A Dress to Rebuild Your Work Wardrobe

Getting dressed for work is hard enough, but getting dressed in the heat of the summer after living in elastic waist pants for a year is a whole other situation. To make matters worse, if you’ve tried to shop recently, you know what’s out there is nothing but prairie-inspired styles covered in busy prints and ruffles. 

Not exactly office-appropriate. 

So as I was sorting through some new arrivals at Ann Taylor, I landed on this navy square neck sheath dress, which feels like 2019 in the best way possible. A throwback of sorts before waist-up dressing became the norm. It’s just the thing if you’re struggling with rebuilding your professional wardrobe, and it’s on sale for only $75. 

Ann Taylor makes lovely workwear, and they are continuing to expand their size range, offering many items in regular, petite, and tall. 

A Dress to Rebuild Your Work Wardrobe 

NAvy Dress, Tan leather bag, Tan ankle strap sandals, navy polka dot scarf, and resin hoop earrings

 

 

Square Neck Sheath Dress, $75 | Ankle Strap Sandal, $84 Resin Hoop Earrings, $48|Large Leather Tote, $298 |Scarf, $48 

Dresses are my favorite way to dress professionally. You always look appropriate, and it takes seconds to get out the door. Just zip up and go. This dress is made from what they call a seasonless stretch, which means you can wear it year-round. Go bare-legged in the warm months and add a tight in the winter. 

Having updated basics on hand will help elevate the dress, so it looks modern. Here, I’m using a neutral ankle strap sandal from Nine West, but you can wear any neutral-to-you summer heel. 

For accessories, I am in love with these tortoise resin hoop earrings from Vince Camuto at Nordstrom (under $50). They are oversized, so limit your other jewelry and let these standout. 

If you need a summer work tote, this Kate Spade option is beautiful. It’s simple, hardware and logo free (always a plus) and goes with everything. For an extra wink of style, I included a navy polka dot scarf that I would tie on the hand of the tote. 

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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  follow 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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Why You Might LOVE a Bodysuit

Last week, my 14-year-old, Maddie, ordered some summer clothes online. I gave her a budget and told her she could get whatever she wanted. Knowing my need to control everything, I’m attempting to be more “chill,” encouraging her to develop her unique style. Luckily she isn’t into some of the more skimpy pieces marketed toward her demographic, so I didn’t have to worry about what she bought.

I never saw her so genuinely excited, from the autonomy she had placing the order to waiting for it to arrive. Then, finally, it showed up yesterday, and she tore it open, squealing as she pulled each new piece from the box.

Every single item could have been from the Delia’s catalog.

From the color combinations and styles to the daisy dangle earrings, she looked like the coolest girl from the mid-90s.

Boy, have the 90s have come back with a furry.

It’s wild to see how everything old is new again, and surprisingly, one trend I’m not mad about is the rise in bodysuit popularity.

Why You Might LOVE a Bodysuit

Yummie Women's Cotton Seamless Shaping Full Back Bodysuit

 

Bodysuit, $18.50 in black and white

As I’ve gotten older I just assumed they would be a pain in the neck to wear. But to my surprise, they are pretty comfortable and practical.

The trick is to find a decent one that gives you some support. After reading reviews on dozen of different options, I ordered this affordable bodysuit off of Amazon by Yummie. 

Yummie is a brand that creates undergarments, activewear, and a selection of fashion pieces that incorporates elements of shapewear into its designs. Described as a “hug, not a squeeze.” 

If you want to give one a try this bodysuit (under $20) is a fantastic option. It’s NOT a thong (can you imagine?), and it has a high back, so you can wear it with your everyday bra and a universally flattering neckline. 

So why is this so great, and how can you wear it?

It’s kind of like wearing a tank top and Spanx at the same time. Wear it alone or as a layer under a summer-weight cardigan or light blazer.

I like it styled simply with shorts, jeans or a long pair of linen trousers for a tucked-in look that smoothes out your waistline.

Easy-peasy. 

