A Must Have $22 Top for Work

An Updated Top for Work

Get ready, because this post is JAM-PACKED with super wearable, size-inclusive pieces that stand alone or can be paired together. I had a hard time coming up with a post title because there are so many good pieces here. 

We’re continuing to focus on filling in the voids of our wardrobes, starting with this sweet and simple $22 top from J. Crew Factory.

Better Than A Tee Shirt – Tee Shirt

When I worked with personal clients, I use to look for what I called “better than a tee shirt – tee shirts.”

I define it as something:

– finished enough so you can take your jacket or blazer off comfortably.

– versatile so you can pair it with everything from jeans, your favorite trousers, or a pencil skirt and not feel like you have to add more to your outfit. 

– a straightforward piece that is elevated more than a basic cotton tee.

When I spotted this at J.Crew Factory last week, I quickly grabbed a few for myself and made sure to add it to our content calendar. 

It’s only $22, so scoop it up before it sells out. 

Textured Puff-Sleeve Top by J. Crew Factory

 

Top, $22.50

Available in the five colors above, I purchased the coral and the ivory – which is a true ivory. It looks yellow-based in pictures but in person it is ivory, or off white. I doesn’t look dingy at all.

The sleeves have a subtle puff style. Don’t worry they don’t make your shoulders look bigger than they are, it’s just a nice detail.  And you can comfortably layer something over it.

I love that the fabric has a bit of texture too. It looks like a cross-hatch, so you get some added depth and interest. 

If you are looking for an ideal layering piece that can also stand on it’s on, this is it.

I’ll be featuring it a lot in upcoming posts.

Regarding size, if you are in between or want a little more room consider sizing up. I am a true medium, but bought the large because I like how it drapes and worry about it eventually shrinking. 

Because J.Crew Factory has a fantastic size range, you can get this top in up to a 3X. 

An Outfit Full of Must Haves

Top, $26.50  |  Pants, $110  |  Heels, $75  |   Bracelet, $58   |   Earrings, $35   |   Tote, $195

My goal is to provide accessible outfit inspiration without it being boring. When writing these posts I envision how most of us get dressed in the morning: our eyes half opened, stumbling into our closets, hoping a cute outfit jumps out at us. 

If you have the right pieces, it’s easy to quickly get dressed. Today is an example of how basics coming together create a simple yet elegant look. 

For this inspiration outfit I used pieces I know many of you already have, and a few worth picking up. 

First, the top, in coral, because I love the combination of coral and navy in the spring. 

Next, I paired the top with ankle pants from Banana Republic. These get rave reviews from readers for their fit, quality, and the fact that you can wash them. They are available in regular AND petite from a 0 – 20, a stunningly awesome size range.  

Next, I added these tan suede heels from Taryn Rose. If you are not familiar with Taryn Rose, listen up! 

She is a former orthopedic surgeon who started a line of shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. Usually, her prices are around $200 (+), BUT these suede heels are on sale at Zappos for $75, so they might be worth checking out if you are looking for both function and fashion from your footwear. 

Then I added accessories I know many of you already have, like this navy tote from fan-favorite Cuyana and updated studs from affordable jewelry brand Gorjana

Finally, because I can’t resist a little animal print and extra love it with this color combination, I included this super chic patterned bracelet you can pick up on HSN for under $60. 

Shop this Post

 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

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

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

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

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


 

 

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

It has been dark, cold and dreary all winter on the east coast. I’m over it and I’m ready for spring. If you are too, join me in adding a much needed pop of color into our work wardrobes.

A pop of color is just that, a POP! It should feel bright, cheerful, and a little bold. But balance is a big part of making sure the color doesn’t feel out of place in your look.

So I created three looks to inspire you to try a colorful staple. Today, I’m using this Banana Republic fuchsia skirt. It’s available in missy and tall sizes from a 0 – 20 and she’s WASHABLE. No need to dry clean. 

