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The below content is about the 2010 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.
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, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.
We’re not normally a fan of the short-sleeved jacket, but we like here with this Nanette Lepore suit. The jacket is shapely, with puffed sleeves and a nipped in waist, and the vertical lines on the skirt are slimming. We like the unusual color, also — it would make a great late-summer, early-fall suit.
(If it ever gets cold again, we’d wear it with a tissue-thin long-sleeved tee beneath the jacket, either scoopnecked or turtlenecked.)
Both pieces are part of the Nordstrom anniversary sale going on right now — the jacket (Nanette Lepore ‘Spy On Me’ Cap-Sleeve Jacket) was $428, but is currently marked $284.90; the skirt (Nanette Lepore ‘Top Secret’ Pencil Skirt) was $278, but is currently marked to $185.90.
Hmm I can’t imagine the sleeves on this are flattering to anyone who doesn’t have shapely thing arms. Also, I think the ruching at the hips and the fabric look a bit cheap. Love the shape and color of the jacket though, just wish it had long sleeves!
Long sleeves and no ruching would make me love this. As is, meh.
Come to think of it, with long sleeves a suit of this color would remind me of a uniformed private security guard or caterer. So nah either way.
Glad I’m not the only one who flashed to polyester uniforms — and not in a good way!!
Yeah, those kind of sleeves look bad and are typically too tight on me. Other than that, I do love it, so the sleeves are unfortunate.
Agreed. I also feel like a little too “girly” in cutesy puffed sleeves like that, but that’s probably just a personal issue.
Cute, but the padded sleeves that this designer would work well on narrower shoulders.
Love the colour and don’t mind short sleeves but not these puffy ones…….
Disagree with Kat that skirt stripes are slimming. Or maybe they are slimming, but I bet they are also broadening, meaning, they make hips look wider.
If they don’t, the ruching definitely does!
This looks a little too juniors for me.
NGO doesn't mean No Good Outfits
Agreed. All the little details are far from little. The piping, the sleeves, the buttons, the pockets, the ruching.
It probably doesn’t help that the model is wearing flats and looks about 12, but it reads like you could find it in BP in 12 different colors.
the model’s not wearing flats.
I thought the same thing. There’s something very “juniors” about the detailing. I can’t put my finger on it. But I can’t see any of the professional women I know wearing this.
Anon, a mouse!
Haha, this is the same suit that someone posted the other day, and I (and others) told her it was too trendy/young/unserious. I stand by that comment. I can’t imagine spending the sale price of $500 (after tax, that’s what it would add up to) on something like this that could only be worn occasionally, let alone the original price.
Yep, this suit again! Too funny!
Yep, that was me! For the record, I did return it. It wasn’t worth the money in the end.
I was one of those posters who said TOO TRENDY and generally cheap looking. I stand by it. Find a similar suit at the limited for a fraction of the price if you want something with so many trendy styling details (cap sleeves, seams, those awful buttons). For $500, I’ll take a classic Brooks Brothers wool pinstripe, thanks!
Ha — we discussed this suit in the comments yesterday or the day before, I think.
Its very Dr. Cuddy! I think if you’re built like Dr. Cuddy, by all means — on others (or paired with the wrong shoes & accessories), it could be a bit of a Bebe suit, if you know what I mean :)
Haha so true, this is very Dr. Cuddy! She always looks great, but there’s no way I could dress like that at work (hello, cleavage!)
I would probably be drooling over this if it weren’t for the sleeves… elbow-length or 3/4 length sleeves would make this a gorgeous fall suit, but the combination of wool and short sleeves seems very odd to me.
The jacket on the suit doesn’t bother me, but the lines down the front and back — especially the back — of the skirt REALLY bother me. Bebe is exactly right!!! No matter what your shape, this skirt will only ever scream booty.
s in Chicago
“Wear it this fall with a long-sleeved tee beneath the jacket.”
surrounded by lawyers
Yeah, I definitely couldn’t get away with that look for work
I dont think there is ever a circumstance where it is OK to wear a long-sleeved tee beneath a short sleeve jacket, a long sleeved blouse for that matter.
I think the jacket is OK, but the skirt is too much with the stripes AND ruching.
Agreed. Kat is always recommending this look, and I have never seen anyone pull it off in real life and in my imagination it always looks ridiculous. Thin long sleeved t-shirt under a big short-sleeved sweater that’s meant to be worn like a vest? Sure. But this idea that you can take any random jacket or short-sleeved button-down and toss a thin long-sleeved shirt underneath it…..no way.
