Tag Archives: ann taylor

pleased to meet: laidback summer style from lou & grey

Friends, it is hot as a bucket of beans in San Francisco this week. How are things where you are? To say I don’t do well in warmer climes would be, well, the world’s most hilarious understatement.

The biggest problem with the mercury hitting 90, of course, is that it’s too hot to drink my summer wardrobe is nowhere near ready. Remember, I’m still doing my “how to dress like a French girl” experiment! And blazers + scorching temperatures are not exactly a match made in heaven.

So, when I got a note from LOFT introducing me to their newest creation, Lou & Grey, I was, shall we say, ready for love. Really, does it get more summer-perfect than this? Read on

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trend to try: modern menswear

Miu Miu, via Style.com / Ralph Lauren, via Style.com / Giorgio Armani, via Style.com

Erin ~ Menswear is the trend of the season for all you career women out there. Office dress-codes can be incredibly strict, which can make staying stylish difficult, but menswear is one trend that will almost always get HR’s stamp of approval. It’s an incredibly classic look, and there’s something undeniably chic about the contrast between masculine and feminine.

While I applaud anyone who will pick up a patterned suit this season (there are a plethora of cute options at Topshop and ASOS), I’m going to focus on how the rest of us can wear this trend, starting with a classic two piece suit. If you don’t already own one, this season is a great time to invest. Look for classic black, charcoal or navy, preferably in tropical wool so it will work for a variety of seasons. The jacket should be a two button style with slim lapels and a trim fit. It should come with a pencil skirt and slim pants with either a straight leg or a very slight boot-cut. My favorite suit on the market right now is the Gabrielle Tailor Blazer and Ines Tailor Pant at Theory, but Ann Taylor and Banana Republic always have great options on a budget.

The obvious way to wear a suit is to wear both the jacket and pants with just a crisp white shirt underneath, a pair of pumps and your favorite accessories. However, the more modern way to wear a suit is to mix and match the pieces, so let’s split that suit up!

Gabrielle Tailor Blazer, Theory, $395 / Café Capri, J. Crew, $138 / Helen Patent Pump, Audrey Brooke, $70 / Button Down Shirt, Maison Scotch, $70 / Skinny Patent Belt, American Apparel, $17 / Gold Initial & Pearl Necklace, Danielle Stevens, $80

First we have the jacket paired with herringbone ankle pants. The ankle length silhouette is right on trend for fall and the herringbone adds to the menswear feel. A white button down tucked in and buttoned up with a black belt keeps the look classic menswear. However, the gold tipped heels, delicate chevron pattern, cream silk, black patent leather and gold initials necklace keep the look from being too harsh.

Perfect Oxford Shirt, Gap, $50 / Drifter Sweater Vest, Land’s End, $30 / Skinny Silk Tie, Express, $50 / Romelia, Aldo, $90 / Color Lip Last “All You Need is Red”, Sephora, $12 / Ines Tailor Pant, Theory, $255

Suit pants worn with a blue oxford is your basic boring office-wear uniform. Add a shrunken sweater vest for some quirk and make sure to roll up the sleeves and leave the button down un-tucked to keep it from looking too fussy. Try a black silk skinny tie tucked into the sweater vest. I personally love the look of a woman in a tie. The look is very geek chic and not everyone’s taste, but the outfit will look just fine without a tie as well. Heels and a bright lip add a dash of femininity.

Perfect Oxford Shirt, Gap, $50 / Cambridge Cable V-neck Sweater, J. Crew, $88 / Sweet with Pleats Skirt, Modcloth, $45 / Polka Dot Tights, Hue, $14 / Ruffle Flat, Pink & Pepper, $40 / Rose Bangle, Jules Smith, $75

For those who just want to add a touch of menswear to their look but aren’t ready to go full-on androgynous, here’s a much more loosely inspired casual look. A full skirt, polka dot tights and rose gold bracelet are quintessentially girly and contrast nicely with boyish layers. An oxford under a cable knit sweater and patent leather smoking slippers create a look that’s just a little bit preppy menswear and still very feminine.