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

 

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

First, let’s talk about how to use these three way posts. They’re meant to serve as both outfit inspiration and product recommendations.  I spend hours searching for the right pieces that will work for the majority of our readers.

And each piece within each outfit is meant to be worn multiple ways. Hate the skirt? Ignore it and focus on the supporting pieces. All items have as much size inclusive options as I can find. 

And if something looks familiar it’s because I purposely use items we’ve featured in pasts posts to highlight their versatility. The idea here is true wardrobe building.

Feminine Power Dressing

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

Blazer, $98  |  Skirt, $90  |  Blouse, $49  |  Heel, $82  |  Earring, $38

I want to stand on my head I love this look so much. First, every piece is a wardrobe staple that we have featured dozens of times. 

This ivory blazer is a must have so go grab it. It’s by Gibson at Nordstrom – many of you bought it last year – it comes in lots of colors. Wear this instead of a cardigan when you want to slightly elevate your look with some structure. It’s available in petite and miss for under $100. Plus size is here

The blazer is light enough to wear all day – it’s part of the outfit so keep it on. I used the Ann Klein ivory sleeveless blouse underneath from our spring wardrobe capsule. Again, another popular item many of you already have. This creates a lovely layered look, with some depth from the fabric combination and the tie at the neck of the blouse.  Scoop this up in XXS – XXL for under $50. 

Then, the popular Banana Republic 12 hour heels in a slingback style. This color is called Biscotti Beige, and there are lots of other great neutral-to-you options. It’s a lower heel that should be comfortable all day. 

Finally, these Gorjana stud earrings for under $40 with a pretty marble finish. 

Casual Color Combo

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

 

Blouse, $60  |  Skirt, $90  |  Heel, $150  |  Earring, $38

Next up I took the skirt and played with color. I absolutely adore wearing variations of pink and red together. It use to be a trend but it’s evolved into a modern color combination. 

Here I used this simple short sleeve blouse, another great find on sale at J.Crew for $60. J.Crew rocks the size scale offering XXS – 3X online. This blouse is full, and meant to blouse out of your skirt. You can also pair it with simple ankle pants and flats on a warm summer day when you want to look finished but don’t want to wear a lot of layers. 

Another lower heel options here, this time from our go-to Sam Edelman. The snakeskin, in black and white acts like a neutral, but gives depth to the outfit. 

Finally, I added an oversized black stud earring by Kate Spade, these were one of our more popular earring picks in 2019. By bringing the black up to your face, you balance the shoes and the look becomes purposeful. 

Just Add Black

How to Wear a Pink Skirt Three Ways

 

Blouse, $69  |  Skirt, $90  |  Shoes, $99  |  Bracelet, $65

An easy and simple way to bring color into your outfit is by pairing it with black. It provides a sharp contrast. 

I used this peplum blouse by Chelsea28. I’m a big fan of the brand for affordable occasion tops. To wear this, let the skirt sit under the peplum and the peplum to just fall over your midsection – it shouldn’t be exaggerate. 

You’ll get lots of wear out of it. It works especially well with flat front, side size pants or wear it with dark jeans on the weekend when you need a “going out outfit.” 

Then I added these J.Crew studded bow sling back flats. I just wore them yesterday, they add the perfect amount of subtle detail. 

Lastly a bracelet. I’ve been wanting to add this into a look because it’s multi-tone, stands on its own or can be layered and is only $65. 

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

 

How to Wear Navy and Black Together

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

Can you wear navy and black together? You sure can. In fact, it’s my favorite color combination.

Of course, there are a few loose guidelines to help you figure out where it works and where it doesn’t, so that’s what we’re talking about today.

This post was inspired by some conversations happening in our private Facebook group. It’s open to all readers, is women only, and filled with helpful info, not just from me, but from your fellow readers. Everyone is welcome, please be sure to answer the three membership questions for quick acceptance. 

Let’s jump in. 

Antiquated Rules

Fashion rules are always changing; it’s how style evolves and is indicative of what is happening in the world. A woman wearing a pair of pants use to be controversial and wearing white after labor day was a major faux pas.

