A Zoom Perfect Piece for Under $40

J.Crew Factory Button-collar pullover sweatshirt in green, pink, and ivory

Here on the East Coast, right outside of Philadelphia, it feels like we skipped over a lingering summer and jumped headfirst into Fall. The leaves are already turning orange, and it’s cold enough in the mornings that my kids voluntarily wear a hoodie to the bus stop. 

Our big girls are back to school (in person!), the baby is turning two and has two speeds: running and asleep, and our calendars are as overscheduled as they were in the pre-COVID good old days.

I’ve never been more grateful for all the things on our plates. Whenever I want to complain about the busyness, I remind myself that the alternative is a disaster. 

Now that we are in full swing with the Fall season, I need to spend some time organizing my closet, and pulling my wardrobe together, so getting dressed for the day is easier. It’s no surprise that after this last six months, my closet needs some TLC. 

To start with, I need a few casual tops, that are cozy and chic, like this button top sweatshirt I found at J.Crew Factory.  I’m always looking for a basic with a twist and this checks all the boxes. 

J Crew Factory Button Top Sweatshirt

J.Crew Factory Button-collar pullover sweatshirt in green, pink, and ivory

 

Sweatshirt: $44.50 (plus 20% with Code: COMFY) NOW $35

I picked it up in white and green (head over to my Instagram to see how I’m wearing it today). You can wear it on it’s own, or layer over a long sleeve tee or collared shirt with your favorite jeans. 

Right now, it’s on sale for $35, in all sizes including a 3X. It’s just the thing if you are looking to add some casual yet polished options to your early fall wardrobe. 

And! Don’t forget! Our Fall 2020 Wardrobe Challenge starts THIS FRIDAY! This is the BEST time of year to participate, whether you are new to The Well Dressed Life, or have participated in the past, you will walk away with insights, clarity and a perfectly organized closet. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

The Spanx “Perfect” Black Skinny Pants are among the most popular items we featured during the Nordstrom Sale. With all the comfort of a legging, these better basics can take you anywhere.

Good thing because we’re not only transitioning from the summer to the fall, but also from staying home to getting back out into the world. So whether you are working from home or are in the office, you will get a ton of use out of these pants.

How to wear the Spanx “Perfect” Black Skinny Pants

Spanx The Perfect Black Pant

 

Spanx The Perfect Black Pant, $128 

First, let’s talking about the pants, available in an XS – 3X

The comfort is next level. As someone who goes from sitting on the floor with my toddler, to working at my desk, to dropping my big girls off at sports practices, these pants let you move while looking polished. 

And now that we are inching closer to sweater weather – their flat front and pull on style are ideal. 

Look One: Work from Home 

 

How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

 

Sweater, $69, Scarf, $51, Mules, $70, Yeti Mug, $29 

To work from home on a chilly day, add a cozy sweater. Chelsea28, available at Nordstrom, makes lovely, affordable knits. This particular sweater is supposed to be oversized. The shoulder is relaxed (or “dropped”) and the sleeves are extra long, so you can scrunch them up or pull them over your hands.

I happen to love a turtleneck. So here, I would pull my hair up in a messy ponytail and tie it with a scarf, like this one on sale at Wolf & Badger.

Then, instead of a real shoe, this hybrid of a slipper and mule by Ugg. I wear my Uggs all the time. They keep your feet toasty warm, but you can walk around in them to grab the mail or drive to the car line for school pick up. And of course, a mug to keep the never ending stream of coffee warm

Look Two: Back in the Office

How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

Blazer, $109, Shell, $39, Earrings, $91, Bag, $328, Shoes, $69 

I’ve been hearing from readers who are back in the office and looking to find balance in dressing for a more relaxed environment, but still wanting to look professional.

Grab these pants, and add a few simple workwear basics, starting with this plaid blazer by Liverpool (available at Bloomingdale’s). It’s a beautiful piece that adds some casual structure to an outfit. It’s available in sizes up to XXL, with a little bit of stretch that will match the pants’ comfort.

Next, you need a layer, which is often hard to find. This one, by Halogen, is under $40. Scoop it up in ivory (above) and black if you need to refresh your core work wardrobe. There are also six other prints to choose from, including a classic leopard print you can layer under a black blazer or cardigan. Available in petite and missy. 

Then, a comfortable but professional shoe. I found these suede slingbacks with a block heel on sale for under $70. For jewelry, you have so many options. You could add a long necklace to create a lovely layered look under the jacket’s neckline or a bold earring, like these black onyx drops that mix classic and modern design.

