+ Career Style

Career Style: Black, White, Classic

I was standing outside the Capitol the other day when I saw a staffer wearing one of the most adorable outfits that I have ever seen.  There was nothing all together remarkable about the color palette (white & black) or the pieces themselves, but the little details made the outfit perfectly classic.  So despite the simplicity of the ensemble, or perhaps, because of it, the outfit was very striking.

Polyvore Set Found Here.

What? I told you that the outfit was shockingly simple: a black pleated skirt, a ruffled cotton blouse and a black, crewneck cardigan.  But the small touches made it really special.

Unlike some cotton blouses, which are lifeless and dull.  This blouse was a crisp poplin, with a sharp ruffle.  It perfectly bridged the gap between structured and frilly.

The skirt was fabulously full, with large, crisp pleats.  When she walked, the skirt swayed perfectly from side to side.  She looked like she had stepped out of a 1950s movie.

Add the pearl jewelry and basic crewneck cardigan, and you create something that should be boring, but is classically sophisticated.  Proving that basic pieces, in heavy fabrics, with good shape, can be just as stylish as fashion forward pieces.

Also spicing up her outfit was her braided updo.  The hairstyle was pretty and girly, but it was also perfectly coiffed and effortlessly chic.  Like a cherry on top of a sundae.

Earth shattering, no.  But it just goes to show that when you are buying classic pieces, taking a little bit of time to choose structured pieces in good fabrics, really pays off.


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  1. e.duncan says:

    It's basically my dream to be 'satatorialized” by Belle. Snaps to this girl who won the prize.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  2. Jay says:

    Hi Belle,

    Great entry! I have been noticing, though, that when you switched to Polvore, the clothes sort of tended to get more expensive (I imagine that's because most of the stuff on polyvore is higher price). But, I really liked it when you posted clothes that people with real working-girl salaries could afford. There have got to be similar skirts to this for way less money, for example.

    I love reading your blog and look forward to it every time it pops up in my RSS feed. I just hope you'll consider bringing the average price down a notch or two (or more).

    Thanks for the blog!


    May 9, 2011/Reply
  3. Erica says:

    LOVE this look!

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  4. Belle says:

    Whenever I find an item that fits what I'm looking for that is cheaper, I use that. This time there wasn't one. I looked for a long time. These are supposed to be inspirational. Also, not all products available in stores can be found on the Net, so you could probably walk into H&M or Forever 21 and find something similar.

    It's not like I can afford these things either. But it's supposed to be inspirational. I try to keep it affordable when possible, but there wasn't another skirt with the full, thick pleats that I wanted.

    These sets often take me an hour or more. So if there's an expensive item, it's because I really couldn't find something else.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  5. Jay says:

    Thanks for the response, Belle – and maybe I should have been heavier on the 'love your blog', because I really do! Thanks for doing it; it definitely adds color to my day.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  6. KC says:

    This outfit is so classic and beautiful. Great post Belle and great style to the girl you saw wearing it!

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  7. Belle says:


    Sorry if I got a little testy. I've just answered this question a few times.

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  8. Kate says:

    I have this skirt from Modcloth (https://www.modcloth.com/Womens/Bottoms/Skirts/-Essential-Elegance-Skirt), and it's quite similar to the posted one! It's perennially out of stock, since it's so great. You could get it hemmed, I imagine, if you're desperate for that particular length. And you'd still be under by a few hundred bucks. ­čÖé

    Keep up the great work, Belle!

    May 9, 2011/Reply
  9. cginnyc says:

    Love this outfit! I usually find black and white boring but if there's a way to get it right, this is it. I absolutely adore that skirt and that blouse. And agree with you the quality of the pieces is what makes this look. Thanks for breaking it down. Belle!

    May 10, 2011/Reply