Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Decipher the Dress Code | Business Attire

It's been quite a while since I touched on dress codes.  Last time it was business casual, which is what we wear in my office.  This time, I'll be discussing business attire.

Business attire is generally the most formal day-to-day attire found in most offices (although some law offices adhere to a suits-only policy, which would be much more restricting).  Business attire for men is pretty simple: suit and tie.  Fortunately for women, the formula is much more lax, and can take various forms.

Some basic aspects of business attire for women:
  • Tops: Button-up shirts can be the norm, but other embellished blouses will also work in a business outfit, especially under a suit jacket.  Sleeveless tops may or may not be acceptable in a business office, but even if they are, stick to a wide-strap shell.  A cardigan
  • Pants: Stick to full-length trousers in various colors, fits, and fabrics.  Cropped pants should be reserved for casual Fridays.
  • Skirts and dresses: Pencil-shaped skirts and dresses in structured and tailored fabrics look more professional than flirty A-lines or flowy chiffon.  Keep the length around the knee (give or take an inch or two).  To mix things up, try a colorful graphic print or accessorize with a belt.
  • Blazers: While not required, blazers are an easy way to dress up any outfit for a business environment.  Try a fun pattern or color to pair with classic trousers for a fun variation on suit separates.
  • Suits: Still a staple of a business wardrobe, suits today are more fun than ever.  Add a skirt suit with a ruffled hem and a pants suit with a three-quarter sleeve blazer for a change of pace from the basic black suit.  A dress + jacket suit looks eternally chic.
  • Shoes: Some business offices do insist on closed-toed shoes; peep-toes are about as racy as you'll get here.  Keep the heel moderate (less than 3"), and have some fun with colors, fabrics, and embellishments (can anyone say d'orsay?).
  • Accessories: Chunky jewelry and flirty flowers may not be appropriate here.  Infuse your personality subtly, with a colorful belt, layered necklaces, or an embellished watch.
These general tips often overlap with that of business casual attire, or just general office attire.  Thus, some of my previous outfits would also have been appropriate in a business environment (the business side of the business casual).  Check them out: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Here are some professionally styled business looks that I love:

Trousers + blouse + cardigan = on the more casual side of business attire

Cap-sleeve sheath dress.  Calvin Klein makes the best.

Pencil skirt + top + cardigan.  Note the low heels.

Classic black suit. 

Sheath dress + embellished blazer

Does your office require business attire?  What other tips do you have?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Simpler Times

This weekend got hot.  Like, really hot.  Sacramento has been unseasonably cool all spring and summer, but this weekend summer hit.  Like, really hit.  It was triple digits on Sunday, with Monday projected to be about 104 degrees.

Want to know what's worse than 104 degree weather?  Knowing you'll have to go outside every two hours (down and then back up three flights of stairs) to move your dark car with dark interiors.  The things I'll do for free parking at work.

So I woke up this morning with two goals in mind for my outfit: something with a skirt, and something sleeveless.  And guess what I found?

Dress: Gap Outlet - 2008 - about $12 I think; Necklace: Forever 21 - 2005 - cheap; Shoes: Blake Scott (Off Broadway) - 2010 - $40

Yes, even after four months of not shopping (err, barely shopping), I still have tons of stuff in my closet you've never seen.  Including this dress.  It's one of my favorites, but isn't very forgiving in the arm-holes.  Things I love: the tailored empire waist and ladylike boatneck, which I balanced out with a long necklace.  Red shoes were my splash of color for the day.

Here's a close up of the waistband:
Pardon the pits.

I love shifts and sheath dresses.  I'll admit I've considered (more than once) writing in an exception to my shopping diet just for those items.  Specifically this one item (heck, I want all of Calvin's tailored sheaths...they fit and flatter like nothing else I've ever worn).  Alas, I think even that one allowance would probably be my downfall, and I know Calvin will still be around when this is all over (and in the case he's not, then I think an emergency halt to the diet is in order).

As simple as this outfit is, it is actually pretty formal for my office; were the skirt just an inch or two longer it would be right at home in a formal business office (with a blazer).

I strutted around in this outfit until just after 5 p.m. today when I walked down the stairs (again) and proceeded to fall nearly flat on my face, scraping my elbow along the wall on the way.  Luckily it was in an empty stairwell at the end of the day.  Unluckily, the ankle is still a little tweaked.  I guess it's flats tomorrow!

