For the third look, I paired the dress with a white cotton blazer and a wide embellished belt. Cotton is a less formal material and it wrinkles very easily compared to wool, but a cotton blazer still adds a lot of definition and does a great job “finishing” off an outfit. It certainly should not replace a wool blazer in your closet but it’s great for summer months.
I love how a structured blazer can immediately take an outfit up a few notches. You can’t go wrong with a wool blazer for business events. If I’m not wearing a full suit, I like to pair blazers with a dress or a silk top for a more feminine look. Some blazers like the one I’m wearing have a pretty lining that you can show off if you roll up the cuffs. The two places I always go to for blazers are Banana Republic (Petites) and Aritzia. They carry blazers that fit my hard-to-fit narrow shoulders.
A skinny (or wide) belt for the waist (as opposed to the hips) is a must-have in my wardrobe. I can use a belt to cinch my waist and give my body a nice shape when the outfit I’m wearing does not have a natural waistline. As a shorter person with a long torso, I can use a belt to shorten my torso and lengthen my legs. Your belt should go around the narrowest part of your waist to give you the best shape. I’ve collected a number of different colored skinny belts that I love to wear with dresses and long tank tops. I wear the black one most often, but I love how a belt can also be used to add a pop of color to my outfit.
I used to think pearls were reserved for very formal occasions or for older ladies, but I’ve decided that pearls are too pretty to be limited to so few occasions. The pearl necklace I’m wearing in the photos are strung closely together, but if you want a more trendy or less formal look, loosely strung pearls are a great option. I love what Nina Garcia wrote in her book, The One Hundred, “But if you wear pearls in a precious way or take them too seriously, they lose their cool. You have to get creative and don’t let ‘em get too snotty [...] They can be real or they can be fake. It really doesn’t matter – but they must never, ever be haughty.”
The majority of my clothing and accessories purchases are centered around professional workwear. I think a professional appearance is very important in the workplace and I love wearing pieces that are both business-like and chic. For a long time now I’ve only purchased things I can either wear to work or a work event. On men, there’s nothing I find more attractive than a tailored suit, with or without the jacket. Similarly, on women, a well-fitting pencil skirt, sheath dress, or the classic pants and blazer combination is a powerful and confident look. After purchasing what was probably my fifteenth pair of wool pants for work, I discovered that I look much better in pencil skirts and dresses. Skirts and dresses that end right above the knee elongate the leg and make women look taller and slimmer.
My mom ordered this dress for me from the Gap website last year, and I wasn’t sure about the color or material at first. It’s not wool, so it’s a more casual look, but I discovered that I can dress it up in quite a few ways. I’ve put together three different looks with the dress and the same pair of black Ann Taylor patent pumps. What do you think? I hope you like it! I can’t wait to style more dresses. Which one is your favorite?
Details on each look coming later this week!