Entries Tagged as 'Career Style'
My husband and I recently relocated to Chicago for his job and I need to start looking for work. I work as a corporate accountant, and would like to find two or three suits to wear on job interviews. Maybe a black one and a navy one, what do you think? And where do you buy your suits? I need to pay around $250 for each of the three.
Hope you can help me! Angie
Regardless of the industry you work in, I think every woman should have at least one suit hanging in her closet. Who knows? You might wind up accused of a crime you didn’t commit and need a suit for court. (Okay, probably not. But it’s good to be prepared.) Here are a few suggestions in your price range:
Contrasting Tweed Colorblock Suit (Jacket: $109 and Skirt: $70) // Single Button Suit (Jacket: $99, Pants: $59) // Modern Tweed Blazer (Jacket: $119, Skirt: $59)
Calvin Klein. All three of the suits above come from Calvin Klein. Right now, CK is one of the few labels making affordable suiting that is good quality and not completely boring. You can find these on their website, along with several others, or you can find different styles at major department stores.
I would wear the basic black suit to a first interview to gauge the corporate clothing culture. Is it staid? Is it funky? Is it casual? Then, I would supplement with the more interesting suits as needed for future interviews. I also like this purple (burgundy?) pantsuit. Need both pieces for under-$100? Try this skirt suit.
Tahari makes several sub-brands that fall into your price point. I like this pinstriped charcoal-grey Tahari skirt suit. This leather trimmed tweed suit is also a good choice. And if you’re looking for a basic black pantsuit, try this one. The fabric is not the best quality, but it they are solid suits, though you absolutely.will.need to have them tailored to make them look their best.
Ann Taylor. Basic suits at good prices can be had during one of Ann Taylor’s regular sales. The store also carries petite and tall sizes. So if you need a solid-color, conservative suit in a flash, try Ann Taylor first.
Sale Brands. There are several suit brands that I would also look for when they are on sale. One is Classiques Entier from Nordstrom (they also have lovely dresses, like this v-neck ponte dress.) Another is Nanette Lepore. Marc Jacobs also makes nice suit. Kay Unger is another brand to watch, but make sure that you select a suit made for day and not one of the many suits she makes for evening–no shine, no sequins. And I’m always on the hunt for discounter Rebecca Taylor suits and jackets.
Also, don’t miss J.Crew when the sales start. I own a handful of J.Crew suits and while the quality isn’t as good as it once was, it’s still a good suit for the money when it is on sale. They also sell suits through their Factory outlet store.
Lastly, consignment stores, second-hand stores and the like for good suiting at reasonable prices. Many women buy a nice suit for job interviews and don’t keep it after, so you can find really nice suits at a discount if you don’t mind them being lightly worn. And I am a long time advocate of eBay for suiting, I’ve purchased most of my business suits on eBay, because it allows me to buy better quality suits for less. Just try the brands on in the store, so you have an idea of sizing, and then make the rounds looking for the designers you like.
If you have suggestions for suiting, please leave them in the comments. I’d especially appreciate any comments from petite, plus-size or tall women about where to shop.
P.S. If you love suits, I fell hard for this white Albert Nipon suit with an obi belt. Great for summer.
I started reading your blog about a year ago and absolutely love it! My question is about what to wear to informational interviews and informal meetings. I recently quit my job at a New York law firm and relocated to Boston with my husband. Many of my friends and colleagues at my old firm were kind enough to send me some of their Beantown contacts. I am in the process of setting up a series of informal coffees with midlevel attorneys like myself and as well as some more senior partners. What do you suggest I wear to these meetings? I’m leaning towards wearing a full suit for meetings that take place at a firm or with a senior attorney and business casual for more informal coffee meetings. Any advice would be much appreciated.
When you move to a new city or want to transfer into a new industry, informational interviews are critical. They expand your network, educate you about the quirks of your new arena/area and put you in a position to meet people who may become your future employers/coworkers. But just because these aren’t formal job interviews doesn’t mean you can become a slouch in the wardrobe department.
Informational interviews usually take place in the person’s office or at a nearby restaurant or coffee shop. I think you’re right on track with how you should dress, as a suit or suit separates should be worn to interviews with senior people at the firm, and more relaxed professional dresses or separates should be worn when meeting mid-level staff off site. Here are a couple of sample outfits.