Finally, a splurge-worthy quilted bag by Michael Kors to show how adding textural elements can elevate an outfit. You can see, by matching your hardware and metal tones, you can create a cohesive look easily.

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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

Buy Now, Wear Now and Later: J. Crew Polka Dot Top

Well Dressed - How to wear a polka dot top two ways

Buy Now, Wear Now and Later posts are some of my favorites to create.

The idea behind this series is to help you maximize your wardrobe, in between seasons.

Today, I’m working with this lovely polka dot peplum top, available in sizes 00 – 16 for under $80. (Currently 25% off with code EPIC)

As we move into fall, I’m going to start talking more about specific body types and how pieces I’m featuring can work to hence your shape. So going forward, on posts like this one, I’ll highlight how and why it will work for certain body types. 

But before I dive into it below, please remember these are just guidelines. Nothing in fashion is set in stone.

Key Piece: J.Crew Polka Dot Peplum Top 

How to wear a polka dot top two ways

Top, $79.50 

Take 25% off with code EPIC

A peplum top looks best on lean or straight up and down, sometimes called “boy” shape body types because it adds curves and dimension. 

It will add the same benefit for some rectangles

If you are an inverted triangle it will bring balance to your shoulders. 

For an hourglass, it will highlight your curves, so go for it!

Avoid a peplum if you are a traditional triangle, or an apple shape

How to Wear in the Summer

How to wear a polka dot top in the summer

Summer:  Top, $79.50  |  Jeans, $68  |  Earrings, $33  |  Slides, $77  |  Bag, $38

Shop Summer Look

How gorgeous is this look, made with items you may already have and under $100 if you want to pick  up something new. 

What’s important here are the jeans. If you wear a peplum top you MUST wear a slim bottom, either straight or skinny, depending on what looks best on you. 

I’m using these Wit & Wisdom jeans because I know many of you already have them. It’s nice that they hit right at the ankles, this creates an airiness to the outfit. For a other white jean options in all sizes check out our series Basics Building: The Best White Jeans.

Now, the accessories. There is a lot going on in the top, so while we want to keep the rest fairly simply, it’s nice to also draw attention to your face. These these affordable earrings are stunning. They add texture, movement and are just incredibly chic. 

Then, this stunning bag, that was originally $177 is now only $48.  WHAT? Yes. Total year end steal. 

Finally, since this is for the warm weather,  these slides are perfection. They are part of the Nordstrom sale and 40% off. Scoop them up now, wear for the next month or so and have them at the ready next spring. 

How to Wear in the Fall

how to wear a polka dot top in the fall

 

Fall: Top, $79.50  |  Jeans, $68   Cardigan, $40  |  Boots, $99  |  Bag, $60  |  Earrings, $65 

Shop Fall Look

Now let’s take this pretty piece into the fall. I have no idea where we’re going, but let’s pretend we’re finally go out and about with friends. Like brunch! Remember brunch?

I use another Wit & Wisdom jean, this time in black, but wear your favorite. 

As a much needed layer I added this long cardigan by Halogen , also part of the Nordstrom sale, fully stocked and under $40 and comes in regular and petite. I went with a tan instead of an ivory because it’s not as sever of a contrast. The tan makes it feel monochromatic and seasonally appropriate. 

For shoes, swap out your sandals for a bootie, like this pair by Vince Camuto on sale for under $100 at DSW. They get rave reviews and will become an instant go-to in your fall wardrobe. 

Then, for a little more movement a pair of hoops (gold tone will work best with the colors in this outfit). 

Finally, another cognac bag option. You don’t need both, either work in each outfit. This one by Sole Society is made of vegan leather for $60.

 

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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

Summer Denim Skirt Two Ways

Nic + Zoe Denim Skirt

Before 2020 took a turn, I spent one or two days a month walking the mall, going in and out of our favorite stores to see items in person. It was always a helpful exercise because I could get a real sense of current trends, and could also experience some of the frustrations our readers have about in-person shopping first hand.

Since I have  zero interest in strolling a mall anytime soon, yesterday I set aside a few hours to organically online shop. I started scrolling through hundreds of pages of new arrivals, and searched for random basics just to see what came up.

This skirt was one of my finds.

‘Summer Fling’ Flirt Skirt

Nic + Zoe Denim Skirt

Skirt, $108 in Petite and Regular up to an 18

Yesterday felt like it was 4,000 degrees outside. The kind of heat that makes you sweat the second you open your front door. On days like that, the last thing you want are your clothes clinging to you.