When I’ve mentioned navy and black is a perfectly acceptable combination in the past, I’ve received actual hate mail. I have know idea why it bothers people so much, except that the internet is the worst and no one is meaner to women than other women.

But it’s not me making up these rules. In fact if you look at the color wheel, black sits directly across from navy, which tells us that they are, in fact, the best complements for each other. 

Navy and Black Together in Clothing 

Must Have Boucle Jacket for Under $60

Designers for at least the last decade have been pairing the colors together. From color blocked dresses, to chic tweeds, there is an abundance of industry examples that tell us that black and navy is a winning, chic combo. 

Above is a popular jacket we featured a few weeks back that features black, navy and subtle silver threading. I wear it with all black underneath, but you could just as easily wear it over a navy dress or column of color

Another popular way to wear navy and black is by color blocking. You can either create the look yourself or look for it in a piece.

Like this dress absolutely love by Vince Camuto. It’s a simple sheath, with a flattering color block design that will pull you in at the waist. For under $100 it’s a lovely option for work, to layer under a simple black blazer or cardigan.

Street Style – Real Life 

Pants, $50  |  Scarf, $45  |  Heels, $130  |  Sweater, $70  |  Bag, $78 

There is something incredibly sophisticated about a navy and black combo, but you have to be careful with the pieces you use. The key is to look intentional with your outfit, and not mismatched. 

Inspired by this picture I found on Pinterest, I created the outfit above.

I used a pair of Everlane’s popular size zip pants (only $50!)  The color is an inky navy, this is important for the overall effectiveness of the outfit because for the combination to work, you want to make sure your navy pieces are very obviously navy. And, if you are using more than one navy element, that those are similar in color. 

Then I paired the pants with better basic black pieces. Like a pair of kitten heel Sam Edelman pumps in classic black leather. Then this silk and cotton blend sweater from Banana Republic is on sale for under $50. It’s called “cropped” but it’s not, it’s just shorter and will work with high waisted bottoms or if you are short waisted. 

For a more traditional sweater, I have and love this cashmere blend, also from Banana. 

A black bag with structure is great for work, and plays into the overall simplicity of the outfit.

Then I used this silk scarf with navy and black  will pull it together. You don’t have to include it, but I like how it makes the look feel cohesive. Tie it around your neck, the handle of your bag or wrap it in your hair for a modern feel. 

What to Wear with Navy Bottoms.

The biggest question is what to wear with navy bottoms, so let’s break that down.

If you are wearing a navy skirt or dress, a neutral-to-you shoe is ideal if you are going bare legged or wearing a pair of skin tone pantyhose. 

Or you can wear a pair of navy or black pumps. Going back to the idea of being intentional, black works well if there are other black elements in your outfit.

For navy pants, try to find a navy shoe, or you can wear black. 

You could also wear a leopard print, which acts as an updated neutral with personality, or a pop of red is fun too in either application. 

Having a hard time finding a navy pump? See my top picks below: 

 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. 

Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. 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.

_________________________________________________________

Wear it Two Ways: Banana Republic Zebra Print Blouse

Zebra Print Blouse Two Ways for Work

Today’s post is FULL of easy to wear pieces for work. 

We’re using this updated blouse from Banana Republic, in a fresh zebra print as the anchor of our two way post.  It’s also available in solid black, a crisp white, olive green, chartreuse, and a leopard print (marked down to under $60). 

Why I love Banana Republic

One of the many challenges I have writing this blog is sourcing quality merchandise, with a size-inclusive scale, that is easily accessible to the majority of our readership.

BR checks all of those boxes, offering missy, petite, and tall sizes, and plus within those categories.

Their selection is well curated, with appropriate options for work, weekends, and everything in between. If only more retailers were like them.

Zebra Blouse Two Ways 

Zebra Print Blouse Two Ways for Work

Today’s blouse is the kind of piece that seamlessly works in your wardrobe. Make it a go-to for days when you wake up and all you have the strength to do is throw on your favorite black pants. Add a simple shoe and you’re dressed in minutes. 

