You can wear today’s outfit inspiration anywhere, but we jazzed it up to make it date night/girls night/ Valentines day appropriate since it’s that time of year. To make it even better, all the pieces are budget friendly, under $100 each.
Looking for an alternative to jeans for dates nights or the rare evening out with girlfriends? Consider a pair of faux leather leggings. I know your first instinct is to think they are not for you, but if you wear traditional black leggings, you can wear these. And, despite what you may think, your dress size and age don’t matter at all. All you need is a place to go.
Of course, you don’t have to wear them if you don’t like them. I happen to like them very much. They are a saucy alternative to jeans, and after spending most of last year feeling very much like an alien invaded my body, saucy sounds fun right now. They are not so much a basic, but you can wear them the same way. I call these “second level basics.”
What makes these special is the impact of the fabric. The look of faux leather adds edge and an element of texture. With the right combination of separates, the look can be both casual and elegant, and edgy yet approachable.
The pants are by SPANX. They have great stretch and tummy control. I know they look like a pair of scuba pants, but in person they are much more subtle. Some people love SPANX, some not so much. I’ve always liked their quality and fit so I don’t minding spending here. I’ll also wear them enough to get value out of the price. If you want something similar for less, try these Hue leggings on sale for $25 at Nordstrom Rack.
If they are too high for you, something lower works just as well. The most important element is the pointed toe. They are the best complement for a “dress” legging since they help extend the line of your leg.
STYLE NOTE:When you’re wearing a longer cardigan or jacket you do want to wear a shoe with some kind of heel to help bring balance to the look. Otherwise, the layer will overwhelm you, regardless of your height.
This inexpensive fold over clutch is only $20 at TJ Maxx. It’s a great example of a super wearable leopard print. Here, it works as a neutral and ties all the colors together. You could also carry a black clutch or a gold one. Even better if it has something extra to it, like some quilting detail, cool hardware or a statement shoulder strap.
I’m someone who loves a good party but the holiday office party was never my favorite. They always felt like more, well, work then I ever wanted to do after a long day in the office. I remember one I had to go to when I was at my last corporate job before I started my own business. It was at the massive home of our VP and was hour after excruciating hour of forced conversations.
Then there was one in NYC for my husband’s company that I was pregnant with our oldest for and possibly the only sober person in Manhattan. No one really knew each other and it was just awkward.
But this time of year you might have to suck it up and attend your own, your spouse’s or a celebration for a client or your network or industry.
I was trying to think about what I would wear if I had to go to an event that was festive but still professional. Cocktail dresses are often too much, and you don’t want to go in what you typically wear to the office. This is what I came up with, and I have to say, now I wish I had somewhere to go!
Everyone should have a velvet blazer in their closet. It’s not a basic, but rather a second level staple. You can wear how we have it styled here, over a cocktail dress, or with jeans and a tank. This one from Halogen is under $100, available in all sizes.
I paired it with a classic pair of tuxedo pants. They look off black in the photo, but they are true black. The straight leg style is elevated with a satin waistband making them just different enough from your typical work pants to feel special. To balance the weight of the blazer, I used a velvet pump. These Marc Fisher pumps look so much more expensive than their $57 price tag. For special occasion shoes I go one of two ways. I either spend big (I splurged on a pair of gold Jimmy Choo’s a few years ago and reach for them all the time) or I spend under $100 and use them like a novelty.
For under the blazer, I went with an effortless silk blend tank from H&M. You’ll keep the blazer on so all you need is something between you and the jacket. No need for anything sparkly or shiny, the elegance of the outfit is in the play on textures of the shoe, pant, jacket, and accessories.
Sometimes, when it comes to work, you have to socialize outside the office. This, shockingly, was never my favorite thing to do. I just found the whole process exhausting. Does anyone enjoy it? After a long day at work, I barely had the energy to go out and see my friends, so the last thing I wanted to do was pretend to get along with my passive aggressive boss. Even now, though I don’t mind client dinners and functions as much anymore, they are still so very draining.
So what do you do when you’re technically working, just in a more casual environment, where you have to balance schmoozing with cocktails and still keep your poise?
