I expected Miami to be hot, loud and a place where my comfort level was not only ignored but obliterated. However, with a particularly lovely group of girls in tow and an especially wonderful bride-to-be at the helm, the trip was set up to be epic in the very best way. As I wrote this post in my Notes on the iPhone, I sat on a plane (aisle seat, thank god) with feet swelled up like loaves of bread and eyes that refused to open all the way. But the memories are worth it. And as I “detoxed” Sunday night on a diet coke and Evian with a side of fashion magazines, the morning’s bloody Mary’s a distant and delightful memory, I peacefully relived all my favorite moments from the weekend. Most importantly, the clothes. Or lack thereof.
An article in this month’s fabulous Marie Claire @ Work (their glam new professionista insert which is a welcome freebie to this recently transplanted, former work-from-homer with a new corporate job) struck my fancy. The Problem with Casual Fridays carefully unfolds the pro’s and con’s of the concept, something that is rampant in offices from coast to coast, whether officially or by chance.
It seems we spend much of the day on Friday day dreaming about tonight’s margaritas and tomorrow’s mimosas, longing to feel the sunshine that’s just beyond our grasp, outside the professional grade window. Along with a chill internal vibe, many of us lean toward more relaxed outfit planning for Fridays. And while this can go very well (dark denim, trend-right top, comfortable wedges), it can also go very poorly (ripped jeans, revealing top, scary flats).
The article asserts that while “casual” dressing may be encouraged on some (or in my case, all) days, there is a line and it’s important not to cross it. Also, dressing in a sharp manner at all times will still make you likelier to get that big promotion, or at least prove to your boss and the higher-ups within your company that you mean business. This is not to say you can’t have fun with fashion. But it’s all about balance.
So, how do we toe the line? And, um, what happens if you, like your friend here, work in an office that has a casual dress code all of the time? Gone are the days where my aching feet wept silent tears as I forced them into three-inch, pointed toe stilettos and began my trek by foot and subway from 103rd street to the Lower East Side. And here to stay are the days when I look in the mirror, knowing my proposed outfit of stirrup leggings, embroidered tunic and Ferragamo flats would be perfectly acceptable… but I just can’t wear it. I just can’t. Be. Sloppy. At. Work.
Thank you, Marie Claire @ Work for giving us some rules– flats are mostly not okay, but instead consider a kitten heel. Jeans can be done in dark, fitted *but not tight* varieties, but heels are really a must then. Bold colors are best on Fridays. Ditto whacky patterns. And spaghetti straps? No. Just, no.
I would hereby like to lengthen the list for those of us who work in perpetually casual environments. You can be comfortable, trendy and cute all at once. And the bottom line? When in doubt, wear a dress.
A maxi and a cardi
This combination will have you feeling pajama-comfy but will allow you to walk into any meeting feeling confident. If you’re going for a jersey knit, keep the pattern simple and chic. I really like silkier fabrics in a maxi, as they dress it up a little while keeping that same comfortable factor. Pair with a fitted cardigan or cropped blazer and work-appropriate slip-ons. A statement necklace or armful of gold bangles won’t hurt here.
A color-blocked Oxford shirt and happy jeans
For the truly casual office, you can have a ton of fun with color while sticking to traditional cuts and styles. A two-tone Oxford shirt is professional yet cool, and these peach skinny jeans add humor. In lieu of her rope bracelets, though, I’d go with a gold-tone watch. And on the feet? Brogues or kitten heels, for sure. No flats with these pants!
Short dress and low heels (or vaguely masculine shoes)
Yes, as temperatures climb, so do hemlines. It’s okay to wear a shorter dress (be classy, here, ladies) at the office. The key is making sure you still look professional. A short dress that you would wear to the beach is likely not a great option for the office. (Except in a case like this, which I wrote about last week). But if you stick to classic prints like nautical stripes, shirt dresses, polka dots, or understated florals, you’ll be in great shape. Lace can work too, as long as it is paired with the right accessories. I like to add a chunky belt, dramatic earrings, etc. Hairbows are wrong with flirty dresses. It’s too little girlish, and not womanly enough for an office environment.
Peplum top and cropped jeans with platforms
Okay, so to go ahead and break MC’s denim rule, I think a slightly faded jean can work. But the pairings have to be impeccable. In this case, she is wearing a sharp, white peplum top with a necklace-inspired yoke, and sky-high heels. Her cuffed jeans work, despite their lighter wash. Make sure if you go this root that your heels are incredibly high (but that you can walk in them) and that your accessories are chic and contemporary. And, ladies, definitely save this one for Friday.