I disagree. I seldom see it but I have seen it done well & I have done it & I’d like to think it didn’t look ridiculous. The key is for everything to be simple, and I think black turtlenecks are the way to go if doing this.
We have this debate here all the time it seems. Next time you’re in a nice dept store, I’d encourage everyone to try the look yourself — it’s remarkably not crazy looking!
Kat always recommends that look and I just can’t imagine myself pulling it off! I’d love to see any pics of the look to get an example of it being done well.
Same here. I like the look, have seen it done well and do it myself occasionally. You do have to have the right tee/turtleneck for it to work, though. No cheap thick cotton t-shirt.
Ortho chiming in
I actually think that you don’t need the turtleneck to be BLACK, just a solid color. For this suit black would work, but not always.
I have done a slim, black turtle neck under a short sleeve jacket. The jacket is a heavy material, so it looks good with a thin turtle neck. Then again, I only wear that look when I am in Northern Europe, where ladies put black under everything!
I have a friend who has a young associate at his office who is two years out of law school as of this fall. She is 26, 5’10” and probably a size 6. I have seen her in the the long sleeve under short sleeve/elbow sleeve look and she rocks it.
For those of us in the somewhat older and stouter group, I suspect not so much.
Ortho chiming in
This is actually a very common trick that Orthodox Jewish girls (and I presume, other girls whose religious practice dictates a certain level of modesty) use all the time in order to let certain items “pass”. It works best with a sleeveless (but not strapless) top that has a little drama in the front (ruffles or other interesting patterns). The longsleeved tee should be thin and ideally, in a contrasting or complementary color other than white or black.
I should note that just because all the girls do it, doesn’t mean they all pull it off. ;) My mother never let me do it growing up [ “buy clothing that is actually modest! don’t cheat!”] but you can do a lot with certain tops if you have an eye for what works on your body.
Anyway, I won’t dis the look entirely, but I also wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for work, especially in a conservative environment.
But layering can be your friend, Brittany! Don’t ignore it all together!
Yes, Muslim girls do this, too =). I have to say, finding nice quality non-cotton long sleeved t-shirts or blouses is really HARD. If anyone comes across any during their shopping adventures, please share!
I like to layer casually. I guess I was just thinking in terms of conservative office wear. I think my work would think it was too “young” but I may be a bit oversensitive.
That makes sense for modesty reasons, as well. It cracks me up that your mother wouldn’t let you “cheat” :).
Ortho chiming in
My mother had a lot of rules about a lot of things. :)
Looking back, though, I realize now that her strict notions of what was appropriate and what she would spend money on have actually helped me develop an appreciation of quality and a refusal to buy garments just because they’re trendy. I have a pretty strong sense of personal style because I had to learn to work with the rules she gave me.
On the other hand, nothing will ever excuse those hideous sack-like jumpers I had to wear in middle school…
Ru, my friend who does this layered look all the time recommended Mango shirts as wonderful for layering underneath. I haven’t had time to find a store myself, but if you have one in your area, you might look into it.
If you are traveling through the SFO United terminal, there is a Mango store.
Thanks for the heads up – will definitely check out Mango!
Anon, a mouse!
I actually think the only way I’d like this jacket is over a tissueweight black turtleneck with slacks. I don’t like it as a suit at all, although it’d be cute on a 19-year-old.
This styling suggestion is the only thing that has made me say, “Hmm…maybe” about this jacket. I could see that being cute. Probably not on me b/c my arms are bigger than they should be in proportion to the rest of me.
I’ve actually worn a tissue-weight black turtleneck under a short-sleeve wool blazer in the winter and I thought it looked OK. I am not sure if it would work with this – the cap sleeves may be too short. I think it’s all about the amount of arm-in-sleeve that shows that makes it work or not work.
And I just have to say – I wish there could be a uniform length for what’s considered a “cap” sleeve. I have tried on garments where the “cap” sleeve barely cleared my shoulder and ones where the sleeve hits on the middle of my upper arm.
Hmmmm….I always thought that “cap” referred to the poufy shape, not the length of the sleeve.
Ugh wearing a long sleeve t under a short sleeved anything is only for those under the age of 12, or playing some sort of sport in the fall! Ugh, not a chance!
Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler
Is it just me or does this model look like she could be related to the model in the purple dress?
