Professional, Smart & Chic – Ivanka Trump Tellas Pointy Toe Pump

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

This Ivanka Trump Tellas Pointy Toe Pump ($134.95 from Nordstrom) is a perfect example of the fantastic designs and affordable prices I’ve come to expect from Ivanka Trump’s shoe collection.

Ivanka Trump Tellas Pointy Toe Pump - chic professional pumps midheel - strappy pumps for work office - burgundy pumps

What a great design for work or after hours! It features a high – but walkable – 3-inch heel with extra stability from the straps.

I love the combination of Burgundy suede and embossed snake. It’s also a great-looking shoe in Black (shown below) and in Dove Grey (although I’d save this lighter color for spring and summer rather than fall and winter).

Ivanka Trump Tellas Pointy Toe Pump - chic professional black pumps midheel - strappy pumps for work office Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom. 

Professional, Smart & Chic – Quilted Tema Dress & Free Shipping from Anthropologie

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I always love an Anthropologie free shipping weekend! Right now you can get free shipping on your $150 plus order with code FS150 (ends 9/15/14).

This charming Quilted Tema Dress by Tabitha is one of Anthro’s new fall arrivals ($158 in Green or Rust and in regular or petite sizes). This desk-to-dinner dress in a flattering stretch basketweave fabric is getting great reviews and has Mad Men Style in spades!

Tabitha Quilted Tema Dress

Tabitha Quilted Tema Dress - Rust

I love the bow detail on the shoulders, which is streamlined enough to pair with a not-too-tight sweater or cardigan.

The dress also looks lovely paired with a belt – it’s shown here with a Woven Chevron Corset Belt ($48) and a Tapered Leather Belt ($58). The Rust dress is also shown with the richly colored Flaminia Shoulder Bag ($248).

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Anthropologie.

Smart, Chic & Made in the USA – Under $100 – Search for Sanity Floral Print Midi Skirt

“Smart, Chic & Made in the USA” spotlights American-made clothing for professional women & their families. 

There’s a lot to love about this Search for Sanity Floral Print Midi Skirt. The skirt features a pretty navy and tan based floral print that’s muted enough for the office and appropriate for any season.

Search for Sanity Floral Print Skirt - Made in the USA Professional Clothes for Women - How to Wear Floral Prints to Work Office - Chic Office Style - Professional Fashion

 

Reviewers love the skirt’s quality and versatility. I also happen to love the brand’s name!

The skirt is also Made in the USA, available in Regular and Petite sizes (ranging from XX-Small Petite to X-Large Petite) and costs a very reasonable $78 from Nordstrom.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom. 

Professional, Smart & Chic – Equipment Ceclie Wool Blend Sweater

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Sweater weather still seems far away, but I’m stocking up on this pretty jewel-toned plaid Equipment Ceclie Wool Blend Sweater while it’s 50% off – and still available in all sizes.

Equipment Ceclie Wool Blend Sweater - Peacoat Multi - pretty feminine plaid sweater

I love the rich colors and relaxed – but feminine – fit of this polished sweater. It’s a bold plaid that doesn’t look too boxy – a fine example of comfy chic for a business casual winter day at the office.

The Equipment Ceclie Wool Blend Sweater is $133.90 from Nordstrom (regularly $268). It’s also hand washable.

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As an aside, I’ve been gravitating to many of the pretty plaid tops that are trendy this year, but dash away if they have a whiff of 1990s grunge – even as glamorized by Cher Horowitz.

Clueless - Cher Horowitz in Plaid

“So, this flannel thing. Is that a nod to the crispy Seattle weather, or are you just trying to stay warm in front of the refrigerator?”

Today’s polished sweater – on sale, no less – is the perfect way to get my plaid fix!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Professional, Smart & Chic – France Luxe Rectangle Barrette

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Is there anything that you wore – or perhaps just wore too much – in your teen years that you’ve been hesitant to revisit? For me, it’s been barrettes.

