Professional, Smart & Chic – Boden Alice High Heel

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I wouldn’t have imagined that an amethyst, navy and aqua suede shoe – with tassels! – could look right for the office. But then Boden’s Alice High Heel came along and changed everything.

Boden Alice High Heels

I love ecstatic customer reviews, and the one for this shoe is titled “I’ve died and gone to shoe heaven!” Yes, Laura from New Jersey, I have to agree with you.

I expected a “high heel” to be higher than 3 1/4 inches, so that’s good news. And Laura helpfully notes that the shoe runs large.

1/27/15 Update – Thank you to the eagle-eyed Reader J for letting me know that Boden’s Alice Pump also comes in a 2 1/4 inch midheel. Just for fun, here it is in pink and raspberry.

Boden Alice Midheel Pump

The Boden Alice High Heel is regularly $178, but on sale for 15% off with free shipping with code 7E2Z – bringing the price down to $151.30.

The Alice heel also looks lovely in black and pewter – shown below.

And if you’re already in the market for a spring and summer party pump, don’t miss the Alice heel in pink and raspberry, pink polka dots or china blue spots. I can’t decide which is the most adorable!

Boden Alice HIgh Heel

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Boden.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Rebecca Minkoff Five Pearl Pendant Necklace & Crystal Pearl Earrings

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Gap has announced that it will be shutting down Piperlime early this year. While I’ll be sad to see this well-edited online retailer go, I am enjoying the series of great sales that are probably related to the closing.

Today, for example, you can save 25% off most full-priced items with code MUSTHAVE.

This kind of sale makes it extra fun to browse new items from favorite brands like Diane von Furstenberg, Kate Spade, Marc by Marc Jacobs, MillyRebecca Minkoff, Loeffler Randall and AG Adriano Goldschmied.

Several of my favorites are handbags and jewelry by Rebecca Minkoff – including modern pearls like this necklace and oversize earrings.

Rebecca Minkoff Five Pearl Pendant Necklace

Rebecca Minkoff Crystal Pearl Front To Back Earrings

The Rebecca Minkoff Five Pearl Pendant Necklace is $73.50 (regularly $98) and the Rebecca Minkoff Crystal Pearl Front To Back Earrings are $36 (regularly $48).

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Piperlime.

Under $100 – Alexis Bittar Jewelry 50% Off Sale

Alexis Bittar marked down all sale jewelry to 50% off today. There’s great eye candy to be found – it’s a lot of fun to browse earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more.

Here’s a selection of jewelry marked down to under $100.

My favorite find is these Small Silver Earrings in Iridescent Lucite ($47.50; originally $95). I have these earrings in a muted blue and they look great with everything.

Alexis Bittar Small Silver Earrings - Iridescent

I also love this Gunmetal Raindrop Necklace in Charcoal Brown (shown below) or Teal Blue lucite.  Both colors are $62.50 (originally $125).

Alexis Bittar Gunmetal Raindrop Necklace

You can also find more ornate styles on sale – like this Imperial Noir Georgian Lace Pendant in Black Forest lucite ($77.50; originally $155).

Alexis Bittar Imperial Noir Georgian Lace Pendant - Black Forest

Finally, I love this Crystal Gold Rivet Hinged Bracelet in Teal Blue (shown below) or Black. Both colors are $62.50 (originally $125).

Alexis Bittar Crystal Gold Rivet Hinged Bracelet - Teal Blue

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Alexis Bittar.

Business Casual Makeover – Theory Kidi Floral Print Sweater

How to add more color, interest & style to your business casual wardrobe.

It’s always helpful when an item is styled exactly how I would want to wear it to work.

Magazines and retailers love showing how cool something can look on a teenage model – perhaps paired with ripped boyfriend jeans or an impossibly short skirt – but that’s usually much, much easier than illustrating how fantastic something will look with items that the average woman already owns.

That’s why I loved this picture of Theory’s Kidi Floral Silk Sweater ($157.50 on sale; regularly $315) from Amazon.

Theory Kidi Floral Print Sweater

I’ve admired this pretty sweater before, but I took a second look now that it’s 50% off at Amazon (limited sizes only) and Nordstrom (currently available in all sizes),

I love the sweater’s understated colors and muted fall floral print.

