A reader recently contacted me to ask about what she should wear to a business casual interview. She’s been out of the interviewing game for a few years so she wasn’t sure what was appropriate.
I’m pretty sure this is a question we all ask ourselves. Do I wear a suit? Is a dress okay? What about a skirt? Here are my thoughts.
1. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed so wear a suit if you feel comfortable in it. But don’t wear a suit just to wear a suit. Black dress pants and a fun jacket or a nice cardigan can be just as professional.
2. See if you can do some research on the company beforehand and see if you can find any images of employees online. That might give you an idea of how they dress. But if they’re wearing jeans in the photos that doesn’t mean you can wear jeans! But maybe you can go with something more fun like some beautiful cobalt blue dress pants instead of black.
3. Dresses and skirts are fine but since tights and nylons are coming back into style it’s a good idea to wear a pair. Sheer black is always a good move with a closed-toe heel.
4. V-necks are totally fine, but just be sure to wear a nice camisole underneath so you’re not flashing all the goods.
5. Keep the jewelry minimal. No jangly bracelets or huge statement necklaces. Those are fun but save them until after you get the job.
I chose the pieces above because many of them you could mix and match to suit your own personal style. Black suits are fine and dandy but, hey, don’t forget to let a little bit of your personality shine through!
It’s the holiday season which for many people, me included, means it’s time for all things sparkly! But, I actually love sequins all year round and I don’t think they should be relegated to just those evening and weekend holiday parties. And after wearing my sequin skirt to work yesterday and getting so many compliments that I lost count (including from the baristas at Starbucks and the security staff of my building) I think everyone should try to wear something sequined to work and get their own compliments!
There are some rules to wearing sequins to the office appropriately. Fail to follow these and you’ll look like you belong in Las Vegas and not leading a meeting.
The Four Simple Rules for Wearing Sequins to the Office
1. Stay away from black sequins
Go with silver, blush, light gold or, if it’s Christmastime, red. Black is for night clubs, not offices.
2. Wear your sequins with tailored pieces
Notice I pair mine with plain blazers, pencil skirts, turtlenecks and cardigans along with simple shoes.
3. Keep the accessories minimal
Sequins don’t need a lot of accessorizing. They’re pretty awesome all on their own.
4. Nothing too tight, short or low-cut
Save those sequin mini skirts and skin-tight shirts for Vegas, please.
Need some shopping ideas? Here are 14 of my picks that are office appropriate! Note: the black Old Navy tank comes in lots of colors. I just couldn’t get anything other than black to show up in the slideshow below.
You probably have at least one in your closet. A pencil skirt. An business office wardrobe staple for many of us. And they might get a lot of wear, too. I mean, we are at work more than we’re at home. Or, at least, it seems like that for me. But who wants to have two entirely separate wardrobes? One for work and one for play. I mean, that gets expensive! Which is why faithful reader Kelsey asked me how should could make her pencil skirts casual for the weekend.
I collated 8 different casual pencil skirt looks that include what I consider to be the staple pieces in making your pencil skirts casual.
1. A loose-fitting, casual shirt. Plain, patterned, striped, graphic, whatever. It needs to be casual and not super-tight. T-shirts, sweatshirts or tank tops will all work for this purpose as long as they are loose and comfy.
2. Flat shoes. Sneakers are a great way to dress down your skirt but if you think that’s TOO casual then just flat sandals are a good way to go in the summer.
3. Casual outerwear. For work we tend to pair our pencil skirts with cardigans or blazers. For the weekend, though, jean jackets, utility jackets, or zip-up sweatshirts are the key making those pencil skirts casual.
So, what do you think? Would you wear any of these outfits?
It’s officially summertime so for this week’s edition of You Pick Wednesday we’re going to tackle sandals. Specifically, comfortable sandals you can wear during your walking commute that won’t leave your feet sore or your knees aching. Here’s Bethany’s question:
While I normally blow off every warning about how flip flops are terrible for your feet/legs/body in general, since I’m training for Chicago [Marathon] this year and my #1 goal is to remain uninjured, I’d like to do whatever I can to make myself less likely to get injured or aggravate something…and poor footwear choices don’t seem like the best way to go about doing that.
