Professional, Smart & Chic – Theory Jean Cotton Suiting and Friends & Family Sale

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Here’s a sharp Theory suit that is classic, classic, classic as well as cool, cool, cool.

(You may have already guessed, but we’ve been enjoying a lot of Eloise lately. I just love Eloise.)

Theory Jean Cotton Jacket & Pencil Skirt

The shape and tailoring is fantastic – as you would expect from Theory – but it’s the “Jean Cotton” fabric that really makes this suit stand out.

Dark stretch denim is a subtle upgrade that is infinitely more exciting than standard navy or black. It’s also neutral, which makes this jacket and skirt look great together or as separates.

And here’s the really good news: Right now you can Save 25% Off All Styles during the Theory Friends & Family Sale with the promo code TSPRINGFF. The sale ends 4/30/14. Theory also offers complimentary shipping and returns.

The Theory Current Jacket In Jean Cotton is $415 and the Theory Super Pencil Skirt In Jean Cotton is $235. The sale brings the prices down to about $311 and $176.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Amazon and Theory

Fashion Flashback – Seersucker – A Summer Classic Every Professional Women Should Embrace

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.

Lightweight, Practical & Preppy – Seersucker is the Hot Weather Solution for Professionals

I first noticed seersucker in the 1980s when we moved to New Orleans during the summertime. The heat and humidity were extraordinary.

It seemed that all the smartly dressed doctors, lawyers and other professionals in New Orleans were wearing cotton seersucker suits. My dad quickly invested in one too and he looked so dapper. I decided that I must also have a seersucker suit when I became an adult.

Seersucker – A Brooks Brothers Staple

When it was finally time for my first seersucker suit, I headed straight to Brooks Brothers, which is still the first place I check for seersucker suiting. The fabric is high quality and the pieces are always well made.

My suit was a jacket, pants and skirt combo. Purchasing pants, skirt and even a dress is a great way to get the most wear out of a jacket – which is usually the most expensive part of a suit. I wore each piece for several seasons until I wore them out.

Right now Brooks Brothers has this classic Stellita Fit Three-Button Seersucker Jacket ($248), Seersucker A-Line Skirt ($148) and Caroline Fit Seersucker Straight Leg Pants ($198) in regular and petite sizes.

Brooks Brothers Stellita Fit Three-Button Seersucker Jacket

Brooks Brothers Seersucker A-Line Skirt

Brooks Brothers Caroline Fit Seersucker Straight Leg Pants

You can click here to check out all of Brooks Brothers’ seersucker items for women - including petite items.

Seersucker Suiting at Dillard’s

Another high-quality brand offering seersucker suiting this season is Antonio Melani at Dillard’s, which includes an Antonio Melani Hasburg Seersucker Jacket ($179), Antonio Melani Layia Seersucker Skirt ($99) and Antonio Melani Vicky Striped Seersucker Dress ($159).

Antonio Melani Seersucker Suiting

Antonio Melani Vicky Striped Seersucker Dress

Every Antonio Melani item that I’ve owned has fit well and also been of top quality.

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This Preston & York Ainsley Seersucker Blazer ($99), Preston & York Seersucker Pants ($59) and Preston & York Tibi Seersucker Dress ($89) are another attractive – and more affordable – option from Dillard’s. The jacket’s crepe lapel offers an eye-catching and professional contrast to the cotton seersucker.

Preston & York Ainsley Seersucker Blazer

Preston & York Seersucker Pants

Preston & York Tibi Seersucker Dress*     *      *

Finally, Alex Marie (another Dillard’s private label) has a terrific, work appropriate dress. The Alex Marie Evelyn Seersucker Dress is $119.

Alex Marie Evelyn Seersucker Dress

Seersucker at Target – Everyone’s Favorite Discounter

Several years ago a colleague wore a precious seersucker dress and jacket to work. When I admired her suit, she conspiratorially confessed that it was from Target. While these pieces may not last as many seasons as clothing from Brooks Brothers or Dillard’s, the quality is great for the price and each of the items shown below is machine washable despite being fully lined.

