5 Fair Isle Sweaters for Thanksgiving and Beyond

5 Fair Isle Sweaters

I usually wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, but I started this week. My kids have been in full-time, in-person school since the start of the school year (it’s been wonderful) but are going virtual for two weeks, beginning on Monday.

Knowing the next few days will be filled with distractions, I’m putting in a marathon effort this weekend to get the holidays set up.

This year I want to make it as cozy and fun as possible. That shouldn’t be too hard since Vivi turns two a few days before Christmas. Getting to redo all of our holiday traditions with a little one again has been an absolute gift. I’m not sure who is enjoying it more, her or me. 

One of my favorite childhood traditions was how my mom made sure we always had a few special things to wear, like pajamas just for Christmas Eve and a new Christmas Day outfit. Of course, I do the same for my kids. Because what we wear can set the tone for the occasion and end up marking a memory. 

And for me, there is no pattern more memory-evoking than a Fair Isle print. 

So as we head into the weekend, I’m rounding up some of my favorite cozy Fair Isle sweaters for holidays at home. They are perfect for this time of year, for Thanksgiving, the night you decorate your tree, or just snuggling on the sofa with a holiday movie. 

5 Fair Isle Sweaters for Thanksgiving and Beyond

5 Fair Isle Sweaters

How fun are these? They’re the stuff of Hallmark Movie magic. If you pick one up, or already own one (and you really only need one) keep your look simple: a pair of jeans, a pull on pant, or a jogger, the pour yourself a glass of wine and relax by the fire. 

Below are my top picks in all sizes including regular, tall, petite and plus:

 

 

Fair Isle Sweater from LL Bean

LL Bean, $75 

Fair Isle Sweater at Nordstrom

Vero Moda, $65 

Fair Isle Sweater from The Gap

Gap, $80 

Fair Isle Sweater from The Gap

Gap, $70 

 

Fair Isle Sweater from The Gap

Ann Taylor, $90 (On Sale for $45)


 

Our Style 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 Classic Grey Dress Two Ways

How to wear a Gray Dress

We talk a lot about creating a chic and classic style on a budget. No matter your budget, you have one, and you need to know where to splurge, spend, and save. The best tip I can give you is to be selective about every item you bring into your wardrobe, especially those pieces considered a bargain.

Inexpensive, sale-priced, clearance items tend to be where we let down our guard. It’s too easy to throw a $20 top or dress in our carts. But what happens when we do that repeatedly is we end up with a closet that doesn’t make any sense.
You’ve been there, I’ve been there, we’ve all been there.

That’s why it’s important to know the style you are trying to achieve before you shop, and then hold even the most affordable item to that standard.

Today’s dress, this simple Ponte shift from Old Navy, is on sale for under $30. It is the perfect example of what to look for in a “save” piece that adds tons of value to your wardrobe. 

Old Navy Ponte Shift Dress 

How to wear a Gray Dress

 

Dress, $28 (Missy, Tall and Petite, up to XXL)

Ponte knit is ideal for this time of year. It’s stretchy, soft, and has a great fit. You can dress it up or down. It pairs with everything from tall boots (below) to sneakers and a denim jacket.

This dress works so well because of its timeless cut and heather grey color. It’s also not too short, so you can take it to work, dinner, or even a relaxed Thanksgiving.

Today, I’m showing you two sophisticated looks with this inexpensive piece at the center.

Layered Neutrals

Gray Dress with camel coat, ivory scarf, tan knee high boots, and gold hoops

Boots, $268 (Black Friday sale $134) |  Coat, $173 |  Scarf, $39 |  Earrings, $90 

To say I love this look is an understatement. My favorite way to dress is in layered neutrals. It creates such a gorgeous richness that works for any occasion.

Here, I paired the dress with these stunning cognac boots from Banana Republic, currently on a Black Friday sale for 50% off. Sizes are getting limited.

