How to Bounce Back From Failure

How to Bounce Back After Failure - The Well Dressed Life Blog

When was the last time you failed at something?

Me?

Yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and all the time. From failed marketing attempts, and new business opportunities that crashed as we were launching, to saying yes to the wrong client, and bombing on stage, I’ve failed at just about everything.

Be it big or small; I fail spectacularly on a regular basis.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over a decade. While failure comes with the territory, it does start to get old. Lately, I feel like I could use a break. Not a”break” as in a rest, but a break like I would love to live a few weeks without something going wrong.

Everything takes longer than it should, costs more, and the rules are always changing. Once I think I have something figured out, it’s dated, and I need to learn a new formula or process, which inevitably leads to more failure.

Failure is just part of life.

If you have your own business, are reaching more senior roles in your career, or are a parent, failure is a constant. The only way to grow and be successful is to get the failures out of the way.

Often, when I do something for the first time, I do it knowing I’m going to fail, but I know I will learn something, so I do it anyway.

Instead of letting failure or even the fear of failure keep you stuck, there are things you can do to help bounce back and move forward. I use to look at failure like the universe was proving a point. My inner voice would come at me hard:

“See, I told you that was a terrible idea.”

“Why would you think you could do that?”

“You’re a loser; you should just give up.”

A soundtrack of my self-flogging greatest hits would play on a loop in my mind. Sometimes it would take weeks for me to regain my momentum. I was not only incredibly unkind to myself but wasting a ton of time and energy.

Because I hate being stuck, I hate wasting time, and my livelihood depends on a positive, healthy state of mind I had to figure out how to change my narrative. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of professional help. I think therapy is a powerful tool that allows you to figure out the root of why you’re experiencing certain feelings.

Here’s what I’ve learned to do:

 

How to Bounce Back after Failure

Take Responsibility

Practically, you need to recognize and process where you messed up, so you learn the lesson. This is more difficult than it sounds because it requires you to be objective, and if you’re like me, it’s easier if it’s 100% someone else’s fault.

Which, of course, is never the case. So figure out your ownership, ask yourself why it happened and how you can do better next time.

Let everything else go.

Understand the Alternative

We have two options. You can wallow in self-loathing or move past it. When I finally understood that I have a choice in how I react, I got my power back.

GAME-CHANGING. If you don’t move past your failure, your only alternative is misery. Seems like an easy decision when you put it like that, right?

Embrace Your Emotions

While you don’t want to wallow, you’re allowed to have feelings. Give yourself the time you need to be mad, upset, or disappointment. Recently, I watched the Ted Talk, The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage, and it’s a powerful reminder that feelings are okay and necessary.

It’s helpful to learn what you need to do to process your emotions. Because all emotions show up eventually, and you don’t want to take it out on the people you love.

Sometimes if I feel worked up or angry, I go to a challenging fitness class. I just discovered a boxing class and can’t imagine how many times I’ll use it when I want to beat the crap out of something.

Other times I want to be with my thoughts. I had a particularly disappointing day last summer and drove to the beach by myself for a few hours and came home feeling a million times better.

Do something cathartic to process the feelings, don’t keep them bottled up.

Focus On Something Else

Perhaps the most helpful way to process failure is to jump into something else. Doing so is a way to ensure you keep putting one foot in front of the other.

When I think back to some of my most epic failures, they were over before I knew it because there was something else in the pipeline that needed my attention.  Work on multiple projects, have other commitments, and keep perspective by volunteering within your community or a local charity.

No One Cares

If your failure feels embarrassing, understand that no one is paying that much attention. Certainly, if you fail at something and need to make it right, do so immediately. But if you’re worried about what other people think, you need to shrug your shoulders and be proud of yourself for trying.

It’s been my experience that the only people with a lot of negative things to say are the same people who have never tried to do anything great in their lives.

Find Your Faith

You don’t have to be religious or spiritual to find a little bit of faith in the universe. When I look back on my biggest failures, the ones I wanted so desperately to be successful, I not only understand where I went wrong but I can see how things tend to work out for the best. Every success and failure sets you up for your next step.

Sometimes you’re not suppose to go down a particular path. Other times you’re suppose to learn a lesson and gain knowledge. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t go down a better path, or that you won’t succeed the next time you try.

Join the conversation and let us know below in the comments how you cope with failure.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Tailoring Your Clothes

Everything You Need to Know About Tailoring Your Clothes - The Well Dressed Life

Alterations are the single most important element in dressing well.