What do you say? Will you be taking menswear from 9 to 5 this fall?

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asked and answered: job interview attire

Friends, last week I asked for reader questions, and boy, did you deliver! I have so many great questions (and hopefully some good answers) ahead…I think it should make for some quality programming.

I hardly knew where to start, but this question from a sweet reader who’s headed off for a job interview got first dibs, just because her interview is tomorrow!

Hi, Becki! I’m a loyal follower of your blog, and I have a wardrobe challenge/question for you. I’m interviewing at an environmental non-profit and meeting with “senior management.” The atmosphere is very different from my current corporate job. I went to my last interview dressed in a suit and was met by the hiring supervisor in jeans and a sweater. I need a professional, non-suit outfit that reflects me. Are you up for the challenge? ~ EB

Oh, you know I am! It’s tricky, to be sure. Unless you’re looking for work at a law firm or a bank, the reality is that most business dress codes have taken a step down in recent years. Personally, I don’t think a great suit ever does you a disservice, but there are definitely interviews for which you’ll want to put a slightly less formal foot forward. The bonus here is that it’s also a great chance to show off a little bit of personality, as well as your ability to embrace a casual dress code with class.

The trick is to still be the best-dressed woman in the office, without looking like you’ll be woefully out of place if they give you the job. My favorite option for a non-suit environment is a classic silk shirt with a great pair of trousers in a straight or wideleg cut (no skinnies, please). I’m always more likely to embrace solid colors for an interview – prints are highly subjective, and you never know what little detail will turn an inteviewer on or off.  To accessorize, skip big earrings and scarves in favor of a necklace that adds a little bit of personality (nothing too long or too bold). Add a great pointed-toe flat or kitten heel and a classic tote, and you’re set.

Madewell silk shirt, $80 / Alberta Ferretti trousers, $300 or Gap trousers, $60 / Dahlia dress belt, $3 /
Madewell necklace
, $33 / Loeffler Randall Quinnie flat, $250 / J.Crew bag, $328

The other way to go, if you’re after a more ladylike look, is a dress. Steer clear of wrap styles (you’re just asking for a wardrobe malfunction), and instead look for a sheath or a classic shirtdress. If the fabric is dressy enough, it’s definitely work-appropriate, but still reads a bit more casual than a suit. Make sure it’s not too body-conscious, at least knee-length, and if you go the shirtdress route, steer clear of shirttail hems. With a dress, keep jewelry minimal, just a simple belt and a classic pump (3.5 inches or under!) will send you straight to the head of the class.

Talbots Sash dress, $160 / Talbots Olivia dress, $150 / Ann Taylor belt, $30 / Graf + Lantz tote, $229 / LK Bennett pumps, $250

So, E, I hope this helps…and I’m crossing my fingers that you get the job!

Got a pressing query of your own? Tell me all about it: editor{at{shoppingsmycardio{dot}com!

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cheap thrill: ann taylor crochet pullover

Ann Taylor’s current practice of having a different price for an item every single day is starting to annoy me. But I still love this sweater, and it’s…surprise, surprise…on sale this week. Down to $69 from $88, plus take an additional 40% off with code EXTRA40, which should make it about $40. Add free shipping, and it’s definitely worth trying.

Crochet is definitely a hot trend now, but the style can be hard to pull off without going too beachy boho. This one has enough structure that it works well for casual looks, but I’d also love to see it layered under a blazer for day. It’s also a nice stand-in for lace if – like me – you’ve had a devil of a time successfully styling that trend. It’s the perfect thing to throw on over a bikini top and shorts, or just to give you a bit of texture play over a tank top. Mostly, though, I’m envisioning it with a straw fedora, cutoffs and a bicycle, as a photo on Garance Dore‘s blog…which is definitely not a bad thing.

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