+ Three Ways

Two Ways: Creative Professional Attire

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Shoes: Forever 21 Faux Suede Booties ($37)

From Left, Bracelets: Sole Society Exotic Bangle ($25), Kors Reverse Cuff ($125), VC Pave Stud Bangle ($68), Kelly Wearstler Screw Bangle ($125) Tights: Donna Karan Luxe70 Tights ($20) Bag: Sophie Hulme Tote ($847) Jacket: Mango Smoking Blazer ($50) Blouse: J.Crew Abstract Dot Blouse ($145) Skirt: Reiss Shannon Pencil Skirt ($360)

From Right, Sunglasses: Retro Superfuture Sunglasses ($269) Rings: Northern Star Cabochon Ring ($150) and Dune Cigar Band Ring ($150) Watch: Marc Jacobs Chrono Watch ($275) Bag: Statz Messenger Bag ($74) Jacket: AE Zippered Jacket ($60) Top: Mango Contrast Back Blouse ($50) Jeans: Current Elliott Skinny Jeans ($216)

For the Creative Professional.  When planning this outfit, I wanted to find pieces that belonged in a professional wardrobe but had something unique about them.  The pencil skirt isn’t wool, it’s leather.  The blouse has a keyhole neckline and bold print.  The jacket has an elongated look and a shawl collar.  The idea being that you could take all of the elements of work attire and rejigger them into something a bit more unique.

I chose a leather pencil skirt from Reiss that has a great sleek shape.  It’s a bit pricey though this Karen Kane faux-leather pencil has all the style for $69.  And if you’re not feeling full leather, check out the leather panels in this Stoosh skirt for ($39).  Plus-size? This Mossimo skirt with leather detail is pretty cool.

This dotted blouse has a great mix of colors.  I also found this Pleione blouse from Nordstrom in the same palette with more of a chevron print for under-$75.  If you want something neutral with pop, I like this sheer black blouse with foil dots from Piperlime.

I wear my white blazer during any season.  This Mango one has a great sleek style, but it’s only available in a few sizes.  So I found this white, longline blazer from Asos as a second option.

Because this is a more adventurous outfit, I wanted to add a lot of bracelets.  I kept them in a neutral palette of gold, grey, white and black for easier mixing.  However, I varied the sizes, textures and shapes for interest.

As for the bag, I am so smitten with the color and shape of this Sophie Hulme tote.  Why must it cost over $800?  Why, I say!  In the under-$100 category, I found this cool Limited Tall Tote and this slick Zara shopper.

For the hair, I would go with a bouffant half-up style.  For the makeup, I would go with a black winged eyeliner smudged for effect, and a light mauve blush.  I’d also wear a dark, matte berry color on my lips, like Vincent Longo Matte Velour Lipstick.

For a Creative Professional.  This is a more casual look.  I’d say it’s best suited to casual Friday, a relaxed business dinner or a workplace where there are few, if any rules like Living Social, Google, etc.

I broke down and bought a pair of distressed jeans yesterday.  They’re from Ralph Lauren and I like the medium wash with the moderate amount of ripping.  Plus-size ladies should check out these jeans from Old Navy.  Or you can just take a razor to an old pair.

How great is this stripe jacket?  It has an awesome mix of colors (blue, ivory, black) and a simple shape.  I also love this Stoosh cardigan jacket for $49 that comes in just black and white.

I like this blouse because of the silky texture on the front and the t-shirt texture on the back.  I also appreciate that the shirtwaist hem peeks out from under the jacket and covers the rearview.  If I were wearing this outfit, I would half-tuck or shame-tuck the front.  Prefer something simpler and dressier?  Try this Iris & Ink satin t-shirt in a gorgeous midnight navy.

For the jewelry, I added a chunky watch and a couple of cool rings.  My favorite has to be the two-tone wave style in the cigar band.  The texture from the chain is pretty sweet.  I also incorporated a pair of adventurous wire sunglasses, but this cheaper pair from Spitfire might suit such a trendy piece better.

For the hair, I would probably wear it down and stick straight or up in a messy bun.  For the makeup, I would go for a bronzy-rose cheek like NARS Deep Throat and a creamy nude lip.  Hourglass makes “nude” lipstick in several shades so that you can find the perfect one for you.



  1. Tasneem Karim says:

    Hey Belle!

    You should know that there is a whole world of women besides public relations, media, and graphic design people who can dress trully casually (not merely business casual) daily. I am an Associate General Counsel at a tech company in Northern Virginia. I could wear the outfits above on a daily basis, unless I am visitng a client or going to an interview. This is the standard in the tech industry regardless of your position. Please consider doing more postings like the one above to augment your more traditional work outfits.
    Thanks! tk

    October 3, 2013/Reply
    • Meg K. says:

      I work in BigLaw in downtown DC, and there would be no problem with wearing the above outfits (well, the jeans only on Fridays, but still) at my office.

      October 4, 2013/Reply
  2. Emily says:

    I like the casual – yet – classy look. Ha! I feel like I’ll feel that distressed jeans are socially acceptable now . . .


    October 3, 2013/Reply
  3. Sarah Morris says:

    What other recommendations do you have on blouse/tee/tank colors to where underneath the AE striped jacket?

    October 3, 2013/Reply
  4. Anonymous says:

    I took my distressed jeans my tailor and had her add patches underneath the torn areas. I get the distressed look without my knees poking out. I think it makes them more age appropriate.

    October 4, 2013/Reply