Office Appropriate Outfits – Winter

Favorite Outfit of February

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

At least one of you said that you liked my little list last month of stuff I did during the month. So, here it is again!

In February, I:

  • Traveled to Tampa
  • Ran my fastest half marathon ever
  • Won enough money to cover my drinks at the horse racing track and come home with $4
  • Participated in my first paid in-person focus group (about grocery shopping and store brands)
  • Tried two new-to-me restaurants (RPM Steak and Forno Rosso)
  • Met a ton of Chicago foodie Instagrammers at an event at Fremont
  • Visited the Garfield Park Conservatory for the first time
  • Published 21 blog posts!
  • Continued to lift literal tons of weight at the gym
  • Became the VP of Education for my work’s Toastmasters club
  • And, of course, worked my regular day job

So, while I was doing all of that, what outfit was my favorite? Actually, I think it was one that’s pretty much a throwback to how I used to dress.


When I dress like this I still feel powerful and professional. Plus, it was nice to bust out some color in what is generally a fairly dreary month.

But, enough about me. I want to know what YOU think! Which of the outfits below was your favorite in February?


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Red and Fabulous

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I’m writing this post while sitting in the airport on my way back to Chicago from Tampa. Let me tell you, as hard as it was to leave the 80 degrees, sunshine and amazingly low humidity, I’m looking forward to seeing this face. And my husband, of course.

In the meantime, I’m happy I have a backlog of outfit photos to share. I wore the outfit below to work on one of the randomly warm days we’ve had this winter. Although, to be honest, I did wear my Uggs during my commute.


Top – Le Tote (same) | Pants – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Nine West (same) | Necklace – Macy’s (similar)


I really, really liked this outfit and debated keeping this top. I used to have a similar one that I wore in a similar outfit years ago that I got rid of because it was just too billowy. This one from Le Tote was almost perfect in many ways, but it ended up being a tad too short. It looks great in the photos but if I lifted my arms it rode halfway up my torso.

Still, when I wore this outfit to work our internal systems project manager told me that I always look amazing. Although, let’s be honest. It’s not that difficult to do in our office. And as much as I like being able to wear jeans, sometimes you’ve just got to wear your bright red pants and look fabulous.


SIA Outfit: Bible Quilt

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Style Imitating Art

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m still in Tampa right now but I can’t be remiss in participating in this week’s Style Imitating Art series. Especially now that I’m one of the hosts!

Remember last week when I posted the beautiful “Bible Quilt”? Here’s a reminder:


Scarf – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Sweater – LOFT via Goodwill (similar) | Skirt – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – J. Crew Factory (similar

I knew when Jen posted this quilt that I wanted to wear neutrals, specifically gray and tan. But I didn’t know exactly how I wanted to pair them. I tried a few different outfits and in the end settled on this gray skirt with a oatmeal colored sweater and my latest Le Tote accessories.

I actually loved this scarf so much the last time I had it in a Tote that I ended up buying it when I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Plus, you know, there are animals depicted in the quilt and this scarf is made of faux animal fur. It kind of makes sense, right?


The necklace added a much needed bit of color. Since I don’t own anything orange I thought the corals and pinks in this necklace were as close as I was going to get.

And, yes, I’m more dressed up than I needed to be for my job but, hey, I have a closet full of skirts. Why not wear them? With fleeced lined tights, of course. Because it’s Chicago. In winter.

Oh, and guess what! Next week I get to pick the art for the Style Imitating Art challenge! I hope you’ll think about participating. Remember, you don’t have to have a blog to share your photos with me! sc

Black and Navy [Pinterest Parallels Vol. 18]

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

A few weeks ago one of my blogging buddies shared an event on Facebook. For $60 you could get hair, makeup and two hours with professional photographers in a location not that far from my apartment. I’d never paid for professional photos for my blog before, but I thought this might be fun.


And it was! I was originally a bit stressed about what to wear because the location, Boutique Photo Loft, isn’t my normal aesthetic. However, the photographers had a plain white photo backdrop set up, too.  I decided this was a great chance to try out a black and navy outfit I’d saved on Pinterest.


Sweater – Forever 21 (similar) | Skirt – Langford Market (similar) | Tights – Target (similar) | Scarf – Dry Goods (similar) | Booties – Liz Claiborne via DSW (similar)

I showed up to the venue after work with a suitcase full of clothes, shoes and accessories. The venue was in this old warehouse, on the third floor, behind a hidden door. I felt pretty ridiculous walking up and down the hallway over and over again trying to find it! Finally, I figured it out and went on in. After a short wait, it was time for make-up and hair. The artist asked if I wanted anything in particular and I said that I wanted my hair to have volume and my eyes to have drama. I’d say she delivered on both!