When I’m out with friends, I am usually the first to show up and the last to leave. What if I miss out on some fun? I’m 38, and my FOMO is still very real. But I learned early on in my career that nothing good happens after 10pm when it comes to work parties. Nothing. That’s why I set a time limit and dip in and out. I’ll arrive within a few minutes of the event starting, and set a curfew with a firm stop a few hours later. If I’m traveling, I’ll let the host know I have an early meeting or flight. If I’m local, and I feel like I have to give a reason for leaving early, I’ll say I have a sitter with a curfew. Often, I’ll just find the host, thank them and head out; you don’t always have to give a reason.
In the summer, there is the added detail of what to wear. For some reason, the warm weather creates a landmine of inappropriateness. When I’m not sure what to wear, I always turn to a dress. This polka dot dress, is the perfect choice for a warn weather function that’s an easy going take on a classic wrap dress.
I get excited when I find a dress in missy and plus sizes. It’s not often that two dresses look so similar. Both have a gorgeous v-neckline, and trend-right, high-low hem. Polka dots are quintessentially summer. Inspired by the dress, I wanted to create a look that is a modern take on a classic combination.
The dress has enough going on to let it stand on it’s own. All you need are a few well placed accessories and a shoe that disappears on the leg. What’s better than pearls with navy and white polka dot?
This stacked pearl bracelet has the right style and proportion to work with the movement of the dress. Kenneth Jay Lane has a beautiful line of costume jewelry, and when you find it on sale, it’s even better. To keep the pearl theme going, I used a small pair of studs. Avoid anything oversized, or you’ll teeter in Pretty Woman territory, and the look will feel too retro.
To keep a modern edge, I used this popular Rebecca Minkoff envelope clutch with a zipper detail trim. It adds some much-needed contrast to balance the femininity of the dress. Finally, for the shoes, you can wear any neutral to you shoe, like a sandal or a slide with a heel. The dress needs some height to show off the movement of the skirt. I used these block heel slides. They are different from a lot of the shoe options we’ve featured recently but work well, and the suede adds another layer of texture.
Maybe you’re heading to a friend’s house, hitting up a block party or going to your local swim club, at some point over the summer, your weekend is going to involve some kind of barbecue or outside party. When I worked with clients, they would often complain about feeling like they were wearing some version of their work clothes on the weekend.
It sounds silly but how we dress often dictates how we feel. If we are looking to relax or take a break, wearing the same thing you wore to Thursday’s sales meeting is no fun. Today, we’re breaking down what to wear to a summer barbecue so you feel great, look chic and can get out the door with ease.
My family is in the season of life where things are busy all the time, and our weekends are filled with a combination of sports, community activities, family commitments and time spent with friends. One of the things I never realized when we had kids, was that our group of friends would evolve to include the parents of our kids’ buddies. When we get together, the kids are outside having a blast, and the parents are inside having just as much fun.
For years I hung out almost exclusively with other entrepreneurs and business owners, especially in the early stages of our company, and I always found it exhausting. It felt more like networking and less like socializing. Entrepreneurs tend to be a bit narcissistic. They like to talk shop; it’s all strategy and struggle, what gigs they booked, their numbers, who’s doing well, who isn’t and I would sit there just wanting to talk about what happened on Real Housewives of New York. It was always so obvious to me that I never fit in.
What’s nice is that everyone in our group of neighborhood friends has pretty impressive resumes, big jobs and lots of responsibilities. But when we get together, we might talk about work, but there is no one-upping or showing off, it’s just pure, uncomplicated, down to earth fun. And no one has an agenda. For someone as wound tight as I am, it’s a welcomed break and, frankly, necessary for my mental health.
Most of our activities are casual, but some require a little more effort. With two busy kids and a full work schedule, I like to have a few outfits figured out so I can get myself and everyone else out the door with as little drama as possible. If you have a few outdoor parties on your calendar, let the ideas below serve as some inspiration, so you know just what to wear and can get on with having some fun.
