best.  It was $1,055, but is now marked to $633, limited sizes at both Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’sArmani Collezioni Long-Sleeve Dress With Keyhole Back

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


Tuesday’s TPS Report: Crest Dress

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

Trina Turk Dress - Crest Solid Ponte I’ve been ogling a number of Trina Turk’s ponte dresses for quite a while, but I don’t think I’ve posted one here. For shame! I love the look of this cap sleeve dress. Love the pleating at the neckline, the pockets, and the brilliant fuchsia color (although Bloomie’s also has it in plain black). The dress is $298 at Bloomingdale’s. Trina Turk Dress – Crest Solid Ponte

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

P.S. As many of you guys know I’m in NYC, so Team Griffin is hunkered down hoping Hurricane Sandy doesn’t affect power/WiFi/etc. On the off chance I am without power, though, the three posts today should go up automatically (although I may be a bit slower to moderate comments). Best wishes to all the readers affected by the storm — here’s hoping none of us are too inconvenienced.

Update, Tuesday, 11:05 AM: We’re fine.  Power still on, no flooding on our block.  WiFi/Internet is spotty but considering everyone else in NYC I’ll take it! Hope everyone else on the East Coast is staying safe.

Wednesday’s TPS Report: Belted Dolman Sleeve Sheath Dress

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

Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Belted Dolman Sleeve Sheath DressCommenter TCFKAG wrote in to recommend this Suzi Chin dress, noting “People are always looking for sleeved dresses, the price is relatively reasonable and I like the colors available.” Nice! I do like this piece (and the 54 mostly positive reviews). I’m not sure why the model looks so forlorn — the twisted neckline, the three-quarter sleeves, the ladylike length… it’s a great dress! Do note that with the dolman sleeves, it will be hard to throw a blazer on top of it, but I think this dress looks professional enough that you don’t need one. It’s $118, in regular and petites, at Nordstrom. Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Belted Dolman Sleeve Sheath Dress

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

Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Black Label Cashmere-Blend Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. Many thanks to this week’s TPS guest poster, Road Warriorette!

Black Label Cashmere-Blend DressTwo things are important to me when deciding on a splurge: How fabulous is it? And, can I wear it until I wear it out? I think this cashmere sweater dress from Ralph Lauren Black Label answers a resounding “Yes!” to both questions. It is so, so fabulous in a classic, timeless way. Sweater dresses in general are very easy to travel with, as they are super comfy and pack well. And what could be cuddlier during rainy fall weather? This grey dress would look spectacular with a statement necklace and colored heels, maybe teal or cognac, or even boots. (Top it with a boyfriend blazer if you’re concerned about cling.) As a bonus, this particular dress is designed in a way that could be worn under a skirt for a sleek tucked in look. Note: I would size up to avoid the va-voom factor. It’s $855, available in Grey Melange and Navy, in sizes XS-XL. Black Label Cashmere-Blend Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

Tuesday’s TPS Report: Fringe Tweed Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week’s guest posts are from one of my best friends since college, who we’ll call Auntie M – read more about her here. – Kat

MICHAEL Michael Kors fringe tweed dressI love a good tweed. When employed properly, it’s always a classic. This dress is a fun twist on the classic, in that it’s sleeveless and has that great detailing and seaming at the shoulders. I love the high neckline, full lining and hidden back zipper. I’m a little concerned that the length might be too short for some of the lucky longer-limbed Corporettes out there, so to them I’d say save this for fall/winter and pair it with some opaque tights (but not in a “opaque tights make *everything* ok!” way) and kitten heels. I’d also wear the dress with a simple blazer or cardigan and, of course, some pearls. MICHAEL Michael Kors Fringe Tweed Dress Black 2