Then, a classic camel coat. I picked up a similar jacket last year and have got so much wear out of it. I like this one from Express; it has a flattering tie waist without looking like a bathrobe.

Finally, add an ivory scarf (under $40 at Nordstrom) and pretty pearl and gold statement hoops.

Simple, classic, timeless.

Basic Black

Gray Dress with black tights, black booties, black and gold belt, and gold earrings.

Booties, $105 |  Tights, $15 | Belt, $45 (on sale $15)|  Earrings, $7.50 

When you focus on wardrobe building, you’ll eventually get the point that you already have everything else you need to create a fresh look when you bring in one piece.

This look is an example of that. You likely already have a pair of black ankle boots. If not, these booties by Vince Camuto are on sale at DSW. Their block heel makes them incredibly comfortable. Pair them with opaque tights to give your leg a long line.

Then, I added this gorgeous belt from LOFT. Right now, it’s on sale for only $15. It’s subtle but has a designer look and feel. Wrap it around your waist to bring in some visual interest.

Finally, small door-knocker earrings mimic the belt buckle’s style, creating a cohesive, thoughtful outfit.


Our Style 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 Best Selling Over-the-Knee Boots I LOVE

Over the knee boots

Over-the-knee boots have been popular for some time. Over in our Facebook Private Group, I get questions about them frequently. Specifically how to wear them and if they are age-appropriate.

So let’s start with the question of age. It’s simple. AGE DOES NOT MATTER. The Well Dressed Life is all about helping you achieve a modern and classic style, which is inherently timeless and ageless. I break down my philosophy on age and “appropriate” dress here.

For style inspiration, you have a lot of options. But first, lets talk about the boot. 

I wanted one that was versatile, affordable, casual and easy to incorporate into my uneventful life. 

Last December, I started to hear (unsponsored) praise for these tan suede over the knee boots for under $50 from Amazon on social media, so I decided to give them a try. 

I’ve had them for almost a year now and still highly recommend them. 

The Best Selling Over-the-Knee Boots I LOVE 

Over the knee boots

Boots: $45, Jeans: $80

I will never be comfortable posting pictures of myself, but thank you to everyone for being kind. I know the pictures are helpful, even though I feel like a major dork in them. 

For some context I am (almost) 41 and am 5’10. However, I found these on Pop of Pippi’s Instagram and she is petite and looks fantastic in them. So don’t be afraid to give them a try if you are petite (and follow her Insta for some great petite looks).

Are they the best quality? They do the trick, which is to let you wear a trend while it’s popular without feeling committed to it and spending a small fortune. 

They are surprisingly comfortable. The block heel gives nice support and they are not too high making them super easy to walk in. 

I paired them with the Joe’s Curvy Skinny Ankle Jean. (On sale for $80 at Nordstrom Rack – they usually retail for $189). I LOVE these. They are high waisted, with nice stretch. But the slide over any skinny jean easily. 

I’ve worn them a few different ways, usually with jeans (above) or leggings and a long cardigan (below). The key is to keep it simple. Almost think of them as pants, if that makes sense. 

This weekend I’m going to wear them with this black sweater dress from the J.Crew factory sale for dinner on Saturday (I’ll share over on Instagram).  

I original purchased the tan suede, and just ordered them in black for the holidays. I think the suede adds a richness to the look but again, has a casual vibe. 

________________________________________________________

Our Style 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 View Post 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 $30 Blazer for Work

These days, workwear leans a little more casual than usual, which can make getting dressed feel redundant and boring. Instead of feeling like you’re limited to the same old outfits, use it as an opportunity to try something new.

This classic patterned, oversized blazer is just the thing. It’s only $30, available in regular, tall, and petite up to a size XXL. Whether you’re working from home (and running to Target in between conference calls) or heading into the office a few days a week, scoop this up and get inspired. 