But, if you want to zhush it up a bit, below are two other ways. 

Outfit One: After Work EventZebra Print Blouse Two Ways for Work

Outfit 1: Top, $85  |  Faux Leather Skirt, $47  |  Shoe, $118  |  Bracelet, $25  |  Clutch, $30 

An outfit composed of basics, made with elevated fabrics is one of my favorite ways to create a sophisticated look with little effort. 

In December we featured a faux leather skirt I found at Target. If you picked that up, you can use it here. At a similar price, check out this slim faux leather skirt by Halogen at Nordstrom for under $50

It’s cut like a pencil skirt so it works in certain office settings – you’ll know if it will work in yours. 

Because the blouse as an internal tie waist, you can leave this untucked, but still get the effects of a cinched waist. 

I paired it with this dramatic cuff for only $25. Don’t you love when you find something and it looks so much more than it is?!

For shoes, I used our Reader Favorite Banana Republic 12-hour pump in black suede. Pairing suede and faux leather is a great example of mixing lux fabrics together for an elevated look. 

Worried about your legs? You can wear black tights, a pair of hose or go bare legged – it’s entirely up to you. 

To make transitioning from the day to nighttime event easy, tuck a clutch into your work bag. This $30 option at DSW will take you lots of places without a big investment. 

Outfit Two: Casual Friday

 

Zebra Print Blouse Two Ways for WorkOutfit 2: Top, $85  |  Cardigan, $25  |   Jean, $199  |  Shoe, $100  |  Earring, $38  |  Bag, $358 

Perhaps a more realistic outfit idea, this jeans and sweater combo is ideal for casual or creative offices. 

First, this blouse looks best with an inky blue denim. I’m showing it here with the Paige Skinny Jean. They are expensive, but a big reader favorite. You can swap them for whichever brand you like most – just keep it dark. 

It is, however, important that your bottom is slim to your body so the blouse drapes properly. 

Next, assuming your office is freezing, it’s nice to add that third layer, to not only keep you warm but to add some interest. This one, from H&M is fantastic and only $25

Rounding out the look, this cute earrings from Gorjana are under $40 and play off the black and gold accents. A classic black bag from Kate Spade adds structure and practicality.

Finally, I love these backless mules with a pointed toe. The keeping the slim line of your leg moving and feel appropriate for a more casual day in the office. 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. 

Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. 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 Most Comfortable Heels for Work

The Most Comfortable Heels for Work

Let’s talk about the Holy Grail of workwear: finding the most comfortable heels for work. 

The aching, sometimes blinding pain that comes with squeezing our feet into heels that don’t fit well, are too high, or are inherently uncomfortable is a choice I leave to the younger generation. 

After the pain of pregnancy, childbirth and generally just being a woman, I am done with self inflicted discomfort, thank you very much

And I know you are too because comfortable heels for work are one of the biggest topics of conversation here on the blog and over in our private Facebook group

This post to designed to serve as a resource that will be updated regularly. Save it, or “Pin” it so you can reference it as needed. It’s broken down by price point, with options in the under $100 range, $100 – $250 and a handful of “investment” heels at the over $250 plus mark. 

The Most Comfortable Heels for Work

Comfortable Heels for Work

Today we are focusing on a classic pump style heel. Within these recommendations, you’ll find not only a variety of price points but also heel heights and color choices. 

These are HEELS, I’m working on a similar post for flats and kitten heels. 

As always we want to hear from you so be sure to scroll to the bottom to add your favorite pick. As we gather comments we’ll add your picks to the post! 

Before we dive in, a note on price point. Just because a shoe is expensive doesn’t mean it’s going to be comfortable. I find many of the high designer brands are brutal on your feet.

Conversely, many brands that focus on comfort don’t always produce the most stylish shoe. Happily, there are a few options that we’ll cover below. 

This post if FULL of options for everyone. 

