Class it up – Distinctive Statement Necklaces from Alexis Bittar

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

One of the easiest ways to add newness to an outfit is by adding a statement necklace. A statement necklace can also work wonders for wardrobe basics like an understated dress, suit, or even a white blouse and jeans.

Focusing attention on a piece of jewelry is also a terrific strategy for busy women to enliven an otherwise inconspicuous outfit.

I’ve been a fan of jewelry designer Alexis Bittar since my favorite store in the world – Frames, Inc. in New Orleans – first introduced me to his jewelry years ago. While I always look forward to his new designs, his designs of yesteryear have staying power. Just the other day I wore a pair of Alexis Bittar earrings that I bought maybe a decade ago and they received many a compliment.

Recently, Alexis Bittar debuted a number of striking statement necklaces, several of which I find particularly splendid.

Take your pick: the Desert Jasmine Orchard Bib Necklace ($395) or the similar Desert Jasmine Orchard Pendant Necklace in Silver ($195). Both are hand carved, hand painted, and exquisite. If you put a gun to my head I would still have a hard time choosing between them. While the bib necklace’s symmetry is visually appealing, the pendant necklace’s single bloom is equally striking.

Alexis Bittar Desert Jasmine Orchid Bib Necklace #commandress

Alexis Bittar Desert Jasmine Orchid Pendant Necklace #commandress

Sometimes a long pendant necklace completes an outfit. Until you take a closer look, you might not appreciate the complexity of Alexis Bittar’s Moonlight Lariat Pendant Necklace ($295). Only after taking in the separate elements of the stacked pendant, vine, and fringe can you appreciate the brilliance of this seemingly simple design.

Alexis Bittar Moonlight Lariat Pendant Necklace #commandress

When I admire Alexis Bittar’s Moonlight Draping Station Necklace ($345) many things come to mind – including playing with my grandmother’s necklaces and layering Bohemian jewelry. This necklace has an appealing and understated feminine flourish.

Alexis Bittar Moonlight Draping Station Necklace #commandress

Alexis Bittar’s Multi Strand Bib Necklace ($225) may be my favorite. The multiple strands display modern simplicity. Although the nuggets appear to be placed randomly, they are completely balanced in the deliberate way of excellent abstract art.

Alexis Bittar Moonlight Multi Strand Bib Necklace #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Alexis Bittar.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress

A work appropriate look you can get excited about. 

We’re not far from the return – and ultimate end – of Mad Men, and I’ve got classic sheath dresses on the mind in preparation for next week’s Mad Men Monday post.

This Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress is an office basic and a great staple to pair with bold accessories.

Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress in Navy - professional fashion | office style #commandress

The Classiques Entier Notch Neck Ponte Sheath Dress is $228 from Nordstrom in Navy, Coral, Black, White and Green Amazon.

While the Navy is fantastically versatile, the Green may be my favorite color. It’s available in limited sizes only (as is the white).

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom. 

At Ease, Smart & Chic – MZ Wallace Chelsea Palette Bedford Nylon Tote

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

One of my favorite handbags is back in a colorful new print for spring!

MZ Wallace Chelsea Palette Bedford Nylon Tote - colorful print handbag #commandress

The MZ Wallace Chelsea Palette Bedford Nylon Tote is $315 from Nordstrom. It comes with a matching pouch, which I’ve shown at the end of this post.

The Bedford Tote is a great size – big enough to hold a 13″ laptop, but not so big that it will weigh you down when it’s only half full. Nordstrom also has the Bedford Nylon Tote in several solid colors for $295 here and here.

MZ Wallace Chelsea Palette Bedford Nylon Tote - colorful handbag #commandress

You can check out more bags in the bright Palette Print (which is exclusive to Nordstrom) here.

You can also check out Nordstrom’s full selection of MZ Wallace here and MZ Wallace’s website here (if you sign up for email, you’ll receive a code for 15% off your first order).

MZ Wallace Chelsea Palette Bedford Nylon Handbag & Pouch #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for MZ Wallace and Nordstrom.

Professional, Smart & Chic – Under $100 – Ellen Tracy Pink Print Jersey Sheath Dress

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

Ellen Tracy has been making so many cute dresses lately!

We featured a couple bright spring dresses by Ellen Tracy last month, and now this pretty pink watercolor print dress has caught my eye.

Ellen Tracy Pink Print Sheath Dress - professional fashion | office style #commandress

Yes, it’s pink! But I think the dark color mix and simple dark pumps (like the ones shown above ground the dress for office-wear). It’s also an incredibly versatile warm-weather dress that is washable and perfect for travel.

Here’s a closer look at the lovely print.

Pretty Pink Watercolor Print #commandress

The Ellen Tracy Pink Print Jersey Sheath Dress is $98 in sizes 2-16 from Nordstrom.

You can check out more fantastic and affordable dresses from Ellen Tracy here – including a selection of plus and petite dresses.

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Nordstrom. 