Left side, Earrings: Juliet & Co Grey Pearls ($20) Ring: Pandora Liquid Ring ($55) Top: Mango Pleated Blouse ($50) Shoes: Ann Taylor Perfect Pump ($128 +30%-Off) Jacket: Scotch & Soda Lurex Blazer ($235) Skirt: Telegraph Pencil Skirt ($138 + 25%-Off) Coat: Burberry Mid-Length Trench ($1,295) Bag: Tory Burch Dome Satchel ($550)
Right side, Tights: Topshop 120 Denier Tights ($16) Shoes: Land’s End Allaire Boots ($110) Dress: DvF Raquel Dress ($175) Necklace: Belargo Station Necklace ($100) Ring: bombom Celestial Ring ($198) Bag: ASOS Croc Constructed Bag ($68)
In Office Interviews. Instead of a full suit, I went with structured separates. The jacket is from Scotch & Soda, makers of the most stylish tweed and boucle jackets on the market. (I also like this collared number with zip sleeves.) I paired the jacket with a simple blouse and a longer pencil skirt.
For the shoes, I chose the unfathomably comfortable perfect pumps from Ann Taylor that are now re-stocked and 30%-off, no code needed. I bought a pair of these this summer and they are tied for the most comfortable high heel I’ve ever worn.
I also added a trench because it completes the look, and looks great slung over your arm. If Burberry is out of your price range (mine too), J.Crew has their Icon Trench for 25%-off right now and the Gap has a nice, serviceable trench for $128 plus 35%-off, code GAPFALL.
I kept the jewelry simple and the look in a neutral color palette, since you don’t know where a meeting with a senior partner could lead. I would also suggest wearing nylons just in case. (I like Donna Karan Nudes for a sheer nylon that won’t make you look like a Hooters waitress.) And you should probably wear your hair down, a bun might look too severe with such a structured outfit.
Informal Interviews. Meet-and-greets with potential colleagues usually happen over coffee of lunch off-site, so a suit isn’t really necessary. But you never know who you might run into or be introduced to, so it’s important to choose an outfit that is more relaxed but still professional. For this, I chose a simple dress in a classic shape and a pair of high-heeled tall boots.
I liked this DvF dress quite a lot when I tried it on in cobalt. Some readers aren’t crazy about the front seam on the dress, but I didn’t find it to be too noticeable. And I went with the boot for a more dressed down look, but if boots don’t feel right to you, switch them out for a round-toe pump like the Ann Taylor shoe.
For the jewelry, I chose a gold and dark metal mix. I love the necklace, it’s very Olivia Pope but with a hint of edge. If you’d like something similar for less, try this Anne Klein ‘Fireball’ necklace with gold details. And how great is this structured bag? The shape is so unique, and you just can’t beat that price.
Transitioning your career to a new industry or a new place takes effort. You need to make the time to meet with people who can help you grow your network and expand your opportunities. Sitting at home in front of the computer sending resumes isn’t going to get it done. So jump on LinkedIn and see if your current colleagues know people who they can introduce you to, and then go out and make those connections. And the right outfit can help you make a great first impression.
I love the Black Halo label. I have collected four of their dresses over the years, and I would happily own a dozen more. The dresses are crisp, sleek and infused with a feminine sex appeal that is hard to beat. But at several hundred dollars a piece, Black Halo dresses are not in everyone’s price range.
From Left, Cowlneck Pencil Dress ($158) // Ro & De Twist Dress ($74) // Ava & Aiden Asymmetric Sheath ($99, limited sizes)
These dresses have one of my favorite Black Halo signatures, the asymmetric neckline found on their popular Jackie O dresses. The Anthropologie dress on the left is like a short sleeve Jackie dress, but with a more forgiving silhouette. I would add a white blazer and some sleek high heels for a chic office look.
I actually own the dress in the middle in another color. It’s very comfortable and stylish. If you buy it, be wary that it does run a little small in the hip. So I would order two sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit properly. You should also be aware that you will need to wear a shaper with this dress. Without it, the fabric doesn’t have the smooth appearance you’re looking for.
Like the charcoal color, but want something with shorter sleeves? Dorothy Perkins has one for $57 with 25% off.
The final dress is from Gilt (become a member, here), and it is a doozy. Sadly, there are only limited sizes left. But because it’s Gilt, you can add the dress to your waiting list and be notified if it becomes available in your size. I also found this azure Serena dress with a very similar folded neckline.
Plus-size? If you need something under-$100, Ralph Lauren has a beautiful cobalt sheath. But if you have a bit more to spend, Kay Unger makes this look in both a long sleeve and short sleeve version. Petite? Not as many choices, but I did find this awesome dress from Ivy & Blu, which might be more suited to cocktail hour, and this White House Black Market sheath with a 3/4 sleeve.
A few years ago, I mounted a crusade against visible panty line. Working women don’t always think about the smoothness of their rearview, and many types of full-seat underwear cause this unsightly fashion faux pas. I was once afflicted with this terrible disease, but I never thought that I would be the kind of women who wore thong underwear (I was young and stupid enough to think that there was a “kind” then.) until I found Hanky Panky thongs.
