Two Week Roundup of Shop Your Closet Outfits

Hello my friends!  It has been way too long.  I finally carved out some time to get back to writing my blog.  I’ve been super busy with work, family and planning a super exciting series of events that are happening next week.  I’ll fill in on those later 😉

Last week was my first full week of the Beyond the Suit Shop Your Closet challenge.  I’ve been so good.  Despite all the temptation around me (I work in a major shopping area) I stayed focused and didn’t shop.  And, most importantly, I spent time in my closet getting reacquainted to all the clothes I own.  I dug deep and found some treasures!  Clothes I haven’t worn in well over a year and, I’m ashamed to admit this, but clothes with tags still on them.  But this challenge is breathing new life into my closet.  I now realized sometimes we can all get in a rut with our work attire.  Working in a corporate environment can stifle creativity so we wear the same clothes, the same way, all the time.  This is why I am really pushing myself to look at my clothes through a new lens and come up with new ways to wear them.  Here’s a tip:  When you just feel like you have no other way to wear a certain article of clothing, open up your Pinterest app and do a search for that piece along with the word “work”.  Instant inspiration!
So here some of my my looks for the past two week.  If you are doing this style challenge with me, don’t forget to tag your photos on social media with #BTSShopYourCloset.  I’m keeping an eye out for your creations.  
 
And check back in a few days for major news!
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Dress: Bloomingdales, Jacket: Saks Fifth Avenue, Shoes: French Connection, Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane

2.2015

Top: Target, Skirt: Escada, Shoes: Isaac Mizrahi, Necklace: I can’t remember but i bought it on RueLaLa.

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Dress: H&M, Jacket & Necklace: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Enzo

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This skirt has been hanging in my closet, unworn, for over a year. A travesty! Sweater: Gap, Denim Shirt: Lauren Conrad, Skirt: Escada, Shoes: Isaac Mizrahi, Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane

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Throwback to a Ted Talk I watched a few months ago where the speaker shared that before any big meeting or presentation, once should stand in a power pose to build their self confidence and pump themselves up. Dress: J. Crew, Jacket: Theory, Shoes: French Connection, Necklace: Van Cleef & Arpels

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White Shirt: H&M, Striped Shirt: Express, Pants: Banana Republic, Shoes: French Connection, Necklace: Forever21

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Shirt: Banana Republic, Skirt: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Isaac Mizrahi, Necklace H&M

“Shop Your Closet” Challenge

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This week I decided to take the plunge on something I’ve been considering for several months. (Call it divine intervention because the timing worked out with it being Lent and all good Catholics know you need to give up something you love during this time.)   I’ve decided to give up shopping. (Gasp) I know! Those that know me well know that if this were a sport, I’d be a world champ!  And as if giving up shopping wasn’t difficult enough, I’ve decided to take on another challenge that I have been contemplating – the “Shop My Closet” Challenge.  It’s time for me to connect with ALL the stuff I already own and end the elusive search for the perfect outfit – it probably already exists in my closet. This challenge feels liberating, yet scary. I must channel my inner creativity but am nervous I will choke under the pressure. It’s pretty comical if you think about it. How the idea of not having that perfect item could cause so much anxiety…

Anyway, I spend the majority of the week in work clothes so it’s my office outfits where I will be the primary focus of the challenge. The rules for this are really simple:

  • Everything I wear must already be in my closet.
  • For bonus points (ok, I’m not keeping score but for an extra challenge) I must try to wear as many things in my closet as possible. That means I can’t wear a go-to LBD when I feel I have nothing to wear. To ensure this happens, I have turned all the hangers backwards and as I wear things I’ll put them back normally.
  • On top of all that, I must look polished and professional for work. No slacking during this challenge.

Every week I’ll report on my week and share my latest outfits with you.

I hope to inspire you to free yourself of saying “I have nothing to wear” and think differently about the clothes you already own. Why don’t you join me in this challenge? Things are always easier if you do them with friends. If you are on Twitter or Instagram, tag your photos with #BTSShopYourCloset. I would love to see what you put together.  And if you aren’t following me on social media, this would be a great time to start.  I’ll be posting pics daily on Instagram.  Wish me luck!

 

2.18.2015

Day 1 of challenge

How to Dress for Every Business Environment

I’ve recently been speaking with a lot of women who have been seeking my advice on what they should wear to work.  I respond with my version of “20 questions” so I can understand what their professional goals and personal style preferences are before I offer advice.  Eventually, I always get to the question of, “what is your work environment like?”