Do you like or dislike shift/sheath dresses?  What are your favorite details?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Make Believe Monday | Denim pencil skirt

So after almost four months of blogging (and not shopping), I've somehow nearly run out of things I want.  This is good because I still have eight months left on my shopping diet, but bad because I'm running out of Make Believe Mondays.  Anyone have any ideas for what else you'd like to see as a weekly feature?

Today's MBM is a slight cheat, I'll have to admit.  I already own a denim pencil skirt.  I bought it at the Ann Taylor on Broadway in Soho when I was in grad school, where I found it on clearance for less than $10.  At the time it was a size too big.  Then I lost weight and it was two sizes too big.  And then I gained the weight back and then some, and it's about the right size now.

But the fit is off.  And fit is everything.  So a denim pencil skirt that fits me well is on my list of things I want.

Denim pencils skirts are a great staple for any closet.  Classic cut + casual fabric = dress it up or dress it down with equal success.

The problem I have with my denim pencil skirt is that the denim is just too heavy.  So heavy, in fact, that while the waistband sits flush to my waist on the inside, the skirt still sticks out about half an inch all around, due to the layers of denim at the waist.  This causes anything I wear over it to lump out around the waist.  If I tuck the shirt in and wear a belt, then the waistband just sticks out even more,  almost like a life-preserver around my waist (so maybe I'm exaggerating, but just a little).  Plus, it is boxy, which does absolutely nothing for my figure, which is already naturally rectangular, and makes my legs look like toothpicks (not in a good way).  I'll continue to wear it (I think), but a replacement is in order.

Here are some denim pencil skirts that actually fit well (on the models, at least).

This one hits just above the knee, which elongates the leg a bit.



I love the way this skirt tapers in closer to the knee, bringing attention to shapely calves (one of my favorite features).  Plus it's got built-in tummy tucking.

This dark rinse dresses it up just a little, and I love the way it's styled here.



Do you have trouble with denim waistbands being too thick?  How do you work around it?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend (Double dose)

So while I was on vacation last week, my blog reader piled up with tons of good stuff.  Add on this week's good stuff and you've got a double dose of good reads.
  • There has been a lot of good fashion lately--I love summer!  Check out my favorite fashion blogs in the sidebar to the right.
  • I have a few fragrances I love, but I never wear them. After reading Good magazine's 10 Things you Should Know About Fragrance, I don't feel so bad about leaving them unused. (I do take them out and sniff them every once in a while.)
  • If your office is a Facebook-crazed as mine (seriously, our CEO is one of the biggest Facebook users I've ever seen), you should get one of these.
  • Workaholism is often glamorized (really? your work is soooo important you can't take time out for a family dinner?), and I for one refuse to fall into the trap.  If you need some help escaping, check out these 11 Creative Ways to Avoid Becoming a Workaholic, from Zen Habits.
  • Chris Brogan is my go-to source for some motivation and work inspiration, and this recent post is one of my favorites.  I could read it every day.
  • I've resolved this summer to take better care of my body (so has one of my favorite blogger friends, Maria).  Especially as the summer heats up, I've been craving salads, but there's only so much lettuce and spinach one can take.  This summery potato-bacon salad from Momofuku for 2 adds some variety into the mix.

What were your favorite reads from the past two weeks?

Taking a stand

I love the feeling I get when I put on a pair of shoes that I know are fabulous and won't kill my feet (hard order, but I have a few).  Lately my "power shoes" are my Target gladiator platforms.  Today's outfit was planned around those.

Earrings: Vintage - 2010 - $10; Blouse: Banana Republic - 2008 - $20; Layering tank: Old Navy - 2008 - $6; Belt: Vintage - 2010 - $12; Skirt: The Limited - 2009 - $20; Shoes: Target - 2010 - $25; Bag: H&M - 2007 - $45; Sunglasses: Target - 2008 - $17



Yup, it's the tulip skirt again.  This time, belted!  In addition to the shoes, I had to get some blood drawn today, so I went with a sleeveless shirt (had a cardigan on in the morning, though).  Other than that, today's schedule included a phone interview and a refreshing lunch in the park with my friend Ashlee

A note on modesty -- You'll find that I layer shirts a lot.  Part of it is out of habit (I used to layer all the time, regardless of outer layer and season), but most of the time it is out of modesty.  This shirt, although the neckline itself isn't that low, is super-billowy, so even the slightest lean forward would cause it to fluff out.  While it might not always be a bad thing, it most definitely is not work appropriate.  A fitted cami does wonders at covering up your precious parts without adding bulk.

