Office outfit to Holiday outfit

Turkey day is over, which means we are a few weeks away from Christmas and the celebration of the holiday season.  You just got an invitation to a holiday celebration with the boss and fellow office staff.  As with any function that involves senior executives in your workplace, you should dress appropriately.  That means nothing too high at the hem or low at the neck, or so tight that you dare not sit down.  Save the real party girl outfits for the club or the celebration with close friends and family.

It’s always wonderful to go out and buy a festive new dress, skirt or pants for a special occasion, but is it a good investment piece? Why not be creative with what you already have in your closet. If you are like most women you have a festive thing or two hanging in your closet just waiting to see the light of day or sparkly jewelry stuffed in a drawer for years. If you do need to add one of these items to make the transition to a holiday outfit, you may want to keep the investment at a minimal cost by shopping at a local thrift or consignment shop or a discount retail location. I love to shop H&M and Forever 21 for trendy accessories at a low cost.

Add a jewel colored top, one that makes your skin and eyes shine, to a current pair of pants or skirt. Accessories with a little sparkle and shine go a long way.  Add a statement necklace or dangle earrings to a current dress.  Pashminas are a must for every wardrobe and if it has some sparkle to it all the better. Throw it around your shoulders in case the event is chilly. A pop of color or shine in your footwear will complete the outfit.

Here are some suggestions on how to take an office outfit and turn it into a holiday celebration outfit with little to no additional investment.

Polyvore - Holiday 15 pants

Swap out your sweaters and booties for a sleeveless top, statement accessories and shoes with a heel.

 

Polyvore - Holiday 15 skirt

Leave the sweater at home and change up the shoes for heels.  The red sleeveless blouse is a great holiday look with a gold belt (this should be a staple in your closet).  Or add a glittery top! No other accessories necessary.

Polyvore - Holiday 15 dress

Think you can’t make an office dress work for a party?  Change a jacket or sweater for a shrug, fringed top (trendy) or go sleeveless.  Add some jewelry, a different belt and different heels.  Even a sweater dress can look great.

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

 

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I only have a few outfits in my closet

No matter if you have suits, dresses or basic separates, layering your outfit is a great way to extend your closet without having to buy a thing.

I can still remember years ago when I worked for Casual Corner (I may be dating myself). I put together an outfit on a display of corduroy pants, a diagonal striped blouse with bow and a crocheted cowl neck short sleeve sweater. I probably sold 5 of those outfits without even trying.  It was simple but a great layered look.  So can you layer anything?  Not necessarily.  Let’s go through it.

First layering should not add volume to your body and remember to keep your proportions in mind so you don’t look like you are drowning in layers. Start with a pair of slim or mid-width pants based on your body type.  Next put on a crisp shirt or tunic style knit top. Maybe even a fly-away turtleneck. Simple and basic outfit, but is that really you?  Then add a sweater or even vest to the outfit, it can be short or long. Showing shirt tails or tunic hem are ok. Next add a splash of color. An oblong scarf underneath the sweater with just the hint of color around the neck and the tails peeking out at the hem is a different approach. Or what about a statement necklace instead of a scarf?  If you go with the same color family in your top pieces, it will add length to your body.   You could take this same idea and in lieu of the pants go with a solid skirt with matching tights and pumps. Have you tried putting a belt over a shirt, long vest or even your scarf?

Added bonus: You’re going to Aunt ____’s house for Thanksgiving.  She probably has been cooking and baking all day which means it may be 80 degrees inside.  If you put together a layered outfit, you can shed a layer inside, but still be stylish.

There are endless possibilities when you have basic pieces and accessories in your closet. And the more solids you have the easier it will be to layer and create something new. Use your accessories to give that splash of color to bring out your personal style. Here are some suggestions to get you started

Polyvore - layering

 What outfits are hiding in your closet?

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Are any of these trends calling your name?

With shorter days come cooler temps and another season of new trends. As usual there are some varying opinions; I am highlighting the ones that everyone seems to agree on.