One mistake we make is that we don’t dress according to the company dress code.  Think about that person in your office that is always looks more casual than the rest of your colleagues.  What words would you use to describe them?  Junior? Inexperienced?  Not ambitious?  The reality may be further from the truth but it doesn’t matter; you’ve already made up your mind.

Adhering to the dressing norms of your company is the first step to building your personal brand and your executive presence.  Which brings me to this graphic I found on Business Insider.  If you are looking for a quick guide on what is acceptable in your corporate environment, then take a look at this.  Just keep in mind that this is meant to be a starting point.  Style is personal and its important your personality always shines through.  It makes you stand out and ultimately you want to leave a lasting impression.  Here’s a link to the entire article:  How To Dress Like A Leader In Any Work Environment

 

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How to Look Chic at Your Company Holiday Party

‘Tis the season! Can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week and then we are officially in the holiday season. This is truly a magical time of year. All the festive decorations go up, you can hear the holiday bells on every corner, courtesy of your friendly Salvation Army bell-ringer (official title) and people are just nicer to each other (don’t forget to drop money in the red kettle as you walk by).

This is also the time of year for company sponsored holiday parties. I look forward to mine every year. I spend so much time with my colleagues that we are now like family, so the holiday party is like another family get-together. Oh…but not quite! It is still a company event, which means how you dress will have a reflection on how you are perceived at work. (You don’t want to be the person everyone’s talking about the next day at the office.) Add to that that the holiday party tends to be right after work and now you have the increased difficulty of balancing professional dress during the day and then immediately after moving into a social event. So, let me offer a few suggestions on how to transition from day to (holiday) night, without cramping your style or reputation.

Holiday Party Chic

 

  1. Do you wear suits the office? Incorporate one festive piece into your look. Consider adding a sparkly top under your jacket, or split up your suit and wear the jacket over a fun skirt. When it’s time for your holiday party, you can take off the suit jacket to reveal a sophisticated look.
  2.  Add some bling. Bold statement jewelry with big crystals are the easiest way to turn your day look into something more evening appropriate. And great accessories does not have to cost a fortune. These three pieces are super affordable.
  3.  Swap out your shoes or purse, or both! Embellished accessories are so whimsical and the perfect pop to a tailored black suit or sheath dress. Don’t think you will wear it again? Then consider using Rent The Runway. That is where you will find the playful clutch featured above.
  4.  And if you really feel like having a completely different look, consider changing your suit jacket or bottom with a sequenced one instead. These two from Zara are great for your holiday party and every other party after that.

Midi Skirt Trend – Office Ready

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So a couple of things happened last weekend – the weather dipped below 50 degrees in New York City, November officially started and we set our clocks back an hour. This is when I lose all hope of mild weather and accept the fact that I will soon be wearing 10 layers of clothes under my coat through April, if I’m lucky. I am a New Yorker, born and raised, but the cold winters never seem to get easier. And with this realization comes the mourning period. I am no longer in the mood for bright colors and I start to gravitate towards dark colors.

This week I wore several dark outfits but I wanted to share my favorite look of the week with you.  I decided to try the midi skirt trend that is all the rage right now. I have always loved how these skirts look on models in magazines but when I would try them on, I always felt so matronly, almost like a nun from my elementary school days. But then I found this one at H&M and thought, “Hell, why not!” I paired it with another find from the same shopping trip to H&M – white tuxedo blouse. And the shoes are from French Connection. I personally like adding this particular shoe because it has some edge to it, contradictory to a very feminine and classic look with the long, flowy skirt. That’s what style is all about – making great outfits out of things you wouldn’t necessarily think work well together. I love this outfit because it’s office appropriate but also “after work drinks” ready. Super versatile.

I often wear clothes from H&M and that’s because I love the store! H&M has come a long way from selling the basics. Their clothes are now always on trend, they have teamed up with great designers in the past and currently (Alexander Wang collection came out on November 6th) and it’s affordable. I believe in spending money on the things that will last. Love brands like Theory and Elie Tahari for suits and other staples that I will keep for years, but for clothes that are representative of the current trends, I make my money stretch and shop more affordable brands. You can be 25 or 55 and find great clothes at H&M.

I hope you stay warm this upcoming winter. If you are in a cold location like me, join me for a little morning prayer to mother nature, asking her for mercy. If you are in a location with milder weather, I’m jealous!

 

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French Connection Shoe 1

 

French connection shoe 2

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