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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

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Back to Work Pants

Going back to work looks different for everyone. Maybe you’re already in the office, planning to head back soon, or working from home is permanent. 

Whatever your situation, between the change in season and restrictions lifting, it feels like it’s time for a refresh.

My inbox is full of requests for better ankle-length bottoms for work. So today, I’m featuring “The Hockey Jean – Better Than Denim” from M.M. LaFleur.

Next week, our Brand Spotlight will highlight M.M.LaFleur. I have a million good things to say about the company. But this particular pant has so many beneficial features; I think they warrant their own post. 

If you are looking for an investment-style pant to help fill a void in your work wardrobe, consider these a fantastic choice. 

Consider these if you are looking for an investment-style pant to help fill a void in your work wardrobe.

The Hockey Jean by M.M. LaFleur

The Hockley Jean by MM LaFLeur

 Pants, $165 

It’s important to note that these are not jeans; instead, they are a cotton stretch fabric, that’s why they are calling them “Better Than Denim.” You get a straight, curve-hugging fit, with a clean line that you can pair with a variety of tops and shoes.

Here’s why I love them. They are high-waisted, which is fantastic because, as you’ll learn in our Dressing Your Body Type series, flatter all body types. They are also machine washable and wrinkle-resistant, so perfect for traveling or if you just have long, busy days. 

The fit is on point, similar to how the Spanx Perfect Pants hug your curves, but lighter weight and available in more colors. Above you’ll see the black and navy, you can also get them in charcoal, beige and a dark tan. Sizes run from 0 – 18. 

Now, here’s the best feature. File this under why doesn’t everyone do this?

The hem is adjustable!

You can easily adjust between heel heights by lengthening or shortening the hem with easy-to-use snaps. So you no longer have to choose between wearing flats and heels, you can wear both.

Absolutely genius.

How to Wear

These pants will give you so many options, they are truly a staple.  Out of our recent best sellers these would look best with the J.Crew Factory Cotton Tunic in white (under $40), the Ann Taylor Linen Boatneck Top, any lightweight jacket or blazer, like this popular linen blend “biker” from Nic + Zoe, and of course, a stripped top and cute pair of white sneakers

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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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

 

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

 

 

Pinterest in Real Life: How to Wear Culottes

Are you thinking about trying culottes? Or maybe you have a pair and you’re not sure what to do with them?

Good! Let’s talk about how to wear them in the most flattering way. 

Culottes are an excellent alternative to shorts and, when styled well, a more flattering option than capris. 

Of course, if you want to create a well-balanced and proportional look, there are a few tricks to follow. And that’s where we come in with our series Pinterest in Real Life.

In our weekly series, Pinterest in Real Life, I break down style inspiration looks show you how to wear them in your daily life. I take some of our community’s most popular inspiration pictures shared in our Private Facebook Group and recreate looks using affordable, accessible items that many readers already have. 

These posts are designed to be both educational and filled with practical shopping recommendations.  I encourage you to check your closet before you make a purchase. But, if you need something, I also highly recommend our featured pieces.  As always, our content is not sponsored.

How to Wear Culottes

black culottes, white tank, denim jacket, silver bracelet, black block heel sandals, and a large black tote

Culotte Pants, $30 | White Tank Top, $98 | Denim Jacket, $110 Block Heel Sandal, $140 | Bracelet, $50 | Tote, $398

First, the inspiration picture is lovely. It’s simple and easy, ideal for a chilly spring afternoon. The pants stop at a flattering length, extending the line of her leg without chopping it off. To replicate this yourself, be sure your pants stop right below your calf.

The tie waist is a fun detail, but it may be limiting if you carry your weight in your mid-section. I’m not saying you can’t wear the tie belt. You absolutely can. Personally, the tie doesn’t work for me, and I feel like I am always fussing with it. It’s one of those things I think looks adorable on others but weird on me.

Here I used these inexpensive culottes from Old Navy. They are made of a linen blend, ideal for warm weather, and available in regular, tall, and petite up to a size 20. The flat front is a more flattering option for any shape or size. 