But I also love how effortless and flattering it looks paired with slim black pants and classic black pumps. She looks like someone who is smart, capable and fun to work with – and who you might even look forward to seeing outside the office.

It’s incredible to think about what your clothes might be saying before you’ve said one word.

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Amazon and Nordstrom.

Class It Up – Warm Boots for Cold Weather

In the Commandress feature Class It Up, contributor Amy (Bergsma) Schwarzenbach shares ideas for taking your wardrobe to the next level.

The real theme of today’s column is “warm it up” – or how to avoid frostbitten feet.

Last weekend I made the painful discovery that my ECCO boots, which are really comfy and classically styled, will not cut it at an outdoor winter sporting event.

You may wonder why didn’t I know this already? You see, cold weather sporting events are something that I have been able to avoid, until now. My younger son was recruited by friends to join his high school’s lacrosse team. Overall, I am thrilled as Evan’s first love until now has been computer games. He’s taken to lacrosse like a duck to water, so it looks like I have four years of spectating ahead of me.

So on Saturday night I returned home, thawed my feet, and vowed I would not suffer cold feet again. My quest for lined boots began.

My advice to readers is plan ahead. If you do not own a pair of warm boots appropriate for cold weather events, take heed and invest in them before you find yourself regretting this literally painful hole in your wardrobe. And, I am here to help with four perfect pre-vetted options!

Of course, my standards for lined boots are high. My boots must look cute and blend style with function. They must be warm. They must be comfortable.

Based on these strict criteria, I’ve narrowed my selection to four:

My first instinct was to check L.L. Bean’s boot selection. In college, I loved my L.L. Bean Duck Boots – so I was not surprised to discover how much I like L.L. Bean’s Insulated Comfort Boots in Red Wine ($89). They are cute and functional – featuring a PrimaLoft lining and athletic shoe construction. Basically, they complete the checklist.

L.L. Bean Insulated Comfort Boots - Red Wine

Next, I researched options by UGG – the current trend-setting company for warm, cozy boots. I’ve admired UGGs on other people, but I have never had a reason to consider them for myself. Until now. It will be hard to resist UGG’s Classic Short Water Resistant Leather Boot in Oxblood ($164.95 from Nordstrom; also available in Peacoat).

UGG Classic Short Water Resistant Leather Boot - Oxblood

There is something snazzy about the next contender. I love the mix of patent leather and matte rubber on Hunter’s Original Patent Pac Boot in Bright Plum ($235 from Zappos; also available in Bright Peacock, Military Red and Black Patent).

Hunter Original Patent Pac Boot - Bright Plum

The final boot to make the cut is ECCO’s Trace Boot in Wild Dove ($199.95 from Nordstrom). ECCO is such a consistently good brand. While my other finalists are colorful, this boot is a more understated gray – which appeals to the part of me that is into the normcore trend currently in vogue.

ECCO Trace Boot in Wild Dove

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for L.L.Bean, Nordstrom and Zappos.

Smart, Chic & Made in the USA – Under $100 – LOVEAPPELLA Wrap Dresses

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

I’m not familiar with the brand LOVEAPPELLA, but this stylish, affordable, washable, and Made in the USA Seamed Wrap Dress has me eager to check them out!

LOVEAPPELLA Seamed Wrap Dress - Blue Animal Print

The LOVEAPPELLA Seamed Wrap Dress is $78 from Nordstrom in Blue Animal Print (shown above) and in solid colors. I’ve shown Glacier Blue and Pink Polish below; the wrap dress is also available in Black.

The dress comes in sizes X-Small (0-2) through X-Large (16-18).

LOVEAPPELLA Seamed Wrap Dress - Glacier Blue

LOVEAPPELLA Seamed Wrap Dress - Pink PolishAlthough this wrap dress hasn’t been reviewed yet, other LOVEAPPELLA dresses have received great reviews

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Under $100 – J.Crew Retro Floral Popover Blouse

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I love the art nouveau decadence of this “festive green” floral print from J.Crew.

J.Crew Retro Floral Popover Blouse

I also love that J.Crew describes this top as “an instant fix for ‘I hate everything in my closet’ syndrome.” We’ve all been there, and there is something fresh and exciting about this graphic – but not too bold – print in black, white and jade.