Old Navy Oversized Blazer 

Wear to Work Plaid Blazer

 

Blazer, $30 available in regular, tall, and petite up to a size XXL, plus size option here  

When incorporating a trend or a style outside your comfort zone, it’s important to maintain some timeless elements. This is what helps your look stay modern. Here, I’m using an oversized blazer (trend) with a houndstooth pattern (timeless). The combination strikes the right balance, and the price point allows you to give it a try without making a significant investment.

Below are two outfits, created with items you already have, and a few you can easily pick up to continue to expand your wardrobe. 

Target and Conference Calls 

 

Wear to Work Plaid Blazer

 

Blazer, $30  |  Sweatshirt, $25  |  Sneakers, $90  |  Jeans, $59  |  Bag, $23  |  Hoops, $45  |  Bracelet, $58

Making a casual look fresh and pulled together comes down to combining casual pieces with a few polished ones. It’s that tension between a sneaker and a proper handbag that is unexpected and modern.

Here, I’m layering the blazer over a grey sweatshirt. Fit-wise, this works because the blazer is oversized. Use a sweatshirt that is lightweight and not too boxy. It’s extra cute if you have one with a zipper and hood. Use whatever you already have; just be sure it’s thin enough to fit under the blazer.

Then, a pair of sneakers. These Cole Haan sneakers continue to be a best seller. I love using them in outfit posts to show just how versatile they are. The British tan accent on the shoe tongue gives them a sophisticated feel and pulls out the blazer’s rich tones.

To keep the look cohesive and add the right amount of structure, I used a similar color bag. This one is from ASOS for under $25.

For bottoms, grab a pair of casual jeans. I’m using light-washed ankle length boyfriend jeans because I like the contrast. You can wear whatever you prefer, from dark wash straight jeans to distressed skinnies.

In the Office 

 

Wear to Work Plaid Blazer

Blazer, $30  |  Pants, $119  |  Booties, $85  |  Sweater, $79  |  Bag, $23  |  Hoops, $45  |  Bracelet, $58

When I create these outfit posts, I always want to provide some helpful tips. Maybe it’s an unexpected way to wear something or a product recommendation you end up buying and loving. Then, I want you to feel inspired. Perhaps you have similar items hanging in your closet and never thought to wear them together until now. 

Finally, and perhaps what makes this site different from other style sites, I want you to build a functional wardrobe. You’ll see items repeated throughout a season and even the year because that’s how we dress in real life. 

The blazer works with so many items many of you already have, like your favorite black jeans. Or go ahead and wear it with the Spanx Perfect Skinny Black Pants. It will look fantastic.

Want to kick the style factor up even more?  Try wearing it with these leather leggings

To give you some variety, above, I’m featuring them with these new to me, Curves 360 by NYDJ Ponte pants. If you want a slim cut pant but don’t like skinnies, give these a try. You’ll create a similar look in a more flattering cut. These are available in all sizes, including petite and plus. 

Because these pants are straight leg, you can easily wear your favorite ankle boot. Just remember that the pants’ hem should sit on the top of your boot, creating a break. 

If you have the Sam Edelman Walden booties, wear them, in either black or tan. Above is  a different Sam Edelman in classic black leather, with a higher shaft. These work well with straight or bootleg pants. 

I’m using this washable wool crewneck from the Banana Republic, another Reader Fave, in vanilla cream to layer under the blazer. 


Our Style 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.


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Photo of Megan Kristel with text 'Become a Well Dressed Life Insider'

 

5 Fresh Workwear Blouses for Fall

five work blouses

Mock neck blouses are popping up across retail, providing a welcomed change in the sea of your standard v-neck tops. These overtly feminine pieces are an attractive option for work, especially if you only dress from the waist up. They bring attention and color to your face, which is all most of your colleagues are seeing of you these days anyway.

If you are back in the office, they pair beautifully with any bottom, like a slim pencil skirt, a full pleated skirt, and your favorite trouser in the best cut and shape for you. 

Of course, take this out of the office to drinks and dinner with a pair of jeans. Or, add a faux leather skirt and wear these straight into the holidays. 

