With Thanksgiving out of the way, it is officially holiday party season — which means that it’s time to perfect your desk-to-dinner shuffle, if you haven’t already. For me, separates have always been the way to go — that way you don’t have to change your entire wardrobe before you go out after work, and you only need to carry one or two additional pieces with you to the office. Maybe it’s just me, but separates always feel more “true” to me — more like a “dressed up, sparkly version of me” and less like “Kat’s pretending to be a glamorous jet-setting party-goer!”
I think shoes are a great way to add a bit of sparkle to your outfit, and I love these black Suede Perfect Block Heels. Wear them with jeans or long trousers for just a pop of sparkle… or wear them with ankle-length pants or a skirt for a lot of sparkle. They’re $168 at Ann Taylor.
I had a lace tee like this (coincidentally, also from Ann Taylor) during my dating heyday — I wore it out a LOT, usually with jeans. I like that this one would look nice beneath a blazer for the day — with just a hint of the lace peaking out — and then you could remove the blazer to go a bit more bare during a date, a night out with a friend, or a party. It’s available in black and white, XXS-XXL, in regular and petite, for $54.
What fun! I love this fringe skirt — it reminds me a bit of Jazz Age flappers, but it also looks really flattering and like it would easily fit into the rest of your closet. If there’s any dancing on your calendar this holiday season, I highly recommend this skirt. As it’s styled here, with dark tights and matte suede shoes, you can see how easy it would be to wear an otherwise normal work outfit to work and then put this on right before you head out the door. Lovely. It’s $128, available in sizes 00-18, regulars and petites. (Do note, there is a fringe tank counterpart, which I also really like and could see working well with “party pants” — a jacquard or velvet skinny ankle pant, or even a waxed jean.)
Come on, you guys knew I had to choose a festive blazer — and I love this stretch velvet blazer (available in purple, black, and camel, and with a matching skirt). I think it’s the perfect thing to wear to a staff holiday party (perhaps with an even more festive piece such as the others in this post) and — if you’re layering on top of sequins (sequin skirt or tank), the velvet blazer will hold up much, much better than, say, a cashmere cardigan. Love it. This one is $158, available in sizes 00-18 for regular, petites, and talls.
Finally: I love this softer lace cardigan. I actually quite like the way it’s styled here — with a flowy pleated top belted beneath it — but I can see it looking great over a sheath dress with a statement piece or two (necklace and cocktail ring, perhaps). It’s $78, available in regulars and petites, sizes XXS-XL.
Readers, what’s your favorite piece to go from desk to dinner, either in your closet currently or from these Ann Taylor picks? Do you agree with me that separates are the way to go, or do you prefer to change your entire outfit?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ann Taylor.
I seriously love that cardigan, I may need to go get that. I keep buying things for myself, at some point I need to buy gifts, though.
PSA for anyone who tried to order something from Talbots yesterday on the cyber monday deal (50% off one full-price item with free shipping/no minimum), and could not because the website was down and all the customer service lines were busy, they are still honoring the deal today. I just ordered a red merino wool cardigan, 1/2 off $99, hope it is as pretty irl as it is on the website.
Threadjack because I’d love some advice: I’m an associate and I returned from maternity leave on 10/1. I didn’t make my hours in October and I won’t again in November. I’m at about 85%. Any tips on what has worked for you in regards to getting more work? I’ve talked to my normal channels of work but I just haven’t gotten a full plate yet. I’m afraid it’s my firm’s subtle way of ousting and that I should be looking for a new job. But it basically just makes me feel like I’ve been doing craptacular work and no one wants to give it out now.
I dont’ know what city you’re in, but you’d be doing pretty well at my firm, maternity leave or not. FWIW, I’ve never seen anyone recently at 100% for the month after leave and no one seems to be at 100% for any month with a major holiday in it. If you’re content at 85%, my firm would let you commit to a schedule like that. How have you reviews been in the past? I honestly wouldn’t panic over this without some other storm clouds on the horizon.