Bling is back! From drop earrings to embellishments, there is much more shine this season. So bring back out your feminine, sparkly jewelry. Drop earring can be a way to add height and they do work for the office, though I would go light on the shine.   Reacting to last winter’s weather, the short black flat boot will be “in” and practical. Wow what a concept! And shoes will be trending towards lady loafers; footwear with a stacked kitten heel for comfort. Pair these with tights in both solids and patterns. Other accessory looks that will be around are long skinny scarves with a boho influence and long gloves, an influence from the new Mrs. Clooney.

fall15 trends_blockkittenheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the styles that will be hot this season, it all seems to center around keeping warm. That means layers. Skirts will have something for everyone. There is the carwash pleat, think box pleats cut open, the flounce skirt that has been dubbed “happy hemlines” and the always popular mini skirt. I see pairing the pleats and mini with the chucky oversized sweaters or turtlenecks, which are making a return this year. How about a sleek turtleneck with a flounce skirt for the office? And the pant silhouette makes a change with the return of the flare and higher waisted, wide leg styles which can give you the long leg and tiny waist look. If you aren’t a fan of this pant try a wide belt at the waist to give that cinched in look; instant hourglass shape.

fall15trends_carwashskirts fall15trends_flouncehems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texture treatments are very prevalent. In addition to the chunky sweaters, there is lots of fur, both faux and real. Coat cuffs with fur, fur on boots and shoes, fur stoles worn diagonally over coats and shearling coats. Do the designers sense something about our upcoming winter weather? Another texture is fringe, which began last fall. You will see fringe at the hem of vests, and on dresses. If that is a bit much for you, try it as an accessory such as on a scarf or purse.

 

Fall 2015 faux-fur-w724 Fall 2015 chunky-knits-w724

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it’s time to breakout your poncho. It can be a great layering piece to go over a blazer in lieu of a coat.

These are a few snippets of what you’ll be seeing in stores. Does this work for you? Remember, just because it’s a trend, doesn’t mean the style is right for your body type.

 

What outfits are hiding in your closet?

V A C A T I O N !!

Polyvore - Mix-Match

Summer officially starts on Sunday and in this area the kids are finally out of school. That means it’s time to think about that summer getaway.  So what can you do to make the escape easier on you from start to finish? Pre-planning and packing light.

If you are going by car with endless room you may not worry about it, but if you are flying, packing can be a challenge.  I always want to take things I usually don’t wear at home; you know that cute pair of shorts you bought on your last tropical outing that are bit on the wild side for wearing out to a casual dinner at home. Let’s see if we can squeeze them in.

Let’s start with the pre-planning. How many days are you away and how many outfits can you realistically wear? Do you plan on an outfit for day and change for the evening? Think back, did that really happen the last time? If you are in a bathing suit all day are you really going to get dressed for dinner and is your destination going to require something more than a casual outfit? These are the questions to ask yourself. If you are not going to the beach, is it a climate that might need a heavier layer than a t-shirt? With these answers we move on to selecting what to bring. This is where creating your own travel checklist can help. I started one several years ago and tweak it every time we come back from vacation.

First pick a neutral shade as your base color. You can do this for either the tops or bottoms, but I would suggest it be your bottoms for the most flexibility.  According to where you are going that may include jeans (dark is preferable as they can go dressy or casual), a skirt  (maxi would be great) and a pair of slacks  (maybe a pair of the trendy soft pants or an ankle pant). In tropical locations, I always bring a denim skirt and opt for sun dresses over shorts for comfort. And remember, neutral does not always mean black and tan. Gray and navy work really well to maximize your options. I always use the fewer bottoms to tops ratio when packing and if you are going to a warm destination, always consider that you will only wear the top once (unless it’s a layering piece).

Select tops to add color and interest to your outfit.  If you brought along a pattern bottom, you can opt for a solid top or you can really go trendy and use another pattern as long as both patterns have the same dominant color.  No matter what tops you select be sure that each top goes with at least 2 bottoms to give you maximum options and there should be tops that can be layered.

Now add the accessories.  Scarves and jewelry can change the feel of an outfit from casual to dressy in an instant.  Patterns in a lightweight scarf can pull together a great outfit that has a solid top and bottom. For jewelry, I would recommend taking only one metal color.  Because the beach can be harsh on metals,  bring your costume jewelry and leave the good stuff at home. A metal belt is a great way to accentuate the waist and dress up jeans for an evening out.

Did you remember a small purse for evening and shopping? And don’t forget your pashmina for the plane, train and evenings out.

There is plenty of debate on the best way to pack all those clothes; fold, roll, bundle or investing in wrinkle resistant clothing. I have used  an envelope packing system such as the one from Eagle Creek for years. It keeps your clothes neatly folded,  maximizes space and makes it easy to pick out items without unpacking the entire suitcase; handy when you are on a multi-location trip.

Packing envelope

 

 

 

 

 

Put jewelry inside your shoes so you use every inch of space.  Swap out the jewelry for dirty clothes on the way home.  And if at all possible, wear the bulky item on the plane. Avoid the urge to throw in one more thing as you are about to walk out the door with your suitcase in hand.  Trust me on a long trip the only people that will notice that you wore those same jeans 4 times is you because you had tops and accessories to make it look like a totally new outfit every time.

 

What outfits are hiding in your suitcase?