Think of the most stylish woman you know.

She has her clothes tailored.

It doesn’t matter where you shop or how much you spend on your clothes. I don’t care if you buy full price at Neiman Marcus or exclusively discount shop at T.J. Maxx. Alterations are necessary regardless of your body type. If you shop in the Petite, Missy, or Plus departments, you need alterations.

Alterations make you look slimmer and taller and your outfit, regardless of the price tag, look more expensive.

 

Related: How to Look Expensive Without Breaking the Bank 

Ever since the first man walked into the first store and purchased the first suit, offering men alterations has been standard retail operating procedure. Today, even men’s discount stores have an alterations department.

Yet, it is still not standard practice for women. Other than some better department stores and a few specialty boutiques, alterations are rarely offered to us. This means for women to get the tailored look they desire, we have to take it into our own hands. (Pretty much like everything else in life.)

One of my first jobs out of college was as the manager of a high-end boutique in Philadelphia. What set us apart from some of the competition was the fact that we offered in-house tailoring, something unheard of for most small stores.

It was that experience, all those years ago, that taught me the importance of alterations. The store’s seamstress taught me everything I know about garment construction. She was a master.

She was also wonderfully eccentric.

One time, when she wanted a pay raise, she built a fort out of cardboard boxes around her workspace and refused to speak English for a week. So, I not only learned how to reconstruct a blazer, but I also learned a few Portuguese curse words and an unconventional way to negotiate.

Have I mentioned it was the best job I ever had?

But I digress.

It’s hard for the untrained eye.

Years ago, I was in the closet of a dear client who purchased a light blue blazer on her own. When she put it on, I told her it was at least two sizes too big. She didn’t believe me until I pinned the blazer for alterations and had her look back in the mirror.

“This was what I thought it looked like!” she exclaimed.

That’s when I it dawned on me; most people don’t see how things fit them the way a professional will.

Finding a great tailor is a challenge as they are a rare breed of experts. Your best bet is to ask around your community. Use referrals or look online.

I love using community Facebook pages to find local resources. Any local Facebook moms group will have countless referrals – those women should rule the world.

Of course, there will be the occasional perfect fitting piece. But in general, the core pieces of your wardrobe will need a little nip and tuck.

A Simple Guide to Alterations

Everything You Need to Know About Tailoring Your Clothes

 

Practice the 10% rule.

Take 10% of your total shopping budget and set it aside for alterations.

Alterations should adjust, not recreate, a garment.

Don’t overcomplicate the process. Alterations are not meant to make a garment something that it’s not. Rather, you want to make it perfect for you based on what it is.

Darts and seams are your blueprints.

As you start to use alterations, you’ll begin to look at garments like a tailor. As you get familiar with what you can and cannot alter, you’ll see darts and seams as roadmaps. Remember, if you have a dart, you can use it to alter a garment. If you don’t have one, you don’t want to create one. That would be reconstructing a piece and is never worth it.

Fit your largest part and tailor the rest.

Consider your largest body part and fit from there. If your shoulders are broad, fit them first and alter down. If you have a full bust, make sure your blazer can button properly and tailor the rest of the garment, etc.

Listen to your tailor.

A good tailor will tell you if something is worth the cost of the alteration or not. For years, we had a wonderful tailor who has since retired. She would always tell us if the alteration was worth it, or if we were better off replacing the item.

For this post, we’ll break down what kind of alterations to consider.

Waistband

By far, this is the most popular and useful alteration. If your hips are bigger than your waist, and that’s the case for most of us, fit your hips and fix your waistband.

Have your waistband hit you based on the rise of the pants. A shorter rise will result in a waistband that sits lower. A longer rise will allow your waistband to hit at about your belly button.

Hem

Hems on pants and skirts are another popular yet overlooked alteration. Of course, if your pants are too long, you can have them altered.

Less popular but just as effective is to have your hem let down. I’m 5’10 and often have to have the extra length in an otherwise great fitting pair of pants let out to give me an extra one or two inches.

Petite? Hems are particularly important for you. Petite sizes are not based on length but proportions. If you’re buying petite sizes because they give you the length you desire, you may get a better fit in the Missy department.

You can also be petite with long legs. In that case, purchase a petite size and have the hem taken down like I do.

When hemming jeans, be sure to keep the original hem.

As for sleeve hems, the best practice is for your sleeve to hit the top of your wrist.