Pick this style up if you have narrow shoulders and a small bust; however, avoid if you are bustier since it will only make you look wider and fuller than you are.

General body types this will complement are triangles since it will add volume to your upper half balancing out the lower, and straight up and down because it creates curves and visual interest. Hourglass could also pull it off as long as you balance your waist and hips.

It’s also a fantastic option for Petites with a small frame

I found five seriously gorgeous options in a range of sizes and prices. 

5 Fresh Workwear Blouses for Fall

 

five work blouses 

 

Banana Republic: Satin Billow Sleeve Blouse | Under $50, in regular, tall and petite, in rose (above) and navy.

J.Crew: Long Sleeve Ruffle Neck Top | Originally $89.50 (on sale for Under $50 with code FALLTIME) Sizes XXXS – 3X in green (above), white, pink and navy

Ann Taylor: Seersucker Mock Neck Top | $69.50 in dusty teal (above) sizes XXS – XXL

Anthropologie: Letizia Blouse | $98 in mauve (above) sizes XS – XL 

Nordstrom:  1. State, Keyhole Blouse | $69  in green (above) and pink sizes XXS – XXL


Our Style 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 Style Joggers

How to Wear Black Joggers Three Ways

Let’s break down how to style joggers. 

Last month our series, “What to Buy at,” featured Banana Republic. I love BR for their classic modern style and commitment to offering an inclusive size range. They make my job so much easier. 

After that post, I received several questions about how to wear these joggers, specifically, how to style joggers in an outfit for work and weekends. So today, I’m breaking down a few options to wear for whatever work looks like for you and ideas to make them casual, since right now those worlds are merging together. 

If you are new to our site (welcome!), today is an excellent example of how many of our posts are designed to help you build a functional, practical, and chic wardrobe. I use items from popular, mainstream retailers, focusing on realistic price points and inclusive size options. 

My goal is to help you build a wardrobe much like I did when I worked with my private styling clients. I reuse popular items throughout each season, so what you purchase through this site becomes a piece you turn frequently. 

In the looks below, I used a combination of items you may already own, along with some new options, all well priced, all available in a range of sizes. 

How to Style Joggers for Work 

 

How to Style Joggers

 

Joggers, $56

Maybe the best thing to come out of 2020 is jogger pants. They are having a big moment. With work and home life being one and the same, it’s nice to have a few pieces you can grab that straddle both worlds.

The cut, tapered leg, and drape of a jogger make them a more polished alternative to leggings and sweatpants. At this point, we know how much better it feels to get dressed in some capacity for our day. Feeling pulled together makes all the difference in our mood and productivity. 

These BR joggers are best sellers, on sale for under $60 in a range of sizes and colors. Black (above) and olive (ideas below) are the easiest colors to wear. Sizes are inclusive up to a XXL in missy and petite. 

Like Black Pants

 

How to Wear Black Joggers Three Ways

Sweater, $41, Loafers, $140, Crossbody, $130

Don’t let the casual nature of these pants throw you. Wear them like you would any pair of black pants. Here, I used this black and white marled sweater from Gap. It’s easy-peasy, comes in regular, tall and petite up to an XXL and on sale for $41. This is suppose to be oversized, not giant, but not fitted. I like how the sweater complements the joggers; both feel cozy and casual.

Then, to add a level of polish, some better pieces, like a structured crossbody bag by Madewell and these insanely comfortable loafers by Birdie

With a Jacket

How to Wear Black Joggers Three Ways

 

Tank, $48, Jacket, $169, Heels, $105, Hoops, $60

The trick to wearing a casual jogger with a jacket is to make sure the fabric of the jacket works with the jogger’s material. Here,I’m using the Ann Taylor motto jacket we featured earlier this month. It’s done in a knit, which means it will complement the blend of the joggers.

As a layer,I used this popular sleeveless shell (also from BR, in white and black). For this look, tuck the shell into the pants and give it a little blouse by pulling it out a bit.