Most Comfortable Heels: Under $100 (ish)

 

Under $100 Comfortable Heels One, $90  |  Two, $75  |  Three, $110
 
We’re calling this under $100 ish because when these go on sale they are well under $100. 
 
Via Spiga makes a nice heel at a reasonable price point.  They are not exactly designed to be comfortable, but the solid construction, and walkable heel put them on the top of my lists. This simple pump has a 2 1/2″ heel and are on sale at Nordstrom Rack for $90. 
 
The Nine West “Flax Pointed Toe Pump” are a fantastic option, currently on sale for $56 with checkout code YAY at Macy’s. They come in a wide array of colors and prints to accommodate any style or void in your wardrobe. 
 
A reader favorite are these stylish pumps by Naturalizer. For years, I found their heels to be frumpy, but these are fabulous! They are sleek and sophisticated – with certain colors on sale for under $70. 
 
Another Naturalizer option is the Gia Pump, in a kitten style for under $60. 
 
A personal recommendation on the comfort brand front, are these LifeStride pumps.
 
Last November I ran my kids school’s auction night. It’s a big deal, a ton of work, and required me on my feet for the entire day of. The theme was 80s and instead of creating a costume that let me wear sneakers (that would have been smart) I went like Jackie Collins from Dynasty.
 
Admittedly, I was a major snob about these, but since I needed a pump for my look I reluctantly purchased them. They were so comfortable. I managed all day, and danced well into the early morning in them without any discomfort at all. 

Most Comfortable Heels: $100 – $250

Mid Range Comfortable Heels Top to Bottom: One, $118  |  Two, $137  |  Three, $120  |  Four, $128 
 
In the mid $100 – $250 range you’re going to get a high quality shoe that will elevate your outfit. 
 
The Banana Republic 12 Hour Pump is a rockstar heel. They are classic available in 18 (!!!) colors and finishes, ranging from neutrals, to animal prints and snake skins, to poppy and bold colors. They frequently go on sale. Standard retail is $130, and right now there are a few colors as low as $40. 
 
Another Via Spiga Option is their Nikole Pump. It has a higher heel than the first option, but just as well made and comfortable. Sizes and styles are limited here, which makes me wonder if they are phasing them out, but still worth giving a try if you want a stiletto style that you can walk in. 
 
If you have been on this site for any length of time, you know I love Sam Edelman. From pumps to boots they are my favorite. The quality is outstanding and the price doesn’t break the bank. Their Hazel pump is my go-to for the color options and widths.
 
You can buy these in Medium, Narrow and Wide. I personally wear these all the time and never have an issue with comfort. 
 
Rounding out our mid range options for comfortable heels are Ann Taylor pumps. This is another personal recommendation. Their Eryn pump is gorgeous. With a simple 2 1/2″ heel, in a lovely suede finish, these would be beautiful with a formal suit, or more dressy business attire. 

Most Comfortable Heels: $250 +

Designer Comfortable HeelsOne, $299  |  Two, $398  |  Three, $595
 
Finally, let’s talk about investment shoes since they are not known for being the most comfortable. 
 
Price point is personal and our site has an incredibly diverse range of readers. 
 
Personally, I’ve worn many designer heels and find them to be terribly uncomfortable. Louboutins I can’t even stand in, let alone walk. I wore (tried to wear)  a pair my husband bought me on time in Vegas. I looked like a drunk call girl stumbling around the casino. 
 
When I got home I sold them on Poshmark. 
 
Manolo’s are like walking on cardboard, $500 + cardboard, and they are cut so narrow I look like Cinderella’s step sister. 
 
But a few pairs actually delight me. 
 
Clients swore by Paul Green shoes back in my personal shopping days. Designed with comfort in mind, these “cup” your feet so they are snug on purpose. They are another 2.5″ heel you can last all day in. 
 
Stuart Weitzman was another go-to. These a beautiful, not quiet 3″, and of course go with everything.  
 
