Business professional is tricky when it’s hot outside. Layers pull a look together, especially when you are creating one for the office. In the heat of the summer, when layers aren’t an option, a classic dress is the way to go. While I was sourcing recommendations for this post, I found dozens of gorgeous navy sheaths, all close to $1000.00. I have excellent taste. The shape and simplicity of a designer dress always look so sophisticated to me. But, of course, you did not come here for thousand dollar dress recommendations.
I did a double take when I saw this perfect navy sheath for under $140. Eliza J has quickly turned into one of my favorite go-to brands for affordable office appropriate dresses. (Available in sizes 2 – 16, in navy and pink.) There are so many things to love about this dress. The detail in the seams creates a subtle feminine shape. The fact that there is a hidden, instead of exposed zipper, gives it a cleaner overall look and makes it much easier to alter. The high neck and shoulder hugging sleeve are conservative but balanced by the simple curve of the dress.
Before you wear this out, you’ll want to have the hem taken up to the top of your knee. If you are under 5’7, this will likely hit below your knee, taking away most of your leg, making you look short. Aside from a quick alteration, you don’t need to do or add much to wear it now. I opted for a traditional pump in a light gray. Sam Edelman is killing it with their “Hazel Pointed Toe Heel.” You could pick up multiple colors and have loads of options for the fall. I LOVE gray with navy instead of white. It keeps your look from being too nautical.
To maintain the light and seasonal look, I found this Michael Kors bag in what they are calling “oyster.” I like that it has a top zipper and an optional long cross body strap. The combination of navy, gray and beige is a lovely play on neutrals. For the accessories, I used delicate pieces and then balanced it with one strong piece. Ann Taylor has these simple, modern gold studs. They look different but are still classic. Once I found the earrings, I knew I wanted a station necklace. I found this one at Nordstrom Rack for under $20 (also in silver tone). Pick it up today, and you’ll be amazed how much you use it in the next few weeks. For the weighted piece, this affordable and bold daytime appropriate statement ring adds just the right amount of drama.
To wear later, we did a strong navy story. A tweed blazer is ideal. It adds texture and interest while upping the professional factor. By adding the jacket over the dress, you create a slim line for the body, which helps you look longer and leaner. Of course, you could wear any natural-to-you shoe you already own, but I thought this navy pump grounded the look. Because we’re using all navy elements, varying the kinds of texture within the outfit prevents the it from looking flat.
We haven’t featured a good navy bag for work in a while, so I included this Tory Burch option. Navy will go with everything if your wardrobe is made up of classic colors. Finally, the accessories are simple. The jacket is tweed and has fringe edging, so too much jewelry would be overwhelming. Instead, I found this updated take on a pearl earring. The style will add some dimension, and a barely there pearl bracelet will just slightly peek out of the sleeve. If you already have a few bracelets that are similar, go ahead and wear two or three layered together.
Check out all these options, including a plus size dress alternative. Navy tweed jackets are limited this time of year, but we will feature more options, in all sizes as we move into the fall.