Don’t like. At all. On anyone. Just my opinion though. On the right girl, I might change my mind. Definitely not for me.
Banana Republic did a suit cut very similar to this one last year(longer skirt and less ruching), but in charcoal grey. I have it and it’s actually very flattering on. I was surprised that the sleeves on the jacket worked so well b/c I don’t exactly have toothpick arms. That said, I don’t think I’d feel very professional wearing the same suit in magenta.
Just as well, since my budget took a hit at the Nordstrom sale!
I think this suit would look a lot better in a more standard neutral like grey, black, etc. Also there is something about this that makes the fabric appear shiny, at least on screen, which I think makes it worse. But a tweed or wool – sounds like it could be adorable!
Looks like something straight out of a Junior’s departments. This is my problem with Nanette Lepore in general — way too trendy for my law office. Very pretty color though.
Anon for today
Agree about the color. I hope to see more of this as summer comes to an end and the fall fashions come out.
It totally reminded me of one of those junior suits from Wet Seal. I used to wear them to my bank job when I was in college and felt so sophisticated.
- j -
I think I agree with the commenters above – a bit too juvenile with the sleeves, at least for a more formal office. I struggle to find a short sleeved suit jacket that I think IS formal enough for most offices, as much as I’d love to, as there are a lot that are super cute. I don’t think the color is helping its cause either.
I was going to say maybe just the skirt, but the ruching puts it over the edge for me.
Adorable styling, but just not practical. Any one element might work as the only flourish, but… meeeeeh.
Thread hijack (hope you don’t mind!): I am having a really difficult time finding full and half slips to wear under some of my skirts and dresses. It seems like all of those I find either have a ton of lace – which makes wearing them difficult – or are made of really cheap fabric. I’ve found Jockey makes some nice ones, but the ones I’ve located are either pretty long or never seem to be available in my size (XS/S). Any advice for where to buy some good ones? Also – any advice for what kinds of slips work best under different kinds of dresses and skirts?
I know someone spoke out against Victoria’s Secret in an earlier thread, so I apologize if that was you, but I’ve found some nice full slips there (and they were real silk; the ones I have are lace-trimmed, but the lace is soft and not noticeable under the dresses I have). I’ve also gotten some nice slips at Nordstrom.
Have you tried wintersilks . com? I think they have quite a few that should suit you in real silk. I generally wear a cheap one (not silk) that ends in lace and hits me about 3 inches above the knee with most of my dresses (of whatever length) and it seems to work fine.
Anon, a mouse!
Second the suggestion of wintersilks.com.
Out of frustration, I’ve sometimes cut off the lace of some of my slips. Shrug.
I just picked some up at Target–they sell them in different lengths. Not real silk, but I’ve found they work fine. No lace either.
Ha ha! I’ve done all sorts of horrible things to slips in a last minute, rushing out the door panic! Half slip too long at the bottom? Cut it off! Straps won’t adjust to be short enough? Tie ’em in a knot! Lace showing above the v-neck shirt collar? Fold the lace and pin it out of sight! Of course, I only own one actual silk slip and I’d never hurt that beautiful baby. I’m less kind to polyester! :)
Hilarious – good to know I’m not the only one “customizing” my slips =)
NGO doesn't mean No Good Outfits
I bought a very sheer white cotton dress a while back and had the same problem… I found a ‘slip’ by Jockey as well that was more of a satiny spandex combo, and the woman helping me said that often the very simple ones without the lace/cutout backs/draped front are called dress liners (I think that was it) rather than slips. I guess the meaning of slip has moved from dress liner to negligee.
Try to find a slip that hits a few inches above where the dress or skirt ends. When I used to wear shorter slips with longer skirts, the slip would always ride up and cause issues. This was way more pronounced in the cotton slips than the polyester ones (my personal preference).
I get all my slips from Target. They’re kind of hidden (next to the granny panties, seriously), but come in a variety of lengths and colors. I have also made a couple (half-length) because they’re incredibly easy – don’t know about how confident you are with a sewing machine…
spanx/ calvin klein at bloomingdales
Spanx all the way! They make a tank top slip that is heavenly
Why, oh why, do they persist in making sleeves like this? Flattering to no one. If the sleeves were longer and the ruching detail on the pockets eliminate, it could be a win.
I’m tired of the cap sleeves trend too. And I have pretty thin arms, but I don’t find it flattering on most women including myself.