Target currently carries this Merona Women’s Seersucker Jacket ($34.99), Merona Women’s Seersucker Pencil Skirt ($22.99) and Merona Women’s Seersucker Fit and Flare Dress ($29.99).

Merona Women's Seersucker Jacket at Target

Merona Women's Seersucker Pencil Skirt at Target

Merona Women's Fit & Flare Seersucker Dress at Target

The collection also includes a Merona Women’s Seersucker Lace Trim Shift Dress ($29.99) and Merona Women’s Seersucker Ruffle Neck Dress ($29.99).

Sale Alert: today you can save 25% online from Target when you buy 3 select items in women’s clothing and shoes. 

Seersucker for a Special Event

Last but not least, if you desire seersucker for an afternoon bridal or baby shower or some other special event, rest your eyes on this lovely Lilly Pulitzer Adeline Ruffle Dress ($198).

Lilly Pulitzer Adeline Seersucker Ruffle Dress

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Brooks Brothers, Dillard’s, Lilly Pulitzer and Target.

Mad Men Style – Five Perfectly Professional & Chic Red Dresses

The Commandress feature “Mad Men Monday” spotlights fashion that channels the 1960s style of the show’s leading ladies.

Yesterday’s post featured an elegant Valentino Red Dress that looked like it might have been stolen from Mad Men’s wardrobe department (which I, for one, would be horribly tempted to do if I ever had the opportunity).

As promised, today’s post features several Joan-worthy dresses that are conservative enough for a professional office (with features like three-quarter length sleeves, knee-length hems and higher necklines) – but are also decidedly feminine and chic.

And, of course, each of these dresses is red. Joan has a delightfully colorful professional wardrobe, but red has been one of her signature colors since Mad Men’s first season. Image courtesy of AMC.

Mad Men Season 1 - Joan in Red

First up, how would you like to be queen for a day in this stunning Lela Rose Be the Boss Dress for a mere $40? Although the dress retails for about $1200, you can rent it from Rent the Runway for a fraction of that cost. I love this beautifully designed deep burgundy dress, which was featured on Commandress in this early Made in the USA post.

Lela Rose Be The Boss Dress

If you prefer a true red, check out this Saloni Mariana Tie-Front Jersey Dress ($360 from Net-a-Porter). The simple tie is a lovely but understated feminine detail.

Saloni Mariana Tie-Front Jersey Dress

Similarly, I love how the classically tailored silhouette of this St. John Collection Ruffle Sleeve Luxe Crepe Dress ($795 from Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus or Saks) is updated with beautifully draped sleeves.

St. John Collection Ruffle Sleeve Luxe Crepe Dress

If you are able to wear sleeveless dresses to your office, check out this perfectly tailored David Meister Red Sleeveless Ponte Dress (Made in the USA & $285 from David Meister).

David Meister Red Sleeveless Ponte DressFinally, this Donna Karan Scarlet Drape-Front Dress combines all the right office-perfect details with feminine and flattering allover ruching. This dress is regularly $1495, but you can save 25% during the Saks Friends & Family Sale through 4/28/14 – bringing the price down to about $1,120.

Donna Karan Scarlet Drape-Front Dress

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for David Meister, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Rent the Runway and Saks.

Mad Men Monday – A Very Joan Red Dress

The Commandress feature “Mad Men Monday” spotlights fashion that channels the 1960s style of the show’s leading ladies.

There was some very interesting fashion last night, but the outfit that I couldn’t take my eyes off of was Joan’s luxe red pencil skirt and blouse. Image courtesy of AMC.

Mad Men - Joan in Red

It seems that Joan has been buying herself some sophisticated new clothes since becoming a partner. She looks more authoritative in her new clothes, but still includes flattering feminine details like the sheer sleeves and tie on her blouse.

Take a moment to rest your eyes on this dreamy Valentino Rose Detailed Stretch Wool Crepe Dress that’s a ringer for Joan’s more formal – but still feminine – new style.