You see, I was still growing out my last totally 80s perm when I started high school in 1990. My fine hair loves to hold a curl – forever, it would seem – so while the top of my hair was straight again, the bottom half was still curly.

My solution? I wore the front half of my hair up in a barrette every day. It looked like the style shown below – if you imagine curls instead of waves below her ears. (Her hair looks lovely, of course. The pretty France Luxe Enamel Barrette is $24 from Nordstrom in 20 different colors.)

France Luxe Enamel Barrette - polished professional hair style

I didn’t think that my hair style was particularly noteworthy until midway through the school year, when a boy on my school bus asked me why I always wore it the same way. I have no idea what I mumbled in response, but the answer was that I was afraid to change it.

So my new friend politely shared a thoughtful bit of advice: “I just think you would look more vibrant with your hair down.” Within a week or two, I gave up the old hairstyle. (Myron, if you’re reading this, I don’t think that I ever properly thanked you for nudging me toward a more vibrant future.)

That takes us to yesterday – over twenty years later – when I was admiring how my sister-in-law Elizabeth was wearing her hair in a low ponytail held in place by a barrette. Her hair looked lovely – and so much more polished than the messy buns I make with an elastic band.

But could I dare to wear a barrette again given my troubled history with that particular accessory?

Thankfully we were in Nordstrom, so Elizabeth quickly convinced me to try on her barrette of choice – this France Luxe Rectangular Barrette ($18 in six different colors).

France Luxe Rectangle Barrette - polished professional hair style

I love it! I bought the Alba finish shown here and happily wore it for the rest of the day. I plan to buy one in another color very soon.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for showing me that barrettes are lovely and still have a place in my life!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Lafayette 148 New York June Keyhole Blouse & Kayline Peplum-Hem Pencil Skirt

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

There are so many things to admire about this sleek and feminine Keyhole Blouse and Peplum-Hem Skirt from Lafayette 148 New York, which look perfectly professional in every possible way.

Lafayette 148 New York June Keyhole Blouse & Kayline Peplum-Hem Pencil Skirt - chic office style - professional fashion - feminine suiting & suit separates - how to wear monochrome to the office

A matching top and skirt are a nice alternative to suits or dresses for the office. You get the wearability of a dress with the added benefit that you can also pair each item with other separates. (Just remember to always dry clean your suits and other matched items together so the colors stay consistent!)

The color of this blouse and skirt are fantastic. I love the dark, rich Delft Blue – which is just as flattering in a monochrome outfit as everyday black or navy.

I also love this outfit’s office-perfect tailoring, neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and knee-length hem. This style reminds me of the Elie Tahari Sylvia Dress featured in the first Commandress post, which a friend recently referred to as “the superwoman dress.”

And who doesn’t want to feel like superwoman once in a while?

The Lafayette 148 New York June 3/4-Sleeve Keyhole Blouse ($398) & Kayline Peplum-Hem Pencil Skirt ($378) are both available from Neiman Marcus.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Neiman Marcus.

Class It Up – Business Travel Shoes

In the Commandress feature Class It Up, contributor Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach draws on her legal industry experience – including some of the mistakes she saw along the way – to share ideas for taking your work wardrobe to the next level.

Do you face any of these scenarios? Perhaps you are able to walk to work or have a bit of a walk between your car – or metro ride to the office. Perhaps you frequently travel by plane for work. Perhaps you are on your feet a lot. Or, maybe like me, you have foot issues.

If you are a professional woman, a shoe that combines professionalism, style and comfort is the Holy Trinity for dress shoes.

For you, reader, I have spent the past week identifying professional, comfortable and fashionable shoes that won’t leave you – or your feet – singing the blues.

With their lizard-embossed leather, patent leather and brushed hardware at the vamp, Circa Joan & David’s Prvue Pumps can hardly be beat – especially on sale ($54.99 from 6pm in five colors – including a gorgeous soft turquoise; regularly $89). These pointy toe beauties have a padded footbed and walkable 2-inch stacked kitten heel. They’re also available from Zappos in Black.