I was in New York for family reasons over the weekend. While in town, I did have the distinct pleasure of meeting my dear friend’s two-week-old son on the Upper West Side. I also enjoyed the exquisite Japanese tasting menu at a hot new restaurant in Williamsburg and made it to one of my bridesmaid’s bridal showers in the West Village. I found an hour to visit my doctor in Midtown East; also very necessary. It was quite a hectic, yet important, trip.
My return home was delayed due to a security scare and subsequent evacuation at La Guardia airport this morning. The good news: no one was hurt, and I managed to find a cab in the scramble and get the hell out. The other good news: I have one extra night on my little brother’s couch in Williamsburg, and had one extra afternoon to wander the streets of Brooklyn soaking it all in.
Last night, we saw a friend whose first words to me were, “Where’s your big hair?” Since stepping off the plane Saturday morning, I’ve been wearing it bone-straight like I always did here. I whipped out my cell and showed her some shots of the voluminous, curly style I’ve been sporting in Dallas. She approved, natch.
Dallas is an incredibly chic city. So is New York. But the differences, large and minute, are everywhere. Things are more pared-down here, more subtle. But then a black trench that you think is just a black trench is actually a vintage Burberry find worth upwards of $3,000. I’ve been living in Texas for about seven months now, and my eyes are newly opened each day to the over-the-top beauty of the Southern girl’s guide to style.
A woman in the Uptown Dallas highrise where we live stepped off the elevator the other afternoon wearing the pale pink studded Valentino stilettos I’ve been eying for months. Being the loud-mouthed Lawn Gisland Jew that I am, I couldn’t help but gush. “OMG, I love your shoes.” Maybe a New York girl wouldn’t have been so inclined to gush back at me, “Get them! I could run a mile in these,” and then turn to Josh and confirm, “Really. I could.” OK, girl. Let me just dig around in my purse for the 800 bills. He’ll totally approve, now that he knows you could run in them. It was really quite sweet.
But then you’ll find yourself in Manhattan on a Monday afternoon and a woman in a black leather bomber jacket and the brightest of poppy-hued lipstick is hailing a cab. You won’t tell her how chic she looks because, even though she wants you to notice, she doesn’t want you to tell her. But you’ll smile at her and she’ll smile back in an unspoken exchange of, “Work it, girl.”
Just over the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll find a punkier, messier, just as sexy appeal. Street style runs the gamut from H&M to Alexander Wang, from Max Mara Weekend to J. Crew, Helmut Lang and more. There’s a glorious high-low mix that I appreciate and adore in Brooklyn, and now that I’ve submerged myself for a few days, I’ll be sure to bring it back to Dallas with me when I return. You can only be from one place, but you can sprinkle the style that you soak in everywhere you go to help create your own unique look. And no matter where you are making a glam new life for yourself, it’s always important to remember — there’s no place like home.
I was a total man repeller on Tuesday. No, don’t give me too much credit. This is not my term. The brilliant concept started here and is now a phenomenon. In short, it’s a style of dressing and makeup-ing oneself in a method that follows important trends, fashion-forward thinking, avant-garde practices, and other aesthetics that men find inherently unsexy. But we ladies know it’s fabulous. And our gays generally back us up.
Case in point: last Friday I found myself with a fresh paycheck in my account and twenty minutes to spare before meeting Josh at Whole Foods for a riveting hour of low-calorie, gluten-free, certified-organic shopping. Snawn. (That is my term. It’s a snore-yawn.)
Luckily for this housewife-in-training, there is a Bloomingdales outlet adjacent to our favorite Whole Foods. So, on a lie related to the wedding “I’m browsing for shoe inspiration!,” I wandered in and directly over to the clearance aisle.
Now, I will preface this next bit by admitting that I am not on the maxi train. I know y’all have been aboard for the past several seasons, and I will wave to you gladly as you roll on by in all your floor-sweeping glory. But they generally are just not for me. I’ve purchased three, and of those three I’ve returned one and given another away. The third hangs anxiously in my closet awaiting its big moment. This moment will likely never come.