Another essential element is the heels. It’s helpful to wear a heel with pants in this shape, so you get a fluid drape. In the inspiration picture, she’s wearing what looks to me like a stiletto sandal. I’m replacing them with a more practical block heel in a similar strappy style.

When you wear a wide-leg bottom, a good rule of thumb is to pair them with a block heel to balance out your bottom half. It helps to ground the outfit. This is especially helpful if you are top-heavy or shorter since the block heel will keep the pants from feeling too much. 

Next, let’s go to the top. You can see in the inspiration picture that the tank and denim jacket hit right at her waist. This is ideal. You do not want to wear anything long with culottes, or you’ll look overwhelmed by all the fabric. Instead, keep the top well-tailored and straightforward. 

A crisp white tank is easy. I’m using the Nic + Zoe white tank that many of you picked up earlier this month. You could also use the Spanx tank we featured in our What to Buy at Nordstrom post. 

Then grab your denim jacket. I’m featuring a classic style from J.Crew available in an XXS – 3X

Finally, accessories are simple. In the inspiration picture, she’s carrying a Louis Vuitton. If you have one, carry it, the pattern is elegant and neutral. I like this Tory Burch tote for yea-round use if you need a similar but less expensive bag. 

Because the buttons on the denim jacket are silver, I used a stackable, sterling bangle that has major designer style for under $50. 

 

black culottes, white tank, denim jacket, silver bracelet, black block heel sandals, and a large black tote

Culotte Pants, $30 | White Tank Top, $98 | Denim Jacket, $110 Block Heel Sandal, $140 | Bracelet, $50 | Tote, $398

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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

 

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

How to Wear Tan Pants to Work Two Ways

Whether you’re back to the office full time, part time, or still working remotely, many of us are feeling the need with the change of season to start dressing again. At least in something other than leggings.

As an alternative to our go-to jeans or black bottoms, a classic pair of tan pants will give you some variety in your work clothes. 

Today, we’ll show you how to make them feel modern, and use some of the more popular pieces we’ve featured over the last few weeks to create a couple of outfits. 

First, let’s talk about the pants. 

Banana Republic Sloan Pant

Banana Republic Sloan pants in tan

 

Sloan Pants, $98 

I’m featuring the Sloan Pant from Banana Republic. It’s a favorite cut amongst readers, but this particular pant runs smaller than usual so be sure to size up. You can currently take 40% off the regular price, and they are available in regular and petite sizes from 0 – 20.

If Talbot’s fits you better, they have many options too. Like their Stretch Cotton Chinos, or their Newport Pants in Canyon. Both are available in all sizes. 

No matter what you go with, look for something tailored, with great fit. Otherwise, they wrinkle and look sloppy. 

Choose a darker beige or tan. You don’t want to use a light khaki color, it will make the bottoms feel like utility pants and that won’t work with the polished pieces we’re working with. 

With a Blazer

tan pants, white blazer, white tank, brown slingbacks, black bag, and pearl earrings

White Blazer, $128 | V-Neck Tank Top, $98 | Slingbacks, $80 |Stud Earrings, $32 |Shoulder Bag, $98  

If you picked up the white blazer we featured from Express, you could wear it like this with a simple v-neck top layered underneath. I’m using this one from Nic + Zoe. It’s a fantastic staple you can wear year-round as a layer or stand-alone. 

Don’t want to do a blazer? Swap it out for a simple long white cardigan. 

For shoes, we’re going with the Kate Spade slingbacks on sale at Off Fifth. Sizes are getting limited. If you already picked these up, know you can wear them in black, white, brown, or tan. Use them like a neutral to add a touch of visual interest. 

Then, I’m the shoulder bag from our Bloomindale’s Sale roundup (under $100) adds a bit of glamour, along with these gorgeous Lilly Pulitzer stud earrings for only $32.