Circa Joan & David Prvue Pumps - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumpsFor years VANELi has been my go-to brand for professional and comfortable shoes. The lustrous lizard embossing of VANELi’s Dayle Pump adds some panache to this rubber soled, 2.5-inch pump ($129.95 from Nordstrom in Navy, Black or Brown in several widths).

VANELi Dayle Pump -  - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumpsMy other long-standing go-to brand is Stuart Weitzman, which puts out gorgeous, classy and comfortable shoes. Stuart Weitzman’s patent leather First Class Pump, shown in Lead Aniline, has classic lines, a sleek pointy-toe and 2-inch heel. Also available in Black and Brown. ($345 from Nordstrom; also available in Black or Burgundy patent).

Stuart Weitzman First Class Pump -  - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumps - patent leather pumps burgundy grey blackBecause Stuart Weitzman shoes are truly an investment item – a pair of mine are twelve years old and still look brand new – I’m also featuring Stuart Weitzman’s Chicpump Pump ($335 from Nordstrom in Black Patent, Black Suede or Navy Patent in several widths). Their 2.25-inch heel and rubber sole will make this mid-heel pump your favorite go-to shoe.

Stuart Weitzman Chicpump Pump -  - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumpsSome shoe brands focus on comfort – like Softspots. This Salude Patent Pump’s round-toe, 2.5-inch stacked heel and polyurethane sole offer fashionable support in Black or Bronze patent ($84.95 from Nordstrom in several widths).

Softspots Salude Patent Pump -  - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumps - professional comfort shoes

Finally, I will share an aspirational shoe – for me anyway – that has rave reviews. One look at Jimmy Choo’s exquisite Allure Pump will make even the most rational professional woman think money is no object. In Black or Taupe leather, this 2-inch heeled beauty offers understated polish that is perfect for professionals on the go. ($625 from Nordstrom in Black or Taupe).

Jimmy Choo Allure Pump -  - business travel shoes - professional comfortable pumps - kitten heel pumps for work office - chic stylish low heel pumps - Jimmy Choo pumps for work office

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for 6pm, Nordstrom and Zappos.

Rest Your Eyes on This – Ruby Red Pumps

In “Rest Your Eyes on This,” Commandress takes a mini-vacation to spotlight something that is lovely and delightful – regardless of its practicality or its price.

Wow – all it took was a three-day weekend to make it insanely hard to get up on time to bring Bonnie to school this morning. There’s no place like home – and there’s also no place like my bed.

Wizard of Ox - Ruby Slippers

A few of the happy thoughts that crossed my mind while abusing using my snooze alarm were: (1) Dorothy’s amazing ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz (which I saw a bit of yesterday); (2) how wonderful it would be to tap my heels together three times and stay in bed a little longer; and (3) these pretty French Sole Mondo Flats in Burgundy crackle leather – which would certainly be worth getting up for.

French Sole Mondo Flats - Burgundy Crackle Leather

So perfect for a modern Dorothy! The Mondo flats are available in Burgundy or Pewter from Nordstrom for $199.95. They’re also available from Simply Soles for $228 – but you can save 15% and get free shipping with promo code WELCOME.

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And if you’ve ever dreamed about finding ruby red shoes that you can wear to work, check out these polished and professional Kate Spade New York Abott Pumps in Ruby textured patent leather ($278 from Nordstrom; also available in Black).

kate spade new york abott pumps - ruby textured patent leather

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom and Simply Soles.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Roses & Ribbons Cardigan

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Here’s a feminine, floral sweater that you could easily work into an office wardrobe.

Roses & Ribbons Cardigan

The Roses & Ribbons Cardigan ($128 from Sundance; washable) would look pretty – but not too sweet – paired with sleek office basics like pants or a pencil skirt in navy, charcoal or black.

The cardigan also looks great with dark jeans for a business casual office - although I would pair it with a less casual top for work,  like this Eileen Fisher Ballet Neck Tee (Made in the USA & $98 from Nordstrom) or this Classiques Entier Drape Neck Silk Blend Jersey Top ($128 from Nordstrom).