I'm getting a little tired of wearing this same belt, but it's the only thick one I own.  I have the hardest time shopping for belts and could use some help.

Where do you find the best belts (and belt deals)?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On soda-snot and other awkward moments


I'll admit it.  I've never actually experienced soda-snot.  Or milk-snot, for that matter.  Things do not go in my mouth and out my nose (other than air).  But I have experienced the mid-gulp cough, the burpy-sounding hiccup, and a slew of other potentially embarrassing work moments.  Of all the places for any of these things to happen, the office is about the worst (on the podium at a presentation or in a wedding party probably rank pretty high up there, too).  But happen they will and happen they do.

Let's take my most recent example, the inspiration for this post.  I was in a team meeting, sitting at the little meeting table in the center of the room.  My boss and her officemate were in their office chairs in front of their computers in the corner, and the last coworker was leaning back away from the desk. Always with my trusty cup of tea at my side, I take a drink during a bit of silence.  A tiny drop tickles my trachea...

And I proceed to cough the entire mouthful of tea all over the table.  And my notes.  And a little bit onto my boss's notes.

Gross city, right?  I was mortified.  Not only did I disrupt an otherwise productive meeting, I just spewed my spit all over my boss's stuff.  Eww eww eww.

So maybe you haven't experienced a moment like that. Maybe it was smaller, maybe it was bigger.  With all things, it will probably be forgotten in a matter of time, but how you recover in the moment can say a lot about you.  Do you freak out and make a scene?  Do you explode with anxiety?  While initial shock is normal, a quick and scene-less recuperation from an awkward moment can speak volumes about your ability to handle anything that comes your way.

There are also always those little things that aren't forgotten, and become office banter for colleagues as you work together longer.  Depending on the person, you may not mind, but if you do, just think of it this way, however twisted it might be: they like you enough to remember something you did and are comfortable enough with you to joke about it later on.

Luckily for me in my moment of need, my boss just happened to have a pile of napkins on her desk leftover from lunch.  I patted off her papers first and then mine, and wiped up the rest of the table.  We laughed it off a bit and moved the meeting along.  And everyone forgot about it (well, except for me, apparently).

What is your most embarrassing work moment and how did you deal with it?

Photo credit

It's a tie!

Well, unless it isn't.  And happily for the USA this morning, it wasn't.  I dallied around getting ready (I even painted my nails...clear) to watch the game, drove extra slow to keep listening to it on the radio, and tuned into the ESPN website when I finally got to work.  I like to think that my dedication to this crucial game was rewarded with the game's only goal in the 91st minute.

Sports talk aside (please, don't get me started), today I felt quite ladylike.  Even before the game was won, I'd had a good day...my pants zipped!  Let's just say there's a reason I've defaulted to skirts and dresses a lot lately (and it has to do with blubber not babies, nosy nosy).  So today, with no muffin top to hide, I searched and searched my closet for a clingy shirt that would hug the smooth(er) silhouette.

Look at what I found!

Top: Ann Taylor Loft - 2005 - $10; Layering tank: Costco - 2009 - 2 for $12; Pants: Banana Republic Factory Store - 2009 - $15; Shoes: Enzo Angiolini - 2007 - $70; Purse: H&M - 2007 - $45; Sunglasses (on purse): Target - 2008 - $17

This top is probably one of the only things in my closet that remains from my college days (yes, I wore tie-necked shells in college).  I stalked this shirt for months until it finally went on clearance (yes, I remember that detail five years later).

You're also getting a glimpse of my trusty everyday purse.  I've spent the past several months avoiding taking photos with my purse since I've used the exact same one basically every single day for the past three years, but this photo was taken on the way back from lunch and I had nowhere good to put it down so I kept it on.  It's one of my favorite purchases...it's roomy, comfy to carry, secure (every compartment can be zipped up), leather, and a gorgeously rich tannish color (if you have a better name for the color, please do let me know!).

To show off the neck tie detail, I whipped my hair up.  Here is a quick glimpse of one of my favorite hairstyles for the office: the low ponytail with some hair wrapped around the elastic and pinned. 

