Wear to Work: Banana Republic Cardigan

Wear to Work Polished CardiganKey Piece: Cardigan, $98; Option One: Tank, $98; Pants, $89; Shoe, $128; Bag, $40; Earrings, $38; Option Two: Skirt, $60; Tank, $6; Shoe, $120; Bag, $325; Earrings, $148; Bracelet, $32

Wear it to Work: Banana Republic Cardigan

One of the most popular requests from clients this time of year is a layer that is more polished than a cardigan but more casual than a blazer. Traditional cardigans can look frumpy, and do little to enhance an outfit while a formal blazer can often look inappropriate when paired with more casual pieces. This fitted, tie front cardigan from Banana Republic is like the goldilocks of office layers, it’s just right. For today’s post, I chose the gray option, but it’s also available in black. Surprisingly, the sizing is rather generous, with this cardigan available in up to an XL which is the equivalent of a size 16. 

Outfit one is a straightforward, monochromatic look you could probably pull together with pieces you already own. When working with a neckline like the one of this cardigan you want the layer underneath to complement it well. Look for something like this white shell by Eileen Fisher (also available in black). By showing your collarbone, you elongate your neck giving a long, elegant line to your body. Of all the elements in today’s outfit, the hardest to find was the tank. Many are see through, or too short, or just plain cheaply made yet over priced. Eileen Fisher is expensive, but I can tell you from experience it’s worth every penny. Her pieces wear like iron, and you’ll have them for a long time, so if you are always on the look for a better basic layering piece, investing in this might not be a bad idea.

I went with an ankle length pant for this time of year, but if a full-length pant is more your speed, it will work just as well. Vince Camuto offers a wide range of sizing, these pants go up to a size 14 in both missy and petite.  For the shoe, at first I wanted a gray suede pump, but then I came across these snake print leather pumps, also at Banana Republic, and they works so well. Anytime you can add the same color throughout an outfit, in varying textures, it elevates the look to something more interesting. Textures also “count” as accessories, so I kept everything else subtle. I found these affordable silver earrings (under $40)  that are stunning. I rounded out the outfit with a hard to find slim line shoulder bag that is clean and sleek.

For our second look, I took the opposite approach with a mix of feminine pattern and color. This is the kind of outfit that just came together in a way that delights me. This print skirt may seem out of place going into fall, but the cardigan brings it right into the season. Like the first outfit, pay attention to the neckline of what you layer under the cardigan. Here, I did something similar, just more casual. H&M makes an inexpensive tank (seriously, I spend more at Starbucks in the morning) perfect for layering. I wouldn’t wear it on its on, but under something, it works just fine.

Can I tell you how thrilled I am with these accessories? These pink suede pumps are lovely. I would only wear them maybe through October, then switch out for something darker, like a deep gray, the shoe in outfit one, or a dark taupe pump. A pointed flat would be appropriate as well. The earrings are modern and feminine and make the pink in the skirt and the pump more relevant. This bag by Milly is stunning. I don’t know how practical it would be for your real life, but it looks different from what we usually feature. Finally, I added a gold link bracelet to work with the hardware of the bag and earring. This gives a cohesive feel throughout the look. It’s this kind of subtle attention to detail that is the difference between wearing clothes and rocking a thoughtful outfit.

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

  1. Update to my previous post. Received the Banana Republic sweater and it’s gorgeous! It also feels great on. Almost makes me wish for cooler weather (almost). 🙂
    Thanks for the tip.

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