Eileen Fisher Ballet Neck Tee - Made in the USA

Classiques Entier Draped Neck Silk Blend Top - lovely layering shirt for work - chic office style

Oh, and there’s another detail that looks fabulous in the picture above: the Love & Virtue Necklace ($188 from Sundance Catalogue) featuring grey pearls with red jade is a beautiful – and perfectly modern – pearl necklace.

Love & Virtue Necklace

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom and Sundance Catalogue.

Class It Up – How to Choose Handbags & Portfolios for Job Interviews

In the new Commandress feature Class It Up, contributor Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach draws on her legal industry experience – including some of the mistakes she saw along the way – to share ideas for taking your work wardrobe to the next level. 

Most professional women are well-aware that a suit is the default interview outfit. But what does an interview candidate carry into their interview? After all, the employer expects candidates to bring copies of their resume and other application materials. And, of course, candidates have necessities like wallets, car keys, and cell phones to consider.

The reader is correct to answer a bag, of course! This sounds simple enough, but in practice it is not.

As the person who used to coordinate a law school’s on-campus interview program, I observed many women who chose the wrong bag for this famously conservative profession.

Whether it is a big, bright, and blingy oversized handbag or a frayed and overstuffed backpack, these accessories send the wrong message to potential employers. Job interviews are also not the time to show up carrying a $1,000 purse – that is, if one truly needs a job.

The message these choices convey is this: the candidate does not pay attention to details and does not display good judgment.

Tory Burch Tote - NavyProfessional women with job interviews in their future want to make a statement with their accessories – simply by communicating good taste, refinement, and restraint.

Shown here: You can’t go wrong with this classic navy tote from Tory Burch – also featured below.

By investing in accessories that are simple in appearance and conservative in color (navy, black, or dark brown), job candidates can successfully navigate this potential landmine.

For a job interview, professional women can choose either to carry a tote large enough to hold a folder or to carry a small handbag and a portfolio. Here are some of my favorite examples of each of these accessories.

Option 1 – A Tote Bag

As for totes, the key is to select a tote bag that is large enough to fit a manila folder, but not so large that it can be misconstrued as an overnight bag.

Tory Burch’s Small York Saffiano Leather Buckle Tote fits these criteria perfectly ($245 from Nordstrom). I recommend carrying Black, Navy or Dark Walnut for an interview.

Tory Burch Small York Saffiano Leather Buckle Tote - Navy

My second recommendation – but not necessarily my second choice – is Brahmin’s Medium Asher Tote in Pecan ($255.00 from Nordstrom).

Brahmin Medium Asher Tote - Pecan

Last, but certainly far from least, is Dooney & Bourke’s Lexington Pebble Grain Collection Water Resistant Pebbled Leather Shopper ($198 from Nordstrom). I love this bag’s conservative yet sporty look.

Dooney & Bourke Lexington Pebble Grain Collection Water Resistant Pebbled Leather Shopper Option 2 – A Portfolio & Small Handbag

With the Large Portfolio Crocodile Embossed Leather from Graphic Image in Black or Brown, you will be excited to go on job interviews – and you may even have a hard time saving your portfolio for those special occasions($164 from Graphic Image). Pair the portfolio with Brahmin’s Duxbury Mini Crossbody Bag in Black or Pecan for a sleek, coordinated look ($195 from Nordstrom or Dillard’s).

Graphic Image

Brahmin Duxbury Mini Crossbody Bag - Pecan

Alternatively, Kate Spade New York’s Cedar Street Mandy Saffiano Leather Shoulder Bag ($228.00 from Nordstrom) paired with Coach’s Crosby Leather Executive Portfolio ($298.00 from Coach) allow you to stash away your essentials so you can focus on the interview.

kate spade cedar street cross body bag

Coach Crosby Leather Portfolio

 

One final piece of advice: always, always, always turn your cell phone off before you walk into the interview.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Coach, Dillard’s and Nordstrom.