Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where to Wear | It's all about the presentation

So I've been thinking about this post for a while and every time I do, I think of Iron Chef (or Iron Chef America, since that's what's on more often nowadays).  It's not at all food-related, but it's the principle that when two dishes are about the same quality, the presentation is what puts the winner on top.  I'm making my first conference presentation today at a national conference for a professional group that I'm a member of.  I've been preparing content for months now, honing my slides, and practicing my lines.  But I've also been planning what I'm going to wear.

As a young professional, I've often been mistaken for a student intern or recent college grad*.  The last time this happened to me was just a few months ago on my 26th birthday, by a new colleague on her first day of work.  Honest mistake--I was wearing a fun kelly green A-line dress, black tights, and jeweled flats since it was my special day.  The same day, other coworkers that had known me for a while took guesses on the other end of the spectrum.  29?  30?  I couldn't possibly be younger than 29.  WHAT? (That last one is a direct quote from my CEO.) *Not that it's a bad thing to be mistaken for a student or recent grad. It's just that those days feel so far behind me.

Building up to this day I knew I definitely did not want people up looking at me thinking "What's that intern doing up there?"  But what is appropriate garb for a presenter at a national conference? I made it my goal to finally buy myself a black suit.  It had been on my wish list for years, but I knew which one I wanted (Banana Republic lightweight wool) and it was pricey.  So I was saving the purchase for a really special occasion.  And this is it. I took the plunge on Superbowl Sunday (before we watched the game, not in lieu of), headed down to BR on a weekend when all their regular priced merchandise was 25% off.  You didn't think I'd pay full price, did you?  Tsk tsk.

I had the suit, now what?  A black jacket and black pants, black hair...that's a lot of black.  And I am not a head-to-toe black kind of dresser.  So the week after, I went and bought myself a pair of red pumps (also a wish list veteran).

But what to wear underneath?  That had always been my crux.  A buttoned blouse would look too corporate (I'm in a pretty creative field).  A slinky cami too suggestive.  I came to Albuquerque with plenty of options in tow.  Don't want to bore you so here is the quick version.
 
Suit: Banana Republic - 2010 - $300; Gray jeweled shirt - JC Penney - 2009 - $7;
Green neck-tie shirt - Ann Taylor Loft - 2005 - $12

 
Yellow ruffle shirt - Ann Taylor Loft - 2007 - $20; Floral ruffled blouse - Gottschalks - 2009 - $12

And here is the winner:

 
White studded shirt: Calvin Klein outlet - 2009 - $30


A detailed shot of the shoes.  They're a smooth leather in a not-too-bright red.  Perfect with jeans or slacks.  Inside are some Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles.  They make my feet happy (no, they're not paying me to say that).  Try some if you wear heels all day, especially if they're 3" or higher.
 
Blake Scott (from Off Broadway Shoes) - 2010 - $40

What's your favorite way to style a classic black suit?

7 comments:

  1. Love the post. ;) From a regular day, the ruffled shirt I think is also tres cute! But for a presentation, I can understand a more muted look to make sure they're paying attention to your presentation and not just your fabulous self!

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  2. I totally agree with Annie; the ruffled shirt with a suit is a definite must-wear eventually. And altho I generally hate color I do really like the yellow blouse with the suit. I think it has to do with the buttons? I also really like mandarin collars (or similar styles) under suits. I think the stiffness of the collar adds even more structure.

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  3. I'd just like to say that I have that jcpenny blouse, and I got it for 4$! Thought you might be a little jealous. I've had it for years, absolutely love it. I'm a teacher so a high neckline is a must for me. I've even re-attached some of the jewels I love it so much! Congrats on the great look, love love the dark red heels. Was a bit afraid they were going to be fire engine red at first!

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  4. I'd just like to say that I have that jcpenny blouse, and I got it for 4$! Thought you might be a little jealous. I've had it for years, absolutely love it. I'm a teacher so a high neckline is a must for me. I've even re-attached some of the jewels I love it so much! Congrats on the great look, love love the dark red heels. Was a bit afraid they were going to be fire engine red at first!

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    Replies
    1. I got mine on super-sale, too (and with a gift card!). It is definitely a great go-to top. I love that it is loose and not too clingy, but still totally chic.

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  5. I like your post ,now I must complete my research for my paper.


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