Class it up – Under $100 – Fresh White Handbags for Spring and Summer

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

Do you ever admire white handbags and think how lovely - quickly followed by how impractical?

As beautiful, crisp, and seasonal as they are, white handbags show every scuff and stain. However, readers, there is a brand with a solution to this perennial problem: London Fog.

Wait, you thought London Fog only made trench coats and luggage? Think again! London Fog designs lovely handbags that are both stylish and professional – as well as durable and at a great price point. If they sound perfect, I assure you they are!

I’m especially enamored with their many white handbags because they are made of synthetic, or “faux,” leather – which is easier to clean and harder to stain than real leather. In addition, each of the bags profiled below has gold tone hardware that adds just the right amount of eye-catching sparkle without being gaudy.

And if you love the classic style of these bags – but prefer another color – I’ve included some additional options at the end of the post.

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The perforated pattern of the London Fog Lark Satchel Handbag in White Perf is pleasingly eye-catching. This bag comes with an adjustable body strap for versatility ($89.99 from 6pm; regularly $150).

London Fog White Perforated Lark Satchel #commandressIf you love hobo bags, check out the London Fog Avery Four Poster Hobo Handbag. I love the bag’s structure and how its peppled synthetic leather looks both fashionable and professional ($89.99 on sale, regularly $150).

London Fog Avery Four Poster White Handbag #commandressIf you like the look of handbags with two different shades of (faux) leather, London Fog’s Lark Trimple Dome Satchel Handbag in Ecru Ostrich displays a beautiful combination of paneling. Multitonal handbags are chic and stylish – but not too faddish ($89.99 on sale; regularly $150 from 6pm).

London Fog’s Lark Trimple Dome Satchel Handbag in Ecru Ostrich #commandress

London Fog’s Carson Satchel has a more minimalistic style. It’s a great all-around bag: professional for the office or stylish for weekend brunch ($89.99 on sale; regularly $150 from 6pm).London Fog White Carson Satchel #commandress

For a bag with a little more room, I love the sleek design of the London Fog Carson Tote Handbag ($104.99 on sale; regularly $175 from 6pm).

London Fog White Carson Tote #commandressTo wrap things up . . . maybe it’s because Neil Patrick Harris looks so dapper in London Fog’s ad campaign, but the brand has caught my attention lately and I’m glad of it!

London Fog - Neil Patrick Harris

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Here are some of the London Fog handbags featured in today’s post in additional fun colors to enjoy this spring and summer.

London Fog Yellow Carson Tote #commandress

London Fog Striped Lark Satchel #commandress

 

London Fog Avery Four Poster Blue Handbag #commandress

London Fog’s Lark Dome Satchel Handbag in Sky Blue Ostrich #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for 6pm.

Rest Your Eyes on This – Stuart Weitzman Exflat Black Iridescent Peep Toe Flats

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.

Alas, I did not include these sleek and shiny shoes in yesterday’s post because they are not part of Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family Sale. But I’ve been thinking about them. A lot.

Stuart Weitzman Exflat Black Iridescent Peep Toe Flats #commandress

That’s one fine flat. The Stuart Weitzman Exflat Black Iridescent Peep Toe Flats are $365 from Bloomingdale’s.

The Stuart Weitzman Exflat Peep Toe Flats are also available in navy, black or tan patent from Zappos – where they’ve already received one glowing customer review.

Stuart Weitzman Exflat Cadet Navy Patent Peep Toe Flats #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Bloomingdale’s and Zappos. 

Top Picks for Spring 2015 – Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family Sale

Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family Sale starts today and I’ve been having way too much fun browsing the selection. You can save 25% off most items with code FRIENDS.

Today I’m rounding up my top picks – I’ll add more of my favorites via shop the post after today’s newsletter goes out.

I’ve admired these L.K. Bennett Florita Floral Printed Mid Heel Slingback Pumps as a potential splurge, but this sale makes them a must share! The Florita Pump is also available in black patent ($243.75; regularly $325). You can check out more midheel pumps on sale here.

LK Bennett Floraita Midheel Slingback Pumps - how to wear floral prints to work - professional pumps #commandress

It’s hard work, but I’ve managed to pick two favorite dresses – both of which are Made in the USA. The first is this Clover Canyon Dress Print Skirt in Chrome Divide (regularly $275; Made in the USA & washable). You can check our more day dresses on sale here and more Clover Canyon on sale here.

Clover Canyon Dress Chrome Divide - Made in the USA Professional Fashion #commandress

I also love this Melissa Masse Plus Mirror Bouquet Dress ($116.16 on sale; regularly $295; Made in the USA). You can check out more plus size dresses on sale here and more Melissa Masse on sale here.

Melissa Masse Plus Mirror Bouquet Mini Dress - floral print professional dress #commandress

This REISS Murano Skinny Jacket in Abyssal Blue is a pretty and practical add the pastel trend to your work wardrobe ($243.75 on sale; regularly $325). If you really love a ladylike look, check out this matching knit dress. You can check out more wear to work clothes on sale here and more REISS on sale here.

