Professional, Smart & Chic – Hobo Bags 40% Off Sale & The Hobo Morena Tote

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I was excited to post about the beloved Hobo Morena Tote (previously featured here and here) on sale in one color today, but now it turns out that the entire Hobo website is 40% off  with promo code HOBOXOXO.

Hobo also offers free shipping for orders over $150. Score!

Hobo Morena Tote, Wheat Saffiano, Hobo Work Bag, Best Work Bag for Women, Best Briefcase for Women, Computer Bag, Professional Computer Bag

The Hobo Morena Tote – shown here in Wheat Saffiano Leather – is perfect for holding all of your electronics, papers and various stuff. It’s regularly $298, but $178.80 on sale.

If you work in a more creative office – or want to play a small tribute to Legally Blonde – check out the Hobo Morena Tote in Pink Saffiano Leather.

Hobo Morena Tote - Pink Saffiano Leather

It looks like the sale lasts through July 27.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Hobo Bags.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Hugo Boss Berry Melange Suiting

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Berry melange suiting? Yes, please!

Today is the first day that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to everyone – and some items are already available in limited sizes only. This classically tailored suit in a fantastic – and flattering – dark berry fabric is one of the first items I recommend checking out.

BOSS HUGO BOSS Jolia Suiting - Berry Melange

The BOSS HUGO BOSS Jolia Suiting Jacket ($394.90 on sale; regularly $595) and BOSS HUGO BOSS Venina Suiting Skirt ($196.90 on sale; regularly $295) are distinctive, but not so memorable that you would hesitate to wear them regularly.

There is also a sleek suiting dress in the same fabric: the BOSS HUGO BOSS Dalana V-Neck Suiting Sheath Dress ($394.90 on sale; regularly $595).

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom. 

Professional, Smart & Chic – Laundry by Shelli Segal Faux Leather Trim Bouclé Dress

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about.

Here’s a chic and professional dress from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that is a delightful mashup of current trends and Mad Men Style.

Laundry by Shelli Segal Faux Leather Trim Multicolor Bouclé Dress

The Laundry by Shelli Segal Faux Leather Trim Multicolor Bouclé Dress ($176.90 on sale; regularly $265) features a classic sheath style with on trend – and flattering – faux leather details.

As much as I love the rich burgundy and pink bouclé-knit fabric on the front of the dress, I think it was a wise decision to stick with sleek black ponte (with black faux leather at the waist) for the back of the dress.

I’m also pleased to report that this dress is available in Regular and Petite sizes and machine washable.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Rest Your Eyes on This – Kendra Scott Glam Rocks Collection

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.

Today is an exciting day if you’re a fan of color, sparkle, shine and all things iridescent!

Kendra Scott is finally releasing her new Glam Rocks Collection – a momentous occasion for anyone who has previewed this celebration of embellishment.

These Deva Statement Earrings in Iridescent Illusion ($95) are a fine example of the luxe jewels. The Deva earrings come in five stunning colors that each feature intricate gold filigree and a sparkling drusy stone.

Kendra Scott, Deva Earrings, Iridescent Illusion, Glam Rocks, KSGlamRocks, Statement Earrings, Iridescent Earrings, Iridescent Illusion, Drusy

The selection of earrings, necklaces and bracelets available in the new Black Iridescent stone could fill up my wish list for a year. I particularly love this Gale Long Necklace in Black Iridescent ($140).

Kendra Scott, Gale Necklace, Black Iridescent, Glam Rocks, KSGlamRocks, Iridescent, Iridescent Necklace, Iridescent Jewelry

I’m also in awe of the Finley Fringe Necklace in Multi-Color ($95), which features multi-color tassels for added movement and sparkle. The necklaces look fantastic layered together – this one is a showstopper on its own or in any pairing.

Kendra Scott, Finley Fringe Necklace, MultiColor, Glam Rocks, KSGlamRocks, Colorful Jewelry, Tassel Necklace, Statement Necklace

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Kendra Scott. 

Commandress News – Semi-Sabbatical

Today I’m writing to let you all know that I’ll be taking a semi-sabbatical for the next few weeks.

Bonnie will be starting Kindergarten in the beginning of August (’cause that’s how it’s done ’round here) and I’m taking the opportunity to spend extra time with her, visit family in Louisiana and North Carolina, and tackle some of that work-related housekeeping that never seems to get done when you’re . . . working.

Bonnie Glasses

Getting ready for school!

Don’t worry, I’m still planning to do regular posts. To be quite honest, it’s hard for me to stay away! But the posts will be short and sweet item recommendations like yesterday’s post.

If you’re new to Commandress, welcome! There are more than two years of posts here for your reading pleasure. You can check out specific categories, tags and monthly archives on the right sidebar.

You can also check out more item recommendations on Pinterest, visual inspiration on Instagram and my somewhat random musings on Twitter. I’ll also keep linking to my posts on Facebook.

Thank you for your understanding – and happy summer holidays to everyone!