You can see the print on the shirt better here.

Funny, after blogging this outfit and thinking it through more, I realize nearly everything in this outfit would be a "favorite."  Sure, I have a lot of them (I'm a very picky shopper, and a fast one, too), but hey, if I don't love it, it's probably not worth buying.

You might notice the change of location...this morning also saw a computer mini-disaster (note to self: no more watching streaming soccer games while deleting files from your settings folder), so by the time I calmed down it was too busy around to take pics in my cube.  I've always wanted to try heading outdoors--you can't beat natural lighting for photos--but was always too shy to ask someone for help and I don't have a full-sized tripod.  So my work buddy J, (not so) coincidentally our department photographer, was nice enough to take some photos of me awkwardly posing behind our office building.  In return, I ate half of his lunch.  Thanks, J!

Are you a picky shopper, waiting for just the right piece at just the right price?  Or do you buy what you like and come to love it later? 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back in action

The first day back in the office after a vacation is always tough.  Especially when your first week back looks like the week from hell.  I'm glad I took my vacation when I did, because the light at the end of this work tunnel probably won't shine again until well into the fall.  So today was a symbolic kick-off for me...back in the office and ready to kick some butt workwise (meaning workload, not work people, at least not today).

So I reverted to some office staples: button up shirt, pencil skirt, low-heeled pumps.  Toss in a bright belt for a pop of color, and you're out the door!

Necklace: gift; Blouse: J.Crew - 2009 - $20; Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft - 2009 - $13; Belt: Gap - 2010 - $10;  Shoes: Nina (from Ross) - 2009 - $16

Can I just pat myself on the back for putting together an outfit that, in total, cost only $59?  I enjoy shopping just as much for the hunt of the bargain as much as the actual procuring of items. It's one of the things I miss about shopping, but then again, it comes in handy for other things as well (for instance, re-planning my whole vacation about 5 hours before departure and coming in under budget, even when the lost vacation was included).

Anyway...this outfit surely did the trick...it got me back in action by playing the part of the professional.  Faking it until you make it can really work wonders when it comes to getting into the mood for work.  Two meetings and a conference call later the day had flown by...tomorrow is a photoshoot and two phone interviews for articles for our magazine's fall issue.  My head is spinning just looking at the rest of my week!

What standbys do you turn to when you need to get into the mood for work? 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Make Believe Monday | Cuff bracelet

Back from my week-long vacation...did you miss me?  Our original plans for St. Thomas were completely thrown by the Spirit Airlines strike, but we scrambled and had a great time in South Florida anyway (take that, Spirit...you can't ruin my vacation...completely).

Now I'm fully refreshed and back in action...and today's post made me extremely excited, especially since it's something I can buy without breaking my shopping diet!  So beware--there are a lot of photos, since there were a lot of great finds.  Today's addition to my shopping list: cuff bracelets.

So while I was searching for cuff bracelets, I noticed a lot of overlap between what some manufacturers call "cuff" and others call "bangles."  Cuff bracelets are typically a little larger in width (over 1" wide), are not always a full 360-degree circle, and may be elastic.  Bangles on the other hand can be smaller and are meant to be layered, are always a full circle meant to be slipped over the hand, and are not elastic.  Most of the items here are actually cuffs, but some might fall in the bangle category.  All are completely work appropriate and totally covetable.

This classic white beauty would go well with just about anything.



Black tempers the sparkle for the office.


Subtle details add interest to this cuff without making it distracting.


You didn't think I would abandon studs for this one, did you?  They're perfect for the office in bracelet form.


I love the bright colors in this line (it also comes in red, black, blue, and white), and it comes in different widths for great layering options.


Relief roses add a bit of office-appropriate romance.


And my favorite of the bunch: this silver leaf-inspired cuff makes a statement without being too over-the-top.  It would spice up the most professional outfit or a classic LBD for weekends and nights.


Are you a fan of cuffs or bangles or do you prefer clasp or elastic bracelets?  What are your favorites?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cup o' joe

Whether you are a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate drinker, a nice reusable mug can come in handy at the office. Not only will you always be prepared when you're thirsty, it is a fun way to express yourself (and good for the environment, too...all those disposable cups add up!).