I love a romper. They feel more dressy than a short and tee outfit but still chic and casual. Yes, it’s a pain when you have to use the ladies room, but honestly, it’s never bothered me too much. The key to wearing one as an adult, and not looking like you’re shopping in the kid’s department, is to focus on fabric, fit, and balance. This breezy romper brings balance with a longer sleeve, and has a comfortable drapey fit. It’s like a wrap dress but with shorts. Since it’s a little more formal, I used a neutral block heel sandal. They’re not inexpensive but you’ll wear them all summer. Be aware of your shoe choice if you are going to be on grass. Block heels work well, so do wedges and, obviously, flats. For accessories, I used natural materials. These bamboo earrings and cork clutch pair beautifully while adding depth and dimension to the look.
Lauren and I like to say; sometimes you have to go all in. Are you going to a pool party at your local country club? Or a daytime gathering at a yacht club? Whether that’s part of your daily life, or your find yourself randomly invited, we say, dive in head first. Sometimes, I like to fly my preppy flag high and go full on Palm Beach with a bold pattern tunic (by none other than Lily Pulitzer) and a pair of Jack Rogers flats. Finish it off with white tassel earrings and this adorable ($50) white clutch. Is it predictable? You bet. But it sure is cute.
A popular topic around here is how to update an outfit with accessories. When it’s cold out, it’s easy to add a scarf, stack some bracelets, even add an interesting blazer. The challenge is when it’s hot and humid out, the last thing any of us want to do is add layers. So how do you create visual interest and depth without pilling on extra layers?
One word: Shoes.
On the blog, I have a tendency to show neutral, classic, versatile shoe options because I’d rather you “invest” in a few high-quality shoes you can wear over and again instead of having a pile of disposable, novelty shoes you wear once or twice. But sometimes my practicality is boring, so today we’re featuring a few pairs of embellished slides that are perfect for jazzing up your basics this summer.
Why slides? In the summer, I often feel silly wearing a higher heel. Of course, it all depends on the outfit, but generally, a flat, or a low heel, works best with ankle pants, shorts, and skirts with a higher hemline. They tend to complement the weight of seasonally appropriate clothes and add to the general, casual vibe of the summer.
I was inspired by this first pair I found at Anthropologie. I love the combination of a bold floral pattern with equally bold embellishments. Many of you know I’m not a big fan of prints, but I do like a wink of them in an outfit when temps are high. I would wear these, and this similar pair from Steve Madden with white summer pants or shorts, linen pants, or even a simple, solid cotton tank dress that hits at or around the knee.
If you wear a lot of denim or chambray (raises hand), than these Sam Edelman slides are the perfect pair. I would wear them with my white jeans, relaxed ankle length blue jeans, a box tunic in chambray, or a tank dress in shades of blue or white.
Looking to dress up neutral basics? I can see these gold slides with pearl details at the shore. Going to dinner at the beach is always more laid back than in the city. Wear these with your summer weight “dress” pants and a tunic, or cotton shirt dress or loose fitting sheath.
It’s been raining on the east coast for days. Maybe it’s the weather, lack of inspiration, or the fact that I haven’t had the occasion, but lately I’ve had little desire to get dressed up.
I’m hoping, that as the weather clears there’s more opportunity to break out of my jeans and tee shirt rut. For today’s post, I wanted to show something different. If I did have a place to go, what would I want to wear that’s the opposite of my jeans/tank/blazer combo. So today I’m showing you how to wear a polka dot skirt on the weekend.
You can wear a number of shirts with this, but I went with a sleeveless ruffle button down. The ruffle plays off the femininity of the pattern, and the shape of the shirt balances the swing of the skirt. In this case, I would tuck in the shirt to highlight your waistline. This is an easy piece to incorporate into all kinds of looks, especially with a clean lined blazer for work.
Next, a denim jacket is a springtime must have. In this outfit you can wear it properly or just drape it over your shoulders. Aside from keeping you warm, the denim grounds the look and, again, creates balance.
The bag is what excites me. My defalt is always a beige clutch. Practically speaking, they go with everything but let’s have some fun. I wanted to show how patterns can also mix and match. Polka dot and stripes are an easy combination because neither is too busy so they won’t fight with each other. The trick is to make sure the colors you are using are the same saturation and that one pattern is dominate. Here the skirt has the primary pattern, and the stripe on the clutch is an accent. They play off each other and kick up the style factor in a subtle yet impactful way.
Need some more Weekend Inspiration? Drop us a note in the comments with questions or requests and will add it to our editorial calendar for coming weeks.