How to Dress Off a Column of Color

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

There is a trick to creating an easy work “uniform” that you are likely already using without even knowing. It’s called dressing from a “column of color” and it is the easiest way to quickly pull together a professional look. 

Start by creating a column of color with your better neutral basics. You can use any combination: tank/skirt, top/pant or dress (a solid structured sheath works best) as long as it is one color like black, navy, grey, or winter white. 

This “column” creates one continuous line and acts as a base. Then, simply add a blazer, preferably with some interest or a color that complements the column. The blazer works to add contrast which creates a visual that makes your body look longer and leaner.

Below is work wear look I pulled together combining some pieces I’ve had forever, and two updated items, including this gorgeous jacket that is under $60 and stunning flats I found on sale at J.Crew

How to Dress off a Column of Color 

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

Jacket, $60  |  Pants, $265  |  Shoes, $99  | Similar Tank, $65  | Similar Bag, $298  |  Hoops, $55 

Rarely am I this impressed with a jacket, but H&M hit it out of the park. I picked this up last week for $59 (regular price). Online the sizes are limited but at the H&M in King of Prussia (PA) there was a rack full of them. 

This beauty fits true to size, I’m wearing an 8. Feels great on, it’s substantial but not too heavy and doesn’t feel bulky even though it’s tweed. And it’s lined.  Lined – for under $60. 

Any time I find something that combines black and navy, I scoop it up, because it’s a piece that will pull so many other items together. Wear it with an all black column, swap out black for navy or throw it over a white tank and dark jeans for a super chic Friday office look.  

Despite the affordable price point, this is a quality and will live in my closet for as long as it fits!

Just take a look at the details …

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

Related: Easy Red Blazer Outfit for Work 

Extra Special Touches

In the same trip I hit J.Crew for some end of year sales and walked away with more shoes than I needed. My favorites are these slingback flats with bow stud details

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

These are the kind of shoes that make my heart sing. They are flat, so I don’t feel too tall, and I can walk in them all day. But it’s the studded ribbon bow that instantly sold me.

Tip! Look for extra little details on simple styles of shoes to elevate a basic outfit. Doing so adds visual interest, which creates overall depth. 

Here, I like how the shoes balance out the busy-ness of the jacket by creating proportion. 

Related: 6 Flats to Wear When You Can’t Wear Heels 

I paired my two new purchases with some serious wardrobe workhorses I’ve had forever. Theory makes my favorite suit pants. They are expensive so I try to buy them when they go on sale so I have a few to rotate through. I’ve had the ones above for at least 5 years and wear them all the time. 

Note: Theory’s sizing is all over the place, so you might have to size up more than usual. 

My tank is from Banana Republic. I linked to a similar option here. They have great sales so if you don’t need on right away, keep an eye out for a discount code. 

Finally, I’m wearing the gorjana hoop earrings I featured on Monday. They are light and comfortable – I can’t recommend the enough. 

Related: Affordable Earrings that are Office Appropriate

This outfit is a beautiful example of how to combine higher end pieces (the Theory pants) with something more affordable (the H&M Jacket) to create a look that feels sophisticated and doesn’t scream like you shopped off the mannequin of one store.

Shop all items below:

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

Jacket, $60  |  Pants, $265  |  Shoes, $99  | Similar Tank, $65  | Similar Bag, $298  |  Hoops, $55 

 

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An Easy $40 Dress

Wear to Work: An Easy $40 Dress

I’m always looking for simple pieces that help you get dressed and out the door quickly. This time of year, especially, days are long and time is a commodity, so keeping outfits easy is essential.

I’m such a fan of a dress for work, or any occasion, really.  It’s one step dressing that always looks more pulled together than the actual effort you put in. When I need to be dressed for a day of client work or have a function, almost every time I opt for a dress.

But for a dress to be ideal, it has to hit a few marks, like, not being a mico-mini, having a proper sleeve, and a neckline that doesn’t plunge to your navel.  

The times when I do come across what feels like the unicorn of dresses, the price tag is often limiting. So when I saw this chic and simple dress at Old Navy of all places, I knew we had to work with it. As I write this, the dress is now on sale for $26, so run, don’t walk.

