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!

Dress: Bloomingdales, Jacket: Saks Fifth Avenue, Shoes: French Connection, Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane


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


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


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


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


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


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

“Shop Your Closet” Challenge


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!



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


dress codes infographic_02.png

Trend Report: How to Wear Gingham at the Office

Runway to Office; Gingham


Welcome to 2015!  After a two week hiatus, I am back!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I spent quality time with my family, which is better than any present I received. Nothing is more Christmas-y than enjoying time with those that I love most.

I love the start of the new year.  Although it’s technically just another month, January brings with it a sense of renewal and excitement.  Everyone sounds hopeful, outlooks are bright and people feel like this is the time to step out of their comfort zone and try something new.  As I have been planning and preparing my content for 2015, I decided to build on the theme of trying new things for both you and me.  It’s a new year and you are probably thinking about updating your look.  What better way than to try out the latest trends.

Every year brings its own set of fashion trends, usually a combination of 2014 trends that have evolved and the hottest looks from designers’ spring/summer collections.  I love reading about “what’s hot” in all the magazines and thinking about how to incorporate them into my weekend look.  However, my reality, and probably yours as well, is that I spend most of my time in “work clothes” so for me it’s about making the trends work every day.  When you look at pictures from runway shows, the clothes and how they are put together seem so over the top, which is exactly what designers are going for.  But it’s actually not that hard to wear some of those trends at work.  It’s about using it as inspiration and bringing in one piece that speaks to the designer’s vision.

So, with that, I bring you the first installment of a series of Trend Reports that I will be featuring this month.  I have spent weeks researching the hottest trends for 2015.  I will share those with you and how you can wear them to work.  The end result will be a more style conscious, put-together you.  You will look fabulous and on point.  As with all personal style, it isn’t about wearing all the trends, but wearing those that speak to you.

This week it’s about gingham.  The print may seem familiar (you’re thinking picnic table cloth?!).  It’s an evolution of the plaid trend from 2014.  Gingham was a frequent pattern featured in a lot of the spring/summer collection runway shows.  Most models who came out in it were covered in gingham from head to toe.  Obviously, that is not going to work at the office.  However, when worn subtly, it definitely adds a pop to any work look.

Here are a three pieces of clothing that you can add to your closet and wear with your existing clothes to create a stylish gingham look.  I’ve purposely selected the black and white color palette because it’s the easiest to wear, especially if you are unsure of this look or it’s new to you.  Gingham comes in a variety of colors and as the spring clothes starting making their way into the stores, you will probably find it in an array of pastels.  As you get comfortable you can venture out and give these a try.

  • Look #1: Gingham dress.  You can add almost any color blazer to this dress.  The classic black pump completes the look.
  • Look #2:  Gingham pants.  You can dress these up for work or dress them down for a more relaxed day in the office.  For fun, I’ve added a patterned polka dot top to create a pattern on pattern look.
  • Look #3:  Gingham shirt.  A subtle way to incorporate this bold pattern.  Add to a classic suit for a sophisticated look.

I would love to see how you incorporate gingham into your work wardrobe.  Email me pictures and I’ll feature you on my sight.  And check back next week for another 2015 trend and how to make it office ready.

Top 5 Posts of 2014

2014 was an amazing year for Beyond the Suit.  The blog was launched, we connected with hundreds of women who wanted to elevate their personal brand at work, we had our first event at the Massachusetts Conference for Women and our readership went global!  When I stop and look back at all the success it wouldn’t have happened without all of you – all the women (and even men) who come back weekly to read the blog, leave comments and share ideas.  This blog is for you and because of you.  Hope you have an amazing night bringing in the new year.  Look forward to everything 2015 will bring us!

And now, let’s countdown the top 5 blog posts of 2014:


#5  Does Your Outfit Speak to Who You Are?


Fun Suit Look


Sam Edelman Snake Print Pumps

Sam Edelman Snake Print Pumps

#3  Midi Skirt Trend – Office Ready


Top & Skirt: H&M, Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft, Shoes:  French Connection

Top & Skirt: H&M, Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft, Shoes: French Connection


#2  Career Advice from 5 Successful Female Leaders

L to R:  Stacey Rosati, Toni Johnson, Rebecca Forsbrey, Julie Belton, Stephanie Lubrano, Alexandra Brunetti

L to R: Stacey Rosati, Toni Johnson, Rebecca Forsbrey, Julie Belton, Stephanie Lubrano, Alexandra Brunetti


And the #1 post in 2014 is….

#1  How To Build Your Career Wardrobe:  Start with the Basics