Agree. At least it’s possible to find an actual short-sleeved t-shirt these days (I’ve found 3 dot and the Land’s End Canvas Heritage tees to work nicely for me). A couple years ago, it seemed like every t-shirt had these cap sleeves, and I agree that they are really unflattering to the upper arm. Still way too many “sleeved” dresses—and now suit jackets!—with the caps, though!
I love 3 Dots! They’re quality that just lasts and lasts and lasts through my rough wear and many washings…
There is a fine line between “cute” and “cutesy.” To me, this is cutesy – something I don’t want to be ever, really (not my style), but especially not at work. With longer sleeves, I think it would be cute, but the tiny cap sleeves make the look too juvenile.
I think the pieces could work as separates, but I am “meh” about the overall suit look. I had a few Nanette Lepore pieces that I got on super-sale, but I eventually sold them to Crossroads – the pieces all seemed to have distinct details that I got sick of after a wear or two.
Also, I can’t help but think this is something Blair Waldorf would wear… =P
I have some nice high-heels that my heel seems to “slip out of,” especially earlier in the day when my feet aren’t swollen. Are there “heel pads” of some sort to help with this? I think this was covered in a past thread, but I can’t seem to find it. New recommendations are welcome too! Thanks!
Yes there are! You can get them in pretty much any shoe stores and they don’t cost much. The ones I’ve had have one sticky side that adheres to the inside of your shoe.
That said, I’ve never really had much luck with them as eventually either my foot or the pad ends up falling out of the shoe!
I get the ones that go on the back of the shoe, not on the pad itself. They have them at most drugstores. Do not get the gel kind though — those tend to melt in the heat & it is gross. Seriously.
Nordstroms sells them…I think you get 6 sticky pads for $20.00 in the shoe department. I haven’t had one fall out on me yet!
Thanks for all the suggestions! I may have to swing by Nordies to check them out (and really test my self-imposed shopping hiatus…)
I use Foot Petals.
Depending on the overall fit of the shoe, you can do one of two things:
– Put an insert in the ball of your foot. This will push your foot backward in the shoe (because it won’t have much room in the front), so the heel won’t slip out as much. This method is good if you also would like some extra cushioning in the toes. For this, foot petals are a really good brand.
– Stick something on the back of the shoe. You can get the appropriate foot petals product, or you can, for much less money, buy the “moleskin” stuff at the drug store (stocked next to the other shoe inserts), cut it to the right size and stick it on. I’m still experimenting with this method – the moleskins are nice and cheap but tend to fall off after a while, so maybe foot petals are a better way to go.
Agreed on avoiding gel pads.
Forgot to say: method one (insert on the ball of the foot) is also better if you’d like more arch support – pushing your foot back in the shoe will give you more arch support.
I bought little adhesive-backed foam pads at Target for about $3. They were in the hosiery/socks section.
I think I am the only one, but I like it! I’d wear it with either the black shell as pictured or a black tissue-weight turtleneck, as was suggested above. I like the sleeves and emphasis on the waist – I think they look feminine.
Crute (the way a relative said “cute” when she was a baby). LOL. Don’t do the long sleeves under short sleeves thing with a suit jacket or blazer. Comes to mind Dr. Seuss, which I know by heart thanks to my girls: “I do not like it with a mouse, I do not like it with a mouse. I do not like it here or there, I do not like it ANYWHERE. I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like it, Sam I am!” 8-)
stet: I do not like it with a HOUSE, I do not like it with a MOUSE.” Ha!
I should also add, I hate the whole “winterizing” summer & spring clothes. HAM, in my opinion (“hot a** mess”). Linen dresses with a wool turtleneck, long dress over a mini-skirt. Short sleeve blazer with a turtleneck — no ma’am, not for me. When it’s time to retire summer stuff, I do so gladly.
While I understand what you mean, especially referring to Kat’s suggestions for fall and summer, some people wear longer sleeves or tops for modesty reasons, not just for weather. That being said, I completely agree with you with respect to “clashing” fabrics and types of clothing. Some items are just season specific.
I think winterizing can mean different things depending on where you live. If you live in a warm climate like I do, you can make this suit work year round by adding a thin turtleneck underneath as Kat suggested. Usually when I see winter clothes, I think they look nice but realize I’d get no more than 1-2 uses out of them in an average year.
Don’t forget budgetary reasons – layering in this way can be very cost-effective, though the examples you mention are extreme.
