Finally a challenge that doesn’t involve entertaining a kid in the ER, beating the national average on the Constitution Quiz or explaining what a dry scrubber is.
My dear friend Brigid, who has been there with me at so many seminal points in my life ranging from my first purchase at the Bobbi Brown counter to 9-11, is in charge of an important upcoming event at work. As is often the challenge in work-related events, she needs to strike a balanced evening look that is professional, yet elegant, and a daytime (outdoor) look that is casual but demands her to look office-appropriate nonetheless.
For the evening portion of her event, Brigid has to dress for Mass, a reception, and a benefactor dinner at the university where she is director of communications. Given that she will be attending Mass, she needs to be conservative. But I want her to stand out appropriately and highlight her beauty. So I found this gorgeous DVF in a bottle green color that will make Brigid’s beautiful green eyes pop (and distinguish her from all those wearing black, but without the ostentatious message that red can sometimes send). The Maidey is long-sleeved, has a high-neck, isn’t too form fitting, but highly flattering. I’d pair it with simple pearl earrings and nude pumps.
For the day look, considering that Brigid doesn’t have much time, I stuck to options from J. Crew, a store she shops. I know I am spending a lot of Brigid’s money here, but I also have confidence that she can replicate any of these items at a lower price point. I’m just here to provide some direction.
For Brigid I love this viridian green wool skirt (okay, I have it, and the color is so much richer in person than it appears on-line) and an ivory blouse. I gave her two sweater options (after all, Brigid lives in Wisconsin and daytime temps might demand an extra layer). If she’s feeling bold, I’d pair the plum cardigan with the green skirt. If she needs to err on the side of conservative, the camel cardigan provides a neutral alternative. I couldn’t help picking out a leopard print flat (not just because it’s named after Brigid’s daughter) just for a little edge and some extra personality. The orange necklace options were another wildcard for if she chooses the camel sweater but wants an additional punch of color.
So there you go, Brigid. I wish I could come shopping for the day. Next time, give me a little more notice and I will see what I can arrange.
On Thursday, I worked up an outfit for Nancy and her event tonight, and this is how she replicated my vision. And without my having to drag her out shopping (yes, she hates shopping). I hope it yields attention from a worthy suitor!
Last night, I was texting with my BFF Nancy when she posed a fashion question I couldn’t answer. Nancy is the owner and CEO of Belmont, Inc. in Alexandria, and she is often invited to business networking events. Usually these events are either formal, themed, or occur after work and thus business attire is de rigueur. But she was invited to an event this weekend, for Saturday evening, and the invitation reads “business formal.” So Nancy’s question: WTF is business formal?
In my mind, I was envisioning something less than a cocktail dress but more than a business suit. After offering to put together an appropriate business formal outfit for Nancy, I did a Google search to see if my instincts were correct. I found numerous descriptions for business formal for women as being a suit with a jacket of the same color, close-toed shoes, and panty hose. Panty hose? Really? And tell me, etiquette goddesses of the interwebs, how is this look different from straightforward business attire?
I went to bed discouraged with this news because I was hoping to suggest that Nancy invest in a silky (slinky) DVF. (She could really rock the Della in cadet blue.) But then I woke up and had an epiphany. There is no reason why Nancy has to look like she’s going to a board meeting. She can wear a dress, though of the wool sheath professional variety, have fun with some accessories and look totally business appropriate.
Nancy is tall, thus she can wear just about anything, and since she is blonde, I love the idea of her in the peacock blue town hall dress from J. Crew. Since the color is so vibrant (like Nancy’s personality) I recommend she accessorize with neutrals. Her legs will look even longer than they already are (damn her) in a beige pump (close-toed, but still sexy) and the gold bag will offer a little evening shimmer (I mean, come on, it’s a Saturday). I added a white silk and cashmere wrap because it’s either cold outside or cold inside. As for jewelry, since Nancy doesn’t do earrings, I suggest she opt between the necklace or the bracelet. (I had to work a pop of orange in there somewhere, and it’s engraved “stand tall” which is so appropriate for Nancy.) She could potentially wear both if they work together. Fashion is about trial and error, I just prefer for that trial and error to be worked out in the confines of your own dressing room and not in public.
I asked for it, I got it. My first Style This! challenge. I have to admit two things. One, I am a polyvore novice, so really I have no idea what I’m doing. And let me just convey that there’s a reason I didn’t go into the graphic arts. Secondly, I think I’m addicted. But because I am a beginner, please be patient while I navigate how best to showcase my styling recommendations. That is to say, I borrowed the template featured here because I was scared (and too time crunched) to do my own, but once I get the hang of it, my sets will look fantastic.
(I will not work on polyvore sets until all my chores are done. I will not work on polyvore sets until all my chores are done.)
One another note, these sets are fantasy. If I see something that works, I’m going to include it even if it’s beyond a price point that is comfortable for most normal people with mortgages, kids and student loans. In the spirit of that old Elizabeth Hasselbeck show The Look for Less, if you like something I have presented, take the vision and replicate it with lower-priced items. With that said, I want to encourage you to not be afraid of investment pieces. (Sounds like a blog post subject in and of itself so stay tuned.)
My friend Kasey was not only the suggester of Style This! but also the first of my followers to make a request. Her issue? She has a self-professed crush on the Sunrise Shirt Dress from Anthropologie. But as Kasey wisely noted, while the texture of this dress is perfect for hot and humid summers days, if not styled properly, it has the potential to give a serious Anne of Green Gables vibe.
I think this muted shade of green would look fabulous with a pop of color. In the polyvore set shown above, I went with a dark pink belt, necklace and bangles and a bright yellow clutch. I could see swapping the necklace for a scarf (or nothing) if in person the necklace is too dressy for the rest of the outfit. (Even my outfit pairing ideas for items already in my own wardrobe don’t always work out how I envision them.) A nude shoe for this ensemble is a must. I know Kasey can handle herself in a pair of heels, so I chose high, but I wanted a sandal style that compliments the dress and the season. The issue of what to wear over the dress confounded me. A sweater seems too frumpy. A blazer seems like you are trying too hard to dress up a casual dress. But a white trench coat seemed like a natural pairing here because you never know when a summer thunderstorm might roll in or the air conditioner in your office might be set on arctic.
As an alternative, Kasey could also try this dress with an orange shoe and a neutral belt. But then I would ditch the yellow clutch and add a cross body bag in a shade just a bit deeper than the dress. Keep the same bangles. In fact, talking it out here, I think I might like the second set better than the first. So now, I should probably delete the first and pretend this was my original vision, but I really want you all to know that style is a process.
I mean, even da Vinci drafted and redrafted.