The J.Crew Retro Floral Popover Blouse ($98) is machine washable and features a versatile length that can be worn tucked or untucked

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for J.Crew.

Business Casual Makeover – Marc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Top, Cardigan & More

How to add more color, interest & style to your business casual wardrobe.

I wouldn’t have imagined that a cosmic print could look so at home in a business casual setting before admiring these Marc by Marc Jacobs items featuring the brand’s “Stargazer” print.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Ruffle TopMarc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Cardigan

Both of these outfits look so cool – but also quite polished due to the classic, simple shapes and dark colors.

The picture on the left shows the Marc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Ruffle Top ($278 from Nordstrom) paired with a teal cardigan and dark wash jeans.

The picture on the right shows the Marc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Cardigan ($258 from Neiman Marcus) paired with a black crepe shirt dress.

Deal Alert – Today you can save $50 off your select regular-priced online purchase of $200 or more from Neiman Marcus with promo code NEWYEAR. Most of the Marc by Marc Jacobs clothes are tagged for this promotion.

The Stargazer print reminded me of this beautiful image that I recently came across on Pinterest – a cosmic color palette by fashion illustrator Paper Fashion Studio.

Paper Fashion Studio - Guide to Gold Paint

Here are a couple more Marc by Marc Jacobs stargazer print items that I love – a square scarf ($158 from Bloomingdale’s) and a crossbody bag ($248 from Saks).

Marc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Square ScarfMarc by Marc Jacobs Stargazer Print Crossbody Bag

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

It’s amazing how easily your lip balms start to disappear when your daughter discovers them.

I lose them – and find them – almost anywhere. In fact, it was a great relief to discover that Burt’s Bees Lip Balm survives the washing machine and comes in a money-saving 4-pack – hooray!

I’m very sympathetic to the plight of chapped lips – so in general I’m happy to share my balms. (Shown below – you can never have too many Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments.)

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

But I’ve drawn the line at tinted lip balms. This is in part because Bonnie is too young to appreciate the distinction between wearing a touch of lip color for dress up vs. showing up for kindergarten with cherry red lips.

But it’s also a tactic to keep my lipsticks and nicer lip balms (relatively) safe.

So it was time to find a new tinted lip balm for myself that works for even the most casual of occasions and can be applied (and reapplied and reapplied . . . ) without a mirror.

I remembered how much I loved a small sample of Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Sugar Rosé (the sheer rosy tint shown below; $22.50 from Nordstrom) several years ago, and decided it was worth revisiting this delightful – yet pricey – lip balm.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 -Sugar Rose

And it’s just as great as I remembered – wonderfully moisturizing, long-lasting and with a fresh lemony scent.

This time I decided to bold and chose Sugar Tulip (the sheer hot pink tint shown below; $22.50 from Sephora). The tint is much brighter, but still looks natural enough on an otherwise makeup-free face. It’s also quick and easy to swipe on during the workday.

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 -Sugar Tulip

The color selection ranges from nearly nude to vibrant red and even deep plum – but the tints are sheer enough that it’s hard to go wrong. Right now Sephora and Neiman Marcus have the best selection of colors online.

And please don’t tell Bonnie until she’s much older, but the Sugar Lip Treatment also comes in Untinted.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Sephora.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Almost Under $100 – Neiman Marcus Open Weave Buckle-Front Cashmere Cardigan

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I wish for the sake of this popular Commandress feature that this lovely Neiman Marcus Open Weave Buckle-Front Cashmere Cardigan was on sale for under $100 – but $103 is soooooo very close!

Neiman Marcus Open Weave Buckle-Front Cashmere Cardigan

Neiman Marcus Open Weave Buckle Front Cashmere Cardigan

What a chic and cosy way to dress up – and warm up – for a winter’s day at work. I’ve had a similar draped cardigan for several years, and I don’t think I’ve managed to find anything that it doesn’t look good with.

The Neiman Marcus Open Weave Buckle-Front Cashmere Cardigan is marked down from $295 to $103 in Flannel (shown above), Espresso and Linden – and still available in sizes Small through X-Large.

If you prefer a little color with your cashmere, click here (or on the blue sweater above) to see the cardigan in Orchid or Avocado – as well as in Black or White.

But please don’t dilly-dally. At this price, I’m not surprised to report that the selection is limited!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Neiman Marcus.