From the Right, Bracelet: Classic Wide Bangle ($28) Bracelet: Bastion Bangle ($88) Belt: Isabel Marant Belt ($105) Shoe: Indico Pump ($130) Shirt: Chambray Pocket Shirt ($27) Bag: DSW Convertible Tote ($229)
For the Office. I think camel and red is a very rich-looking color palette. It’s vibrant, it’s bold and it’s not too severe. I far prefer it to black and red, which always looks harsh to me.
Here, I mixed a classic camel v-neck sweater with a light, chiffon blouse in ivory. You could use a tie-neck as I have done, or you could do a traditional button front blouse, either one. Just make sure to choose a lighter fabric, it just tones everything down a bit.
I really wanted to do a shoe in a color other than black (I’m not getting my way at all today.), but nude just looks like a beacon of light and directs attention to your feet and chocolate brown felt forced. So I looked at some celebrity style photos and saw that most people wear black pumps with red pants. The key to keeping it from looking too strong is making sure that the shoes show off a lot of the foot. That way the flesh tone sets off the black and relaxes the color scheme.
As for this pair of shoes, they are the Kate Spade Licorice pump, one of the greatest wear-to-work shoes in existence. They are comfortable at a reasonable 3″ heel height. They also go with everything, and right now, they’re on sale for $209 instead of $289. Plus, they come in several lovely colors and patterns.
For the bag, we have another J.CREW bag. (I know, I’ll try to branch out, I promise.) I like leopard and red together, because if you’re going to be bold, you should go all the way. And the earrings are an Aztec-inspired black and gold geometric design to add a bit of funk.
As an aside, I love how ever since the Navajo raised a ruckus about the use of the word Navajo on clothes from Urban Outfitters and H&M, the discount retailers are using Aztec instead. I’ve probably seen a dozen pieces from different shops with “Aztec” in the product name. I suppose that when you’re exploiting the artistic heritage of a culture, choosing one that died out in the 16th Century probably cuts down on the chances of litigation.
Getting back to the outfit, I think the hair would look best up. A wavy updo twisted into a bun would be lovely. As for the makeup, I would do a red lip. I would also try a lightly winged liner, just ticked out at the corners a bit, not Cleopatra. And I’d do a pale pink or pinky-coral cheek.
For a Weekend Dinner. This outfit is for dinner with friends on Saturday when none of you feel like being out past 10:00PM, so you hit the hippest restaurant at the decidedly unhip time of 5:45PM. At least, you won’t have to worry about getting a table.
I wanted to relax the outfit a bit, so I chose a chambray shirt. This one is from Old Navy, and since stylish pieces on sale at Old Navy tend to go quickly, if you like it, I’d go buy it. And I mean, right now.
I added a belt because the pants don’t have much of a waist band. This is not a problem with the first look because the sweater covers it. But for this look, I would wear this shirt tucked in, so you need a belt. I like the ring buckle instead of a square buckle with a latch for this, it just looks a bit more elegant.
The bag is a nice mix of ladylike and deconstructed casual. Basically, it’s just slouchy enough. I also wanted the color to be slightly lighter than the belt so it wouldn’t be matchy-matchy.
I chose leopard pumps with a low heel because why not spice it up? You’re already wearing red pants, why quit now? And I thought we’d have a mini-Arm Party, as The Man Repeller would say, and wear two chunky bangles. I like the enamel with the pyramid bracelet, you could add a few more if you’re feeling brave. I prefer something a bit more subtle when it comes to jewelry, but if you want to, layer it up.
For the hair, I would do a natural look. You know when your hair is neither straight nor curly, just kind of scrunched and lightly waved like you just got out of bed. For the makeup, I would do a red lip for this look as well and I would stick with a pale pink cheek. But for the eyes, I would do a selection of taupe and natural shadows with dark brown liner (or black if you have light eyes) and loads of mascara. A bit softer, but still with a bit of drama.