Style + Work

A Sophisticated Outfit from Day-to-Drinks

There are days when you just want a simple outfit.  Something chic that you can throw on without thinking about it and know that you look good.  And what if that easy outfit could go from day-to-drinks with a simple shoe/bag change?

Camel Coat. Always the perfect choice for a basic item with a hint of refinement.  When looking for a camel coat, look for something with a fitted shape.  Nothing ruins this look faster than a boxy, matronly style with no structure.

This felt coat from 8 comes in at a reasonable $240.  I also like this coat from Target’s A New Day line at an affordable $60.  Plus-size?  This Alice & You coat has a longline style.

Black Turtleneck. A wardrobe essential that you will reach for time and again.  Look for one with a sleek fit in a medium-weight.  To keep it looking its best, wash it on the gentle cycle in your machine with a delicates bag.  Minimize time between washings by spritzing the under arms with a dilution of water and vodka.

This Bloomingdale’s cashmere turtleneck is a little bit of luxury for $79.  For those of you with wool allergies (I hear you in the comments), try this Three Dots turtleneck.  Maternity?  Try this Rosie Pope top.

Black Trousers. A pair of Audrey Hepburn-inspired skinny trousers are a lovely addition to any wardrobe.  The secret is proper tailoring to make them look their best.  This post from Alterations Needed will show you the profound difference between off-the-rack and a few adjustments.

I chose these Ryan straight-fit pants from BR, on sale for $66.  They’re pricier, but one of my friends raves (raves) about these Eileen Fisher pants, which she says are as close to “work leggings” as one can get.  Plus-size?  Eloquii’s Kady fit pants are worth a look.

Now, for the day-to-drinks portion of the outfit…

For Day. A stylish pointed toe flat and a structured satchel complete this ensemble for day.  The look is understated, but completely pulled together.  I chose this Furla Agata satchel, and these Chinese Laundry flats.  I love that the satchel is big enough to hold all your essentials and comes with the crossbody strap for commuting.  I added a simple Zoe Chicco earring, which is the kind of piece you’ll wear for a lifetime.

I usually style my hair up when I wear a turtleneck; I like the pulled-togetherness of the look.  I like this updo I found on Pinterest, it mixes romance with sleekness.  Keep your makeup simple because you’ll be adding to the look later.

For Night. Tuck your clutch and high heels into your bag for later.  I use my evening clutch as a storage pouch for my wallet, keys, and other essentials, so it’s always in my purse.  You can also keep the makeup you’ll need to up your look for evening in the clutch.

I chose this simple GiGi NY clutch with a fun tassel accent.  For the shoes, I like these Sam Edelman Hazel heels.  A flesh-toned heel strikes me as a bit more casual than a black, and if you do a 3.5-inch-plus heel height, it will feel more “after work.”  Add some black eyeliner (this Sephora one is my current fave), a great highlighter, and your favorite lipstick and you’re off to happy hour in style.

{featured image; inspiration image; this post contains affiliate links that generate commission}

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    16 comments

  1. Yael @ nosherium says:

    Oh my goodness! I love these types of posts, and this outfit is so perfect. I would probably just wear my pointed toe ankle boots for work and drinks, adding red or plum lipstick for drinks. My camel coat is a 1950’s vintage cocoon coat – my best thrifted find ever.

    January 8, 2018/Reply
  2. Lauren says:

    Love this outfit! Unfortunately southern CA rarely has long coat weather. Any chance you can find one that’s light weight or short for this look?

    January 8, 2018/Reply
    • Yael @ nosherium says:

      Bay Area person here – You could totally do this with a blazer (if you wanted to leave the jacket on inside) or with a trench. With so many good tan/beige/camel options out there, they are easy to find.

      January 8, 2018/Reply
  3. Valerie says:

    This is the first post since you went to law school that made me immediately go to my closet and put together an outfit. Your early posts helped me change from a fashion disaster to someone who looks pulled together and professional. This post made me realised that without your guidance, I have fallen back into the habit of putting on clothes but not creating an outfit. Showing women how to present themselves professionally is your unique gift. Thank you!

    January 8, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I’m so glad! I love when people are like, “I already own all of that.”

      January 8, 2018/Reply
      • Jessica says:

        I second this! I really love when you post an outfit that I have all/most of the pieces to. Maybe that could be a new feature? Creating outfits out of things you already have?

        January 9, 2018/Reply
        • Beth says:

          I totally second Jessica’s comment! I would love to see more posts that take basics and pieces that most of us have (or really ought to own), and elevate them to a new level or put a fresh twist on them!

          January 9, 2018/Reply
  4. JAC says:

    LOVE THIS CLASSIC LOOK!

    January 8, 2018/Reply
  5. Erin says:

    Would you wear ankle-length pants or full-length pants for an outfit like this, where you wear both flats and heels?

    January 8, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Ankle, but that’s a dealer’s choice situation. Maybe you wear heels instead of flats to work. Neither is wrong.

      January 8, 2018/Reply
  6. Kate says:

    love this post! I own the Ryan BR pants and I have to say that they’re not what I expected, as far as fit goes (maybe because I had to buy the Tall length). They’re straight-leg, but not what I would call slim at all. I was hoping they’d look a bit more modern. The pictures on the website are deceptive!

    January 8, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Good to know! Thanks.

      January 8, 2018/Reply
  7. Em says:

    Ugh, that is my dream go-to outfit. Such a classic look! Has anyone had luck finding a camel coat with a standing collar (notched, not funnel) like the one in the photo?

    January 8, 2018/Reply
  8. Megan says:

    I’d like to second all the great feedback you got here. Thank you for the great tips in this post, this is by far my favorite on this blog in a long time. Here’s why, and I’d like to offer some gentle constructive feedback, and I hope you’ll take it in the spirit in which it’s offered.

    I’ve been reading CHS since 2010, when I arrived in D.C. right out of college and barely able to dress myself like a functioning human – I’d been a jeans and t-shirts girl all my life, and I owe this blog SO much for helping me polish up my appearance and deportment in the early days of my career.

    In the last few years, I’ve gone from a fervent reader and recommender of this blog to someone who just skims every now and then. I realize you’ve had limited time n law school, but the reason I’ve stopped reading is that every post now just feels like a long laundry list of items to buy. I’m now 31 and a vice-president, but in the nonprofit world, that still doesn’t say much salary-wise, An example of what I’m talking about would be your new post on getting organized for the New Year. The CHS that I first loved would have included actionable tips for *getting* organized, whereas this new post is more, “here’s every item you can buy to give the outward appearance of organization.”

    All that to say, I hope to see a return of posts that give more advice than a shopping list – but either way, thank you for all you’ve done over the years to help D.C. professional women.

    January 9, 2018/Reply