The photographer got some great shots and was pretty good at telling me where to put my hands, where to look, and how to angle my feet. I need that kind of direction because I never really know what to do. But, I did learn I’m much better at acting playful than I am at acting serious.


I had a fun time and would definitely do it again now that I’ve had the experience!

I have a few more photos to share of other outfits so those will be coming up in the next few weeks. Don’t want to overload you all at once 🙂

Also, in case you’re curious, I did actually wear this outfit to work. And later that week a coworker told me I should be nominated for the best dressed employee in our office. I’ll take that kind of compliment!

A random assortment of clothes

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

A few weeks ago I threw together this outfit but it only made it to Instagram. However, I loved it so much that I wanted to get better photos. So, I recreated it.

My original plan when I packed my gym bag that morning was just the plaid shirt. But, that shirt is kind of boxy on me so I felt it needed something to give it shape. My first instinct was to go for my olive cargo vest but I also felt that was a cop-out. This particular shirt has some black in it so why not go for a black vest?


Vest – Target (similar) | Shirt – Old Navy (similar) | Jeans – Old Navy (same) | Boots – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Watch c/o JORD (same)

All piled together it kind of looked like a random assortment of stuff. Jeans, brown boots, plaid shirt and a black moto vest? Interesting. But, for some reason it all works together.

I also like adding the white long sleeved tee under the plaid shirt and pushing up the sleeves on both. I think it helps add some visual interest to the outfit. Also, when it’s cold in Chicago, it adds some warmth. Always appreciated, right?


SIA: A Splash of Gold

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Style Imitating Art

Remember the faux leather leggings I purchased in January? In fact, my only purchase in January?

I love them. I never want to take them off. I want to wear them every day. And, by the way, they’re on sale.


Cardigan – Nordstrom Rack | Shirt – Express (similar) | Pants – Club Monaco c/o Shopbop (same) | Boots – Express (similar) | Watch – gift (same)

I paired them with this blue top and my black faux suede boots and felt pretty sassy all day. I wasn’t in love with this cardigan and kind of wish I’d gone with a striped one, but in the end I stayed with black.

All together this outfit has the dark night sky colors the echo the painting that Salazar chose for this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge. The gold zipper on the top is a nod to the firework-eque splashes in the night sky.

Anyway, back to these leggings. When I first put them on it was like putting on a wetsuit. And if you’e never put on a wetsuit, well, let’s just say it was challenging. Thankfully they’ve stretched out just enough to make it so they go on a bit more easily. And I don’t have to wear a belt! And they don’t fall down! And I think they make my legs look nice.


Also, I got some of my professional photos back and I’m looking forward to sharing them on the blog! In the meantime, I’ve put a few sneak peeks on my Facebook page if you want to go take a look.

Finally, happy birthday to my husband! His birthday was actually yesterday and we went out to dinner on Saturday night. We went to RPM Steak and it was lovely! Plus, it gave us an excuse to put on some nice clothes and try to take some pictures of ourselves.


Dress – Stitch Fix (similar) | Long necklace – Le Tote (same) | Short necklace – The Limited (similar)

Favorite Outfit of January

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Before we get to my favorite outfit and your chance to vote for yours, how is everyone’s 2016 going so far? Mine is flying by! I think because January was a busy month for me. So far in 2016 I’ve:

  • Run my fastest 5 mile race ever
  • Celebrated my birthday
  • Tried a new restaurant
  • Worked my butt off for the F3 Half Marathon
  • Had drinks with friends twice
  • Attended a board meeting for my running club
  • Taken an Orangetheory fitness class
  • Worked my regular day job
  • Published 18 blog posts plus one for Le Tote
  • Lifted some gigantic amount of weights at the gym
  • Gotten my picture taken by professional photographers

Thank goodness this week is much quieter! At least until Saturday when we take the dog to the vet and celebrate my husband’s birthday.

Anyway, moving on to the actual point of this post. My favorite outfit (and your chance to vote for yours!)

My favorite is actually one of my most casual. That’s how it’s been lately, it seems. So, I’ll be interested to see if you agree with me this month.


Original post

Yep. Jeans, cargo vest, boots and plaid. Could I be any more basic? I’m okay with that, though.

So, do you agree with me or do you have a different favorite? Vote below!


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Two outfits for a girl’s night out

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

As an ambassador for Le Tote, I get some fun opportunities. Recently they asked me to create a Girl’s Night Out look using Le Tote items. Well, I did one better: I created TWO outfits using the same top and necklace, both from Le Tote.