It’s available in regular, tall, and petite, in XS – XXL here in red, and here in black – I would grab both. Plus Size? They have a similar style here in red and black from a 1X – 3X

An Easy $40 Dress for Work

Wear to Work: An Easy $40 Dress

Dress, $40, $26 Available in Red and Black  |  Boots, $200, $108  |  Tights, $10  |  Necklace, $80  |  Satchel, $340

Let’s talk for a minute about Ponte-Knit, because choosing seasonally appropriate fabric is important. Ponte-knit is soft and double sided, with varying levels of stretch. So you can move comfortably but the dress still maintains it’s shape. It’s a wonderful alternative to wool in the cold months.  

It also travels well, so if you are on the road for work or the upcoming holidays it’s an easy-peasy piece to throw in your suitcase. 

The  shape of this dress is as classic as it gets. The sleeves hit right above your wrists, so if you have a few stackable bracelets at home, go ahead and load up on them. I like that the cut of the dress is shapely without being skin tight.  The placement of the waist seaming is flattering and forgiving, it’s not going to cup your belly, rather, it falls nicely over it. 

To keep you warm, I used a pair of opaque tights, and knee high boots.  The boots are on sale at Off Fifth for a little over $100. They are the perfect clean, suede boot with a manageable heel that you’ll reach for over and again. Sizes are limited. 

Pull the look together and throw on a long necklace.  This will help elongate the neckline and add some movement.  I like this popular Kendra Scott option since it incorporates the black element into the outfit, making it feel purposeful. Lastly, a ladylike satchel by Tory Burch adds some nice structure to the look and plays to the professional vibe. 

 

 

An Unexpected Workwear Combination

How to wear a silk skirt for Fall

Today’s Workwear may be a little out of your comfort zone but I hope you can at least find a sliver of inspiration in it, whether it’s the combination of textures, colors or the
silhouette.

I love it for creatives or small business owners who can have a little more fun with their outfits. It’s an unexpected look that balances feminine and tailored pieces nicely.

Again, I’m using the Item of the Week to show how you can take a piece and weave it throughout your wardrobe. By getting in the habit of thinking about how to wear things two – three different ways, you’ll maximize your options while keeping your budget in check. 

Cable-Knit and Charmeuse

How to wear a silk skirt for FallSweater, $60 | Skirt, $80 | Heels, $180 | Bracelet, $87 | Earrings, $60 | Clutch, $45 

Midi length skirts and dresses are everywhere. They are easier to wear then you might think, the hem just has to hit you at the right spot and you have to wear heels if you are on the shorter side. 

I love the color of this charmeuse skirt by J.Crew on Net-a-Porter. The beauty of it is in how simple it is and the rich, saturated color. (Available in sizes xxs- xl). 

Chunky cable-knit not your style? An alternative is this gorgeous cashmere blend on sale at Bloomingdales , or this equally pretty option from Banana Republic

Matching the skirt to the heels does two things: (1) it creates a cohesive look, and (2) helps make it feel monochromatic. These are by Cole Haan. They are a real workhorse if you need a better professional heel that isn’t exorbitantly priced, they are comfortable and come in a ton of colors. 

Finally, easy-peasy accessories, like this slim clutch (great price if you need something new for the upcoming holidays), square studs (love these) and an airy cuff

Outfit Details 

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What to Wear on a Chilly Fall Night

Comfy Cozy Fall Outfit

We are going to have a rainy Halloween. Hopefully, it’s a mist and not a downpour since my kids all have BIG plans for the evening. 

This is the first year my oldest is allowed to go around by herself with her gang of friends. Of course, they had to do a group costume, and that has been changed no less than 400 times since they first started planning in August. As I write this, I have no idea what they landed on. She keeps telling me that “we’re just wearing leggings, mom, it’s fine.”

My nine-year-old has had her Captain Marvel costume ready for months and is currently plotting her path around the neighborhood, having already selected the biggest pillowcase we have to carry her candy. (That always makes me laugh since I let them keep about a dozen pieces and donate the rest). 