Valentino Rose-detailed stretch-wool crepe dress

Unfortunately, this beauty is no longer available – but don’t feel too bad because it cost over $2000 when it was.

And please don’t fret – this is just a teaser.

You can look forward to another Mad Men post tomorrow featuring Joan-worthy red dresses that you can buy – or even rent!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Net-a-Porter. 

Business Casual Makeover – Under $100 – Halogen Animal Print Pencil Skirt

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

Today I’m featuring an outfit that would certainly make me feel more excited about going to work on a rainy Friday . . . when my thoughts were already drifting toward a long holiday weekend.

Halogen Stretch Cotton Blend Pencil Skirt - Stone & Red Animal Print

Wow, she sure looks smart. And it’s not just because of the glasses.

The Halogen Stretch Cotton Blend Pencil Skirt features an abstract animal print in either Stone/Red or Black/Grey ($59 from Nordstrom).

I love how the skirt is paired with a coral-toned top and a beige sweater, but I would prefer to see the skirt with a bolder - and therefore more commanding – shade of red or orange instead of a pastel.

For example, the skirt would look great with this Trouvé Mixed Knit Sweater ($40.80 on sale; regularly $68).

Trouvé Mixed Knit Sweater

Other fun options in this color family include this Halogen Three Quarter Sleeve Cardigan, this Anne Klein Cutout Neckline Shell, and this Hugo Boss Button Front Top.

Here’s the Halogen skirt in black & grey animal print, which would prove to be surprisingly versatile. I would treat this skirt as a neutral and wear with any number of solid colors.

Halogen Stretch Cotton Blend Pencil Skirt - Black & Grey Animal Print

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Fashion Flashback – Fresh Spring Stripes & Style Inspiration on SNL

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.

A constant in my life since the 1980s has been watching Saturday Night Live. From Gilda Radner to Cecily Strong, SNL is always good for a laugh whether the comedians are satirizing current events or just acting zany.

I cannot say, however, that I’ve ever watched SNL for its fashion.

But that changed this past Saturday when Seth Rogen’s opening was raided by a few of his famous friends – including Zooey Deschanel. I couldn’t take my eyes off her awesome pleated red dress. Image courtesy of Celebmafia.

Seth Rogan SNL Opening Monologue

I assumed that the dress would be hard to find and expensive, so imagine my delight when I discovered that it’s part of a collaboration between Zooey Deschanel and Tommy Hilfiger – and costs $169.50.

“To Tommy From Zooey” includes retro-inspired and nautically-styled red, white and blue dresses and accessories. In addition to Tommy HilfigerMacy’s carries fourteen of the sixteen dresses in the line – and each is cuter than the next.

Zooey Deschanel and Tommy Hilfiger Red Pleated Dress

While Zooey is often admired for her retro-quirky wardrobe, this red dress (shown above) seems to channel an inner Duchess of Cambridge. It’s a great mash-up – the dress is youthful despite a high neckline and long sleeves. It’s also wholly appropriate for the office.

With subtle vertical stripes, the line’s white Polka-Dot Printed Shirtdress ($169.50) offers a fresh, playful take on a spring fashion standard. Clothing with polka-dots can so easily appear frumpy or cheap. Not this dress – I love it!

Zooey Deschanel and Tommy Hilfiger Polka Dot Printed Shirt Dress

Zooey Deschanel and Tommy Hilfiger - Polka Dot Dress

More Spring Stripes That Are Perfect for the Office

Coincidentally, I had been planning to feature striped dresses in this week’s column even before watching SNL. Every era seems to offer a fresh perspective on stripes – a truly timeless pattern.

(If you prefer your stripes with Mad Men style, for example, check out the David Meister Dress that was featured earlier this week.)

Ann Taylor’s Awning Stripe Dress ($139) is a perfectly professional dress that displays some personality. It would look even better with one of these fantastic statement necklaces.

And, right now you can save 40% Off at Ann Taylor with the code SPRING4IT – bringing the price down to $83.40.