Basically, I’m looking for sandals that 1) will be nice to my legs, particularly since I walk two miles (not all at once, just overall) on my commute, 2) are more appropriate for a twentysomething who more or less likes to keep up with shoe trends…. 3) are flat or very close to flat, since I avoid any shoe with anything resembling a heel at all costs on work days (see: two miles of walking in my commute), and 4) are not $$$$$$. $30 or less is ideal, but I’d be willing to go up to $50 if absolutely necessary.
Okay, so, the tricky part of Bethany’s question is the price. Supportive shoes and under $30 don’t really go together. At least not that I’ve found. Perhaps if you scour clearance racks and stalk sales you could find some, but chances are good you’re going to have to spend $50 or even $60 to find them. But, if you think about it, you have your feet and legs for life, right? And we pay $$$ for running shoes to keep ourselves uninjured. Why not spend that money on our every day shoes?
By the way, this is a case of do as I say, not as I do. I’m a hypocrite. I admit it.
The six sandals above range in price from $39.99 to $59.00 (although, I bet you could get the $59 one for less since they’re from Macy’s and Macy’s is always having sales and coupons). All get good reviews in terms of comfort and walkability. And most come in a variety of colors so you can pick something neutral or something fun.
The key is find something that isn’t just piece of leather or plastic attached to some straps. Cushioning and arch support are key. And if you MUST have flip flops, I can personally recommend the Montrail brand. You put them in the oven so that they warm up and then put them on and they conform to your fit. A little pricey but your cost per wear will be one of the best deals you can find.
Do you have comfortable sandals you love to wear in the summer? What kind are they?
Don’t forget, you can always submit your own question for a future You Pick Wednesday!
When I asked on Facebook for questions my fans wanted answered, one of my readers (and long-time friend) asked:
I’m tired of wearing baseball caps out (unless I’m running) but still want to keep the sun out of my face…. Just please don’t say “fedoras,” I’d feel like a poser.
So, in response, I picked 5 summer hats from Target (because, really, who doesn’t love Target). One “cowboy” style hat, two floppy hats, one traditional sun hat, and one conductor style hat.
If you’re transitioning from a baseball cap I think the conductor hat is probably the closest match if you don’t feel comfortable jumping right to a floppy hat or a cowboy-style hat. Personally, my summer hat is a purple floppy one that I bought at a boutique in Michigan.
And if you don’t like my hat picks, here are a few more summer hat posts that might inspire you more.
Say hello to Anne from Anne Really Blogs! She does her own occasional style posts (along with posts about yummy recipes, travel, her dogs, fitness, and much more) but recently she asked me for help with ways to wear her new GAP maxi skirt to work.
I’ve worn my own maxi dresses to work (sometimes even turning them into skirts) but I admit that this time I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. So here are my takes on four different ways you can make your maxi skirt work for the office.
A few months ago I saw a shirt on Fran and emailed the link to my friend Kim with the subject “Classy cat shirt”. Kim is a HUGE cat person so I thought she needed some cat clothes.
No, not like that. Like this:
We have a ongoing joke about ugly cat shirts and how I believe they should not be allowed outside of your house. Ever.
(Although, to be honest, the top right one isn’t half bad)
So, of course, Kim was excited that there was actually a Loop Looks approved cat print shirt. Which means when I asked for “You Pick” posts for this week while I’m on vacation, she immediately responded asking for more Crazy Cat Lady-friendly yet office-appropriate cat print clothing items. Believe it or not, they were easier to find than you’d think. This first one I actually saw being worn by Sarah’s Real Life!
Would you wear a cat print shirt? Are you a cat person or a dog person?
P.S. If you want to see actual photos of my outfit from last Monday, they’re up at Work Your Wardrobe along with my tips on how to incorporated printed pants in to your wardrobe if you’re scared of looking like a clown.