Then, I added block heels in a python print that combines the two neutrals.

Finally, because the motto’s zippers are silver, you want to wear silver-tone accessories, like these hoops. It will help the look feel purposeful.

Party Up Top

 

 

How to Wear Black Joggers Three Ways

 

Sweater, $47, Necklace, $48, Earrings, $195, Lipstick, $28, Slippers, $120

If you are working from home and Zooming all day long, keeping things polished up top and comfy below is sometimes the way to go. 

Here, I’m using another Reader Fave, this under $50 silk and cashmere-blend sweater (members of our Private Facebook Page RAVE about it). It comes in six seasonal colors; I’m featuring the “pine.” 

When video conferencing, think about wearing colors that bring light and warmth to your face. The sweater is a lovely base to add some simple accessories, like a chain link necklace and stud earrings. These small details will add layers to your look and help you look more professional. 

What’s not professional are these Ugg slippers 🙂 Who knew when I bought them in late 2019 just how much I would wear them, lol. 

Finally, consider your make-up if you are regularly on camera. You may need a darker or brighter lipstick, so you don’t look washed out. My favorite is this red lip by Kosas.

 


Below is our article from March (when all of this nonsense started).  I used a similar pair of olive joggers to create three casual outfits. Almost all of the items are still available. 

How to Style Joggers for the Weekend 

How to Style Joggers for the Weekend

 

Joggers in olive, similar here

Joggers are what you want to wear when you don’t want to wear sweats. They are slightly better, and make all the different in that space between feeling sloppy and like you still have your life together. 

I’m featuring them in a dark army green. It’s a fantastic, updated neutral. 

Let’s dive into the first outfit: 

White Tee and Denim Jacket

Three Ways to Wear JoggersJoggers,   |  Tee, $25  |  Jacket, $79  |  Sneakers, $50

You likely have these pieces already hanging in your closet. I want to call out the tee shirt because it’s what many of you are looking for.  It’s a lovely ballet neckline with a sleeve that goes to your elbow, making it ideal for layering or to wear alone.

It’s available in: white here,  from a 00 (XXS) – 18 (XXL) and plus size 1X – 4X here. 

Then I added our favorite denim jacket by KUT. I just love it, I wear it all the time. It’s available in petite and missy up to an XXL.

Finally, I included these sweet tie top sneakers by Vans. I almost stopped myself from featuring them here, since my girls are obsessed with their slip on version, but these, with their contrasting sole and warm “marshmallow” color feel right for grown ups

Cozy Sweater

Three Ways to Wear Joggers

Joggers,  |  Sweater, $25  |  Necklace, $40  |  Sneaker, $48 

Temperatures are all over the place right now, at least on the east coast. One day it’s warm, the next it’s dark and chilly. 

My love of H&M sweaters is well documented. So I paired the joggers with this white, slightly oversized turtleneck sweater. (It’s getting limited in sizes but is available in regular and petite.)

I added a long necklace by Kendra Scott (on sale for under $40 at Nordstrom Rack) – because why not? Jewelry makes me feel human. 

Finally, I am crazy about these shoes by Louise et Cie. They are a leather slip on sneaker in a leopard print available in lots of sizes for under $50, also a Nordstrom Rack. I was not allowing myself to buy another leopard print shoe, but will be breaking that rule with these. 

Better Than a Sweats

 

How to Wear JoggersJoggers, $69.50  |  Sweatshirt, $38  |  Flats, $145  |  Earrings, $36 

I took the joggers and added a simple grey sweatshirt by Everlane. I find they run slightly small, so size up, or pay close attention to the measurements. 

Then I added these chic and comfortable Rothy’s in camo. I’m wearing my Rothly’s in my office almost daily. There’s something about wearing a real shoe that helps me feel grounded.

Now, keep in mind, my office is a few steps away from my house. I have to go outside to get in, so wearing shoes is required. I get it might be less important if you are currently working at your dining room table – just something to consider. 