If you’re working from home, you can get away with wearing whatever you want in this heat.

But if you have to do things, and lately, more of us have to leave the house to do something, you may want some HOT weather options.

When this skirt, by Nic + Zoe, came across my screen, with its lightweight fabric and a-line cut, I knew it was an excellent option for these high-temperature days.

It’s a great alternative to shorts, or summer pants.

How should it fit? Ideally you want this to hit right above your knee. Any shorter and you’ll start to mess with the shape of the a-line, any longer and you run the risk of looking frumpy.

Because the skirt has a flattering yoke in the front, you can easily tuck in, half tuck, or leave your top out.

Today, I styled it two ways, to give you a visual of how it can translate in your real life.

Outfit One: Add a Pop of Color

How to Wear a Denim Skirt Two Ways

Skirt, $108  |  Crewneck Sweater, $35  |  Hair Tie, $16.50  |  Sandal, $107   |  Clutch, $30

The dark indigo of the skirt works well with a bold pop of color, so I paired it with this cheerful yellow sweater  (featured in yesterday’s J. Crew round up). Other color pairings that work well are green, red, or orange.

Because the colors are bold, neutral accessories will ground the look. I love this clutch I found out DSW for  $30. The perforated detailing adds a subtle bit of texture which you need to help the outfit from looking flat.

The shape of the skirt lends itself to a heel. You don’t have to wear anything crazy high, but a lift will help the skirt hang properly.

These sandals by Via Spiga are a find! I’m a huge fan of their block heels for both the comfort level and styling. Again, the suede straps adds texture.

And just for fun, I included this hair tie. Add this if you are pulling your hair back off your face and neck for an extra accessory that doesn’t weigh you down.

Outfit Two: With Better Basics

How to Wear a Denim Skirt Two Ways

Skirt, $108  |  Sandals, $90  |  Top, $40  |  Necklace, $100

The skirt immediately made me think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marge in The Talented Mr. Ripely, one of my favorite movies. Every outfit she wears in the film is pure perfection.

So I searched for a tie-front crisp white shirt to create a modern version of the outfits she wears casually strolling  Italy in the 1950’s.

Of course, you can wear it with your favorite simple white tee shirt, but this gives it just a little oomph.

This colorful beaded necklace will layer under your collar if you look it twice. (Take a closer look here, it’s so pretty!)

Finally, these espadrille wedges are perfect and under $100. So often, espadrilles have a seriously high heel that makes them unmanageable.


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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers.

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail.

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

The $30 Wrap Dress I’m Living In This Summer

$30 Wrap Dress from Amazon

Lately, I have not been feeling great about my body. As a creature of habit, I thrive in routine. Four months of stay at home orders took its toll on me mentally and then physically. 

Fitness-wise, the accountability I get by going to group classes and the scheduled time out of my house, free of distractions and interruptions, helps me create the boundaries I need to take care of myself.

So once gyms closed and homeschooling started, I was really at a loss for what to do. I am getting back on track and am beginning to feel better. But I’m nowhere near the weight or fitness level – more specifically, I don’t feel as strong, energized, or healthy as I was pre-COVID.

It’s frustrating, of course, but I know that if you feel like crap while you’re trying to get back to yourself, you’re never going to get there.

Doing little things, like getting a manicure, or putting on some makeup in the morning is so important. It sends a single to your brain that caring for yourself is a priority.

And finding a few things to wear that make you feel pretty is like jet fuel for motivation.

So a month or so ago, my sister-in-law came over in what looked like the perfect summer dress, from Amazon. I loved it so much I ordered one, then another, and then another. 

I feel slim, feminine and so pretty in them. 

And don’t be turned off by the model photos, you can see them on me and my very normal body below. 

The $30 Wrap Dress I’m Living In This Summer

Wrap Dress, $30

We’ve been trying to take advantage of the weather and support our local restaurants with a weekly date night. It’s lovely to sit outside and decompress for a few hours, out of the house and away from the kids, especially since there is nothing else to do. 

I am wearing these dresses on repeat. To dinners, for drinks outside, even to my daughters softball games. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I’m wearing the large and it fits perfectly. There are two styles available, one has flutter sleeves and a high/low hem, the other has a short sleeve and long maxi skirt (shown in red). 

