Ask the Editor: Vol. III, No. 21

Oct 20, 2022

After weeks of unseasonably warm weather, the temperatures here are supposed to drop this weekend. And that means there is no more denying that fall is here and winter is coming.  So let’s answer a few reader questions as we all prepare for the change in seasons.

Hi there, Abra…

Do you still wear that long sweater from Free People?  I haven’t pulled the trigger on it because it felt like the kind of thing that I’d wear for a few months and never pick out again. 

Congratulations on the baby! Breanne

Do I still wear it? I think you mean, did I buy a new black one and a new ivory one so that I was prepared for another winter of consistency wear?  Because if that’s what you meant, then yes.  And since Backcountry has it for $20 less than everywhere else, I wish I had bought them there.

Bottom line, the slouchy, oversized tunic is the foundation of my winter casual wardrobe.  If I’m not at work, I’m wearing it.  If we have casual Friday, I’m wearing it.  The fit is a bit big, so I would size down.  Did I mention it’s also machine washable (lay flat to dry)? And if you need a less expensive sweater in a similar style, Amazon has it.

Belle,

I’m on the hunt for brown nail polish.  I’d like something that is more of a cafe au lait color, but darker.  I can’t find one that’s dark enough so that you can see it at a distance.  It winds up looking like my nails are dirty.  Have you seen anything?

Kelly

Another influencer I follow wears the color Bonfire Serenade from OPI.  It’s a darker taupe and looks great in the fall.  I also like this espresso color from Essie.

Hi Abra,

My firm is taking new headshots for everyone and I’m trying to decide what top to wear. I don’t think I want to go too formal, but I still need to look professional – I’m a transactional attorney.  Do I need a blazer?  I don’t want anything too trendy because my guess is I’ll be using this photo for a while (my last headshots are 10+ years old). I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thank you! -A

I would advise wearing a blazer.  And your instincts are right, that you don’t want anything too trendy.

First, if you can, I would ask the photographer what color the backdrop is.  If it’s a black backdrop, you don’t want to wear black.  If not, take your best guess based on the headshots your firm has used before.

Second, I would advise wearing a little bit of color. I would pair a navy blazer with a lighter blue top or a lighter blue blazer with a navy top.  You could also pair a dark purple blazer with a lighter top or pair ivory separates for an Olivia Pope-style look.

If these looks are feeling a little formal for you, a sheath dress in a bold color works as well.  I like this periwinkle dress.  Of course, cobalt is always a good choice.  Or if you’re feeling really bold, try this rusty red dress.

Beyond that, I always advise that you style your hair in your normal, every day style.  Sometimes, we try something new for headshots in an effort to gussy up our look, and it always feels a bit forced.  Same goes for makeup.  Just make sure your hair and makeup are done well, but in your usual style.  This way your headshots look like you and feel authentic.

Dear Abra:

It’s already cold here in Missouri, and I work on a medical campus where I need to walk outside to get from place to place.  I wear tights every day, even under pants.  Do you know if someone makes warm tights? I’ve tried thicker tights, but they’re only marginally warmer.  Can you help?

Dr. Doesn’t Know It All

Yes, you can try fleece lined tights or tights made of a warmer fabric, like wool.  Fleece is an insulator, so even a thin layer can prevent heat loss.  So these Nordstrom fleece-lined tights are worth a glance.  Wolford also makes wool tights, and Natori makes a cashmere pair.  Plus size?  Try these Berkshire tights.

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  1. Lesley says:

    FWIW, Wolford merino tights are 50% off on Wolford site right now.

  2. RKT says:

    Taupe to Go by Sally Hansen might be a good option; I’ve used it similarly to what you are describing. https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Hansen-Insta-Dri-Fast-Dry-Color/dp/B079FVN37B

  3. Kimberly says:

    Uniqlo heattech tights are also very warm!

  4. Erin says:

    Athleta polartec tights. I live in Maine and wear them all winter long.

  5. Lydia says:

    Any updates to your winter hygiene post after all these years? It’s still one of the most useful to me as someone from a warm climate. Thanks!

  6. Anna says:

    I have been looking for a plus size sheath dress with sleeves, in part to wear in new photos. My previous headshots have all been super formal black suited up type – which to me almost reads like first year associate outfit, which I am not anymore. Most of the things I am finding are black, or have tulip sleeves sort of bunched up at the shoulder, upper arm which I think would look dated quick. Still on the hunt if anyone has seen any options!

  7. Meredith says:

    I would like to highly recommend the Amazon knockoff of the Free People sweater. I wore it a size up while seven-nine months pregnant last winter and it fit beautifully and looked professional enough for a business casual office – and it held up to many repeat wearings and washing every 2-3 wears.

  8. Anna says:

    On pants days, you might consider Llbean cresta wool base layers. They’re not as confining as tights and you can get the matching top if you’re extra chilly.

  9. Staci says:

    My boyfriend refers to my Free People tunic as my house sweater. All winter long I have it on at home. I really need to invest in more.

  10. Sydni says:

    OPI – You Don’t Know Jacques! is a great brown.

    China Glaze has a coffee themed collection with some lovely shades – https://www.chinaglaze.com/collections/i-don-t-give-a-sip.html.

    My two favorite brown polishes were from Maybelline Express Finish, but are sadly no longer available.

  11. AngelA says:

    The free people sweater is ~$100 at belk in a few colors/sizes
    https://www.belk.com/p/free-people-womens-ottoman-slouchy-tunic/0438596026652.html?feed=shopping&cm_mmc=PLA-GOOGLE-Pmax_Women_NewCustomer_SHOP_NA–0438596026652&s_kwcid=AL!5203!3!!!!x!!!&campaignengineid=GG_18520299486&adengineid=&adgroupengineid=&gbraid=0AAAAADi6qOJgYdy7h6irFI3ZBcvPd4Rvs&gbraid=0AAAAADi6qOJgYdy7h6irFI3ZBcvPd4Rvs&gclid=Cj0KCQjwhsmaBhCvARIsAIbEbH4qvg3oHP6nSRKQK1_0JW9uRM3B__9dhNURp9vFZKwTmfeqGEwwd6saAk5kEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

  12. Chanel says:

    For a brown/taupe nail varnish, Chanel Particuliere is stunning!

  13. Brett Ashley says:

    After literally years of almost buying the Free People sweater based on your recommendations, I finally bit the bullet! A heads up that the black and white are $100 at Nordstrom, but you have to dig a little to find it.

  14. JLO says:

    Kelly, if you’re looking for some shimmer in the nail polish, I recommend OPI Infinite Shine in “Gingerbread Man Can.” Just a hint of shine, no chunky glitter. It’s my favorite brown for fall / winter!

  15. Sam says:

    Hey, Abra! As a proud owner of 4 (!) of the Ottoman tunics, I’m delighted to hear you’re still wearing them :). I would love to hear how you’re styling them, in light of the wider-leg pants we’re all wearing. Leggings still seem like fair game, but would love to hear your thoughts!

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