But I did see a compelling item in the maxi vein on that fated clearance rack last Friday. It was a long (ankle-sweeping), black chiffon skirt with a red all-over splatter pattern and cinched grosgrain waist. It was also in the desirable size I’ve been hoping to find my way back to for the past several months. Two full sizes below the items that didn’t button at Christmas, I might add.
Off I scurried to the dressing room. It fit! And, um, it kind of looked fabulous. It had pockets! And two subtle pleats on each side. Oooh, I crooned internally. This is chic. But Josh will hate it.
Price check? Original $235 tag intact. Scans in at? 43 bucks, baby. SOLD, to the maxi-hating man repeller in the front row.
Tuesday was a blissful weather day, hovering in the high 70s without a drop of humidity. I shaved the bottom four inches of my legs (hey, why exert yourself when it isn’t necessary?) and donned my fabulous skirt with a cropped Sonia Rykiel long-sleeved wrap tee and my black velvet Tory Burch smoking mocs. Damn, did I look good.
I awoke Josh for my morning once-over. (Please note: there are no women except for me living in this house, and the animals are unreliable. He’s all I’ve got!)
With one eye open, the always-kind Josh whose outfit responses always range from “chic” to “sexy” to at least “you look great,” made a face.
“You look like a nun.”
My response? A shrug, a smile, and a quick photo text to my brother. Who approved with high marks. So, maybe I repelled the most important man on Tuesday, but damn did I feel fly stepping out of my own comfort zone and into something new. Josh knows I’ll always come back to my booty-loving skinnies and those mini skirts he so adores.
The moral? Dig through that clearance rack, girls. And don’t be afraid to break your man’s rules from time to time… at least, when it comes to fashion.
Oh and also? I still kind of hate maxis. But if your newly skinny ankles are showing and you just feel fabulous, I suggest you go for it whether the trend is “you” or not.
About a year and a half ago, I was temping at a not-so-hot fashion company in New York City, where the theme of the clothes is overpriced hooker wear and the office wardrobe for all was head-to-toe black. I worked the front reception desk during fashion week while emaciated, nasal-toned Jersey Girls who typically did nothing more than that shot nasty glances on their way out the door en route to appointments and shows. They felt extraordinarily superior. Whatever.
I was a confident 26-year-old who had chosen to leave my high-stress PR job in order to free up time for writing, ruminating and just living. It was my choice to temp around NYC at various fashion brands while I looked for something permanent that I loved. But when bitchy fashion girls take it up a notch from scoffing to actually talking sh*t, it can hurt.
When I heard two of them in the bathroom one day talking about my outfit, I nearly died! I was wearing a long-sleeved silk tunic from Joie with black leggings and a pair of Cole Haan black booties. I actually kind of felt cute that morning.
“I can’t believe she’s wearing leggings to work. Ew!”
“Yeah, leggings are so totally over.”
We had to wear head-to-toe black every single. I have plenty of black, but you try it without whipping out a pair of leggings from time! I was sad. I did not wear leggings again to that job, and these days I tend to only wear them on the weekends.
Recently, I’ve lost about ten pounds. This morning, feeling narrower than I have in a while, I decided to sport an oversized glittery French Connection top to work. My black pants are at the dry cleaner, and jeans just didn’t seem to work. I slipped on some leggings, thinking, “I’ll throw a black mini over these.” But you know what? With the addition of shiny gray flats and some chunky jewelry, I actually loved the look.
Those bitchy fashion girls can laugh all they want, but on this particularly gray day in the great state of Texas, I’m miles away from their nasty stares. And hey, I bet I look a lot cuter in my leggings than they do in their overpriced hooker dresses. Fin.
Did anyone else nearly die when they saw Kirsten Dunst in a checkerboard Louis Vuitton dress at The Art of Elysium’s 6th Annual Heaven Gala a couple weeks ago? Her hair and outfit pairings (the ivory clutch, the simple pointed-toe show) were perfection. But if we’re being honest, that dress is what stole the show. And the red carpet. Nay, the entire night.
Louis Vuitton is often on the cutting edge of fashion despite their long historic roots and classically beloved styles. But this new collection is an absolute masterpiece fit for women of all walks of life. It’s fun, it’s chic, it’s a little of the old world and plenty of the new. If I had the chance to blow a ton of change on one outfit this spring, it would definitely be one of these. Now the question is, which one?