Okay, thanks. Not in a big city. I’m in litigation, and the group as a whole is at 95% but some associates are smoking (110-120%). I will also say that our hour requirements are a bit lower than most — 1850, so I feel like I really am not working that much. I should be okay with a reduced schedule but for some reason I’m not; I’d rather be working full time. Thanks for you comment. I have a meeting with my mentor on Friday, so hopefully she has some advice or insight. Not having any work to do just makes me feel crazy. That’s the other thing — my reviews have been all over the place. I either get the best reviews ever or the worst reviews ever depending on the partner. And the last two years we’ve had the oddest PG chair ever and he did not conduct ANY reviews — you literally just got a call telling you what your raise was. I didn’t ask for feedback other than that, and I’m sure that was a sign that I didn’t care. Blah. I’m pretty sure I’ll never make partner anyway so maybe I should just focus my efforts on looking for a new job. Or no job and just stay home with the kids.
OK. Isn’t litigation just waiting for the next big case to come in when you’re in between? And in the meantime, 85% is a really big increase over the prior month’s 0%. It may just be a timing thing and it’s my understanding that the holidays may gum up the works a bit on getting the next thing in the door. I would try to breathe and enjoy the moment.
As for the future, who knows? Just do the best you can because that will either keep you in this job or help you land the next one. Maybe volunteer to teach a CLE, even an in-house one? It will give you something to do and something to benefit management, should they breathe down your back.
And yay on the baby!
You seem like a wonderful human being. Thank you so much.
Maybe I’m alone in this (or maybe Boston is just boring) — but I’ve never understood this “day” to “night” look thing. When I go out for dinner or drinks after work, I just wear what I wore to the office out. I don’t worry about it and as far as I can tell, everyone else out at the bars/restaurants are basically dressed the same.
Meh. Kanye shrug. All this stuff is cute though.
I’ve also never changed clothes for a night out or even for a date. The only time I changed was for the annual fancy work party where business casual wouldn’t cut it.
For me, it depends on where I’m going after work. I’d say 95% of the time, I don’t change. But I’m more likely to switch things up if the after-work event is around the holidays or some other special-ish occassion. Even if everyone else is dressed in normal work clothes, there’s something fun to me about going for drinks the week before Christmas and looking a little more festive than I usually do. If I’ve just gotten a large bonus and I’m about to start a 10 day vacation, and I’m at a bar that has pretty decorations up, it’s nice to be in a pretty, lacey black top and sparkling earrings instead of my boring old shell and blazer.
I only do on Friday nights, since that’s when I’m more likely to go someplace a little dressier and most of the people I hang out with have time to go home and change before we go out at 9:30 (grrr Biglaw…)
I don’t really either, especially Mon-Thurs. If I have special or fun plans, I might wear something to work a little more fun than normal i.e. a dress I feel is really flattering rather than a boring suit but generally I go out in my work clothes. If I tried to go home to change before I went out, I would never leave the house.
The places I go after work tend to call for a more casual look than a suit, I usually just switch my blazer for a cardigan.
I change – I’m a professional who dresses very casually for work. (I’m an engineer and do a lot of troubleshooting in the field, which means lots of jeans, washable shirts, etc.) I’m also dating and my don’t-mind-the-lubricant-on-my-sleeve look doesn’t make the best first impression. I have a few knit skirts and shirts that I bring to work when I’m going out in the evening – I just change in the locker room (which is practically private given the demographics of my coworkers).
I picked up a t-shirt with a lacy top like the one Kat posted from H&M (many colors, $13). I am not sure I’ll wear it to work, but I’m looking forward to wearing it to dress up cardigans for dinners out, etc. I am usually too cold to wear just a thin t-shirt in the winter.
Has Saks’ site been hacked? It seems like any page I try to go to from the main page goes to an unaffiliated shell of a site…
Hmmm, it kind of looks that way. It’s not all the pages, but most, I’d say. Hope they get that fixed!
That cardigan just looks unfortunate to me – like a hairy chest or something.
Ack! Now I can’t unsee that. Oh well, it made me chuckle and it made my cube neighbor give me a strange look.
