Dressing Better Than Your Boss: Designer Bag Edition

Reader A has a great question about dressing better than her boss — specifically, she wonders, must she carry a lower-end bag than what her boss carries, or would a work-appropriate designer bag be OK? Here’s her question:

I know the blog has discussed before if it’s appropriate for younger folks to have designer items in the office. Mine is similar… basically, do I have to stick to brands below what my boss has? It’s an ad agency. I’m in management, she’s VP. She makes double what I do. She carries a Kate Spade tote and lower-end Coach purse and acts ashamed of spending so much if anyone compliments her bags. Does that make it inappropriate or unwise for me to carry similar?

This reminds me of one of our earliest posts that kind of went viral: the intern who wanted to carry a Birkin bag. I still agree with my advice back then that if you carry a bag that starts at $8000 (and according to Bonkers Closets they go up to $300K) that it’s sending the wrong signal at the office, particularly if the main reason you’re carrying it is as a status symbol. (We’ve also discussed when “must” you carry a designer bag to work — and how to deal when your offensive client uses your designer bag to “joke” that he’s paying you too much. Ah yes, and how to deal when your boss tells you dress too well.)

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Where to Find Suits With Dresses (Instead of Skirts or Pants)

suits with dressesReader M had an interesting question about where the heck to find suits with dresses (instead of skirts or pants) these days:

I’d love an article on buying suits that are dress + jacket combinations (as opposed to skirt/pants + jacket combinations). They look a more polished, they eliminate the step of finding a shirt to go underneath the jacket, and they’re one less thing to pack on trips. AT’s selection is limited – I own both and love them; Talbots’ is matronly. Need ’em conservative enough for court appearances, but not “mother of the bride.” (I’m 35.) Slightly fashionable would be a bonus!

Great question — and you’re right, they are disappearing; it was a bit of a hunt to find some to feature here. Readers, do you prefer to wear suits made up of a dress and blazer — or do you prefer other suit separates like pants and a skirt? Where are your favorite dress and jacket skirts from? (We discussed non-suit dress+jacket combinations in this post…)

Some options I found for you on the market right now, below (the individual pieces range from $159-$435):

suits with dresses instead of skirts
This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

Above: black blazer and dress / Beige blazer and dress (also in plus sizes) / black blazer and dress / navy blazer and dress

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How Much Makeup Do You Wear For Work? (Open Thread)

how much makeup do you wear for workWe’ve talked a lot about MLBB lip glosses and tinted lip balms lately, as well as how much time you spend on your hair for work — but something we haven’t discussed in a long while is makeup for work: how much makeup do YOU wear to work on a regular basis? What do you consider your essentials — and what do you consider your “big day” makeup? As you’ve gotten more senior (both in your company and with age) how has your amount of makeup changed? (Would you ever wear a super bright lipstick to work, like in the stock photo? What else would you consider “know your office” for makeup at work?)

We’ve talked before about the studies that show that people equate makeup with competence (read the NYT article about the study here) and how the best interview makeup really just makes you look awake and alive, not necessarily like a glamazon. I’ve also written before about how my own beauty minimum changed after having kids. Right now I have two extremes: the regular day makeup looks like blush, lippie of some kind, concealer for my eye area, and eyeliner — lately I’m alternating between waterproof liners in a dark brown, a dark gray, and a navy. (I love the look of mascara on me but it really seems to irrirate my eyes lately — so particularly if I plan to be in glasses all day, I skip it.) On the other hand, for big days where there may be a lot of eyes on me (or if I’m wearing my contacts) I ramp up to a light mineral foundation, blush + highlighter + contour, multiple shades of eyeshadow (usually in a peachy/brown or gray/plum family for my brown eyes), eyeliner, mascara or false eyelashes, and a proper lipstick.

How about you guys — how much makeup do you wear for work? What are the essentials for you — and why do you wear it (to enhance, conceal, look alive, feel put together, etc)?how much makeup do you wear for work - image of a woman applying lipstick

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How to Wear Scarves to Work

how to wear scarves to workWhat are your best tips on how to wear scarves to work, readers? What are the best styles — the splurgeworthy brands — and the best fabrics and shapes for scarves? How do you like to style your scarves in 2018 for a modern look? Reader D wonders:

Would you please do a piece on scarves? What are the best brands, materials, styles for the executive suite? Silk, cashmere, blend, wool?

Great question, D! We haven’t had a discussion on how to wear silk scarves in a few years, and I can’t wait to hear what readers say. While readers here have wondered if scarves are professional enough for work, Fortune recently(ish) called scarves the new power accessory for executives. Personally, I tend to associate scarves with style over trend because they really depend on the woman and how she wears them.

For my $.02, these are my best tips on how to wear scarves to work:how to wear scarves to work

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The Hunt: The Best Sleeveless Tops, Shells, and Blouses for Work

These are our favorite sleeveless tops, blouses and shells to wear to work—whether layered under a blazer/cardi or by themselves. Bonus: most are under $50! Note that these make GREAT components of an interview outfit or interview look!Sure, 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.

