Tag Archives: cole haan

Ruffles for Work

Black Blazer

I love me some ruffles. Especially when wearing a suit, they are a nice feminine touch that softens the outfit’s strong lines. I don’t consider myself a girlie-girl (pink is practically an untouchable in my opinion), but I find myself unable to resist the pull of ruffles on the racks at the store. Ruffled skirts, shirts, dresses, shoes – they all need to be touched and investigated. So when I unwrapped this shirt last Christmas, you can imagine the pleased look on my face. Nice shopping, dear aunt!

Ruffles

Ruffles

Cute and playful, right? But still professional. The ruffles fill up the blazer so nicely. Now, I probably shouldn’t bring this up, but I made a little fashion faux-pas with this outfit… the blacks don’t match perfectly. The skirt and blazer were bought separately, are from different brands and are aging at different rates. If you look closely, you can tell that the skirt is a slightly lighter black than the blazer (it is about a year older). Of course, I could blame this all on tricks of the lighting, but… honesty is the best policy.

Happy Monday to all!

Ruffles

Meredith’s Look:

Shirt: Gap, a gift from my aunt

Skirt: Banana Republic, $40

Blazer: Zara, $70

Shoes: Cole Haan, $70

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Pastel Patterns


Pastels aren’t typically my color palette. Even before moving to the dark and cynical New York City, I was wearing black, gray and deep jewel tones. But in any city, and especially New York, there’s really no excuse for not trying new things. In no way is this outfit attempting something outside of my comfort zone or pushing the fashion envelope, but it’s not a look to which I would normally gravitate. Khaki skirt, light blue top and gray cardigan… we are veering a little too close to preppy for my taste. Despite all these reasons, this blouse actually became one of my favorites this summer! It is sleeveless, so it was great during the 90 degree commutes, and then I could just throw on a cardigan in the air conditioned office.

It kind of looks like rose colored Clorox was splattered on the blouse. Maybe not the most flattering analogy, but I’m not sure what else it could be!

Speckled light – kind of like the blouse…

Meredith’s Look:

Blouse: Forever21, $12

Cardigan: The Gap, $25

Skirt: Banana Republic, $35

Shoes: Cole Haan, $70

Necklace: Courtesy of Lindsay

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A Statement Shrug for the Office

I know it’s summer and I’m supposed to be celebrating the warm weather with bright colors and fun patterns, but I just love my neutrals! I would wear slate gray every day if I could, but I worry that it could have a depressing effect on my day-to-day positivity. Sometimes you do need some color to brighten your life! So, on days when I opt not to wear full-on gray, I work with combining soft muted tones, like I did with gray, green and white in this look. I found that the sage green shrug paired with the grayish blue skirt and cream shirt was a pleasing color palette.

It was a windy day Рperfect for showing off the movement of the long-sleeved shrug.  The color may be muted, but the cut certainly is not. This makes for an excellent statement piece when you are looking to add a little punch to an outfit.

I really enjoy the detail on this tank from the Gap. It’s a basic (which the Gap is usually quite good at), but the lacey portion on the front makes it a little more interesting.

You know what? I think the 80s were right about this one – I DO feel more powerful with shoulder pads!

Meredith’s Look:

Shrug: H&M, $30

Shirt: Gap, $20

Skirt: Banana Republic, $45

Shoes: Cole Haan, $70

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White Gold Sequin Mini-Dress

Feeling good about what you’re wearing should be everyone’s top priority, and with this fantastic Sammy Davis Vintage mini dress, that’s very easy to do. It must be the most comfortable Saturday night dress in existence (sorry ladies, it’s mine), and it causes none of the regular mini dress stresses when you are out on the town: it’s not so short that you can’t bend over to pick up your dropped cell phone, it fits your body instead of your body trying to conform to its structure and the dress’s crew neck leaves you free to twist and shout and jump around without worrying about anything, ummm…popping out. Leaning a little conservative can be totally worth it!

