Suit of the Week: Banana Republic Factory

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.

It feels like we’ve posted a ton of splurgey items lately, so when I saw all the great suits Banana Republic Factory has right now I thought, great! This “chambray melange” suit looks fabulous for summer, whether as separates or worn together. Blue suiting separates have always been some of my favorites — they pair well with white tops for work, as well as with darker colors like black and navy, and they do well with a pop of color like red, kelly green, or purple. The prices here are crazy — the blazer is marked down to $72, and the skirt is marked down to $41; matching pants (in three different fits) are $47. Many of the pieces have regular and petite sizes available up to 16. Nice!

Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Stripe Knit Sheath Dress

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

Happy Wednesday! This stripey dress is a bold, happy choice — great for when you’re tired of neutrals and want to make a statement. You can keep the rest of your attire neutral with black or nude-for-you pumps, or decide to go louder by matching the pink or red with a cardigan, blazer, shoes, or other accessories. The dress has a hidden back zipper and removable belt and is machine washable. It’s available at White House Black Market in regular, petite, and plus sizes for $150. Stripe Knit Sheath Dress

A lower-priced option from Calvin Klein is available at Amazon in straight and plus sizes.

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

Coffee Break: Anika Curvy Pump

Anika Curvy PumpThe problem with shoes these days is that they all seem to be either under $150 or over $800 — it’s great to see a brand in the middle, like these $245 pumps from James Chan. There are only four reviews (and one of them seems, er, very enthusiastic) but the others all note that it’s like a designer shoe but for much less money. (OOH: and there’s a 2.75″ heel if the pictured one (4″) is too tall for you.) The pump comes in several colors, sizes 5-11. Pictured:  Anika Curvy Pump

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Check out our Guide to Comfortable Heels for other reader favorite brands!

Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Tropical Wool Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Dress

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

I forgot how I first noticed this, but: there are several colors of this tropical wool dress, by Zac Posen, on fairly steep discount at Zappos Luxury. They’re a little on the “desk to dinner” side of things, sure, but I love wide scoopneck and midi length, along with the half sleeves — the whole look feels like it could be Roland Mouret … but for less. The dresses were $1,190 but are now $476-$595, available in sizes 2-12 (but for a mysteriously missing size 10).  Tropical Wool Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Dress

If you like this slightly vintage vibe, do check out this brand (generally under $100, with regular and plus size options); this $29 dress also has a similar vibe and thousands of good ratings.

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Coffee Break: Ana Mini Vibrant Belt

It can be tough to find a belt that’s a happy medium width — not too wide, not too skinny — but this colorful one from B-Low looks like it fits the bill. We’ve pictured it in yellow but it’s also available in “fuchsia” pink, royal blue, and kelly green, in sizes S, M, and L at ShopBop for $108. This is a nice option in a tamer neutral if that’s more your taste, and this belt looks like it would be great on top of dresses, cardigans, and more. Pictured: Ana Mini Vibrant Belt

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How to Wear Culottes to Work (And: CAN You Wear Culottes to Work?)

how to wear culottes to workSeveral years ago, when culottes started to come out from major workwear brands like Theory and Ann Taylor, I’ll admit my first reaction was HELL NO… followed by “my eyes, my eyes!” In short: not a fan. Several years later, brands are still trying to make culottes happen, and what’s worse: my eyes have started to become accustomed to them as an option for casual offices or casual days at conservative offices. So, ladies, it’s time to discuss: CAN you wear culottes to a conservative workplace? What are your best tips for HOW to wear culottes to work? What styling tips make culottes more professional vs more weekend?

The answer here is going to vary by office, I think — so know yours! For my $.02, I think these factors make a world of difference if you’re wondering how to wear culottes to work:

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