Finally, these earrings, by our new favorite Gorjana. I’m mentioning them because they come in gold AND silver tone, and so many readers have requested more silver options. They are incredibly affordable and a simple way to raise your spirit. 


Our Style 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 View Post 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.


10 Ways to Wear Black Dress Pants to Work

Classic Bootcut Pants

If there is one item sure to be hanging in all of our closets, it’s a pair of black dress pants. They are our go-to, the most basics of the basics. And while the practicality of being able to turn to them over and again is part of their appeal, they are the first piece to feel redundant.

One of the most common complaints I heard from clients, looking for a style update was, “All I wear are my black dress pants.” This typically meant they were wearing their black pants the same boring way and not styling them. 

Over the years I’ve featured dozens of black pant outfits, with recommendations on the kind of cut and style that will work best for all different body types. 

So today, I thought I would share a guide to creating cohesive outfits around a simple pair of black pants by featuring the top black pants (chosen by our readers) and rounding up some of the best looks we’ve created over the years using them. 

Reader Favorite Black Dress Pants 

Talbot’s Bi-Stretch Barely Boot Pants – $109.  All sizes, including petite and plus. Runs full. 

Spanx “Perfect” Black Pants – $128.  All sizes including petite and plus. 

Banana Republic Mid-Rise Straight Pant – On Sale: $44.  All sizes including petite and plus with choice of inseam 

Vince Camuto Wide Leg Trouser – $79.  Sizes 00 – 16

Theory – $295 Limited sizing 0 – 12, runs small. 

10 Ways to Wear Black Dress Pants to Work

Black Pants with a Statement Jacket 

 

Classic Bootcut Pants 

Tank, $40 | Tweed Blazer, $70 |  Tweed Blazer, $70  |  Bag, $450  |  Pants, $109  |  Wedges, $30  |  Earrings, $68 

Let’s start with today’s featured look, ideal for a professional office. Here, I’m using black pants like a pedestal to show off a statement jacket. Working with toppers (blazers, jackets, and structured sweaters) with interest like texture and subtle pattern is the easiest way to elevate a basic pair of black pants.

Pro tip: To create a cohesive look, pay attention to the buttons on a topper. If the button is black, pair with black bottoms. Many inexpensive jackets have cream or white buttons; in this case, it’s helpful to have your tailor/dry cleaner replace them with either a gold or silver-tone OR one wrapped in the same fabric as the jacket.

I’m using the Talbot pants above because (1) they are a reader favorite, and (2) they have a flattering cut in what they are calling a “barely boot.” This means that the leg of the pant only slightly flares at the bottom, giving a lovely line to the leg with a hem meant to break on the top of your shoe. 

These are a very traditional trouser, so if you don’t like “skinnies” and need an ankle pant alternative, they are worth considering. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to size down in Talbots. 

When wearing a bootcut pant: your top needs to be fitted to your body (it doesn’t have to be skin tight) and if you’re wearing a jacket, the bottom of it should stop at your hip bone. Chances are if you wore a blazer any longer than hip bone the look will feel overwhelming on you. 

I really like this layering tank by Karen Kane (also available in black). You want to wear a scooped or straight neckline with a v-neck jacket. This creates space between your chin and chest creating a long, elegant neck, and helps extent the line of the body. 

For shoes, you can wear a pair of pumps, but you might also consider a wedge. These by Nine West are only $45.  A wedge with a bootcut are a nice pairing because the weight and shape of the wedge balances the width of the leg. 

I’ll be featuring these earrings by Argento Vivo throughout the season. They are reversible hoops so you can quickly switch from gold to silver, depending on your outfit. And they are under $70

Finally, you can’t go wrong with a high quality, classically shaped black bag with a little tonal texture. This black bag by Gigi New York is an investment. I so appreciate it not being covered in logos, BUT  you can have it monogrammed which makes my preppy heart sing.

Another look I created a few years back (in case you still have these pieces) shows the timelessness of this combination. 