Looking for skirt length guidance? Check out our recent post, “Best Skirt Lengths for Work.”

Shoulders

If you have narrow shoulders, take in the shoulders of your jackets, blazers and dresses. This will make a big difference in how your look comes together. When the shoulder of your blazer hangs over your natural shoulder, your jacket will look oversized.

This, in turn, gives the appearance of your clothes wearing you.

Back and side darts

Jackets, blazers, and dresses often have one long or two parallel seams running down the back. You’ll also see two seams or darts on the front of the garment at the natural waist. These are there to create shape. If you find that a blazer fits in your shoulders and bust but feels full in your waist, have your darts taken in a tiny bit. This simple alteration completely changes the look and fit of your clothes for the better.

Fullness out of pants

Have you ever tried on a pair of pants and loved the way they fit except it feels like there is too much fabric in the legs? You can fix this by taking some of the fullness out. A tailor will be able to see how much to take out and how to balance it with the cut of the pants. Likely, they’ll start right below the hipbone and go all the way down the side seam to the hem.

Belt loops

If you wear a belt with your pants, keep your belt loops. If you never wear a belt, and sometimes tuck in, have your belt loops removed. You never want to see a belt loop without a belt. Super simple fix.

Remove pockets

Do you hate it when you can see the outline of your pockets through your pants? Me too. You can have them removed. Along those lines, do your pockets pull open when you move? If you don’t need them, and the pants otherwise fit, you can have your pockets sewn shut for a smooth fit.

This is a repost from Feb. 2016.  With so many new readers we thought it would be helpful to share it again!

January Reader Favorites

Readers' Favorites - January - The Well Dressed Life Blog

Our Reader Favorites has always been one of our most popular series.  So when we redesigned our site, I knew I wanted to keep it.  Once a month, we round up all the items YOU loved the most, as a way to crowd source the best of the best.  I was so excited to check out or analytics and see that you have gravitated not only toward the items we talked about in our posts, but also what we’ve featured in some of our closets.  We kick off our first Reader Favorites of the year with some classic pieces and a few affordable, cozy tops to carry you to Spring.

Readers' Favorites - January - The Well Dressed Life Blog

Mixed Striped Sweater, $23 – The quintessential weekend sweater at a price you seriously cannot beat.  I picked it up in navy, but if you have the skin tone for it, the yellow is divine.

Moto Jacket, $55 – A simple way to look cool even if you’re not 🙂  Pair this with jeans or go-to black pants for a chic and sophisticated look.

Loafer, $90 – The pearl accent on these traditionally styled loafers adds a feminine and whimsical twist to a classic.

Turtleneck sweater, $60 – A piece to stock up on, ideal for layering, or add a statement necklace or scarf with a pair of slim lined pants.

Ponte Knit Trousers, Plus, $89 – I’m always so happy to see plus size options at the top of our analytic reports.  I try so hard to find alternatives for woman sizes that still flatter and show your shape.  These trousers are a great example of classic style, modified slightly to fit you best.

Ponte Knit Trousers, Misses, $68 – These trousers are great quality and an even better price.  Buy a few of these if you end up loving them.

Tie Bell Sweater, $35 – Just cozy and perfect for chilly days when you want to look lovely but have zero time for effort.

Jeans, $198 – Expensive, yes, but so comfortable, especially after they get a little lived-in.  I particularly love the higher waistband.  My over 35, 2-C-section belly likes it even more.

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Wear to Work: Halogen Raw Edge Tweed Jacket

Wear to Work: Halogen Raw Edge Jacket - The Well Dressed Life

Apparently, black and navy is a controversial color combination. A fact I didn’t know until a few years back when I tried to tell a client that she could wear her black heels with her very dark navy pants. She was aghast, and I had no idea why. I eventually convinced her that it was entirely appropriate, considering the blouse she was wearing was a black and navy pattern. I left the appointment as I did so frequently, wondering how such a silly job could be so mentally draining.

The fact is there are a lot of old-fashioned sartorial rules that we just don’t have to follow anymore, like wearing white after Labor Day and matching your bag with your shoes. What’s so interesting to me is how some style no-no’s are now considered chic options. Pairing black with navy is a sophisticated color combination and is so easy to pull together.

Today’s jacket is one my most favorite statement jackets in a long time. The price is right. I’ve seen similar styles for $350+. It’s a solid buy now, wear now and later piece. I bought it to freshen up my corporate capsule wardrobe, which makes getting dressed and packing for a trip so easy.