Sleeveless tops are a basic in every woman’s work wardrobe — but which ones are the best? These are some of the best-selling styles we’ve mentioned in the past, all rounded up in one place — I’d love to hear your favorites that aren’t included here. As I’ve noted in the past, these aren’t necessarily my favorite tops to wear under blazers or other dry-clean-only clothes — call me a weirdo, but I like to have sleeves (even short sleeves) to better separate my body from the clothes that need expensive cleaning. (You may want to check out our post on the best tees for layering if that sounds more like your speed.) That said… a sleeveless top is much better for layering and creating clean lines beneath cardigans and blazers. I like that all of these tops cover the bra strap entirely; they also have pretty high arm holes and relatively high necklines — they’re very different from camisoles we’ve featured in the past. (As we’ve cautioned in the past, know your office — sleeveless looks aren’t always considered professional or conservative enough by themselves; only layered beneath things.)

Readers,  which are your favorite sleeveless tops for work — and how do you wear them? What’s  your preferred price range (most of these are under $50!) — and where do you buy your sleeveless tops? 

See our roundup, after the jump…

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39 Great President’s Day Sales for Workwear!

Happy President’s Day, ladies! There are always some great sales afoot — here are some of our favorites. Have you seen any great sales today?

  • 6PM Up to 70% off MSRP (lots from Kate Spade, Nine WestZac Posen, London Times, Taylor, and Tommy Hilfiger (mostly totes))
  • Aerie – 10 for $35, ALL undies
  • Ann Taylor – 40% off full-price styles with code GETMORE, extra 50% off sale styles
  • Anthropologie – Extra 40% off
  • ASOS – 15% off everything, including sale, with code PREZDAY
  • Banana Republic – 40% off your purchase
  • Barneys Warehouse – Up to 70% off when you take 40% off select designer styles
  • Bergdorf Goodman – Free gift card: $75 when you spend $500, $150 when you spend $1,000, $400 when you spend $2,000, $1,000 when you spend $5,000+ with code BGFEB.
  • Bloomingdale’s – Save 20–50% on select regular-price items and 60–75% on almost all already-reduced items
  • Boden – 20% off 2/19–2/25; 15% off 2/26; 10% off 2/27 — (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Boden!)
  • Brooks Brothers – 25% off fall and winter – don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Brooks Brothers!)
  • Club Monaco – 25% off purchase of $200+ with code REFRESH
  • Dressbarn – Mix and match tops & denim: buy one get one 50% off (regular-price styles)
  • Eloquii – 40% off dresses, pants, and jackets & free top when you buy one with code NEEDTHIS
  • Express – 40% off everything
  • French Connection – Extra 60% off sale
  • J.Crew – 30% off plus extra 10% off & free shipping with code SOGOOD
  • J.Crew Factory – 50% off everything and extra 50% off clearance & free shipping with code EVENBETTER 
  • GiGi New York – 20% off sitewide (full-price items)
  • H&M – 20% off $100, bestsellers up to 60% off
  • Kate Spade New York – Extra 30% off all sale styles with code SPARKLE
  • Lands’ End – Friends & Family Sale: 30% off full-price styles with code FAMILY and PIN 2714 – Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Lands’ End!
  • Last Call – Extra 10% off sale items, including clearance, with code EXTRA10; extra 30-75% off every thing
  • L.K. Bennett – Spend $400 and save 20% on full-price styles with code SAVE20
  • Loft – Extra 60% off all sale styles; 40% off your purchase of full-price styles 
  • Lord & Taylor – 20% off regular-priced and sale items with code PRESIDENT; $20 off $160+ purchase with code BONUS
  • Macy’s – Extra 20% off (10-15% in select departments) with code PRES; 10% off $25+ purchase (select departments) with code PRES25; lingerie event, 25–40% off select styles
  • Madewell – Extra 20% off all sale styles with code HAPPYDANCE
  • Mango – 30% off purchases over $150; 20% off purchases over $100 with code MNG
  • Naturalizer – Extra 25% off sale and free shipping with code TIME2SAVE
  • New York & Company – $19.99 Pant & Jean Event + doorbusters; 50% off suiting pants, jackets, and skirts + other jeans. Redlines 80% off; free shipping
  • Nordstrom – Winter Sale: Up to 40% off through 2/25
  • Nordstrom Rack – Clear the Rack: Extra 20% off clearance for up to 65% off 
  • The Outnet – Extra 40% off (purchases are final sale)
  • Saks – Free gift card when you shop shoes or bags: $35 gift card with $250 purchase; $75 gift card with $500 purchase; $150 gift card with $1,000 purchase; $450 gift card with $2,000 purchase; $700 gift card with $3,000 purchase with code BAGSSHOES.
  • Saks OFF 5TH – Extra 25% off clearance apparel (select styles); up to 80% off select designers
  • Shopbop – Calvin Klein underwear sale: save 25% on select styles
  • Talbots – Pant-A-Monium: All sale pants $19.99 (wow) – don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Talbots!
  • Target – Up to 30% off home items; 20% off clothing

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

Stock photo: Deposit Photos / ArturVerkhovetskiy.

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