And when you live in a cold temperate climate as I do, you can make a LOT of items do double-duty for winter and summer.
I think it’s a beautiful little suit for someone very small who can afford $500. for something she will really not wear many times. That would not be me. The fabric looks just great.
Hijack question … I know many people don’t like these but I’d love to hear all thoughts. What do we think of these under a suit for a semi-formal look?
It’s a tshirt look but it’s partly silk … I’m thinking paired with a big necklace or scarf for an everyday, don’t-have-to-think-about-it look ….
Like. Personally, I’m a big fan of the nice t-shirt under a suit jacket look. The colors are pretty and the fabric content makes me think it’ll last for a while.
Anon, a mouse!
I think it’s great, but leans toward the casual because of the crewneck. I’d prefer a tee that has a simple scoopneck or some sort of ruffle – the crewneck calls athletic shirts to mind.
I like that concept and ordered a couple of similar things from Wintersilks. The clothes seemed kind of oversized and boxy to me.
Actually that’s really good to know, I was on the fence about sizing, now I’ll go to the lower size. I do want these to be fairly loose, but definitely not boxy :)
This is a threadjack. I just wanted to say that I’m in love with these, which are obviously NOT for the office.
I’m a corporette who needs to let her hair down on the weekends from time to time.
SF Bay Associate
Those are GORGEOUS and now I’m in love too.
Looove too! But tapped out from Nordies sale, etc. Here’s another option that zappos is offering (there are several more similar styles & colors) in the $80 range….
I want to have an occasion that warrants those…
Those are yummy, but too pricey under the “per wear” theory. Now, at 65% off, I might be in love . . .
Mini-rant: I ordered a couple suits online from the Nordstroms sale. They sent me an email saying that the jackets had shipped but that they had sold out of the skirts. What use is that?
call them to see what can be done. Their customer service is fabulous — they may be able to call around to stores to see if they can find what you’re looking for, especially because it sold out between the time you ordered and the time it shipped.
I would at least ask them to refund your shipping and pay for your return shipping.
Anon, a mouse!
Call them! They probably aren’t actually sold out completely – they have limited stock that can be sold at the sale price and reserve more to be sold later. Their customer service is great – either they’ll find the skirts in a store for you, or agree to discount the regular-price skirts for you once the sale ends.
This is a great summer suit! The short sleeves will help you avoid turning into a puddle of sweat as you walk into the office. I was just in NY last week and the weather was HORRIBLE.
The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this suit was that “sexy” investment banker woman who sued after she was fired from Citigroup a few months ago. Anyone else get that vibe?
I love this! Sure it’s not that versatile but I think the jacket could also be worn over a sleeveless shift dress. I have an almost identical jacket in navy which I wear with a cream dress, a silk scarf of some kind that has navy accents and tan shoes/bag. <3. Admittedly, I am 23 and love Dr. Cuddy's style and have a few pencil skirt outfits she would probably approve of ;)
I do agree, however, that I don't like the line-y stitching on the skirt but then, I don't like the price tag either, so wouldn't end up buying it myself.
Any thoughts on this dress?
NGO doesn't mean No Good Outfits
As long as the belted area nips in properly it would be a great dress that you could get a lot of use out of with accessories. But because the belt doesn’t wrap all the way around it could potentially make your waist look wider than it is.
Worth a shot!
Also, anyone ever hand wash or machine wash (on delicate) the Classiques Entier mesh tops? (i.e., http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3114397?Category=&Search=True&SearchType=predictivesearch&keyword=classiques+entier&origin=searchresults
No, but I have two of the CE mesh tops (not CE Atelier, which I find more matronly on me for some reason) and love them! I just bought them so I haven’t had a need to wash them yet. I think they are fine if you hand wash them.
I have this suit and – like all clothes – it’s a bit different in-person. The skirt is stellar and sits on the waist…very flattering and comfortable. Perfect combo! The jackets fits beautifully and is structured/commanding with a hint of ‘the feminine.’ The puff sleeves are not as noticeable as you would suspect. Confidently can say the same about the rouging. Beautifully lined, gorgeous color, impeccable fit (adjustable belt along back of jacket) and everything I look for in a suit, for certain. Try it. Nordstrom’ll take it back. Though there will probably be no need to take advantage of their world class service. Confession: that was my approach…I had every intention of returning it. ;) Well laid plans…
sits on the waist = sits HIGH on the waist