Ann Taylor Awning Striped Dress

LOFT’s Stripe Side Shirred Dress ($69.50 in Regular and Petite) would be perfect for those quiet days in the office that crop up in the summer. This dress’ stripes are a bit more jazzy, but it’s still perfect for work.

Right now you can also save 40% off at LOFT with the code SPRING – bringing the price down to a pretty amazing $41.70.

LOFT Stripe Side Shirred Dress

Weekend Stripes

In the 1980s I had an Esprit blue and white striped maxi dress – which, of course, it was not called at the time.

My jaw dropped when I came across Tommy Hilfiger’s Sleeveless Striped Pocket Maxi Dress ($89.50 from Macy’s) – it looks just like my circa 1985 dress. The dress is also available in green and white – and right now you can save 15% off with code EASTER.

Tommy Hilfiger Sleeveless Striped Pocket Maxi Dress

If you want a dressier knit striped dress, behold Nanette Lepore’s Enchanting Striped Dress ($298 from Saks or Zappos). Nanette Lepore has a singular talent for making even sporty clothing look so feminine and lovely.

Nanette Lepore Enchanting Striped Dress

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Ann Taylor, LOFT, Macy’s, Saks and Zappos.

Mad Men Monday (on Tuesday) – Three Dresses with Mad Men Style

The Commandress feature “Mad Men Monday” spotlights fashion that channels the 1960s style of the show’s leading ladies. 

If you’ve heard anyone talking about That Dress after this week’s Mad Men premiere, there should be no doubt that they had Megan’s stunning blue minidress on their mind. (Image courtesy of Elle.)

Mad Men - Megan Blue Dress

Although it’s hard to translate that gauzy little dress into something that you could wear to the office, this Trina Turk Tahiti Print Jersey Dress ($288 from Nordstrom) features a mod pastel floral design that would be appropriate in many creative offices.

Trina Turk Tahiti Print Dress

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Peggy wore two memorable outfits last night. (Images courtesy of Elle.) The first is a jaunty navy shift dress with military style buttons and a pretty scarf. The second is a plaid skirt suit in mustard (Peggy’s signature color).

Mad Men - Peggy Blue Dress

Mad Men - Peggy

I’ve had my eye on this Tory Burch Evie Dress ($375 from Tory Burch) for Peggy for a while. The burlap tweed is a pretty neutral and I love the blue and plum thread woven throughout the dress. It’s the grown up version of Peggy’s school girls clothes.

Tory Burch Evie Dress

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Finally, It will be interesting to see Joan’s wardrobe continue to shift from her early-60s pinup style to finding a late-60s look that flatters her figure. In one key scene, she wore elegant black and white and a gold tassel necklace. (Image courtesy of Elle).

Mad Men - Joan

Instead of her signature watercolor florals, perhaps Joan might try a sophisticated graphic design like this David Meister Striped Woven Sheath Dress ($370 & Made in the USA).

David Meister Striped Cap Sleeve Woven Sheath

 

I love tassel necklaces, and was pleased to find a contemporary version that is 25% off during the Shopbop Friends & Family Sale. This Chan Luu Rose Gold Chain Tassel Necklace (on sale for $108.75; regularly $145) features a modern mix of rose gold, crystals and silver.

Chan Luu Rose Gold Chain Tassel NecklaceSale Alert – during the Shopbop Friends & Family Sale, you can save 25% off site-wide for both Shopbop and East Dane (men’s apparel), with some brand exclusions. Use code INTHEFAMILY14 through 4/17.

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for David Meister, Nordstrom, Shopbop and Tory Burch.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Tory Burch Katie Floral Station Collar Necklace

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about.

Here’s an unusually understated “statement necklace” that combines two classics – pearls and gold chain links – for a thoroughly modern look.

Tory Burch Katie Floral Station Collar Necklace

The Tory Burch Katie Floral Station Collar Necklace ($175 from Nordstrom) is a beautiful necklace that would add polish to any professional outfit.

The Katie necklace comes in traditional Ivory Pearl (shown above) and in eye-catching Indian Blue (shown below).

