The Hunt: Stylish Women’s Belts for Work

Stylish Women's Belts for WorkSure, we all know what wardrobe essentials for work 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.stylish women's belts for work 2018

We haven’t done a hunt for belts in a while (if ever? hmmn) so I thought we’d round up a few today. There are some great sales, as noted below — and ladies, if you don’t have an animal-print belt, there are a TON of options, particularly for leopard print belts — now is the time to stock up. (We’ve noted before how these are surprisingly versatile options, and the leopard belt + red dress is a favorite style trick of Selina Meyer on Veep.)

Readers, what are your favorite belts right now? How do you wear them — and where are your first stops when you’re hunting for stylish women’s belts for work? 

Some particular favorites at the moment, featured below:

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Engagement Rings: Have You Ever Upgraded, Downgraded, or Swapped It Out?

engagement ring upgradeSo here’s something that I know people do but never really hear people talk about: upgrading engagement rings. If you’re married, engaged, or just fond of thinking about rings: when, if ever, can one “upgrade” an engagement or wedding ring to get a larger diamond, adding more stones like baguettes or upgrading the setting to something like a Halo? When, if ever, can one replace a wedding ring for fashion/style reasons? (Obviously, the easy answer is “whenever the heck you want,” but there’s an etiquette issue here with your partner, as well as budgetary issues, fashion/lifestyle issues, and more.) We’ve talked about whether you have to take a diamond ring off to interview — but we’ve never talked about an engagement ring upgrade or anything else from this angle.upgrading an engagement ring etiquette

A few questions, to focus discussion: is buying “too much of a ring” ever a problem? For example, if your partner were to propose with an engagement ring — but still be in the midst of paying it off when you get hitched — how do you feel about that? Would you prefer zero debt in your union and a smaller ring — or did you have a mindset of “hey, you only get one engagement ring so let’s make it huuuuge!”, but then be OK with a monthly loan payment to which you contribute (or where your partner pays for it alone but then has less resources to contribute to family discretionary spending)? (After all, there are lots of different married money management methods!) Irrespective of engagement ring size, I know of several women who found that ultimately they preferred to just wear their wedding bands, and leave their engagement rings in the drawer (or safe, as the case may be)…

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How Many Bags Do You Bring to Work (And: What Does Your Schlep Look Like?)

how many bags should you bring to workWe’ve talked a lot about the commute to work over the years, but we just got a great question about how many bags you should bring to work — specifically, how many do you carry, how large, what stuff do you bring to work, and WHICH bags.  Reader A literally just wrote in to ask this question, wondering how many bags you should bring to work, but it’s such a good one that I can’t wait to hear what the readers say:  what DOES your schlep look like, what do you bring to work each day, and do you bring one large bag or several smaller ones?

Are the days of taking a work bag (lady briefcase type thing) + handbag over? I’m about to become a fully admitted lawyer and my totes just aren’t working – plus it’s a lot to take with me for client meetings! in my mind, two smaller bags is easier than a giant overstuffed one, and it does make it easy for spontaneous lunch and drinks plans, plus can be a little trendier. I want to invest in something really nice but am I missing something?

Such an interesting question, and I think this is going to vary HUGELY based on what everyone’s commutes look like — and what your jobs look like. When chiming in, please share a little about what your commute looks like:

(Pictured above: yeah, not like that. Photo credit: Stencil.)

  • how do you USUALLY get to and from work — drive? subway? taxi/Uber/Lyft? walk?
  • do you have a lot of meetings or other events that require travel during the day?
  • on a USUAL day how many bags do you carry with you — and what do you bring?
  • what does an unusual day look like for you — e.g., what bags do you take with you for court appearances or big presentations, or how do you bring bags to or from work if you’re planning for, say, a long weekend at home with a lot of work?
  • what bags do you keep at the office for “last minute” things, either from a “last minute drinks!” perspective or a “yay I have to take home these three binders and review them asap tonight” perspective

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The Office Pashmina: 9 Ways to Use a Wrap at the Office

