Style + Career Style, + Work

Monday Outfit: Let’s Get to Work

Whether you’re working from home or working from an office, knowing what to wear is a challenge right now.  We all want to be comfortable, but many of us also need to look professional.  So today’s fashion inspiration pairs a top and sweater set with different bottoms to give you some options.

Blouse and Sweater. Ba&sh Floral Top and Banana Republic Long Cardigan

This outfit from Kelly in the City is just one of her great work from home outfits. I loved the mix of the dark, understated floral and the neutral cardigan.  It’s a combo you can wear in any season.

The blouse is from a very cool brand called Ba&sh.  I own one of their blazers, and it’s fab.  I like the mix of florals and birds in the print.  Looking for something else?  This navy Ann Taylor wrap blouse is awesome.  I also like this moody floral blouse from WHBM.

I actually need to replace my oatmeal colored cardigan, and this Banana Republic option is at the top of my list.  This 1901 Sweater Blazer has a little more structure.  For something more modern, this cropped cotton cardigan from Target is fashion forward in an approachable way.  Plus-size?  This Belldini cardigan is a great place to start.

Top. Banana Republic Cropped White Denim // Rothy’s Merino Flats // Anthro Hoops

White denim is my go to summer pant right now.  But, of course, after three months of being at home, cooking for fun, ordering takeout, and not being at the gym, I needed a new pair.  I decided to buy these wider leg, ankle-length jeans from Banana.  They’re not the style I usually wear, but for this moment in time, they feel like the style I need.

Looking for a full-length wide jean?  I like this NYDJ pair.  They also make a nice bootcut style in plus-size.

I added a slightly large, oblong hoop and some Rothy’s camel colored flats.  These are pretty close to skin tone on me.  Their Fawn flats are a little darker, as are their Mink flats (though they have a mauve undertone).  If you want a lighter color, their Ecru flats are worth a look.  Frankly, I wish they’d get off their asses and make a diverse skin tone line, but so far no luck.

Bottom. Norma Kamali Jersey Skirt // Kate Spade Porto Sandal // Lace Agate Earrings

I chose this skirt because it is jersey, and stretchy, and comfortable.  But it is more casual due to its snug, tube-like fit than professional.  It’s great for work from home and weekend (with a t-shirt and some great sandals), but tricky in a professional office.  For the office, switch it out for this Eileen Fisher pencil or this under-$50 Modcloth skirt.

These Kate Spade sandals are so cute and fabulous, and now so discounted, I could no longer say no.  They’re the perfect sandal for dresses — not fancy, but pretty and cool.  Have wide feet?  The Lane Bryant straw sandals are pretty cute too.

There’s some blue in the top, so I thought these lace agate earrings on deep discount would bring that out.  I also like these pale purple studs from Kate Spade.

Need more casual options?  Or warm weather options?

Writing this blog is more of a challenge lately because our experience is becoming less and less uniform.  It’s hot where you are, it’s chilly where I am.  I’m on WFH, some of you are back in the office.  And some of you are not feeling any pair of pants with a waistband, ever again.  So let me make a few more recommendations for bottoms to go with this top.

If you want shorts, these Ann Taylor tie waist shorts are really great.  Fun and unique, and a little dressy.  One of my law school friends also swears by Talbot’s ‘Yoga Skort,’ she calls it her summer leggings.

Of course, you could also just wear this top and sweater with leggings.  I’d pair that with a Rothy’s black loafer.  Or you could go with a fuller yoga pant (<$20 at Old Navy) or slim jogger.

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  1. Meighan says:

    I’d be interested in learning more about brands you’re featuring and buying from. Some of my previous ‘go to’ brands (like Anthropologie) have been featured in recent news for having discriminatory practices. I am trying to be more conscious about where my money is going, and only purchasing from stores that are showing they are committed to real change in hiring practices, diversity and inclusivity.

    June 15, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      This is something I’m trying to work out. Certainly the news that some Anthro stores had a culture that encouraged employees to follow black shoppers or refrain from hiring black employees is really upsetting. The issue is that so many companies are grappling with their past actions makes this pretty tough. Everyone from Nordstrom to Amazon on down to small shops are being called out. So my plan for now is I’ve been keeping a running list of concerns and following up to see how they’re being addressed. If I don’t think they’re doing enough or they just did some performative apology and then nothing after, I’m going to move away from the brands.

      This is the approach I took with Third Love when dozens of employees complained about the culture of sexism and the company literally did NOTHING. They did not respond, they did not promise reforms, they didn’t even acknowledge the issue publicly. TL was my go-to bra shop and a frequent topic on this blog, and I haven’t written a thing or bought a bra from them since.

      I recently cancelled my BotM subscription after the company poorly handled a situation on their end. So I’m keeping an eye out for how companies are handling this reckoning, and if they’re taking no action or taking paltry action, I’m going to be moving away from them. Anthro says they’re addressing it, and we’ll find out in the coming weeks and months if that means real change or not.

      June 15, 2020/Reply
  2. Anonymous says:

    The Kamali skirt says “hand wash only.” Have you tried to machine wash/flat dry? Do you think that would work? Thanks!

    June 15, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Gentle in delicates bag and lay flat.

      June 16, 2020/Reply
      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you so much!

        June 16, 2020/Reply
  3. Coco says:

    What a great post! Good ideas. As for what to wear as we start going back into the office, I fear we women will lose credibility gains we have made if we don’t dress to match the formality of the guys in our offices. I am the head of my group at Canada’s largest law firm and I am continually amazed that the female lawyers dress so much more casually than their male counterparts. How you present yourself matters. If the guys are all wearing suits with great (polished) shoes, crisp shirts, ties and socks to match, then the women need to keep up with fab suits, jewelry and great shoes. Get into it and if you can’t, then unfortunately I fear your career may suffer if you get given less challenging assignments, less client interaction and less responsibility when the partners assume your lack of attention in your dress reflects how you will handle a file. Is that right or fair? Maybe not. Is it reality – you betcha!

    June 16, 2020/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I have the same fear, especially for women in management.

      June 16, 2020/Reply
  4. kiko says:

    This may not be the right blog to address this, but maybe other thirtyish women have this issue: it’s hard to get WFH fashion right in this moment because when I WFH during this COVID situation, I have so many roles– and not all of them are Zoom-ready/video-ready/typing-all-day roles that are typical to real WFH. I have to intersperse childcare/homeschool/feeding/cooking/cleaning/protesting and other tasks in large doses that were not typically part of my work day. So my fashion choices suffer because nursing, painting, sidewalk chalking, biking, digging, washing up, etc. are not fashion friendly tasks…

    June 16, 2020/Reply
    • L says:

      I thankfully wasn’t nursing when my kids were still home during this (daycares are back open where I am), but I struggled with this, too, especially because my 20 month old would get food/snot/etc. all. over. me. I did a lot of tops I could machine wash and dry so I didn’t have to worry about kid grime. The fabrics don’t have to be as nice as you’d wear in the office–I find you can’t really tell over video conference (all my calls are video). This top looks great on camera: And Old Navy has a lot of other relaxed button up shirts, some collared and some not, that would be nice enough for meetings and be nursing-friendly for you (my office falls on the weird line between suits and business casual, fwiw). I wear shorts with all the tops and just try to slide out of the frame or cut my camera feed if I need to stand up.

      June 16, 2020/Reply