Polished Casual

Blue and White striped tie top, tan pants, canvas and tan tote, tan shoes, and gold pendant necklace

Tie Hem Shirt, $55 | Gemstone Pendant Necklace, $35 |Flats, $268 |Canvas Tote, $275 

Using tailored basics can create a casual and polished look for the office (or anywhere!). Here, I’m using the Tie Hem Shirt from our Bloomingdale’s line up. This cut is nice if you are petite or short waisted. Or, you could use the French Blue Stripe Button Down many of us have from Amazon

To fill in the neckline, I went with the Gorjana Gemstone Pendant from yesterday’s post. It’s on sale for only $35. 

These tan flats from Tory Burch are soft, comfortable and super chic. Worth the investment for sure. 

Finally, I adore this classic canvas tote from Ralph Lauren

 

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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

 

New Series! Pinterest to Real Life

Today we kick off a new Friday series: Pinterest in Real Life.

In our Wardrobe Challenge, I encouraged you to spend some time reviewing Pinterest and “pinning” looks you love. This exercise helps you narrow down your personal style, so you make better choices when editing your closet and when shopping because you’ll never be able to build a wardrobe you love if you don’t know what you like.

The idea here is that you pin all the images you love, ignoring the outfit’s price point or practicality. We’re simply trying to establish your aesthetic. I promise you; we can translate ANY look you love to work for your specific needs. 

After wrapping up our Spring Wardrobe Challenge, I thought it would be fun and helpful to highlight popular, seasonal pins our community shared and show you how to take it from a highly stylized image to a real-life outfit.

I reviewed dozens boards posted in our Private Facebook Group. Since collectively, we aim to create a chic and modern style, it’s no surprise that many “pins” show up across all of our boards. 

This post is full of tips and lessons, so be sure to follow to the end.  

Pinterest Inspiration

 

Pinterest Inspirations

Today, I’m starting with a simple, Parisian-inspired style that is effortless and chic. In “real life,” it’s easier than you may think to recreate with affordable, readily available pieces.

The Challenge with Pinterest Looks

The general challenge with Pinterest images is that most of the models are tall, thin, with little to no curves, which is all fine. Heck, I used to look like that (note I said ‘used to’). However, there is little variety of shapes and sizes, so we have to look beyond that to translate outfits that work for our individual needs.

At first glance, you’re probably not loving how low the blouse is cut. So we need to find a piece that mimics the blouse’s style, with a more practical neckline. Here, we just need a traditional v-neck – which is universally flattering on every shape, size, and body type.

Below, I pulled some more practical pieces to recreate this look that you can now take to the office, or to date night. 

Real Life 

 

Pinterest Inspirations

 

Polka Dot Blouse, $44 | Ankle Pant, $59 | Heel Sandal, $120 | Lipstick, $34 

The brand CeCe at Nordstrom offers easy-to-wear tops that can work day or night. Each top usually has something special about it, so it feels unique like you found it at a boutique, but their prices are fantastic. 

I picked this v-neck black and white polka dot blouse that is on sale for $44 in sizes XS-XL (an XL is equivalent to a 14). It’s the perfect alternative to the inspiration top’s plunging neckline, which I’m assuming has a much higher price tag. 

Plus size? Try this Ralph Lauren wrap style jersey top in 1X – 3X. 

Then, you probably already have a pair of black ankle pants you love. 

You can pair this blouse with a skinny, straight, or wide-leg bottom; tuck it in at least halfway to give yourself a proper proportion. I’m featuring the Avery Straight-Leg Ankle pant from Banana Republic. They are just solid, work-horse pants, great for work or dress up, and on sale for under $60. They come in all sizes, including petite, and tall up to a size 20.

Side note: If you need a suit, you can grab the matching blazer here. 

Next up, shoes. The other challenge with Pinterest pictures is that everyone is in sky-high heels and doesn’t always work. I know I need to schedule some time to practice in heels again after a year in flats. Lol. 

To replicate the look, I went with the block heels sandals by one of our favorites, Sam Edelman. They are about an inch lower than the inspiration look and, again, likely more affordable. You can pick them up in black (above) or 20, yes, 20 other colors. 

Don’t love heels? No problem, a pointed flat is an easy swap. Something as simple as these from Naturalizer with a bit of texture, would work wonderfully. 