Recently my favorite mug broke, but lucky for me I had a backup on hand. Some thing to keep in mind when selecting a work mug:

Size: Is it large enough to keep you from having to make frequent trips? Depending on where your water cooler is, this might be something to think about.
Content: Is the mug appropriate for work? Anything with swear words on it is out, same with vulgar gestures or anything too provocative.

I use to have the mug from this gift set (got the whole set at the office white elephant exchange a few years back).  It was large and really screamed me (I LOVE the NY Times crossword, although I no longer do it daily).




Luckily only the handle broke, so I'm going to try reattaching it with superglue and not holding it by the handle so much.

Here are some other mugs I'd consider to replace it.

All this talk about mugs has got me thinking I need one of these, too:

What type of cup do you use at work and what does it say about you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wear and wear again: tulip skirt

 know, a lot of bloggers do this, but honestly...it's a good idea.  Not only am I on a shopping diet, but I have a tiny closet (err...makeshift closet...this apartment came with zero closets!), so I rewear my items a lot.  And I mean, A LOT.  So I thought it'd be fun to see how I've done different things with the same piece multiple times.

First off: my favorite black tulip skirt.  Bought at The Limited on sale for $20 last year, this thing is comfy, flattering, and totally work appropriate.  It went down to $15 soon after, which bummed me out, but cost per wear on this thing is already less than $1.




Tights, tightless.  Booties, gladiators, flats.  Can you tell I love this skirt?  I've got big plans for it in the future, too...with a belt, with some peep-toes, and with a blazer.

How would you style this skirt? I'd love ideas to mix it up even more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Cubicle: Part 3

So you thought I was done with my cubicle after parts one and two, did you?  Well, guess again.  I've talked about it before, but here I am to unveil my new cubicle.

Some backstory before I do: This is my third cubicle in the nearly three years I've been at my job.  Our organization was just beginning a period of quick growth when I started, so about eight months into my job, they decided to take a big-picture look at the organization of the cubicles and moved things around so that directors got offices and their staff could sit near them (with consideration for future growth, quietness needs, etc.).  Seems pretty no-brainer, but the organization literally started as one man, 10 years ago, and cubicle assignments really weren't a big concern back then.  I've been at my current cubicle, which you saw in the original makeover posts, for about two years.  My new cubicle is just a few down, but is slightly set apart (better for the phone calls I often make for work) and is closer to my boss's office.

Here is the beauty, in all its entirely:


You see that whiteness to the left?  That's the giant window I have.  It looks out onto trees and at the day-care center across the street (the cute little kids come out a few times a day to play in the little playground).  I've got a fewer cabinets, but more wall space, so the white board that me and my coworker share moved into my new place.  Plus I used the leftover fabric from my first bulletin board to cover a second one.

Some details:



My favorite parts are the more open layout (without overhead cabinets on both sides it feels huge in here!) and the large window.

How does your workplace assign work spaces?  Do you have a say in where you sit?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How I blacked out last week

You know, as part of Already Pretty's Summer Blackout?  What in the world were you thinking?  Nevermind.  Anyway, here are my last two outfits from last week:

Blouse: Old Navy - 2009 - $9; Belt: Vintage - 2010 - $12; Skirt: Target - 2007 - $6; Shoes: Aerosoles - 2007 - $25

Also unveiling...my new cubicle!  Lighting isn't nearly as nice as before, but the cubicle is definitely better.  Now I have a window along the entire long edge of my cube (before, the window was on the short edge and not all the way across).  It's the corner cubicle...moving on up!

Anyway, back to the outfit (cubicle post to come later).  I knew I wanted to build an outfit around this skirt, which is one of my faves.  I actually hadn't worn this blouse before, but figured it would go with the skirt, since it is pretty neutral.  I tossed a belt on for good measure (I need to get more belts), and the shoes really pulled it together as an office look.  I also had a brown blazer on top for part of the day (from the swap I went to back in April).

A detail shot of the shirt and jewelry.

This necklace is a chain I had (from my ball-chain wearing punk rock days) strung with a few rings I had lying around.  Love it.  You can really see the print of the shirt here, too.  And I love the sleeve tabs and front pockets.