And it’s Vivi’s first Halloween, so I’m pretty excited about her Mini Mouse costume and showing her off for a bit. 

If it pours, I will have to host an impromptu party for all of them, so fingers crossed the weather holds out.  

Assuming it’s at least drizzling, I’ll want something warm but still neat and chic. So, using our “Item of the Week,” here is the perfect outfit for a soggy Halloween night or any chilly fall day.

Outfit Inspiration for a Rainy Fall Day 

Comfy Cozy Fall Outfit

Sweater, $62  |  Jacket, $150  |  Scarf, $14  |   Jeans, $74  |  Rain Boots, $160  |  Earrings, $38  |  Wine Tumbler, $25 

There are lots of versatile pieces in this quintessential fall look that will weave beautifully throughout your wardrobe.

First up, this cable knit sweater is unisex, so it runs true to full depending on how you like things to fit. I love it here since it’s one piece that will keep you warm and adds some texture. It would also be wonderful to take on a ski trip to throw on after a long day on the slopes.

Next, this parka from Gap is fantastic. It’s warm and sleek. I like the adjustable pull string at the waist to give it some shape, and the hood will come in handy. I pulled it in the navy because that’s my favorite, but it’s also available in olive, a stunning off-white.

Rainy days call for a classic pair of Hunter Boots. I say this every season: Hunter Boots are on the top of my best purchases ever list. Every single time I slip into them on a miserable day, I am always so delighted I bought them. They work best with skinny jeans, like these by KUT. For even less, you can go with our favorite Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies for $28.

Wrap this scarf around your neck to pull the cream and the navy together, it makes the look feel cohesive. It looks high-end, but it’s only $14, also at Old Navy. Add a simple yet updated stud for under $40 and grab your wine tumbler, because who doesn’t love a little wine with friends while the kids trick-or-treat? 

Outfit Details

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Item of the Week: $60 Cable-Knit Sweater

For me, working from home, and busy weekend with kids means I get to lean casual in how I dress almost every day. Some days I miss getting dressed up, but most of the time, I’m grateful I don’t have to worry about it day in and day out.

The challenge, as many of us work-from-home women know, is not going too casual. And while I’m entirely guilty of going to the well with leggings way too much, finding a piece like this that quickly elevates a pair of jeans is delightful.

Cable-knit Sweater, on sale, $60

For our first ever “Item of the Week” we’re featuring this cable-knit sweater, on sale for $60 at Hanna Anderson. Yes, that Hanna Anderson, known for their sweet, and matchy-matchy kids collection.

The quality is top notch, and you can’t beat a $60 price tag.  This week I’m featuring it two ways. Tomorrow be sure to check out inspiration for a warm and cozy outfit perfect for trick-or-treating. And on Wednesday, stop back to see a totally different, chic way to take it to the office. 

Item Details

Runs true if not a little full since it’s designed as unisex. (You can view their size guide here.)

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My Favorite Leopard Cardigan (under $40!)

My Favorite Leopard Cardigan under $40

I have been looking for a longer leopard print cardigan for a few weeks. After ordering a few from various retailers in a range of prices, I finally landed on a perfect one, from Amazon of all places.

Now, I’ve purchased a few others in my search that were recommended by some “influencers” I follow on Instagram. Unfortunately, they were either cheaply made, looked like bathrobes, or both, so they all went back. So I didn’t have high expectations for this one.

Holy cow, I love it. Every season I pick up with an item or two that I end up wearing into the ground, and this is already one of them. It somehow is trendy, but subtle, is well made, but affordable and just works with everything.

My Favorite Leopard Cardigan under $40Cardigan, $35 | Tank, $22 | Jeans,$178 | Booties, $60

I’ve already worn it a dozen times since it arrived a few weeks ago. This is how I wear it most of the time: a simple white tank, skinny jeans, and booties. It’s comfortable and not precious, which is helpful since I have a baby on my hip most of the time.

You can also dress it up by swapping out the booties for a heel or a sweet black flat. One night on the weekends, Bri and I sneak out to get a glass of wine and some apps; it’s our way of trying to carve out some time for each other amid our crazy schedules. But the key to getting out the door in the small window we have is to be able to get ready in 5 minutes.

