Business casual clothes, accessories & outfit ideas for professional women

Love Your Work Style – Elie Tahari Arianna Reversible Scuba Pencil Skirt

As you may have noticed, Commandress is getting a makeover! While we’re wrapping that up, we’re going to share a series short posts about quick & easy updates for your wardrobe.

I’m a huge fan of reversible dresses and skirts by Nally & Millie, so it’s exciting to see a big name designer making more reversible items.

With this Elie Tahari Arianna Reversible Scuba Pencil Skirt, it’s like you can have your print and wear your neutral too. The skirt reverses from the bold striped print to classic seamed black pencil skirt.

Elie Tahari Arianna Reversible Scuba Print Skirt - business casual outfit | professional fashion | office style

Elie Tahari Arianna Reversible Scuba Print Skirt - business casual work skirt | office fashion | professional style

I also love that both options can be worn year-round. The Arianna Skirt is $298 in sizes 0 through 14 from Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus or Elie Tahari.

I’ll add a Shop the Post with more reversible items from Elie Tahari – including some gorgeous dresses – after today’s post goes out.

Abigail Signature with Feather

Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links.

Don’t Like Your Clothes? Revitalize Them! (Part 4)

This is the fourth post in a series about how to tackle your wardrobe if you’re unhappy with your clothes – or just feel like you have nothing to wear.

In Part 1, we talked about giving yourself permission to cull your wardrobe, keep only the clothes you love, and identify a neutral skirt or pants that fit, flatter, complement your personality and suit your lifestyle.

In Part 2, we covered coordinating tops to wear with neutral skirts and pants.

In Part 3, we shared Commandress’ secret weapon: the dress!

In Part 4, we talked about

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Today’s post talks about how to add interest to your outfits (either a dress or a top paired with a skirt or pants) by layering with a sweater, jacket, blazer or similar covering.

The post includes examples of an everyday or casual layer, a layer to wear to work, and a layer that adds to your dressed up style.

What is the point of layering?

Practically speaking, layering helps keep you warm. More importantly for our sartorial quest to revitalize your wardrobe, layering adds a new and different dimension to an outfit. 

For example, you have grey pants and white top that look very flattering together when you try them on, but the outfit comprised of just those two pieces bores you. Add a coordinating cardigan sweater, jacket or blazer, and you have just enlivened your outfit!

“Wearing another layer – such as a cardigan sweater, blazer or jacket – makes an outfit look more polished and complete.”

 How to Add Layers to Your Everyday Style

As society has become increasingly casual in the past several decades, there is more reason for most of us to call casual style our everyday style. (Your life may be so casual that your primary style is your workout style – which Commandress will address in future posts.)

In a broad generalization, casual layers are going to be less structured than work layers. Certain fabrics, such as denim and knits, lend themselves to being more casual than other fabrics.

Anthropologie’s Banded Confetti Cardigan Sweater ($98) is a wonderful example of an everyday layer. It is beautiful, reviewers rave about its comfort, and it would add vitality to an outfit. This cardigan sweater would coordinate with a plethora of neutrals and colors so odds are it should coordinate well with many tops, bottoms and even dresses in your wardrobe.

Womens Colorful Cardigan Sweater from Anthropologie“By adding a layer you may change the original purpose of the layer or the look of the outfit.”

For example, wearing a structured jacket appropriate for work with jeans makes for a cute, everyday outfit. Alternatively, a seemingly casual jacket can become work appropriate as well.

Another example of an everyday layer is a trendy denim jacket!

How to Add Layers to Your Work Style

Jackets, blazers and sweaters suitable for work are usually more structured, and therefore, more fitted. Certain prints, such as houndstooth, and certain fabrics, such as tweed, will be more suitable for work than others. For examples of refined sweaters with work style, click here and here.

Tahari Arthur S. Levine’s Houndstooth Blazer in Black and White ($149 from Lord & Taylor, also available in Petite) is a great example of a layer with smart work style. The silhouette is fitted. For a work-appropriate jacket, this one has some flair with its notched collar and cuffs which adds a dash of panache. Compare it to Armani’s Geometric Woven Cardigan.

Womens Work Blazer Womans Jacket for Work

When layering, work style does not need to be devoid of color. In most offices, bold jackets would be entirely appropriate. Commandress has profiled many a bold hued jacket, blazer and sweater appropriate for work including this one, this one, and this one.

How to Add Layers to Your Dressed Up Style

Layering for special events is so much fun! With a special bolero, shrug, wrap or cape you will feel glamorous and your entrance will be eye-turning.

I love Alex Evenings’ Hanky Bolero ($48 from Nordstrom, click here for the Plus Size style)   It would look spectacular over the T. Tahari Valencia Fit & Flare Dress profiled in Part 3 of the series.

Hanky Bolero Special Event Jacket

Yes, when getting dressed up, layers become even more superfluous, but add to the festiveness of an outfit.

In the event you cannot visualize what a shrug looks like, click here to see a versatile one.

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In closing, your assignment is to try on each of your outfits with your jackets, cardigan sweaters, and blazers. Some tops/bottoms or dresses may not coordinate with every layer. Plan to only wear the layered ensembles that look great. The whole ensemble should work together as well as fit and flatter.

How many new ensembles can you create? Do you have the right number of ensembles for your everyday, work and dressed up styles? Are there any outfits you would like to augment with a layer? If so, either wear them or take them with you as you go shopping or have them by your side as you shop online.


Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links.

Tory Burch Paisley Print Top – Under $100

Tory Burch has a fantastic new paisley print some great pre-fall clothes and accessories, and for once my favorite item happens to be one of the least expensive.

Don’t write off this Tory Burch Print Tee as a mere “T-shirt.” The top’s lightweight cotton and gorgeous print make it a versatile piece to wear with everything from a formal suit to your most casual jeans.Tory Burch Paisley Print Tee - business casual print top for work


The Tory Burch Paisley Print Tee ($95) is available in Navy or White from Tory Burch and also in White from Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. I noticed that the Navy already sold out from Nordstrom and there is a limited selection in some sizes from Tory Burch.

Tory Burch Print Tee - paisley print top for work - professional print blouse

Here’s a visual of a couple sharp grey suits paired with a collared blue top. Wouldn’t they look more fun – and feel so much more comfy – with a fabulous T-shirt instead?

Professional Fashion | Office Style - Tory Burch Paisley Tee & Hugo Boss Suiting - how to wear a T-shirt to work

After today’s post goes out, I’ll add a Shop the Post with more paisley print items from Tory Burch – like flip-flops! – as well as more paisley print tops.

Abigail Signature with Feather


Shop the Post – Tory Burch Dapper Paisley Clothing & Accessories


Shop the Post – Paisley Print Tops


Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links.