Friday, I failed.  Here is the evidence:

Blazer: Old Navy - 2009 - $30; Shirt: Old Navy - hand-me-down; Necklace: DIY (see above); Jeans: J & Company (from Renew Denim) - 2009 - $50; Shoes: Target - 2010 - $25

I completely forgot about the blackout until I got to work.  But in all honesty, I probably would have worn the same outfit with my favorite gray graphic tee instead of the black top.  (Use your imagination here.)

So here is the round-up of the outfits from the week!

So I survived (but barely).  It was a fun week, and harder than I imagined it'd be!  Bring on the next challenge!



Could you go without black for one week?  What would be the hardest thing to give up fashionwise?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Make Believe Monday | Embellished cardigan

For some odd reason, cardigans are really difficult to find.  Either they are too short, too long, too loose, too tight, or too expensive.  I'm talking your normal button-up, crew- or v-neck, three-quarter or long sleeve cardigan.  In high school I wore one cardigan to death.  In college, same story.  Currently I have one (which I just bought last year).  But I would really love more, since they are so versatile, especially when going in and out of an overly air conditioned office in the summer.  So I'm adding to my wish list an embellished cardigan (or two).

What I'm really loving about cardigans right now, though, is the crazy and creative embellishments out there that take a classic and really make it snazzy.  Sparkles, flowers, details...I just love them.  Perhaps it is because I've spent so many years cultivating a "classic" wardrobe, but I'm finding more often that my clothes are just...boring.  Solid colored pants or skirt paired with a solid top.  Throw in a plaid here or there, and there you have it, my closet. 

I'd love to add one of these to the mix.

This J. Crew sweater is soft and feminine, a great complement to a pencil skirt and pumps.


I love the studs on this one.  But you already knew that.


I could see myself rocking this military-inspired one on weekends, too.

And these ruffles are a sweet touch without being too saccharine.

An alternative is to add a fun brooch or other removable embellishment into a plain sweater, which I've done a few times to my cardigan (singular).

What is your favorite type of sweater embellishment?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend



Lots of really good reads this week.  I'm always looking for more, though, so recommend your favorite blog (fashion, office-related, or otherwise) in the comments and I'll check them out!  In the meantime, here are my picks for the week.
  • I am loving Corporette's suit of the week...at least the dress part.  The rest of the suit is pretty standard, but the dress...wow.  I'm considering making an exception in my shopping ban for tailored pencil dresses (I LOVE the one I already own and really would like to wear them more often).
  • Catching a bit of the sewing bug after seeing Suze from Miss Vinyl Ahoy and Le Quaintrelle flaunt their DIY goods. 
  • Jennine from eat, sleep, denim test drives a gadget that may just solve muffin top.  I'm listening!
  • Working Girl ignites an age-old discussion: male vs. female bosses.  The comments are just as interesting as the post, but if you're wondering who wins, it's neither (duh).
  • I eat a lot at my desk, and this contraption would really be the utmost of convenient workspace dining.  It's not out yet, but I fully expect one of my own to try out and review (ahem).
  • Some people put photos of beaches or their dog on their desktop (mine is pretty plain), but these desktop backgrounds are just amazing.
  • I'm not sure if I've discussed my love of infographics (and the word infographics...so fun) on this blog yet, but two of the best infographics this week were this chart of literary affiliations and this visual history of the American presidency (have I also mentioned I'm married to a political scientist?).

Don't forget to rec your favorite blog in the comments!

photo credit

Friday, June 11, 2010

Suck it up

The title of this post is a play on the title of last week's Friday cluster, not a mean (but honest) retort that I often dish out to myself as much as to others.  You can take it as such if you're feeling underappreciated at work, hungry because you chose salad over substance at lunch, or [insert whiny complaint here].

But that is beside the point...today's post is about fashion, and summer fashion at that.  Now that it's finally summer here (took long enough, California!), I'm all about lightweight fabrics, and seersucker is a classic summer standby.

What is seersucker, exactly? 
Seersucker is a thin, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or checkered, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Hindi, which originates from the Persian words "shir o shekar," meaning "milk and sugar", probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth surface of milk and bumpy texture of sugar. Seersucker is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. This feature causes the fabric to be mostly held away from the skin when worn, facilitating improved heat dissipation and air circulation. It also means that ironing is not necessary.
That's the Wikipedia answer, at least.  Wikipedia also states that, while seersucker is most commonly striped, it also comes checked, and hence we get "gingham."  Makes sense, but I think stripes work better than checks for the office.