I can grab these pieces and be ready to go in no time and not be embarrassed when we inevitably run into people we know.

There are so many other ways to use it: pair it with leggings and chic sneakers, throw it over a black knit dress, or simply keep it on hand to layer over loungewear for days working at home, or a cozy night watching a movie on the sofa.

I’m even thinking of wearing it on Thanksgiving with comfy jeans and riding boots. Easy peasy.

Shopping Details

This is not a sponsored post; I purchase these items with my own money.

The cardigan runs true to size, I am wearing the medium, in the color option A-Khaki.

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The cami is by Socialite, I bought it during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale. I wear it on its own in the heat of the summer, and it makes a lovely layer with a little lace detail for extra style.

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For years I’ve sung the praises of DL 1961 jeans. They are worth every penny and are ridiculously comfortable. They are my go-to for busy “mom” days or travel.

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Finally, pairing booties with skinny jeans couldn’t be easier. The cut and proportions play well together. I found these Steve Maddens at DSW a few years back, linking to a similar style and price point.

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A Light Colored Sheath for the Office

The Well Dressed Life Workwear Wednesday

“I would never wear a light-colored dress!”I hear you.

Yes, light-colored dresses are scary; but we can do scary things.

Light neutrals are incredibly elegant and sophisticated, so if you promise not to eat spaghetti at lunch, I’m confident you’ll navigate your day flawlessly.

Are you still freaked out? No worries, this perfect sheath is available in four other colors, including black, navy and dark green. I’m trying to create some fresh looks that don’t feel so redundant and also inspire you to step outside your comfort zone.

This dress by Donna Morgan is on sale at Nordstrom Rack for under $40, in sizes 0 – 16. Run, don’t walk. The fit is divine, the neckline is universally flattering, and you can comfortably wear it with our without a jacket. I like it especially for travel since you can pack it in your suitcase and be dressed in 30 seconds – zip it up, and you’re done.

The Well Dressed Life Workwear Wednesday

Blazer, $35  |  Dress, $40  |  Heel, $60  |  Tote, $130  |  Necklace, $55  |  Earrings, $45 

Since we are currently in early fall, I paired it with an equally affordable one-button blazer by H&M ($35) in dark green. It’s also available in five other colors. 

Can we talk for a second about H&M?

I avoided them for years. Their sizing was always off, I’m usually a six or an eight but would have to buy a 12 or 14. Aside from the vanity aspect of having to size up to make something work, the fit never felt right. 

Then there is a bigger conversation about fast fashion. There is too much to unpack in one paragraph, but for a long time, it seemed like they were leading the pack of retailers promoting disposable clothing. Sustainability in retail is a big issue, and we are a long way from (1) getting it right, and (2) making it affordable to the masses. 

Today, H&M has revised it’s sizing to be more in line with US sizes and is also working to be completely sustainable by 2030, while already implementing changes to become more transparent with its business practices.

So, we like them again. 

Back to Our Workwear Look 

I added a simple leather tote from Gigi New York. It’s clean, logo-less, and keeps your things neatly organized.  You can also get it monogrammed, and of course I would. 

Next up, a heel.

I say this with all the affection in the world to all my lovely readers with foot issues – I can’t help you. I’m a stylist by trade, I don’t know about orthotics or arch support. And I don’t want to pretend like I do. So if your doctor told you to wear a certain shoe, wear that shoe, don’t listen to me.

I like this pump because it’s a block heel which is easier to walk in during the day than a pencil heel. You can’t tell in the image above but it has python print, in black and green, so it brings texture to your outfit while grounding it in seasonal colors.  

Finally, jewelry. I have spent so much time trying to find interesting pieces, at affordable prices, in a modern design for grown ups – that isn’t Kendra Scott. (Love her, but we all have the same pieces and they all look the same after a while.).
So when I read about Gorjana on another blog, I had to check them out. If you like simple, modern, delicate pieces that run under $100, you’ll love it.

This chocker is $55 and makes a great base for layering. And these “hoops” are so lovey and easy to wear for $45

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