Finally, pay attention to your inspiration pins’ styling because what you are attracted to is the overall feel of the look. 

Today’s look is minimal, with a focus on fit and proportion instead of lots of accessories. The one accessory here that you might miss is the smudgy red lip, so go ahead and try that out. 

Nars makes one of my favorite red lipsticks. Instead of swiping it across your lips, dab a little in the center and blend it in with your fingertip. This will give you that bitten lip look that feels fresh and not so perfect. 

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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Become a Well Dressed Life Insider with Photo of Megan Kristel

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist

 

How to Style Print Pants for Day and Night

If you feel like maybe you’re in a style rut, it might be time to shake things up a bit.

Nothing too drastic, but putting your toe outside your style comfort zone can kick start your enthusiasm for the new season and open your eyes to even more fashion possibilities.

Plus, I bet you get a ton of compliments, and that never hurts:)

Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature lots of outfit inspiration designed to help you incorporate a new trend or jazz up your basics to show you how to add the “twist” in the classic-with-a-twist style we love around here.

And we’ll do that by featuring new items while mixing them with other popular items recently featured on the blog, so you can get the most out of your purchases. 

Today, we’re starting with how to wear a pair of print pants.

Printed Pants from Ann Taylor

Pants, $79.50 

Print bottoms have been around forever. What makes them a trend, and can therefore date them, is the pattern. To keep them leaning classic choose a subtle print. (Of course, if you love a big, bold print, go for it! They may just be limited in how long you’ll want to wear them.)

For this post, I’m using these Ann Taylor crop pants in what they are calling an animal print. It’s more of an abstract version of one, using neutral colors, which I like more than a traditional print. The base color is called “Night Sky.” 

The pants are available in a range of sizes, from 00 – 18, in regular and petite with a curvy cut option. 

Below, I’m showing two ways to wear them, one for day, one for night, using some of our past reader favorites for the season. 

Sporty Daytime 

outfit with printed pants, a white sweater, and white sneakers

Sweater, $80 | Crossbody Bag, $129 | Earrings, $45 | Slip-On Sneaker, $95  

Anytime you work with a pattern, the easiest way to make it work in an outfit is to pull out one color and work with it. Here, because the weather is warming up, I’m using white. It instantly makes the look feel fresh. 

Banana Republic makes a fantastic knit, like this crewneck lightweight sweater, available in XXS – XXL in regular and petite. 

To keep it sporty, I used white slip-on sneakers from Allbirds. These are great, everyday sneakers for under $100. You can walk all day in them, run errands, travel, visit the grandkids, etc. There are many color options; I prefer the white, grey, and beige. 

Then, since we’re wearing this on a busy day, I used this tan crossbody from Nordstrom. I featured it in our What to Buy at Nordstrom post last month and have received so many notes from readers who are enjoying it. I have three kids and a non-stop schedule, so a stylish crossbody is one of my go-to’s this time of year. 

Finally, I discovered Gorjana, a fantastic affordable jewelry brand, last year. If you want a few jewelry pieces that look different but still fall under the classic category, give them a try. I picked these under $50 earrings for this look because they are small enough for a casual day but mimic the pants’ print, tying everything together.

Night Out 

outfit with printed pants, white blazer, white camisole, and nude heels

Earrings, $32 | White Blazer, $128 |Camisole, $68 |Woven Clutch, $58 | Heels, $65 

Oh, how I love heels and blazers!

Here, I used the white blazer we featured from Express  in yesterday’s post and layered it over this camisole by Spanx (also featured in our What to Buy at Nordstrom post).

Then I used these neutral-colored strappy heels by Via Spiga (on sale over on Amazon) and this woven clutch which is my new favorite find from Bloomingdales.

Lastly, these gorgeous earrings are only $32 at Lilly Pulitzer

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  follow on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Learn about our mission to help women look and feel their very best, every day, here

Become a Well Dressed Life Insider with Photo of Megan Kristel

Sign Up for Daily Content and Receive Our Free Classic Wardrobe Checklist