The Best Dressed Woman in Government

Claire McCaskillToday’s guest post is by Christina of The Style of Politics, a great blog that critiques women in government…

There is one question I am asked more than any other in writing The Style of Politics: Who is the best dressed woman in government? It’s a difficult one to answer, actually. There are a number of women who look great more often than not: Senator Susan Collins, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But my personal favorite wardrobe on the Hill belongs to Senator Claire McCaskill.
There’s a lot to think about when you get dressed in the morning, but I suggest you keep two elements at the forefront of your mind: color and shape. Senator McCaskill does both of these really well. You can do it too.

First, color:
Senator McCaskill knows her best colors are light, warm and clear. She looked great in saturated pink at the World War II Memorial:

How do you know what colors are best for you? Try this test: gather tops or scarves in three pairs: a light and a dark, a warm and a cool, and a clear (or bright) and a muted color. Put each on one and have a look in the mirror. Which one in each pair looks best? If you’re not sure, look specifically at the area around your nose and mouth – if it looks ruddier, that’s not the right color for you. Also look under your eyes – if circles or bags become more pronounced, that’s not the right color either. A good color will make your skin tone look even and your eyes look bright and awake.

Second, shape:
Senator McCaskill knows her best shapes are those that define her waist and elongate her torso, without being too stiff or boxy. She wore a great navy blazer and lemon yellow top on the Senate floor recently:

This jacket is tailored, defining her shoulders and waist, but she wears it open to keep it from boxing her in. The light color of her top underneath provides contrast with the jacket that creates a strong vertical line on the body. She looks authoritative and professional.
There’s a lot going on in that moment in front of the closet: What’s the weather like? What did I wear yesterday? What do I have to do today? What looks the most like that great dress I just saw on Corporette? But color and shape will never steer you wrong!

Readers, who is your favorite real-life style maven? What style tips have you learned from her example?

Guest Post: How to Make the Transition from Maternity to Post-Baby While Dressing Professionally

postpartum professionalToday’s guest post is from Jenny Hamilton, who is a senior in-house lawyer at a Fortune 500 company and the mother to a 5 month-old little girl. Jenny explores the world of fashion, dressing for the corporate world, and motherhood daily at

Just as you don’t pack on the baby weight overnight, once you have your baby, your body is going to go through another major change – this time in reverse! So how do you make the transition? Here are five easy tips:

1. Large, open cardigans make excellent transition pieces because they can double as a comfy jacket for the office and they can be worn during maternity leave with a pair of soft leggings. [Read more…]

Open Thread: Hiding a Baby Bump

how to hide a baby bumpHow do you hide a baby bump? This struck us as a great question…

I’d love to see some suggestions on hiding a baby bump while dressing appropriately for the office. Hiding my growing belly wasn’t hard with my first baby. It just wasn’t that big. Now I’m pregnant with my second and, true to everything all my friends told me, I’m much bigger, much earlier. I prefer not to tell everyone until the first trimester is over. That means hiding my expanding middle. I moved up a size in trousers (no expand-o waist pants yet). However, I can’t seem to find any good ideas for tops. I’d love your (and your readers’) help. Anonymously, of course. Any hope for me? :)

Having never been pregnant, we can’t really offer any advice, but it does strike us as a very worthwhile question. (Fine, here’s our best guess — we’d stick with empire-waisted tops such as the one above, or very blousy tunic tops. Pictured: Banana Republic Garment-dyed linen top, available at Banana Republic for $59.) Still — readers, what is your best advice on how to dress professionally while hiding a baby bump? Any other tips on dealing with pregnancy woes, such as morning sickness?

Reader Mail — Where to Shop in NYC, Part II

where to shop in nycA reader wrote in, requesting where to go in New York for “Banana Republic-priced” clothes she couldn’t find in the Midwest.  We started our round-up of shopping stretches in NYC on Thursday, covering what we call “Lower Fifth Avenue” shopping. We’ll continue today with our suggestions on how to make the most of SoHo, which can be a very efficient shopping stretch if done right.  Photo credit:  nyc soho lofts, originally uploaded to Flickr by DropFocus.  (Check out part III in the series, here.) [Read more…]

Reader Mail: Where to Shop in NYC – Part 1

where to shop in nyc 3Today’s reader mail is a question for where to shop in New York City…

I am about to spend a week in New York City (June 19-26th, in fact) and I’d like to do a little shopping for work clothes while I’m there. Normally I stock up on casual clothes at H&M, but their work attire is too cheaply made for my office. Do you have a recommendation or two for stores in the Gap/Banana Republic/Limited/Express price range, that I couldn’t shop at in any city in the US?

Ah, a leisurely day of shopping in NYC — what fun!  Given your price range and your goals, we’d recommend a few different stretches, depending on your time and energy.  First up, we’ll talk about the area we’ll call Lower Fifth AvenuePhoto:  Flatiron Building, originally uploaded to Flickr by sunsurfr. (The Flatiron Building is at 23d and 5th.  It’s beautiful, but not really noteworthy as a shopping destination in and of itself.)  (Read parts II (where to shop in SoHo) and III (other shopping in NYC), also!) [Read more…]

Tuesday Poll: Are flip-flops ever acceptable?

Oh, come on, you knew it was coming: how can we have a blog about office-appropriate attire without addressing flip-flops? We’re going to have a multi-part quiz…

At left: FitFlops WalkStar Sandals – Silver – Womens (from Amazon)



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