REISS Jacket - Murano Skinny Blazer in Abyssal Blue - professional fashion #commandress

A handbag is another great pastel option. This Rebecca Minkoff Wave Embossed Mini Perry Satchel in Quartz looks more opalescent than pink ($296.25 on sale; regularly $395). You can check out more satchels on sale here and more Rebecca Minkoff on sale here.

Rebecca Minkoff Wave Embossed Mini Perry Satchel in Quartz - light pink #commandress

Finally, I’ve resisted the temptation to buy these Kendra Scott Lee Gold Oval Drop Earrings in Iridescent Drusy more times than you can imagine, but today is the day to pull the trigger! They’re on sale for $48.75 (regularly $65). You can check out more Kendra Scott jewelry on sale here.

Kendra Scott Lee Gold Oval Drop Earrings in Iridescent Drusy #commandress

 

 

Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family – Best Dresses

 

Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family – Best Separates

 

Bloomingdale’s Friends & Family – Best Shoes, Handbags, Jewelry & Accessories

 

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Bloomingdale’s

At Ease, Smart & Chic – Nanette Lepore White Sands Dress

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

It looks like Nanette Lepore is on a roll with beautiful knit dresses.

Earlier this month, Commandress featured a black and white deco dress by Nanette Lepore.

Now I’m dazzled by a new Nanette Lepore dress that features an intricate – and on-trend – pastel pattern against a black background. The colors are gorgeous and the pattern placement is incredibly flattering – giving shape and definition to a simple knit dress.

Nanette Lepore White Sands Print Fit & Flare Dress - black & pastel  #commandress

The Nanette Lepore White Sands Dress is $448 from Neiman MarcusZappos (limited sizes) or Nanette Lepore (also limited sizes).

Here’s a closer look at the pretty pastels against black.

Nanette Lepore White Sands Knit Dress - pretty spring pastels against black #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for Neiman Marcus and Zappos. 

Class It Up – Professional Midheel Pumps Under $100 (or Jimmy Choo, if you prefer)

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.

Last September I featured several pairs of low heeled dress shoes selected with comfort in mind. In that post I couldn’t resist including a pair of Jimmy Choo pointy toe pumps as my aspirational shoe.

Jimmy Choo Allure Pump - professional midheel pump #commandressJimmy Choo Allure Pump in Taupe - professional midheel pump #commandress

Aren’t they exquisite? I love the vamp’s elegant indentation, which makes them just a little different than a regular pair of black – or taupe – pumps.

Today, as I browsed online I came across two very similar pairs for about 10% of the price!

Maybe I am preaching to the choir, but it is good to remind ourselves that every woman should own at least one pair of understated black pumps in mint condition – no scuffs, no wear, etc. – for when we need to present ourselves in the best possible light.

Regular readers may recall a comment to the post about the brand Fitzwell, which is known for its comfort and professional can’t-go-wrong look. Well readers, if you would like the look of the Jimmy Choo pumps for less than $100, the Fitzwell Emily Pump in black is the ticket ($69 from Zappos).

Fitzwell Emily Pump - professional midheel shoe under $100 #commandress

Even better – the Fitzwell Emily Pump is on sale in 3 different colors from 6pm for as low as $20.70!

Anne Klein’s Munroe Pump in black is another similar budget-friendly style that has excellent online reviews raving about its comfort. It’s on sale at 6pm for$62.99 in black leather and in $39.99 in black suede (regularly $79).

Anne Klein Munroe Pump - professional midheel pump under $100 #commandress

If you just can’t deny yourself the Jimmy Choo Allure Pump, it is still available for $625 from Nordstrom in black or taupe (shown at the top of this post) and in navy suede or this stunning blue cosmo textured leather (shown below; limited sizes).

Jimmy Choo Allure Pump in navy suede - professional midheel pump #commandressJimmy Choo Allure Pump in Cosmo blue textured leather - professional midheel pump #commandress

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

Professional, Smart & Chic – NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress

A work-appropriate look you can get excited about. 

I was surprised to realize how long it’s been since I’ve featured a dress by NIC+ZOE. It’s a great brand to check out for wear-anywhere washable print dresses – like this NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress.

NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress - professional fashion - office style #commandress

I love how the print combines a watercolor botanical with geometric elements. And, of course, I also love the combination of violet blue with black, tan and white. Dress it up, dress it down, crumple it in your suitcase and shake it out – this dress will take you anywhere.

The NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress is on sale for $138.60 (regularly $198; limited sizes) in regular, petite and plus sizes from NIC+ZOE.

It’s also on sale in regular sizes XS – XL from 6pm for $119.99. Curiously, the dress is still full price in petite ($198) and plus sizes ($218) at Zappos.

The NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress is also available in plus sizes from Nordstrom for $214 (shown below).

NIC+ZOE Utopia Print Jersey Dress - professional plus size dress - work outfit #commandress

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links for NIC+ZOE, Nordstrom, 6pm and Zappos.