Ways to Use a Wrap at the Office | CorporetteBesides keeping a blazer at work, it’s also a great to have a wrap handy in your office. Sure, they’re great to grab as a top layer when you’re freezing, but that’s just one of the many ways to use a wrap. Here are nine other reasons to keep a wrap at the office:

  1. Use it as a lap blanket when you’re wearing a skirt or dress and your legs get chilly.
  2. Need a quick power nap at work? Fold your wrap and use it as a pillow.
  3. Could your dreary office really use some color? Drape a folded wrap on the back of your chair or on another chair in your office.
  4. Sit down at work and realize your new skirt is shorter than you thought? Add a little coverage with a wrap. This also works if you like to get comfy at your desk by putting your feet up, etc.
  5. In the same vein: If your new top didn’t seem revealing in the dressing room but you end up inadvertently flashing someone at the office, layer a wrap over it. 
  6. Hold a wrap over your head (or wrap it around yourself) in the rain when you’re caught without an umbrella.
  7. Spill something on yourself? Cover it up with a wrap until you can change your outfit. 
  8. On a work trip and the plane is freezing? Use it as a nicer and softer blanket/pillow than the ones from the airline.
  9. Cover your neck in the wintertime if you’re wearing a neck-baring winter coat and don’t have a scarf with you.

Now that you’ve realized all the great ways to use a wrap, check out a few of Kat’s favorites, most of which are currently on sale:

Pictured above: one / two / three / four

You may have noticed that one of those is called a ruana and the rest are labeled wraps. What’s the difference, anyway? The terms are often used loosely, but here’s a guide to the technical definitions:

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The Very Best Tights for Work

the-best-tights-for-work

2017 Update: We still stand by this roundup of the best tights for work, and links have been updated below. You may also want to check out our more recent discussion of sleek, strappy heels to wear with tights to the office.

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.

As cold weather sets in, I thought we’d do a roundup of some of the best tights for work out there. Ladies, which are your favorites — which are your favorite everyday tights, your favorite superwarm tights, favorite opaque tights, and favorite shaping tights? For me, my favorites for everyday are my Spanx shaping tights, for warmth, my fleece tights from Plush, and for opacity — which is lower on the list for me than comfort and durability, but I know is key for a lot of other women — are my Commando tights. I can’t wait to hear what your favorites are!

First, some general categories — and do note that we’ve talked in the past about how to care for tights, as well as hunted for the best thigh-high stockings for work.

bestselling-tights

Above: a few Hall of Famers, pictured: one / two / three / four

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Backpacks for Work

backpacks-for-workAre there any backpacks that are stylish and large enough to hold file folders, binders and more on your commute from work? Backpacks are super trendy right now, but all of the really stylish bags are far too small for file folders or work papers. I was just at an event where I saw a young lawyer carrying a large, stylish backpack and my first thought was, good for her — whether she’s biking to work, walking to work, or just watching out for back problems down the line, it’s a smart move.  Coincidentally, I also recently got a question from Reader B, who wants to start walking to work and carrying large files — so I thought we’d go on a mini-Hunt. Here’s B’s question:

I’m looking to start walking to work more as I recently bought a home which sits about a mile away from my office. However, I’m an attorney and am often carrying case files and other paperwork back and forth. Tote bags, no matter what the straps are like, begin to hurt my shoulders on this. I know a backpack would solve the problem but as a relatively young professional, I’m afraid to look like I can’t let go of my college backpack days. Is it ever acceptable to wear a backpack to the office

Interesting question, B — I’ve written before of my love of walking to work, but I’ll admit that for any real file carrying I took cabs and client-paid cars to and from the office.  A few notes on tote bags, just at the outset: first, note that a leather bag is going to be far, far heavier than a nylon tote for work — and that I always found a single shoulder strap to be more comfortable for a long schlep. (You may also want to check out our advice on how to lighten your load.) Still, if you’re already feeling pain, there are a ton of backpacks right now that distribute the weight better across your back — I’ve rounded up a few of my top picks below, ranging from $29-$550.  Readers, would you consider wearing a backpack to work? Have you bought any backpacks for work lately that you love — and what qualities make one more or less professional and stylish in your mind?

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