Ask the Editor: Fashion Questions

Mar 7, 2019

Going out tops for women out of college, pants for tall women, what to do with snow boots during a job interview and more.  You asked, I answered.  Let’s Go!

Hi Abra:

I’ve recently purged my wardrobe and now need to restock with “going out” blouses I love. I’m single and I enjoy nights out (read: like to dress on the flirtier side), but I want to look appropriate because you never know who from the office you’ll run into. Loan payments will be creeping up soon, affordable please!

Long time reader, Jenette

Once you abandon the fast-fashion going out tops from college, it’s hard to find a replacement.  But I picked up a few tops that I think will work well.

This BCBG top is a little more expensive than I would normally label affordable, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I went hunting for going-out attire.  The dramatic one shoulder is just phenomenal.  And the peplum really defines the waist.

In the under-$100 category, this $39 jacquard print top was one of my faves from the holiday season.  This WAYF lace blouse is kind of fun.  This gold sequin top really catches the eye.  Plus-size?  Try this City Chic top.

Abra,

Do ponte pants exist for tall women (35″ inseam)?

– Stephanie

Try NY & Co., they have ponte pants with 35″ inseams.

Hi Belle,

Can you help me find a not-so-simple pencil skirt for work?  Something in a color other than black?  Not boring?  Oh, and under-$100.

Can’t wait for spring. -LC

This $15 skirt from TJMaxx comes in green or cobalt.  New York & Co. has a great chartreuse-colored skirt.  This Alfani skirt comes in an amazing deep berry color.  For something really different, try this Ann Taylor black and blush stripe dress (also in petite).  Plus-size ladies, try this tweed skirt or this bright red Eloquii skirt.

Hi Abra!

I just moved to snowy Boston and have a few job interviews set up, but have no idea what shoes to wear. Do you have any advice for footwear that could work for commuting in the snow/salt/ice and to wear in the interview? My instinct would be to wear snow boots to the office and change to heels right when I get in, but I have no idea where I’d tuck away bulky snow boots during the interview. Thank you!

– Kristyn

Honestly, I wouldn’t commute.  I would splurge on the Uber.  It’ll probably be the same price as buying boots.

If you plan to wear wider-leg pants, I would wear these Aquatalia suede tall boots or their leather boots.  Or go with these Aquatalia ankle-height boots under pants.  But again, I’d just pay for Ubers. (See comments section below.  Lots of Bostonians with helpful tips.)

Hi Abra!

I was wondering if you could help me find what has now become my holy grail: a plain white sleeveless blouse. Whenever I’m running late for work, I wish I had one to just throw one and head out the door. If I found one I liked, I’d buy a few! Ideally, it should be lined, not too frilly (although some nice pretty details are fine), and have a high enough neckline that it’s work appropriate. Does this even exist?! I’m starting to doubt it. Thank you!

– Marissa

Lined?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lined blouse.  Ever.  So I’m going to go with they don’t exist.  In fact, I Googled it, and the only thing I came up with was a $500 Akris blouse.

You seem to have very definite ideas about what you want.  So find a good tailor and see if you can have it made.

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  1. Laura says:

    Try the Calvin Klein Sleeveless Pleated Top at Macy’s-it’s full coverage, not see through, super versatile.

  2. Megan says:

    Kristyn – No one in Boston will judge you for wearing boots to an interview and changing beforehand. Cobblestones + ice = DANGER. Just bring a reusable bag to keep them in. I’d then either ask the front desk person if you can store them, or just bring them into the room. If you want to fit in, most women in their 20s and 30s in Boston wear Bean boots. I’m a hiring manager and wouldn’t think twice about it.

    • Evie says:

      Agreed that no one will bat an eye at someone changing out of snow boots before an interview in Boston, though I’m with Abra about taking an Uber – not so much for the footwear as for the peace of mind.

      If the weather (or outfit) doesn’t require Bean boots or heavy-duty Sorels, I turn to my Blondo boots. They are waterproof and look quite decent with pants or a skirt. I haven’t worn mine with a formal suit but wear them regularly with a mismatched skirt and blazer set.

    • Fan FROM BOSTON says:

      Ditto – 100% wear the boots. I had an interview in the Fenway area last spring – it snowed a couple of inches, so I Ubered in my nice interview heels. Fine until the interview included moving around to different offices which were in different buildings, requiring me to climb through snow piles in heels. Whoops. Storing in a (nice, non grocery store – see comment below) bag will be no big deal – at reception if there is one, or even the hiring manager likely wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Seriously, dress for the weather.

  3. Laura says:

    The MM LaFleur Naomi blouse is cap sleeved and lined. I have it in blue and wear it all the time.

  4. Callie says:

    For the Bostonian, I would recommend scoping out the locations of the interviews in advance, if you can. You may find that a building has an attached garage or a lobby with a public restroom, both of which would be helpful as you’re planning your interview outfit/plan of attack for the interview. There may also be a reception desk (for the building or the company) that could be a place to leave your boots (in a quality, sealed bag, not a flimsy grocery bag 🙂 ) during your interview (get in good with the receptionist from the get go! it’s an incredibly valuable relationship).

  5. Katy says:

    I have one from Aritzia – the Babaton Hopkins blouse. It’s fantastic and has a cute knot detail at the side. https://www.aritzia.com/en/product/hopkins-blouse/61674.html?dwvar_61674_color=3030

  6. AnniE says:

    While gorgeous, I am not sure how a white $200 blouse is practical to go out in. I am a couple years out of college and the last thing I would want to worry about while going out is preventing any type of spills, stains, and whatever else happens past midnight. I still buy most of non-work/ appropriate clothes from H&M and it serves me perfectly fine. Just because you aren’t on a college budget anymore doesn’t mean you have to waste money on impractical clothing.

  7. Pam says:

    On the white blouse I have a basic white Calvin Klein sleeveless shell with a little gathering at the neckline – it is machine washable and though not “lined” has double fabric on the front so it is opaque. Picked it up at Macy’s and often see a similar style still sold there.

    Ponte Pants for tall gals – I had great luck with my beta brand ponte trousers. They were SOOOO long I had to have them take up a bit by my tailor!

  8. Carrie says:

    I have a white lined blouse from Sezane…the lining is a little strange to be honest, but it’s a nice quality, pretty, and unique enough.

  9. Lillian Harris says:

    Regarding the post on “go to” white blouses, I am a big fan of the Brooks Brothers’ white sleeveless blouses.The cotton is such great quality and they fit great. One of them does have ruffles, but they are subtle and so feminine. Check out: 1. The non iron sleeveless ruffled blouse or 2. Diamond-Stripe Dobby Cotton Sleeveless Blouse. They are both V neck, but still conservative.

    Good luck!

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