Here are my seersucker picks:

Clockwise from top left: WearYouAre, Gap, Nine West, Charter Club, TOMS

Would you wear seersucker in the office?  How would you style it?

Raincheck and cuteness

I was in such a rush tonight to head to my friend Lindsay's mini-concert* that I left my thumb drive (with all my pics) at work!  But no fear...today was black-less (trust me).  Look for a summary of my Summer Blackout week on Tuesday!

Here are some random pics of my stylish upbringing, taken outside of my childhood home in Carrollton, Texas.

Velour romper...that sounds pretty good for this summer, too!  That's my mom in the background in her velour shorts and matching short sleeve sweater.  I don't know how I remember that but I'm pretty sure I'm right.  This was before the velour resurgence of the 2000s (shuddering at the thought of velour tracksuits).

My baby brother and I in print overalls from Osh Kosh B'Gosh (only the best for my mom's kids).  I was a high roller.  About 5 minutes after this pic my brother outgrew me (okay, maybe another 5 years).

*Lindsay is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter, and pianist who treated about 10 of us to a performance in her living room tonight.  She was my first friend in Davis that wasn't one of my husband's friends first (he lived here for two years before we got married), and her friendship has been phenomenal over the years.  Have no fear...when she releases her music for real you will be among the first to hear about it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Third time's a charm

Or not.  This morning was a struggle.  It's gone back to being a little chillier this week (ok, well, just breezier...it's still in the low 80s).  But I refrained from throwing on my favorite comfy black tulip skirt and tights.

Necklace: Kohl's - 2009 - $?; Sweater: H&M - 2007 - $?; Shirt: Theory - 2010 - hand-me-down; Jeans: Rockabilly (from Renew Denim) - 2010 - $40; Shoes: Blake Scott (from Off Broadway) - 2010 - $40

I reached for the jeans instead.  But at least they weren't black!  I tossed on this shirt, one of those so generously handed down by two of my besties, but it was a petite (you can see where it hits in the middle of my stomach above), so a sweater on top was required.  This tried-and-true combo always makes any outfit look more polished.

I also call this outfit Christmas in July.  My two favorite colors are red and green (third would be white), but I hesitate before wearing them together.  Until today.  Here's a closeup of the shirt to show you what I mean:


Green striped shirt.  Red shoes.  I almost reached for black, but hey, if this isn't the time for trying new things I don't know what is.  So here's to day 3!



You might (or probably not) notice that my shelves are conspicuously bare in these pics...tomorrow's photo will be in my new cubicle.  Unless, of course, the lighting is absolutely horrible, in which case I'll probably be back taking photos in my (empty) old cube (there are no plans for it yet).  I'm sure my former neighbor won't mind.

Today's question is random:  What magazines do you read and why do you like them?  (See this old post for my answers.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blackout Day 2

So Step, in the comments from my first blackout post, brings up a good point:
black has gotten the very undeserved reputation of being boring. if you wear yellow every day in every article of clothing, yellow is boring. it's not about the color, it's how you implement it.
True.  I guess the point of avoiding black for a week would really be for the purpose not of eradicating boredom, but one of challenging creativity.  I could see a person who relies too much on khaki in their wardrobe trying a khaki-free week, or even a jeans-free week (eek!). 

Blackout day two was pretty easy.  I started with the skirt and went from there (it doesn't go well with black anyway).

Necklace: gift; Top: The Limited - 2009 - $12?; Belt: vintage - 2009 - $12; Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft - 2008 or 2009 - $13;
Shoes: Target - 2010 - $17

My memory is getting shoddier and shoddier on those details, even though I know I already put them up somewhere. Oh well.  And like the new pose?  I was tired from making late-night cupcakes for our graphic design intern's last day (after more than two years!).  Dark chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream frosting...there was supposed to be whipped coffee-flavored filling inside, too, but my cupcake filling skills are decidedly lacking, so everyone just got a tiny taste (and I have a huge bag of it left in my fridge...what to do, what to do).

Anyhoo, day two down.  I will say (since it is already Wednesday morning), that I did start to struggle on this blackout thing, but am still hanging in there...just a few days left!


It's a reach here, but how do you celebrate/recognize last days at the office, especially for those whose time there has been a positive experience?  Parties, lunch? In our office it varies widely, so just wondering what others do!