Wear to Work: Halogen Raw Edge JacketJacket, $129

There aren’t a ton of ways to wear this but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in constant rotation. It goes with all sorts of jeans paired with a white shell, or a black tank and skirt combination.  But I’ll probably get the most wear out of it with a simple pant and pumps.

Wear to Work: Halogen Raw Edge JacketPants, $79  | Jacket, $129|  Tank, $6  |  Heels, $75  |  Bag, $48  |  Earrings, $78

Isn’t this so good?

Because the jacket mixes navy, black and white, I strategically used those colors throughout the look.  I used a classic black tapered pant to keep the look clean.  You could wear any style pant, but I would keep it black instead of navy.  To lighten the look, a simple white tank works well.  You don’t need anything fancy here.  I like this jersey tank from H&M (it’s $6).  If you’d like something with a better drape, we’ve featured this Ann Taylor Shell for months and it’s always a reader favorite.  It comes in four colors and an array of sizes.

Where I really get excited is the bag and shoes.  The heels are by Boden ($75) and they are gorgeous.  The navy is rich, and the scallop trim on the side add a feminine detail that works well with the jacket.  They are also available in seven colors and patterns, one better than the next.  Since you’re taking this to the office, I used a tote ($48) that you can slide your computer into with plenty of room for all your daily essentials.  Finally, super simple, but dynamic stud earrings are all you need.  Too much jewelry will fight with the jacket.  Your look will still have wonderful depth because the shoes have texture, the colors work well and the jacket has so much detail.

Size Options:

I like this Talbots tweed jacket that mixes black and navy in a flattering cut.  Available in an impressive range of sizes: Missy, Petite, Woman, and Woman’s Petite.

For pants, Vince Camuto did a similar style in sizes 14W – 24W. On Sale for $53.

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Weekend Inspiration: LOFT Striped Sweater

Weekend Inspiration: LOFT Striped Sweater - The Well Dressed Life

The sales keep rolling in this January, including this adorable and preppy striped sweater at the LOFT for $23. That’s not a typo, it’s $23. Of course, I picked it up, because I love stripes and this feels fresh and new. It’s available in Navy (below) and Yellow, in XXS – XXL in Missy and Petite.  Currently, all sizes are in stock. Pick it up today while it’s on sale and you can wear it now and straight into spring. 

Weekend Inspiration: LOFT Striped SweaterMust have piece: LOFT Striped Sweater, $60 ON SALE $23.90

How to Wear LOFT Stripe Sweater 

 

Weekend Inspiration: LOFT Striped SweaterLOFT Striped Sweater, $60 ON SALE $23.90  |  Jeans, $90  |  Flats, $18  |  Bag, $139  |  Bracelet, $39  |  Earring, $98

Let’s talk about this sweater.  It’s effortlessly chic. Maybe it’s because this January has been so cold and dreary but I’m really gravitating to more bright and cheerful looks. It’s a straightforward jeans sweater. You could wear it with a variety of styles, (check out our Denim Closet for all size and style options).  We featured a clean lined boyfriend jean. If you go for a style like this, keep the roll cuff at your ankle, otherwise, you’re getting into capri area, and I have some strong opinions on capris.

This outfit is as easy as it comes.  You could wear it with a simple pair of slide on sneakers, or whatever flats you own.  I added a pop of yellow with these $18 flats for a fun accent. With weekend outfits I don’t like to fuss with accessories.  This bracelet from Henri Bendel is on sale for $39.  These earrings, also at Henri Bendel are an easy, wear-every-day-earring.  Finally, what’s a weekend without a cross body bag?  You have tons of options.  This J.Crew bag is ideal.  It sits on your body, keeps you hands free, but is big enough to carry all your stuff.

Hope everyone has a great weekend – it’s been a LONG week!

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6 Tips for Working Moms to Get Through the Day Easier

6 Tips for Working Moms to Make Their Lives Easier -The Well Dressed Life

All moms have stress, regardless of how and where we work. Working moms (moms who work in and outside the home) have our own unique set of challenges. We “balance” full-time careers and full-time motherhood with all the responsibilities, curveballs, and craziness that comes with both roles.

I get frustrated when I see us portrayed online as these overwhelmed, frantic, and forgetful women running from the office to the car line, complaining about unhelpful husbands and kids who don’t listen. While I guess that gets an article clicked and shared, I don’t relate, and I don’t see these characteristics in the working moms I know either.