Bonnie Ballerina

A lovely evening with Bonnie ballerina!

Professional, Smart & Chic – Cole Haan Bethany Pumps

A work-appropriate look that you can get excited about.

I went on a scouting mission to Nordstrom on Friday and am not surprised to report that this year’s Anniversary Sale is awesome!

Unlike some years past, early sale access for Nordstrom Card holders applies in store as well as online. The sale items are housed in several different areas blocked off with sheer grey curtains – the retail equivalent of a velvet rope, perhaps? Shown below: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale shrouded in mystery.

Nordstrom Sale

Although I didn’t have to flash my Nordstrom Card to go in and browse the sale, you would probably need to have – or apply for – a card to get the Anniversary Sale pricing.

One of my favorite finds were these gorgeous Cole Haan Bethany Pumps in Garnet Snake Print Leather ($164.90 on sale; regularly $248). Here’s a peak behind the curtain:

Cole Haan Bethany Pump

There are few better ways to perk up a professional wardrobe than splurging on some snazzy new pumps in a fun color – red certainly qualifies!

Cole Haan Bethany Pumps - Garnet Snake Print Leather

The Bethany Pumps are also available on sale in Black Leather (limited sizes) and in Black or Maple Sugar Patent Leather.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links from Nordstrom.

Bonus Post – Early Access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Today is the first day that Nordstrom Reward Members can access the beloved Nordstrom Anniversary Sale online!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

This time last year I decided that it was time to finally get myself a Nordstrom Card – you can apply for a credit or debit card online and start shopping the sale when you are approved.

After all, Nordstrom is my favorite department store – and the favorite of so many readers and friends.

The public sale begins on July 18 and the sale ends on August 4.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom

At Ease, Smart & Chic – Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt

Something that you’ll love to wear when you’re not in the office.

Yesterday’s post about stylish comfort shoes reminded me that one of my favorite summer skirts is made by an outdoor clothing company.

Of course, the skirt happens to be a beautiful shade of “Wild Rose” and features a bias cute flounce at the hem – the sort of thoughtful details that illustrate the performance and style that we’ve come to expect from “activewear.” (You can read more about this trend and the very stylish activewear brand Pure + Good in this previous post.)

Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt in Wild Rose

The Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt in Wild Rose ($62 from Zappos) is made from a washable, packable, quick-drying, wrinkle-resistant and UPF 50+ fabric that suits any busy, modern lifestyle.

It also has useful pockets and a comfortable mesh lining at the waistband. The skirt is available in sizes 2-16 and fits true to size.

Add that all together, and you get a nifty skirt with an average of five stars from 227 customer reviews on Zappos – which also carries the skirt in Jet Black, Charcoal, Light Taupe and Soapstone.

The outdoor apparel store Moosejaw also carries the Discovery Skirt in some additional colors for $61.95 – including this lovely Royal Blue.

Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt in Royal Blue

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Moosejaw and Zappos. 

Fashion Flashback – Top 10 Comfort Shoes for Summer Camp & Other Outdoor Adventures

The weekly Commandress feature ‘Fashion Flashback’ by Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach features the author’s 1980s fashion retrospectives as a new way to understand – and inspire – contemporary fashion styles.

Thank goodness for the evolution of comfort shoes!

You may have noticed that I’ve been gone for a while. Last month, my family vacationed in Colorado Springs. That trip was promptly followed by my annual pilgrimage to summer camp. Both forays involved a lot of walking. For this chick, a lot of walking requires comfortable shoes, a.k.a. “comfort shoes.”

These days, it’s easy to take for granted the plethora of brands manufacturing comfort shoes designed to accommodate activities ranging from hiking to strolling through water.

Nordstrom alone has over 2,500 women’s comfort shoes on its website! We will take a look at some terrific options momentarily, but first a fashion flashback.

Comfort Shoes Then

In the 1980s, when the comfort shoe concept was still in its nascence, the pickings were slim.

Take a look at this vintage Dr. Scholl’s “Exercise Sandal” with its wood platform. Walking on a flat wood surface with no arch support is not something most adults can do without immediate and long-term consequences. Just looking at this image makes me writhe in pain.

Dr Scholls Sandals Vintage 1980s Pink Leather Wood Exercise Shoes

Dr. Scholl’s also offered some less barbaric footwear in the 1980s. After all, it was and is a brand dedicated to foot care. Who can forget the company’s Dr. Scholl’s Wedge Sandal that was so ubiquitous back in its day?

Vintage DR SCHOLL'S 1980s Sandals - Perforated Leather Wedge Sandals

There were signs of the forthcoming comfort shoe enlightenment in the 1980s. Birkenstock (with origins dating back to the eighteenth century), Mephisto, Naot, and Ecco were all making inroads. Merrell and Teva were founded in the 1980s.

But these brands and the concept of comfort shoes had not yet reached the masses. Then, if you asked the typical person what shoes they wore for casual comfort the answers would probably have been limited to Top-Siders, Keds, and Dr. Scholl’s.