Finally, my pick for where to spend without being disappointed are these Jimmy Choo pumps. I’ve worn these for years. They are not comfortable heels as in you’re walking on a cloud. Rather, they feel solid, and sturdy, like you stomp around in them all day with no problems.
I get them professionally cleaned and resoled once a year and they look like new. If you are into high quality over quantity you can’t go wrong with these.  
 

Readers Tell Us Their Favorite Heels

Crowd sourced from our comment section

Sarah Flint Perfect Pump

Clarks Adriel Viola Pump

L.K. Bennett Pump

Anne Klein Finn Pump

Cole Haan Grand Ambition Pump

 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. 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 for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access advice in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

_________________________________________________________

Easy Red Blazer Outfit for Work

Classic Red Blazers for Work

This time of year, updating your wardrobe can feel daunting. Theoretically, there is only a little bit of winter left, so we think, oh, I should hold off until the spring.

And, rightfully, if you need to purchase more than a handful of pieces, that’s a good move. You’ll have more options, variety in size, and seasonless fabrics to choose from.

But the final six weeks or so of winter can be painfully boring, and sometimes you need a few things to breathe some fresh life into your work clothes.

If that sounds like you, consider picking up a bold red blazer. Nothing makes more of an impact in your wardrobe and it easily coordinates with the pieces you already have in your closet.

Polished Red Blazer 

Classic Red Blazers for Work

Easy outfits are key when you’re getting dressed before the sun comes up. Last week we talked about creating a column of color. A simple strategy that elongates the line of your body and works as a neutral base to add interesting layers like better sweaters and separate blazers.

Today I took that same concept to show you how you can create a different look just by swapping out your top layer.

Here, it’s a bold, classic, wear-with-everything red blazer I picked up at Nordstrom for under $100.

Available in sizes 0 – 16, this red blazer fits true to size, and is a true red. In the picture above it looks like an orangey – red, but that’s just the lighting. This is a true, blue-based, classic red.

Before we get into the outfit elements, below are a few other red blazer options in all sizes.

Red Blazer Options for the Office

 

 

You can wear any of these so many ways. Here I’m wearing it with my go-to column. But you can layer it over a sheath, or a pencil skirt. It works with a patterned pair of bottoms, or throw it over a sweater with jeans and boots – anything.

I used my basic “column,” which consists of a pair of Theory pants and a simple black shell from Banana Republic.

Related: How to Dress Off a Column of Color

How to Wear a Red Blazer 

 

Classic Red Blazers for Work

Blazer, $90  |  Tank, $65  |  Pants, $285  |  Heels, $120

When we talk about how to budget for clothing, it’s important to figure out where you can spend and where you can save. Not just in terms of where to shop, but what you specifically need. I spend on dress pants because of my shape and height. I find that better quality brands fit my frame.

You also want to consider your frequency of use and the timelessness of the piece. These pants, for example, fit me well, are fantastic quality, and look new even though I’ve had them for years. (Honestly, I can’t believe they still fit.)

I have two pairs that I rotate, and even though they were an upfront cost, I haven’t purchased or thought about black pants since.

You don’t need to buy Theory or spend the equivalent, but keep an open mind and if and when you find a perfect pair, consider getting more than one so you always have it available. And stay tuned for a comprehensive post about the best black pants in all sizes, styles and price points!

This tank, from Banana Republic, is an ideal layering piece. It’s available in all sizes, including petite (which is on sale for $51) in black and white. Scoop it up if you want to create a basic column of your own. (This also washes well.)

Finally, I’m wearing a pair of tortoise heels I found at Ann Taylor early in 2019. I don’t wear them often, but when I do, I’m always happy I have them as they seem to elevate my outfit just right.

I found an almost identical pair from Sam Edelman. What’s great about them is they go with any color and add just a little bit of depth to your look Almost like a more subtle version of an animal print.

Shop this Post

 

 

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Our content is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers in any way. Recommendations are based on personal experience and my time working with women as a stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. 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 for even more free tips, and join our Private Facebook Group for access advice in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

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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