First up, let’s say you’re going to do something casual with your girlfriends. Beers and dinner at the local neighborhood restaurant, maybe? Jeans, a blouse, flats, and a faux leather moto jacket and you’re done.


Blouse – Le Tote (same) | Jacket – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters (same) | Flats – Sole Society (similar

Or maybe you’re going out to a fun bar for drinks or appetizers or just to people watch. Maybe you want to take it up a notch and wear something a little less casual. That’s where this Sam Edelman top comes in. Check out the shoulders.


Yep! They unzip! Get a little bare skin action going on there. Pair it with some faux leather pants and some heels, keep the same necklace, and you’ve amped up your outfit for something a little more daring.


Pants – Vince Camuto (similar) | Heels – Bandolino (similar

What do you think? Would you wear either of these outfits? Which one do you like best? What do you like to do on a girl’s night out?

Personally? I’m ALWAYS up for drinks and food. Always. In fact, I just took advantage of the happy hour at a local restaurant (Nellcote, for you Chicagoans) where you can get any pizza and any beer for $10. That’s a crazy deal! Two of my friends and I each ordered a different pizza so we could try more than one. It worked out perfectly.

P.S. You can still get $25 off your first month of Le Tote if you use code ERIN25. Oh, and while you’re at it, you can see this outfit featured on their blog, too!

Pinterest Parallels [Vol. 17]

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Viagra users forum · Style Imitating Art

When I got my new camel blazer for Christmas I knew the exact outfit I wanted to recreate using it. It was this one from Damsel in Dior. Turns out this outfit also kind of works for this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge from Animated Cardigan.


Blazer – The Limited (similar) | Shirt- Le Tote (same) | Scarf – gift (similar) | Pants – Vince Camuto (similar) | Shoes – Sam Edelman (same)

I know the original SIA photograph that Jess chose is all black and white, but I think the stripes on my shirt echo the trees and the tan jacket just alludes to nature.

In other news, I spent all of Friday and Saturday working at for a local half marathon and a good chunk of Sunday answering post-race emails. Our race shirt manufacturer missed our deadline and, as such, some of our shirts were stuck in transit and didn’t arrive in time for the race. Most people were understanding but there are always those who have to be rude or difficult about things, right?

Anyway, it just reinforces the life lesson that you should try your hardest to be nice to people. Why default to rude when it’s just as easy to be nice, you know?

I fully admit that I am not always the nicest person. Sometimes Jason has to say “Be nice” when I’m getting testy. So even I can stand a reminder now and then. No one is perfect.

Admittedly, even this outfit isn’t perfect. In the interest of full disclosure, I barely wore the blazer all day. After months of being cold our office is finally warm! So, I suppose, that my outfit ended up being a great interpretation of this week’s SIA choice after all.


The most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

So, for this month’s Third Thursday Threads with Bri from Work Clothes, I Suppose we’re supposed to write about our most cherished item. The one we coveted, saved up for, will repair before we donate/toss. You get the picture.

Whenever anyone asks me this, I always answer with my black Cole Haan boots. Why? Because they were what I consider to be my first “adult” purchase. See, after I graduated college I moved back to my hometown, got a job, and eventually worked part time and went to graduate school part time. Heck, Jason and I even bought a house! But where I worked wasn’t exactly “professional” dress and I was always running up and down stairs, hauling boxes, or kneeling on the floor. Not to mention lugging around boxes of historical documents and ledgers from the late 1800s. Dusty, dirty work. I wore mostly clothes from the Junior’s department and very rarely wore heels.

But I had a pair of black kitten heel faux leather knee high boots that I loved. And when they finally fell apart I wanted to replace them. Shortly after we moved to Chicago I found myself at one of the major malls in the Chicago suburbs looking for a new pair of boots. And I found the perfect ones. Except they were at Cole Haan and cost more than I’d ever spent on anything.


That was 8 years ago. I didn’t save up for them like I should have but I bought them and I’ve wore the heck out of them. I’ve gotten the heel tips replaced several times and even though the pointy toe is a bit dated and I’m back in a job where I rarely wear heels, they’ll always have a place in my closet. In fact, I just wore them again on my birthday with black jeggings, a hot pink sweater, and a black blazer.

This particular style, of course, is no longer sold. The closest thing Cole Haan has right now is these.  And these ones are similar but MUCH cheaper.

What about you? What is that “one” item in your closet? Linking up with Bri’s Third Thursday Threads