Friday, January 30, 2015


I went for a very California vibe with the open blazer, casually draped scarf, and untucked blouse.  It felt good as I walked - very relaxed and confident. 

I like graphic prints, but I'm always torn when I put this shirt on.  It's such a stark black and white and a bit busy of a repeating graphic, so I always wonder if it makes peoples' eyes hurt or gives them a headache.  I don't *really* think so, so I wear it, but I wonder...  I *love* the shoes though!  The twisted strips of leather - black on one side white on the other - are such an amazing detail.  These shoes didn't quite fit me, but I liked them so much that I bought them anyway, and tried heel grips to help them stay on.  It took me 2 days of wearing them and fine-tuning (trying different heel grips, multiple heel grips, etc.), but I think I got it!

(Scarf: Nicole Miller, Blazer: same old reliable one, Pants: Express Columnist slim leg (the *perfect* fit for me - I keep checking their website to see if they're making them in other colors yet), Shirt and shoes: White house black market - it is a good store for black and white items :) )

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A work dress with a front slit? Yes!

This dress has an incredibly flattering design (no shape-wear needed with this one!), and is really soft and comfortable.  It has a tiny front slit as well.  The slit was a little higher when I first bought the dress, but I sewed it down so that it wasn't too scandalous.  It's there, which is fun, but it's not super noticeable, especially when I'm wearing tights like this, so it is still work appropriate.  I got a lot of compliments the day I wore this dress!  I was honestly really surprised - I like the dress, but I didn't expect people to comment.  I do love a good compliment, though, so it made me like this dress even more.  :)

(Dress: White house black market, Boots: Banana Republic, Blazer: super old from Filene's Basement)

Monday, January 26, 2015


I think everyone needs a good navy pinstripe suit.  This suit is so simple and basic, but the wool is good, it's fully lined, and it drapes and fits nicely.  I love it.  I decided to be a little playful with it - just a tad - and wear a pinstripe shirt too.  :)

(Suit: J-crew, but old back when they used to line all the pants.  Shirt: Banana republic (size 8!  Sheesh sizing varies these days.))

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Conference #3


I decided to go with blazer outfits instead of full suits this weekend.  It's a little more effort and a little less formal, but it seemed like a better fit for this conference.  Plus it finally forced me to try my fabulous Zac Posen blazer with a button down shirt.  I'll have to wear it that way more often. 

Drapey sweater

To help offset 3 weeks of suits, blazers and heels 6 days a week, I substituted a more comfy alternative:  flats and a Drapey sweater.  It was comfy.  Although my ankles were a little cold.  :)

Entire outfit: White House black market!  Pretty crazy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A made-for-me work dress

Not literally, but it almost feels like it.

A few weeks ago I found a couple of dresses on sale on the whbm website that had very negative reviews along the lines of "these dresses have WAY too much room in the chest."  Sure enough, they are perfect for me!  

I often find myself looking for very specific negative reviews when I shop online - shoes that are too narrow, sleeves that are too long, and too much space in the bust.  I wish the skirt on this dress were a few inches longer, but it's still a great work dress.  What about you?  What do you look for when you shop online?

Just a bit trendy

This suit is so fun.  With it's slim tapered ankle-length pants and boxy blazer it feels very current, but it's still serious enough to wear a lot in casual California. When I first bought it I had no idea how much I'd use it!  

(Suit: jcrew factory, wool, blouse: express portofino shirt.  It's one of their standard items and they make it in new fabrics each season.  Belt: Saks fifth avenue store brand - I love this brand for quality leather goods that are less expensive than designer.)

In search of: A new black suit

This suit is not bad, but I think it's just too big and baggy on me now that I've lost my baby weight.  We'll see if I actually manage to suit shop any time soon though!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Back to class

I thought it would be fun to take some screenshots from my class video to show my outfit (and me) in action, now that classes have started again.  It turns out the videos are lower-res than I had expected.  Oops.  But here's a rough idea of what I wore for the first week of class:
Day 1:
 Day 2:
It was fun watching the video.  It turns out I move around like crazy, and my gestures are *huge.*  That's why I decided to include pic 1 there - it's a good representation of me in class.  :)

(Suits: j-crew.  Shirts: New York and Company, J-crew.  There are some accessories in there - necklaces and belts - but you can't really see them.  And class #1 shoes were really fun, but by class #2 I was just going for comfort.  :) )

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Alright fellow mommies with I-had-a-baby tummies.  Or just women.  (And let's face it, I think men are like 2 months away from doing this too given how fitted their clothing is getting.)  Let's talk shapewear.

