+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Daytime Event Attire


Skirt: Double Serge Pencil (J.Crew, $50)

From the Left, Sunglasses: House of Harlow Nicole Sunnies ($125) Bag: Lodis Waverly Cory Satchel ($219) Shoes: TopShop Black Suede Flats ($56) Necklace: Aqua Double Row Necklace ($34) Top: DvF Kipling Spear Top ($99)

From the Right, Necklace: Druzy and Jewel Necklace ($98) Bag: Michael Kors Hamilton Tote ($348) Tights: Commando Ultimate Opaque tights ($36) Boots: Ciao Bella Toni Boot ($112) Sweater: Jackie Pullover ($49) Top: AE Chambray Shirt ($40)

Polyvore Set Here.

While most campaign days require casual attire like jeans of khakis, sometimes staffers will be asked to go with the candidate to a constituent meeting, a town hall, lunch with a community group or a daytime fundraiser.  These outfits require that you step up your game a notch to business casual or one step above. 

For Late Summer.  A pencil skirt and a feminine blouse is a staple of my campaign wardrobe.  One skirt, three blouses and two pairs of shoes (heels/flats) can carry me through most daytime and evening campaign events without issue. 

I chose this blouse because it has a stylish geometric print and a loose fit.  This certainly helps forgive the sins committed after a week or two spent eating takeout on a campaign. 

I added a pair of structured suede flats and an aqua-colored necklace to complement the color palette and pull the look together.  I also chose a good medium-sized tote–a campaign staple–and a pair of slightly retro sunglasses.

For the hair, I would wear it down to balance the proportions of the blouse.  For them makeup, I would wear a palette of browns or neutral shades on my eyes, a bit of natural-looking blush and hint of lip color in the shade of your choice.  I chose a more subtle look, because I don’t like to look too “done” when I’m traveling for work unless I’m attending a cocktail event.

For the Autumn.  Ciao Bella boots are the greatest boots ever.  They are comfortable (thanks to a cushioned rubber sole) and they last.  I’ve been wearing the same cognac boots for three years, between 80 and 100 times per year and they still look pretty good.  So I highly recommend them for people who walk a lot or who need to be on their feet for most of the day.

This look mixes the more casual chambray blouse with a mustard sweater and a black pencil to create a comfortable, chic business casual outfit.  I added the long druzy necklace the break up the sweater and lengthen the body.  I would also roll the chambray shirt sleeves over the sweater sleeves so that I didn’t look too buttoned up.

I swear by Commando tights because they are durable, comfortable and a very opaque black.  If $36 for a pair of tights is more than you want to spend, try the Hue brand.  Not quite as dark, but durable.  Also, if you live near a Nordstrom Rack or similar discount store, you can sometimes find the Hue tights for 2 pair for $10.

For the hair, I would wear it up in a loose, curly updo.  For the makeup, I would, again, keep it simple.  But given that it’s autumn, and paleness reigns, I would add a pop of pink blush and a bit more lip color.



  1. E says:

    Would you tuck in the Kipling blouse? I have it in black and since it's a weird bubble hem I find it strange to tuck…

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  2. Belle says:

    E: Def. tuck.

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  3. gingerr says:

    No jacket even for business casual events?

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  4. Belle says:

    Gingerr: To me, business casual means jacket optional. This may be because I worked for a Western member and anyone wearing a jacket was viewed with suspicion as a “DC insider.”

    Also, you add a jacket to the look on the left, and you have a suit. The look on the right might benefit from a casual tweed or J.Crew hacking jacket, but that's optional.

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  5. Jen says:

    I need new cognac boots this year but I'm not wanting to spend a lot so thanks for the tip. How's the fit on these? I have chicken legs and a lot of boots seem to be huge on my legs.

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  6. AP says:

    Is there an age over which one really shouldn't be wearing boots? I

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Jen: I have pretty thin calves too, and these work for me. I like to wear 9s though even though I could take an 8.5, because I like to wear socks with my tights in the winter.

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  8. JMK0316 says:

    I would be remiss if I didn't note that a denim pencil skirt has been a constant lifesaver for me, especially on long traveling days with the candidate in a district that is heavily rural. The skirt reads professional and feminine, but denim is comfortable and reads as still homey enough to not stand out at a diner, three consecutive fairs, and a fish fry or two. The one I have is from J.Crew and had pockets, which any campaigner knows are painfully essential for business cards, phones, used tissues and/or Purell.

    August 16, 2012/Reply
  9. Leslie says:

    Belle, do you know anywhere that still carries the Ciao Bella Toni cognac boots? I have been looking for a while, but haven't seen them around. Thanks!

    August 17, 2012/Reply
  10. SLG says:

    Jen: Here's another thing to try: keep an eye out for a sale at Duo Boots (www.duoboots.com). They sell boots by shoe size AND calf size. I have such skinny legs that pretty much any boot I try on at a regular shoe store makes me look like a pirate. I finally splurged on a Duo pair last year and have never regretted it. They are comfy, high quality, and they fit! And I notice that Duo is currently offering free worldwide shipping (which is a plus since they're based in the UK.)

    August 17, 2012/Reply
  11. Adil says:

    Nice collection. But I do not think that boots are good option for summer daytime attire. Other collection is marvellous.

    August 19, 2012/Reply