Kelly recently asked me to help her find an affordable denim jacket. The great thing about a denim or jean jacket is that you can find one at literally every price point. I stuck to suggestions for under $50 but they can range from $20 to $200. And, to be honest, I can’t really tell the difference in quality! It all depends on what you want in a jacket. I bought mine over 10 years ago from the GAP outlet and it’s still in great shape. I’m looking to replace it myself, though, because the style is getting kind of dated.
So what should you look for? Here are some key things I would suggest:
1. Nothing too light and nothing too dark. An in-between shade is more likely to go with lots of different tops, pants, skirts and dresses. However, if the jacket is cheap enough maybe get two, one lighter and one darker!
2. Not cropped. A cropped jacket will go out of style faster than one that hits at or just above or below your hips.
3. Tapered in at the waist. Mine is way too boxy on me and makes me look wider than I am. I would like one that shows off my waist instead of hiding it.
Denim jackets are also a great thing to look for at thrift stores or on Poshmark since they’ve been around a long time. Just remember the three key features mentioned above so you pick out a modern looking one. Unless you’re going for a 1950s vibe. Then, by all means, grab that vintage jacket and rock that style!
Don’t forget to ask your own questions! Hit me up on Twitter at @looplooks and get a You Pick Wednesday post just for you.
My favorite floral statement necklace (on the far left in the photos above) is from JC Penney from their MixIt line. I’ve discovered that if you like J. Crew jewelry that JC Penney probably has something similar for much, much less. And since I refuse to pay a lot of money for trendy statement jewels, this is perfect.
A ridiculous amount of my jewelry is from The Limited. But here’s the thing; their jewelry is totally overpriced for the quality. So never, ever buy anything full price. Wait for a 40% off sale or until you have a coupon and then grab the pieces you’ve been eyeing.
Several of my go-to pieces, such as the teal crescent and the blue bubble-esque necklace in the center of the photos, are from New York & Company. Much like The Limited, New York & Company has great sales (right now they are buy one get one free on all jewelry). They also have a good mix of trendy pieces and simpler items and almost everything is under $20.
My favorite black and silver bracelet is from House of Gemmes. It goes with everything and actually fits my doll wrists. However, most of their items will fit all sizes! They are slightly pricier than some of my other picks but you get a $15 coupon when you sign up for their email list. Plus, they have pretty good sales on a regular basis. And if you’re in Chicago you can go check them out in person on Saturday!
I’m a little hesitant to add this one because it’s really only valid for anyone who lives near Chicago. But, trust me, if you’re within a day’s drive and you LOVE accessories, this is your go-to event. Four times a year various vendors take over an area convention center and sell everything accessories related. I wrote about it when I went back in October but I still don’t think I gave you a good enough idea of how AWESOME this event is. Definitely sign up for their mailing list so you know when to mark your calendar. My purple/gray bubble necklace, my rhinestone cluster necklace, my gray leather wrap bracelet and many, many more items that I wear regularly are from the JF&A Show. This is a must-see event for anyone interested in accessories.
I do have jewelry from other places including etsy, Gorjana, Bauble Bar, and Macy’s but the five places listed above are my go-tos when I’m looking for a new piece to add to my collection. Also, if you have an iPhone and you aren’t using Poshmark you need to get on that STAT. I’ve scored some killer jewelry deals via Poshmark (J. Crew necklaces and Stella & Dot earrings, to name two). Use code HBAMM when you join and you’ll get $5 credit!
Where is your favorite place to buy jewelry?
And don’t forget, if there’s something you want to see or a question you’ve been wanting to ask, I’ll happily tackle it on a future You Pick Wednesday! Just ask away!
My problem: So the Nine West store here had booties on sale. I loved a pair but as soon as I opened the shoebox at home, I started freaking out. Although I appreciate looking a few inches taller, these booties scare me to death LOL. What kind of outfit can I wear them with?
I bought my first pair of ankle boots in fall 2011.
Admittedly, I didn’t know what to wear with them, either! But it turned out that they are quite a staple in my wardrobe now. So here are my suggestions on how to wear ankle boots.
1. Putting them with black tights or even sheer black textured tights/nylons will help ease you into wearing ankle boots with skirts and dresses.