Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

May 19, 2010

Summer Fashion: Business from Agatha

Well, I have to tell you, summer business is perhaps my favorite--though it is unbelievably difficult to pull off well. (I rarely succeed!) A few big common missteps include: wearing sundresses; wearing flip-flops; not bringing a jacket or sweater to work (offices are cold!); wearing espadrilles or other super casual heels; having bare shoulders; having a messy pedicure.

My formulas are simple: a) crisp lightweight blouse with a straight skirt and simple pumps, b) a linen suit, or tropical weight wool pants and a light jacket or c) a sleeved dress. I work in a very conservative office, so most sandals would not be appropriate (I wear peep toes, mostly). If this sounds boring...I'm sorry to say, it sort of is. But the key is to look cool and put together, not uber-fashionable. Here are examples of these three key styles, plus a few accessories for the fun of it.

Exhibit A: Skirt and Blouse.

The trick is to make this either super colorful, or monochromatic. Tuck in your blouse, carry a fun bag and wear a great pair of shoes and you're set for anything. I'd pair this lovely pale pink blouse and spotted skirt (which looks short, but isn't in person, at least not on me!) with cool accessories: raspberry slingbacks, and round jeweled earrings and a straw-colored tote.

Exhibit B: Jacket and Pants

This is a tricky one. You need to be sure to pick a blouse nice enough on its own, but that works well under a jacket. You can't go with a camisole here, because you're going to be too warm. I'm not the biggest fan of J.Crew, but they really do excel at affordable well made suits, so I suggest one of their wool gabardines, in a pale color like this gray. Pair with it a fun jacket and pretty blouse. Because these are pants, you can get away with more casual shoes (like wedges, or flat sandals). For accessories, I'd add a flower pin and call it a day.

Exhibit C: Sleeved Dresses

Ah! this one is such a trail. I am loving all the little shifts that are so popular right now, and they pair wonderfully with a sweater or jacket. But sometimes it's just too hot for that. And the only thing to do is wear a dress. Luckily shirt-dresses are seeing a bit of a renaissance as well. The one below is from Shabby Apple. Here are a few more favorites: Ann Taylor; Anthropologie; Macy's

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