In fact, many of the working moms in my life are the most together and organized people I know.

Do they have tough moments? I’m sure they do. We all do. Are we all perfect? Not even close. My last official meltdown was on December 15th, around 10:30 am, because Christmas, at that moment, was bullshit, and I was doing ALL THE WORK.

But it was a moment in time, not my life. Yes, working and being a mother is hard, really freaking hard, but it doesn’t have to be miserable.

My work allows me to meet and create friendships with so many remarkable women, many of whom already raised good families and enjoyed successful careers. I have had the good fortune to receive some fantastic advice from many of these women who have been there done that.

Today, I’m sharing some of my best lessons learned – some very much learned the hard way – that have made me happier and allowed my life to run smoothly despite my busy career and family.

 6 Tips for Working Moms to Get Through the Day Easier

6 Tips for Working Moms to Make Their Lives Easier

1. Teach Your Kids Independence Early

Once your kiddos hit a certain age and ability level, give them chores. That sounds easy enough, but as a recovering perfectionist, seeing my kids’ version of a neatly made bed used to make the vein on my forehead throb.

Take deep breaths and close the door.

Eventually, they get better. They’ll never learn if you always do it for them.

These days, we call chores “contributions.”

Our philosophy is this: You’re part of a family; you live a beautiful life and have all the opportunity in the world. Therefore, you need to pull your weight.

We base each of their assigned contributions on their age, skill, and, to a degree, their interest level. I found this chart on Etsy. It hangs right outside our kitchen so they know what to do every day.

 

2. Just Say “No”

We need to say no more often — not just when it comes to volunteering to make cookies for school when you know you have zero capacity or joining yet another committee, but to other time killers as well.

Early in my life as a mom, someone told me, “If you do one thing, only make one dinner. If the kids don’t like it, too bad.” So, that has been our rule. It’s not always easy.  Call me crazy, but I refuse to make more than one dinner a day.

Take a minute to look from the outside in and ask yourself: Am I making my life more difficult by saying “yes” to things I should be saying “no” to? Start to say no to the work you don’t have to do so you can say yes to the things that matter.

Everyone will be better for it.

 

3. Embrace “Oh, Well”

Many working moms try to control everything because we understand that we are usually running a zero-margin game. This need for control really used to get to me.  I had to make myself realize that I was trying to control everything and, as a result, getting super bent out of shape about it all.

Now, I try to analyze what I’m getting worked up about and to give it value. Is it important, or can I just shrug my shoulder and say, “Oh, well”? If I can, I let it go.

Can I tell you how amazing this is?

A friend stops over, and the house is a mess. Oh, well! Here’s a glass of wine.

The babysitter cancels, and we can’t go out. Bummer, but, oh, well!

Has school declared another snow day? Oh, well, but please, no more.

I didn’t get the gig I really wanted for work. Oh, well, something else will come along.

“Oh, well” helps you acknowledge that you have no control over the situation or that it’s not that important. This technique teaches you how to manage disappointment better, allows you to make the best of the circumstances, and helps you to let go of the things that are inconsequential in the long run.

 

4. Get rid of your clutter.

Clutter is such a time killer. If you have clutter, you likely can’t find anything and are wasting a lot of energy, time, and money. By putting in the upfront work that comes with simplifying your life, you open up space not only in your home but also in your schedule and in your mind.

I enjoy following Emily Ley, a Florida based entrepreneur. Emily helps women simplify and organize their lives.  She is the creator of The Simplified Planner and author of two books: Grace Not Perfection and The Simplified Life. She’s also a wife and mom of three. Her tips are practical and digestible.

You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook.  I am organized by nature and still learned many helpful new strategies.

 

5. Outsource and Automate

If your goal is to spend more time on what matters: your family, your work, your health and happiness, you have to realize you can’t do everything. If you have it in your budget, give yourself permission to outsource some household chores. You’ll get back hours in your week.

This post from last year outlines everything we currently outsource.

Along the same line as outsourcing, take advantage of all the opportunities you have to automate. Automate your savings and schedule bill payments. Sign up for Amazon Prime (how did we live without it?) so you avoid after-dinner runs to Target.

Invest in an Echo and keep it in your kitchen so you can quickly add items to your grocery list or shopping carts. By automating and outsourcing you can eliminate a significant portion of the additional workload that comes with running a household

Related: 6 Important Lessons I Learned as a Working Mom.