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

The “It” Business Dress

What makes a dress professional enough to be the “it” business dress?  How do you find it?  I’m so so thrilled to introduce today’s guest poster, my friend Yuli Ziv.  Not only is she the founder of Style Coalition (a network of fashion bloggers that includes Corporette) but she negotiated the deal between Elle and SC to create the ad network that Corporette uses.  Neither of these is her first entrepreneurial undertaking — she also received angel funding to create the first crowd-sourced fashion blog, My It Things.  Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, she also recently published a book: Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way to The Front Row.  She’s a huge source of inspiration to me, and she has some wicked advice on the perfect business dress — so enjoy! – Kat

During the first few years as an entrepreneur I tried so hard to fit in the male dominated environment. Whether it was a meeting with a VC or a tech industry networking event – pant suits were my safe choice, decorated only with some jewelry at the most. I wanted to be taken seriously so badly, I chose to forgo my own personality and style – ouch! Luckily, pretty quickly I realized this strategy lead me nowhere – the problem wasn’t my clothes. I was, in fact very different from these people, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stylishly shining in a room of gray suits is a huge advantage that at some point I learned to use to my benefits. (You can get a similar dress to Yuli’s at DKNY (Three Quarter Sleeve V-Neck Wrap Dress) for $325.)

This is when I discovered the fashionable business dresses, and since then I collected quite a few. It took some trial and error to find not only what’s appropriate and works for my figure, but also what makes me feel confident. These days I’m often invited to speak in public (last time was in front of 1,000 people at Lincoln Center in NYC), and I find the right dress helps me present myself in a confident way.

So what makes a dress an appropriate business dress? A garment that makes you feel stylish, professional, confident, beautiful and smart is hard to find. I developed my own set of rules that guides me through that process:

Fit. A business dress has to fit you impeccably. There is no room for too tight or too loose, it has to be right. You can’t just slap a belt on it and hope it will fix the fit problem. It has to hug the body in a proper way, and have a room (1-2 inches) to breathe – this will avoid any undergarment from showing. I also find defining waist helps to create a more structured, well put together look.

Color. No matter how progressive your work place is, a light pink business dress doesn’t project much power. It has something to do with the colors and our perception or the meaning we apply to it. Primary colors project confidence and look sharp on anyone, so stick to them when choosing a business dress. Patterns should be used in moderation. While they definitely add a sense of individuality, remember that they might distract your opponent in a business meeting.

Fabric. I think fabric is the most crucial part of the proper business dress. It has to have a certain thickness to it to avoid few potential problems, such as sheerness, showing undergarments or simply your body imperfections. Thick fabric also doesn’t wrinkle easily, and there is nothing that ruins the professional image more than wrinkled clothes. So even if you have been sitting at that boardroom for 5 hours, a thick fabric won’t catch the wrinkles.

Calvin Klein Dress, Cap Sleeve Belted Metallic Shirtdress Sheath

(Above: Here’s one great example of a perfect business dress — Calvin Klein Dress, Cap Sleeve Belted Metallic Shirtdress Sheath, available at Macy’s for $83 (was $128).)

Texture. Besides being thick and properly fitted, I find the texture of the dress being very important to project quality and sophistication. Is there a shine to it? Or perhaps it’s made of a soft wool blend? Perhaps there is a subtle pattern which is part of the fabric itself? The material is sometimes all it takes to make a dress stand out.

Underlining. All of the fit and fabric issues could be solved in most cases with the proper underlining. It also prevents the dress from stretching too much, and keeps it in the original shape. I find it disappointing when a nice dress isn’t lined properly. It seems some designers and especially budget retailers tend to skip that step these days, so watch out not only for the outside, but for the inside of the dress.

Coverage. Needless to say a business dress has to cover much more than an evening dress. Depending on the industry, you can show off legs or bare arms. My personal favorite is just above the knee length and cap sleeve. I find it most flattering and providing just the right coverage.

Details. While there are plenty of options for the basic business dresses, I find every dress needs to have something special about it in order to showcase your individuality and style. Whether it’s draping, pockets or other embellishment – look for sophisticated details in every piece.

What are your rules when it comes to business dresses and which one is your favorite?


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