Tory Burch Katie Floral Station Collar Necklace - Indian Blue

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom.

Business Casual Makeover – Diane Von Furstenberg on Sale

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

Earlier this year, I featured a few of my favorite wrap dresses in this post about the Diane von Furstenberg x Andy Warhol Pop Wrap Collection.

If you’ve had one of these dresses on your wish list, this may be your lucky weekend because the Diane von Furstenberg Friends & Family Sale is going on through Sunday (4/13). You can save 25% off most items with code SPRING25. (Any new arrivals that are excluded from the sale are clearly marked.)

In addition to the Pop Wrap collection, my favorite spots for browsing are Wear to Work, the Wrap Shop and the sassy chic Animal Prints.

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If you’re looking for the most iconic DVF style, I’d recommend this New Jeanne Two Silk Jersey Wrap Dress in a chain link print ($276 on sale; regularly $345). This dress – and this print – are the modern classic professional dress. It runs small, so consider sizing up.

DVF New Jeanne Two Silk Jersey Wrap Dress - classic chain link print

DVF is also a great place to look for an updated and creative take on business casual separates. I love how polished this breezy Gilmore Printed Silk Chiffon Blouse in Sandscape ($276 on sale; regularly $345) looks with the crisp Amelia Denim Flared Skirt in dark indigo ($220 on sale; regularly $275). This skirt would be a fantastic staple for a business casual wardrobe.

DVF Gilmore Printed Silk Chiffon Blouse in Sandscape

DVF Amelia Denim Flared Skirt

Finally, this Selene Ruched Silk Jersey Dress ($276 on sale; regularly $345) may be the most classically conservative of the bunch. The classic print and shape have been making me look forward to the Mad Men season premiere this weekend – and the return of Commandress Mad Men Monday – for a couple months.

DVF Selene Ruched Silk Jersey Dress

This looks like a Peggy dress to me – and I can’t wait to see what everyone is wearing on Sunday!

Disclosure: this post includes affiliate links for Diane Von Furstenberg.

April 2014 – Best Friends & Family Sales

The spring Friends & Family season is hitting full stride this week! I’ll update this post as new sales come in. 

Lord & Taylor - this is a favorite because it includes bigger discounts than most department stores and includes a very rare discount on cosmetics. Save 25% off almost everything AND save 10% off cosmetics & fragrances with code FRIENDS – ends 4/21/14

Click here to see all of the current beauty gifts with purchase at Lord & Taylor. 

Alex & Ani – April Bangle of the Month – save $5 on the apple blossom bangle with code APPLE – 4/30/13

ASOS – save an extra 20% off sale with promo code XTRA20 – ends 4/13/14

David Meister – save 20% sitewide with code DMFF15 – ends 4/13/14

Diane Von Furstenberg – enjoy an additional 25% off with code SPRING25 – excludes New Arrivals – ends 4/13/14

Elie Tahari – receive 20% off any 2 items or 30% off 3 items or more with code APRIL2014 – ends 4/20/14

frieda & nellie – save 20% on fun & fancy jewelry made in NYC with code HAPPYAPRIL14

Lucy – save 25% off the Everyday & Vital Collections – ends 4/14/14

This sale includes the beloved Lucy Everyday Pant – perfect for travel & anything casual.

Nic + Zoe – save 20% off full-price merchandise with coupon code PJXAPRIL20 – ends 4/30/14

Nordstrom – receive a Free exclusive cosmetics bag filled with 16 samples (valued at $85) with your $125 beauty & fragrance purchase. Online only & while supplies last.

Click here to see all of the current beauty gifts with purchase at Nordstrom.

Rebecca Taylor – 25% off with code RTSPRINGFF14 – ends 4/14/13

Sephora – 15% off for Beauty Insiders – it’s free & easy to sign up for the program – ends 4/11/14

Click here to see all of Sephora’s Weekly Specials.

Trina Turk – save an extra 20% off both Trina Turk and Mr. Turk sale items with code TTSALE14 – ends 4/13

Disclosure: this links in this post are affiliate links.