6. Schedule Everything

My best, most productive days are the ones that I map out hour by hour. Otherwise, the day starts to get away from me. This doesn’t mean I schedule every hour; rather, I have an idea of how much time I’m dedicating to every task and give it the time it needs.

Every Sunday night, I sit with my phone and write out my week in my planner.  I map everything including meals, who needs to be where, workouts, appointments, errands, date night and uninterrupted time with the kids.

EVERYTHING.

When I write it down with pen on paper, I own it and it always gets done. What’s great about seeing your day in writing is it gives you an opportunity to re-prioritize and eliminate time wasters that may sneak in.

Difficult doesn’t have to be Miserable

Just because this is hard doesn’t mean we can’t do it well, or that we have to sacrifice our joy. With the right mindset, systems and sense of humor; it can not only be doable, but enjoyable.

So tell us in the comments below – what was the best advice you learned as a working mom?

 

 

Wear to Work: Liverpool Ponte Knit Legging

Liverpool Ponte Knit Legging - The Well Dressed Life

By now we all know that we shouldn’t wear leggings as pants. But what if we found a pant that was a legging and a pant? Because I just discovered these Liverpool Ponte Knit Leggings (plus size here) and they are the best of both worlds.

They showed up a few days before Christmas in my Stitch Fix delivery. (Yes, I started that up again. More to come in a later post.) I almost sent them back without trying them on. 

“I don’t need another pair of black pants,” I thought. Thank goodness I changed my mind at the last minute because they are fantastic.

Liverpool Ponte Knit Legging

Pant: Missy, $68 and Plus, $89 (Sizes 18 – 24!)

There is a lot to love. The fabric is soft and comfortable but doesn’t look like athletic wear. The waistband sits high (hallelujah!), has a proper waistband and back pockets. These details help make these less legging and more pant. I would still wear them with a top on the long side, but you don’t have to cover all of your bottom if you don’t want to.

I pretty much lived in these since the holidays and found that tops that hit at around my hipbone worked best for my proportions. Of course, you could wear something longer. If you do go longer, look for something with a bit of swing that cuts away from your body. Below is two ways you could wear these to a casual and creative office.

 

Day in the Office 

Liverpool Ponte Knit Legging

Outfit one: Blazer, $298  |  Shell, $40  |  Bag, $378  |  Scarf, $35  |  Boot, $83

Navy and black is a chic and sophisticated combination. This navy blazer by Ralph Lauren is the stuff of dreams. It hits around the hipbone giving you the length we’re after but fitted to show your shape.  I love a gold button but if you’d like something more traditional and in a variety of sizes, including petite and plus, check out this Talbots optionFor a less expensive look, this Lush blazer is on sale for under $30.  You could pair any of these blazers with a black or white tank. I prefer white as it adds a crispness to the look. Both colors are available in the Ann Taylor tank.

One of the reasons I love these pants so much is because you can layer a boot over them seamlessly. I have these Nine West boots, and they are the best shoe I’ve bought all year. The heel is reasonable (ish), they are comfortable, and the price is right. To bring the look together I used this navy and black scarf. You can loop it around your neck or tie it to your handbag. Don’t get stressed about it, the messier you tie your scarf the better. I kept everything else simple in this look. Add your daily jewelry, grab your work bag, and off you go.

 

After work Dinner and Drinks

Liverpool Ponte Knit LeggingOutfit two: Sweater, $80  |  Necklace, $50  |  Bracelet, $48  |  Clutch, $128  |  Pump, $119

For the second outfit, we still kept it simple, but bold color, a statement necklace, and patterned pumps make it look so much more complicated. I’m pretending we are closer to spring than we really are and using a poppy, hot pink cashmere sweater. I reads red online but it’s a bright pink. C by Bloomingdales makes high-quality, reasonably-priced cashmere. This comes in a ton of gorgeous colors, but the pink feels fresh and preppy. Need plus size?  Look at Sejour, a private label at Nordstorm, for high quality basic sweaters.

A simple tip to make any outfit look and feel cohesive is to repeat the main color (black in this case) three or five times. Here, I included a black crystal statement necklace and animal print pumps, in addition to the pants. A few things make this impactful. First, three is a key number because it creates a pattern. Second, the placement of the pieces is essential. If you were to divide your body into thirds, the main color is in each section. This creates balance and harmony. Cool, right?

I rounded out the look with a black and gold bangle; you can wear one or stack them up your arm. I included this clutch because you can slide it into your work bag and grab it for dinner and drinks. Also, I just really like it.

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