Hanky Pankys are super comfortable. I know…thong and comfortable are not two words that you would think go together, but in this case, they do. I rarely even know that I’m wearing them, which was not my experience with other types of thongs (not only was I sure I was wearing them, I desperately wanted to remove them for most of the day).
Like most Hanky Panky wearers, I started out with the traditional one-size-fits most, low-rise, lace thong. This classic also comes in petite and plus-size. They also make a mid-rise and a higher rise. And I thought they were eliminating VPL 100-percent of the time, until I wore a crepe dress.
Under the thin crepe, the outline of the flowers was visible. Ironic that in my quest to prevent VPL, I had actually caused VPL. *facepalm*
Luckily, our friends at Hanky Panky are now making a thong in smooth, microfiber jersey. The thongs come in a “natural rise” that I was initially skeptical about, but it turned out to be a little higher the low-rise, but not too high. And like its lace counterpart, Hanky Panky Bare thong is very comfortable.
As for sizing, this thong does not come in one-size-fits-most, so you’ll have to pick your size. I am a size 6 hip and was a small. So it seemed to run fairly close to the size guide suggestion. They’re not yet making these thongs in petite or plus-size, but hopefully, they will soon.
I love this product. It’s the perfect thing for thinner materials. No more rumply flower pattern on my tush, thank goodness.
This morning, I showed you pieces that comprise the foundation of a springtime professional wardrobe. I did my best to add color without going overboard, because, in my opinion, most women look better with some color mixed into their attire. So here are eight colorful outfits that can be made from the 17 pieces from earlier.
Two Ways to Wear a Faux Wrap Dress:
Dark teal was one of the hottest colors for fall 2012. If you purchased a few peacock-colored pieces, you can easily carry them over into the spring. Here, I paired the teal wrap dress with a blazer for the average workday, and with fun jewelry for a more relaxed day or an evening event.
I added the belt to the first outfit to break up the dress and define the waist. I would wear it under the jacket, but if you try it on, and like it better over the top of the blazer, so be it.
Love the color of the dress but not the price? This printed teal wrap is $69, and this green-teal dress is under-$50. Need a plus size option? Are friends at Suzi Chin have you covered.
A Printed Blouse Two Ways:
I’ve pretty much abandoned traditional suits in favor of sleek dresses or tweed jackets with pencil skirts, but when I do break out my basic business suit, I like to wear a not-boring blouse to compensate. This floral printed silk number is perfect for that. It incorporates color and texture without being too gauche.
I also like how the drape neck complements the neckline of the blazer and eliminates the need for a necklace. And since it has a sleeve, you can take off your jacket and still look professional. (I’m talking to you women who wear spaghetti strap tops under suits!) If the floral in the set doesn’t come in your size, I thought this understated printed navy top was nice as was this bright blue top.
Also, I think the shades of blue in the blouse coordinate nicely with the bright blue in the skirt. The belt completes the look, giving it a finished appearance and the grey and gold accessories let the blouse do the talking while adding a bit of shine.
I love berry tones and bright pinks, and this dress brings together the best of both. On the left, I paired with some simple jewels and belted the waist to give it a pulled together appearance. The pendant necklace also complements the neckline. If you would prefer something with sleeves, this Trina Turk should do the trick.
For the second look, I added the robin’s egg blue sweater. This might be too much color for some. If so, sub-in a navy or grey cardi. I also added the bracelet to give the cardigan something blue to lean on. Alone it would look a bit haphazard with such a bold dress.
I own a white chiffon blouse, a grey tie neck and a blush chiffon blouse. They are the most worn, most versatile pieces in my wardrobe. They are seasonless and can be worn for almost any occasion. This pale tan blouse is a nice choice, and this Ann Taylor blouse is under-$100 and has a lovely tonal print.
An easy way to wear them is with basic separates like this cardigan and pencil skirt. It’s a great choice for more casual environments or days when you don’t have anything serious on the books. I also love the way it balances the bright skirt, but the tie gives it enough style to keep it interesting. The belt pulls it together, and again, the bracelet supports the skirt and helps create an “outfit” out of clothes.
If you combined these pieces with the 15 “casual” pieces from yesterday, there really is not limit to the number of outfits you could create. The citron sweater could be worn with the navy or the cobalt. It could be worn under the cardigan, as well.
The striped shirt could be worn under the sweater or the jacket with jeans or the cobalt skirt. And you could wear any of these blouses with yesterday’s jeans, or add the cognac bag instead of the grey. You could also wear yesterday’s necklace with most of these pieces. Because once you have a foundation of pieces in the same color palette or in coordinating colors, they can flow together effortlessly.