Outfit from Wear to Work: Perfect Tweed Blazer 

 

Column of Color

Classic Red Blazers for Work

Image from Red Blazer Outfit for Work

Creating a column of color is an old trick that helps you build a uniform-like look. Pick any black layering top, like a shell or sleeveless black blouse, pair with your favorite black pants, and add any topper in a complimentary color.

Here, I used the classic combination of black and red. You can see how the black buttons in the red blazer pull the look together. For fun and interest, I used these popular tortoise print heels instead of the standard black pump.

Suiting Separates 

Well Dressed - How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

Image from How to Wear Spanx Perfect Pants to Work 

Pro tip: Never break up a suit and wear it as a separate. Proper suits (bought together, cut from the same fabric, etc.) are designed to be worn together. Once you break it apart, you’ll notice that it doesn’t feel right. You’re likely pairing it with the wrong fabric, or the shape of the jacket is not matching the shape of the bottoms. 

Instead, have better separates in your closet so you can create suit-like looks with more mix and match versatility. 

Here, a casual yet structured blazer is over a pair of skinny leg black pants. The jacket has a bit of texture, the shoes are a brushed suede, and the bag has quilting details. These small elements come together to give what is a relatively simple look, a level of complexity. 

Moto Jacket 

Outfit from How to Wear a Moto Jacket to Work 

Because moto jackets look best when worn open, throw one over your black column of color for an updated, edgy yet still professional look. The moto jacket we featured yesterday from Ann Taylor would work perfectly here.

Simple Sweater 

 

There is nothing as basic as black pants with a sweater. But how do you take it from boring to a styled look?
Here, it’s about fit and a sophisticated color pairing, as I did here with black and camel, and below in black and red, and then add lux (not necessarily expensive) accessories.In any look, impeccable fit is the absolute most crucial element. It doesn’t matter if your pants are $50 or $500; fit is what creates that well-dressed look.

The same goes for quality. Buy the best you can afford and take care of your clothes. When you wear simple pieces, the fit and quality take center stage and make or break your look.

Here, we elevate the look ever so slightly with a pattern loafer in a slim profile, and bold gold tone jewelry.  

Or, you can keep it simple like this red and black look below and focus once again on fit and grooming. By adding a bold lip, oversized sunglasses and a dramatic coat, you can take this  outfit from nothing special to rather glamorous. 

Outfit from Waterproof Boots for the Office 

 

Lots of Layers

Outfit from Wear to Work: Burgundy Sweater Blazer 

Keep black pants from looking lifeless by adding seasonal layers, like this collarless sweater blazer from J. Crew (still available in an array of colors). It’s a nice alternative to the more formal looking blazers, mix in a scarf and interesting layering piece for more depth. 

Texture and Details 

Don’t be afraid to add texture and pattern to black pants. This instantly elevates the style factor, especially in the fall. 

Below are a few examples of looks created over the years that lean away from the traditional black/white, red, camel combination and mixes things up. 

 

 

Outfit from Wear to Work: Lace and Leopard

Wearing a blouse and pair of pants to the office is just about as standard as it gets. After a while, though, you can start to feel uninspired. That’s why having a closet full of interesting basics is the key to creating a composed work appropriate outfit, that is still easy to throw on.

Everything about today’s look is simple, but with the exception of the pants, each piece has something extra.  It’s these extra details that add the interest needed to create a cohesive outfit.

Luxe Fabrics

 

Outfit from How to Wear a Velvet Blazer to Work 

I found this velvet blazer and was inspired to create a look I would wear to a formal work event. It’s just elevated enough. The cut and style keep it professional, while the velvet adds a bit of drama without being over the top.

By pairing it with workplace staples, you won’t look like you are wearing a special occasion piece.  The whole look is thoughtful, chic and effortless. Best of all, most of the pieces can be worn several different ways so you get the most out of your purchases. 


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Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist View Post 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. 

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