Comfort Shoes Now

Since this was my seventh summer going to summer camp with my two sons, I have become proficient at finding shoes for my high-maintenance feet. My “comfort shoe mentors” and partners-in-crime are my camp besties, Marie and Paige.

Amy Camp ShoesWithout fail, during one of our nights off we hit the metropolis of Cookeville, Tennessee to shoe shop. Before you smirk, let it be known Cookeville is dead-center in Tennessee’s fabulous hiking country so there are excellent stores to visit.

Paige and Marie usually have better luck than me finding footwear. But this year, I found two pairs of sandals that I love.

Between the three of us, we acquired nine pair of shoes on this year’s annual shoe shopping expedition.

I’ve included a snapshot of this year’s summer bounty.

My Top Four Comfort Sandals

I hate taking off my stylish new Merrell Hollyleaf Wrap Sandals in Dark Purple ($85 from Zappos in seven colors). Their shock absorption makes them so, so comfortable. The mesh fabric lining is treated with Aegis antimicrobial solution to keep your feet cool and dry – an excellent feature!

Merrell Hollyleaf Sandal - Dark Purple

On that note, it is important to change your shoes to give them – and your feet – a break. I know a woman who wore only one pair of shoes on a vacation and she got a stress fracture as a result! This is no urban myth. Always pack several pair of shoes of different types to keep your feet happy and healthy.

In the spirit of following my own good advice, I also bought a pair of Clarks Leisa Taffy Sandals in Pewter ($45.00, regularly $75.00 from in four colors). The best aspect of these super cute and comfortable sandals may just be their adjustable hook-and-loop straps at the vamp and ankle for a customized fit.

Clarks Leisa Taffy SandalsWords cannot express how much I loved my Naot Kayla Sandals. I wore them out and need to replace them, but in the meantime I will share with you that these leather sandals with memory-foam padding feel absolutely wonderful ($129.95 from Nordstrom).

Naot Kayla SandalAnother shoe worth every penny – and more! – is Mephisto’s Agave Sandal in Light Taupe Perl Leather. Mephisto is known for its anatomically designed footwear, and I can attest to this design’s success ($199.00 from Zappos).

Mephisto Agave Sandal

Top Three Closed-Toe Comfort Shoes

While at camp, Marie, Paige, and I spend much of our time in the kitchen and dining hall, where we need our feet covered in the event of mishaps.

The New Balance 1080 Running Shoes profiled on Commandress last week fits the bill perfectly.

And, because I conscientiously rotate my shoes, this year’s line-up also included Skechers Flex Appeal – Limited Edition Walking Shoes ($51.99 on sale; regularly $65 from Zappos). The hot pink tie die is perfect for camp and fun to wear throughout the summer.

SKECHERS Flex Appeal - Limited Edition Walking ShoesCamp bestie Marie, who turned me on to Clarks, bought a pair of TOMS Classic Canvas Slip-On Shoes this year ($47.95 in seven colors from Nordstrom).  She proclaims that their comfort is divine. I also like TOMS’ philanthropic commitment.

TOMS Classic Slip On

Top Three Water-Friendly Sandals

If you need shoes that can withstand repeated dousing, I highly recommend Keen’s Whisper Waterproof Sandal ($90 from Zappos in twenty colors). The webbing is antimicrobial so they will not smell. Also, they offer extensive foot coverage, which can prevent a nasty injury if you slip or step on something inadvertently.

Keen Whisper Waterproof Sandals

When it comes to water sandals, camp bestie Paige loves Chacos and Tevas. Chaco’s Z/2 Yampa Sandal - shown in Pixel Weave – has an adjustable strap and is known for how quickly they dry ($100 from Zappos).

Chaco Y2 Yampa Sandal

Finally, Teva’s Original Universal Sandal is so popular that its following is cult-like ($39.95 in four colors from Nordstrom).

Teva Original Universal Sandal

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

Professional, Smart & Chic – Banana Republic Wrap Dresses 40% Off Today

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Banana Republic just shared its latest crop of wrap dresses in pretty solid colors and fun prints – including this Banana Republic Gemma Wrap Dress in Purple Gem as well as True Blue in Regular, Tall and Petite sizes ($98; online exclusive). The dresses are machine washable and easy to wear.

Banana Republic Gemma Wrap Dress - Purple Gem

And the price is right! The wrap dresses are all priced under $100 – and today you can save 40% off your entire purchase with code BRTODAY.

There are also a lot of colors already on sale, so it’s worth seeing what’s available in your size to save 40% off the sale price. You can check out Banana Republic’s full selection of wrap and faux wrap dresses here.

This Banana Republic Gemma Geo Wrap Dress in Berry Jam ($98; online exclusive) is one of my other favorites.

Banana Republic Gemma Geo Wrap Dress - Berry Jam

If you prefer a faux wrap style, check out this Banana Republic Faux-Wrap Dress in True Blue, Purple Gem or Black ($98; online exclusive).

Banana Republic Faux-Wrap Dress in True Blue

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Banana Republic.