And now I can’t unsee it.
Really liking that lace shirt. But what kind of bra does one wear with that? My girls won’t allow for going braless and I have yet to find a decent/comfortable strapless bra in my size. Would it be acceptable to wear a nude for me bra (with straps) underneath or do you think the straps would be too visible?
Maybe nude with clear straps?
I’ve been thinking about investing in a strapless bra with a very thick band, kind of like a corset but shorter. I haven’t looked for one yet but maybe that’d work for you?
They are called long-line bras and they are really great. They stay up and are decently comfortable.
I got a dress with a lace top like that, and tried every. bra. imaginable. from nude straps, to clear straps, to black straps, to red straps (for a college party, what can I say), and none of them really looked good. The black straps were the best, but still didn’t look ideal. The only decent-looking bra option I struck upon was strapless, and since I despise strapless bras and don’t tend to roll bra-less, that dress went to Goodwill pretty quick :/
I think black straps look the best if they’re going to be seen. Make it obvious rather than trying to hide it.
Threadjack – Has anyone tried Bikram hot yoga? I am considering giving this a try, although the price is a little steep, and am wondering about others’ experiences. Thank you!
I went to one class, got dehydrated and was sick for two days afterward. If you go, you really need to hydrate for a full day before the class. I normally drink a lot of water, so I did not make any effort to drink more than normal, I should have. And at that class, the instructor did not let us drink during the class, except during a designated break. I got scolded for drinking too often. I decided it was not for me.
long time lurker
I felt like I was going to faint and left early, and I was in decent shape. It was way hotter than I expected basically and I don’t think I drank enough water.
I did faint and was sick for two days after. I felt weak and odd for two or three days. I think some of us are just not made for working in extreme heat. I was also told I was bright red when I fainted.
Recommend you observe a class first, if the instructor will allow.
Frankly, I just don’t get it. I feel like they try to promote the idea of all that sweating as “cleansing,” but as anon pointed out, it’s just dehydrating. The only possible health benefit to doing yoga in extreme heat is that you burn more calories (your body burns more calories when exercising in hot temptures), but most people don’t do yoga to burn calories anyway (high cardio workouts are much more effective for that). In short, the only reason to do it is for some intangible mental benefit.
It’s definitely intense, make sure you are well hydrated beforehand, and eating properly through the day. Also, the class I went to, they gave us slices of grapefruit afterward (it was just like in T-ball!), so maybe pack some in a lunch bag to have after class in case they don’t provide that. I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit too expensive for me.
(Also, I hate to say this, but I think the studio also gave me and my friend ringworm. Cleared up quick enough with OTC ointment, but just a heads up, things can spread in a room like that.)
I love it! The studios I go to always encouraged us to bring a water bottle and drink throughout and I never felt that I got dehydrated. I never particularly hydrated the day before or anything. I generally sweat like crazy, work hard, feel more flexible than usual from the heat, and leave feeling great. I love that first breath of cool air as you leave the hot studio.
I used to go when I was otherwise in pretty good shape, and I really enjoyed it. I loved that the routine was set (I think you do something, and then you do it again for less time, and then you move on), so I always knew what was coming and how far along we were into the workout. I know some people really dislike that part of it, though. I also don’t like putting pressure on flexed wrists, which seems to be in a lot of other yoga (downward facing dog is an example of a pose I don’t like for this reason), so I liked that about it, too.
Just be careful that you don’t overdo it in the beginning. Your muscles will be more supple due to the heat, so you may feel inspired to more than your joints are ready for. I really messed up my knees with Bikram yoga this way, but if you take it slow in building up, you should be fine (I way overdid it too soon, and had to quit).
A to Z
Thanks so much to everyone who offered advice yesterday concerning my daughter’s uneven ear piercings. I took one poster’s advice and took her to a professional piercing shop, who immediately confirmed the problem, said it would be easy to repierce and said they could do it immediately (without waiting for the first hole to close). So we’ve taken out the misplaced earring and will repierce tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts.
A to Z
Apparently there is another A to Z?