I've tried a lot of shapewear over the years.  My main problem area is my tummy.  Even as a super-skinny teenager and a low-body-fat working-out-10-hours-a-week 20-something I had a tummy.  So my shapewear is more tummy focused.  But I think some of the lessons can apply to those with other problem areas too.

Hard-core shapewear:
I've learned that nothing shapes quite as well as what is basically a corset.  A super-structured item with boning will do a lot for one's shape.  It can nip in the waist on the sides, smooth out the hips, flatten the tummy.  The trick is finding one that (a) doesn't fold over or do weird things like that, and (b) doesn't dig into the chest or hips too much when sitting down and (c) where the boning doesn't show *too* clearly through your clothes.  After trying several, my personal favorite is:  .  It is structured but still somewhat comfortable, and it is long enough to provide shaping throughout the waist and upper hip area (without leaving big rolls where it ends), but short enough that it doesn't dig in when sitting down. The boning will show through a tad on skin-tight clothes like my herve leger dresses.  But it's not bad.  The hooks do show, so I wear it with the hooks in front for front-seam or front-zip dresses which disguise it, or reverse it and put the hooks in back otherwise (put it on with the hooks in front, and then rotate it).  I even wore the hooks on the side once, for a side-zip dress that had no front or back seams. 

Every-day shapewear:
Have you noticed all those lovely fitted pencil dresses and fitted sweaters I wear to work?  If you're wondering how I pull those off when I supposedly have a gigantor post-baby tummy, the answer is shapewear!  I don't *always* wear it (the roland mouret dress worked without it!), but for some of those outfits, I do.  I bought a very comfortable and simple tank/camisole from Nordstroms that works perfectly for this purpose.  It's just a little more snug than a typical cami, but still pretty comfortable.  And it smooths my tummy down just a tiny bit, and nips my waist in just a tad.  Plus it serves as a cami, which a lot of clothes these days require.  I highly recommend this one, since it is very thin and has nicely adjustable straps.  But just a warning on size - I am a size S in this one and I'm normally an XS in most clothes, so it might run a tad small.  If you have a much longer torso, it might also be a bit short for you (which would result in it rolling up), so check that out before committing.  :)

There are times when I don't want the discomfort or lines from boning, but the cami just doesn't provide the shaping I want.  For those times, the ideal shapewear is a pair of high-waisted briefs.  The waist has to be super high, so it basically reaches the bust.  And it should have one of those grippy strips on the inside at the top, so it doesn't slide down.  Another challenge is avoiding panty lines, since the panties on these types of shapewear are typically granny panties.  I found a shorts-style one to be perfect for me.  And this is another place where the spanx brand excelled.  I've bought many slightly cheaper pairs of similar shapewear, and they were always thicker.  They would either roll down at the top, give me panty lines, or both.  The only time I really enjoyed one of those cheaper pairs was in winter in Boston.  I got a calf-length pair that provided a nice fitted warm layer under dressy clothes in winter and did smooth my hips and thighs.  But it did all the bad roll-down stuff at the top, so I could only wear it if my top was loose and forgiving. I have to admit though, despite buying my high-quality in-between shapewear this summer, I still haven't used it - every time I've considered it, I've either gone for the corset or the tank.

Overall, I highly recommend investing in good shapewear.  If these prices seem a little high, watch for sales.  I bought two of these during Nordstrom's Anniversary sale in the summer.  But I think it's worth spending a little more on a really good item than ending up buying several cheaper ones because they just don't work.  I'm speaking from experience here.  If you can make it to a store to see what works on your body, that's best.  Otherwise, try ordering from a place that has relatively easy returns.  And always try your potential shapewear with the clothing you'd want to wear it with, and always make sure to sit, stand, bend, etc. when you're trying it on to make sure it stays put and is comfortable.

Any tips, or funny shapewear stories, to share?

Back to work

Happy New Year!  I'm at my first conference of the year - wearing my trusty old reliable jcrew brown pinstripe suit.  They don't make them like this anymore.  Darn.