While we’re daydreaming, I’ll take a model’s body in addition to my spring wardrobe budget. And in that case, I’ll be going with Look #1 of the above, the long-sleeved black and white crop-top-and-mini-skirt ensemble. Gorgeous!
Who’s got spring on the brain? This newly-southern belle does. From lace dresses to chunky platforms and even the oft-dreaded bikini, I’ve been cruising the racks and the online shops for some key pieces that will brighten up the coming season.
Today it’s in the 70s in Dallas and I rocked my favorite Theory cropped jeans (a chic slate blue denim) with black velvet Tory smoking loafers and a red crochet top I nabbed at Urban on what my mother would call “Deep Sale” at the end of last summer. It’s a fun spring outfit for a very temperate day, but just last week it was freezing here as it is in the rest of the country, so I’m sure we aren’t planted in full-on spring style … yet.
I’ve been eying a particularly cute raised floral, high-waist bikini from American Apparel for over a year now and it’s finally inched its way down the sale ladder to a price I was able to swing. I sized up as I always do with them and was delighted when it came in the mail this weekend. Now, as for trying it on, I think I’ll take a few more weeks to make sure I’m feeling swimwear-ready. But from initial glance, it’s everything I expected and it has a cute a detachable string that can be used to turn the bandeau top into a halter on a whim.
For the most part, I’m biding my time with the acquisition of new duds for two reasons. First, I have a wedding at the end of this year and I need to save the cash. Second, some of what I’m seeing is still quite reminiscent of last year’s hot-ticket items and I think if I play my cards right, I might be able to nab some key pieces at low prices by digging through the sale racks.
If you’re itching for some instant satisfaction, check out Nanette Lepore’s new collaboration with jcpenney, an ultra-chic juniors collection that’s ready for the picking and bursting with neons, floral prints, high-low details and great skinnies. If you’ve got the dough, nothing says spring like my newest obsession– Miu Miu crystal-heeled ankle-strap pumps. Now, that’s fashion.
January’s Lucky mag is filled with surprising mix-and-match outfit ideas that are utterly to die for. From wild stripes with bright florals to stars and polka dots with a drapey neon cardigan thrown on top, this glitter girl was majorly inspired. It’s definitely still the dead of winter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t brighten things up a little, am I wrong? Today I’m sporting a lot of black: high-waisted BDG leggings from Urban, Ferragamo low-heeled rain boots, and a long cashmere cardi from Juicy Couture. My pop of color is in the form of a bright, ocean-blue lace dress from Free People that I nabbed on sale at Bloomie’s over the holidays. Compliment count: 3 so far. Not bad!
The blue creates a surprising burst of color and looks great next to my new gray Alexander Wang bag (thanks Joshy!) but now that I’ve braved a cold wintry day in my cheerful spring dress, it’s time for more fun. It’s time for tweeds with flowers and stars with dots and stripes. I’m ready! Are you? Here are some ideas:
Is anyone else feeling dark and floral these days? I love a good summer dress, and sometimes in winter months I long for that fun pop of pretty that a flower print can bring to your look. The solution? I’ve been integrating my favorite summer florals into my winter wear in new and inventive ways. So far, seems to be working!
Yesterday, I sported my favorite little Betsey Johnson acquisition from this summer, a black spaghetti strap mini dress with all-over pink flowers. To winterize and dress it down, I layered it over thick black Wolford cotton velvet tights and a 3/4 sleeve black tee. On my feet, I wore my new favorites–a pair of velvet Tory Burch smoking loafers that are as comfy as slippers and as chic as everything you’ve been coveting from the magazines this season. The compliments rolled in!
Here are some winterized florals for you to check out. Would you rock this trend?
Dallas weather has been in the 80′s but this morning as I stepped onto my balcony to enjoy a coffee break, there was a marked chill in the air. And I loved it! I’ve been pouring over all the fashion mags lately and am enticed by inventive sweaters in bold hues, fun patterns, and surprising shapes. Here are some that every girl has to try this fall:
You can make this work look by pairing items you already have in your closet with a sweater like this plush crew-neck option from Vince, $320, bloomingdales.com.
You can work in red and a pattern with this oversized cheetah-inspired sweater from MINKPINK, $80, urbanoutfitters.com.
I found a crazy-affordable star-print sweater that you must purchase today. Wear with jeans, leggings, even a pleated mini. Love this find from Bisou Bisou, $25, jcpenney.com.