Besides being insanely comfortable, this dress makes a statement. The sequins add a subtle sparkle, and how many girls out there are wearing white for their girls’ night out? I go for gold accessories and neutral shoes, and I’m thinking that a gold clutch could be a nice addition (maybe something like this?). Of course, almost any color can work with a white dress, so it can be accessorized differently each time it’s worn! Teal was my color of choice most recently ūüôā

Meredith’s Look:

Dress: Sammy Davis Vintage, $40

Shoes: Cole Haan, $72

Cuff: The Beadin’ Path, $10

Earrings: H&M, $12

Clutch: Hand-me-down

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Filed under Casual Style, Meredith's Looks

Farewell to Turtlenecks

With the temperature hovering around 85 degrees this week, on one of the slightly cooler days I realized that it was my last chance to wear my favorite turtleneck until autumn comes around. Worn with a gray pencil skirt and brown necklace, this relaxed, earth-toned outfit is both comfortable and professional. You can never have too many looks that are easy to assemble AND easy to wear.

Meredith’s Look:

Shirt: Banana Republic, $28 (on sale)

Skirt: Banana Republic, $45 (on sale)

Necklace: Branché Jewelry Design, $30

Shoes: Cole Haan, $72 (DSW clearance)

Sunglasses: Steve Madden, $12 (Marshalls)

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The Gentleman: Suiting Up Part I

Photo Credit: Praying to Darwin

Starting at the Bottom

Buying your first suit is a bewildering experience. ¬†In my reoccurring segment, “Suiting Up,” devoted affectionately to Barney Stinson, I’ll break down every element of putting together an exceptional classic men’s professional wardrobe for those of us on a budget.

My first installment of Suiting Up won’t be about suits at all – rather, shoes.¬† After all, shoes are one of the most frequently neglected elements of a man’s professional wardrobe, but also the most easily corrected. ¬†You’d be surprised how many guys will spend nearly a thousand dollars on a new suit and also think it’s perfectly acceptable to pair it with those dusty, black clodhoppers that have been kicking around in the back of their closet since Senior Prom. ¬†This ruins the entire ensemble and, of course, the Gentleman will have no part of such nonsense.

The men’s dress shoe is far too complicated to be addressed in any single post. ¬†Instead, in this installment, I want to simply address the topic of color.Certainly the most common color for a first dress shoe is black. ¬†It’s probably the same color dress shoe you bought in high school. Buying a black shoe is not the wrong choice for a first dress shoe and will sometimes be absolutely required. ¬†It’s a must have, but it isn’t the “be all and end all” of men’s shoe colors. ¬†In fact, it is often not the best choice. ¬†You can see below a black Cole Haan wingtip with a gray trouser and a navy trouser. ¬†The black pairs nicely with gray, but there’s something off about pairing black with a navy suit.

Black shoes and charcoal suit trouser.

Black shoes and navy suit trouser.

Instead of black, the Gentleman recommends cordovan, sometimes called burgundy or oxblood, as the most versatile shoe color. Cordovan is a reddish-brown. ¬†You can see an extremely handsome cordovan dress shoe below. Cordovan is a highly distinguished color that perfectly matches the two most common suit colors: charcoal gray and navy. ¬†You can see here a cordovan Johnston & Murphy shoe paired with both a navy suit trouser and a charcoal suit trouser. ¬†Notice how the cordovan shoes give a touch of warmth to a dark suit without being gaudy. ¬†In my opinion, a good cordovan dress shoe should be every man’s first or second shoe purchase.

Cordovan shoes and navy suit trouser.

Cordovan shoes and charcoal suit trouser.

After cordovan, brown is probably the next most versatile shoe color. ¬†Brown can be trickier because there are several wildly different shades of brown. ¬†You’ll see everything from an orangey-cognac to a deep maple brown. ¬†Brown shoes pair extremely well with a navy suit and almost equally as well with charcoal.The Gentleman is nothing if not helpful. ¬†So, to assist in making your first shoe purchase, I’m going to give you a couple excellent picks for your first dress shoe:

Johnston & Murphy – Burgundy “Melton” cap-toe Oxford. ¬†This is an excellent first dress shoe. ¬†It retails for $165 at their retail store, but Johnston & Murphy shoes can frequently be found marked down to $100 or less at Macy’s and other department stores. ¬†I can’t recommend all of their shoes (some are simply dreadful), but I own this particular shoe (the cordovan one pictured above); it looks great and has held up well. ¬†It’s a great beginner’s dress shoe.

Another great option is Cole Haan,  a line found at department stores and their own retail store.  The black wing-tipped shoe pictured earlier is Cole Haan and I got it for a bit under $100.

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