Below is the blue version. I wore it to dinner last night in the city with my sister-in-law. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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To care for them, I put them in a lingerie bag and wash on delicate. Then, I hang them to dry and use my steamer to remove any wrinkles quickly.

 


Become A Well Dressed Life Insider

Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

How to Wear a Tunic in the Summer

How to Wear a Tunic

If you need a summer top that provides a little extra coverage, but is it still lightweight enough to wear in the heat, a tunic may be just the thing.

Tunics have long been considered a wardrobe classic, but many women avoid them because they have a reputation for sometimes looking matronly. 

However, the right one, paired with modern basics, and updated accessories, can look incredibly sophisticated. 

Luckily, now that  Lilly Pulitzer and Tory Burch, brands famous for their love of tunics, are seeing a rise in their “younger” demographic, more mainstream stores are offering their own versions.

Which is great because I get requests all the time for recommendations on what to wear if you prefer to have your arms covered, or if you’re inside the air conditioning and want to keep the chill off.

Now that the category is trickling down into bigger brands and stores, there are more stylish and affordable options than ever. 

So let’s break down a simple formula for how to wear a tunic. 

How to Wear a Tunic in the Summer 

How to Wear a Tunic

Tunic, $25  |  Pants, $35  |  Sandals, $198  |  Hoops, $38  |  Sunglasses, $60  |  Clutch, $48 

Outfit Break Down

First, let’s talk about this cotton blend tunic, by Old Navy. It’s currently on sale for an additional 35% off, making it only $16. At the time of publishing all sizes are available in regular and petite up to size XXL. 

You want a tunic to have a slim fit to avoid it looking oversized. It shouldn’t cling, but rather hang just slightly off the body. Here, you can see the combination of the v neck line and subtle vertical tonal stripe is going to help create a long, slim line to the body. 

I love how the soft blue pairs with crisp white jeans. 

It’s important that you pair this with a straight or skinny bottom to balance the proportions. Here, I used a reader favorite by Wit & Wisdom (on sale for $30 in limited sizes). But you can wear any white bottom in your closet with a slim, tailored fit. 

Then, I think a tunic requires a dramatic earring, so you can really lean into the “lady-that-yachts” vibe it gives. These double hoop earrings from Baublebar are perfect, and under $40. 

Finally, finish the look with accessories we regularly feature, like these investment Tory sandals, simple tortoise sunglasses, and this leopard clutch from Tuckernuck that adds pattern and texture to any outfit, year-round.

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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

A Go-To Dress For Transitioning Back to the Office

It’s fair to say that our professional lives are going to look weird for the rest of 2020.

While some parts of the country are pulling back their reopening plans, many are slowly turning the lights on. In my hometown of Philadelphia, people are commuting and back in the office, even if it’s just part-time.

But the city is hot (so hot), with temperatures in the mid 90s, and, most dress codes are toned down versions of what they were pre shut down. 

Which leads to the question, after months of working at the kitchen table, what’s an easy outfit option that is comfortable, cool, an a little more professional than yoga pants? 

A dress, obviously! 

And not just any dress, but this Lola jersey dress from Boden, available in an array of colors and prints, in regular, petite and long, ranging in sizes 2 – 22. 

Basics Building: Go-To Dress for Work 

Navy Dress by Boden

Dress, $85 

I’m thinking specifically for readers who are either walking or taking mass transit into a hot city. Maybe you’re in an office with a skeleton crew or a municipal or government building coming back online.

You want to look polished, but not overdone, comfort is key, but feeling dressed up is a welcomed change.

This dress requires nothing else. Simply throw it on and go. 

A Better Basic for Under $100

 

This dress is everything Boden does well, and has almost all five star reviews from customers.  

The fit is lovely; it’s not too long or too short and the cut is ideal. A v-neck is universally flattering, and the waistband will help pull you in, creating a slimming shape. 

While I’m not personally a fan of their prints, picking it up in either black or navy means you  have an incredibly wearable dress (with pockets!) for under $100.

How would I wear this?

Assuming I was commuting (or just didn’t want to fuss with heels) you can easily wear this with flats. I would wear these Allbirds Tree Breezers in Navy for both comfort and style.  They are similar to Rothy’s  in that they are eco-friendly, washable and breathable, so your feet won’t sweat in the summer heat. 

Finally, use what you have in your closet! I would carry this bag from Target that we featured last month and keep accessories simple with these studs from QVC (another reader favorite).

 

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Become an Insider 


Become A Well Dressed Life Insider

 

Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.