Sometimes I Shop :: Working Girl

When I first started working in the real world 10 (TEN?!) years ago, my work ensembles and accessories were a haphazard collection of things from High School, College, and whatever I could afford from Target and Walmart. I had a few of my mom's hand-me-downs and a suit I'd assembled from a 5-7-9 blazer and a clearance skirt from The Limited. While I generally loved my closet, I wasn't exactly what you'd call...put together.

The fashion transition from school to the real world is a tough one.

Now in my 30's, I'd say my style has grown up suitably (see what I did there?) to match my current position. Even though I work in a very casual office, I like to generally dress in "business creative" code. If you're starting a job for the first time, going back to work after an absence (like me!), or just looking to up your style game on the job, I've put together a few work wear essentials I recommend.

1: Rebecca Minkoff "Unlined" // 2: Tory Burch "York" // 3: JustFab "Ace"

The first thing I decided I needed to go back to work was a giant tote to carry all of the things. What's in my bag? What could I possibly need to tote around with me? I'm glad you asked.

  • Comfy Flats
  • Pre-Heels
  • Nikon D5200
  • Louis Vuitton Favorite MM crossbody, for when I don't want to lug a tote around
  • At least 17 pairs of sunglasses
  • Usually a bottle of water or a snack
  • 10,000 ponytail holders and bobby pins, none of which I can find
  • Phone/Keys/Wallet etc
  • Small makeup bag
  • Notebook & Sharpie Pen
  • Sometimes an iPad or Laptop
  • The unused chopsticks I swiped from Sushi Cafe last night 

So yeah, I needed a big tote. I ended up opting for the JustFab tote in the end because it's reversible, and faux leather is going to hold up in all weather without me worrying about it. I may decide to add a few more to my collection in the future just to liven things up.

1: Schutz "Moranita" // 2: Kate Spade "Licorice" // 3: Manolo Blahnik "BB"

Notice how I said somewhat sensible. The thing is, I'm a heel lover and always will be, pending I don't fall off of some Louboutin So Kates someday and break a hip. Everyone woman knows she needs sensible flats for work, so let's just skip the boring stuff and go to my *personal* recommendations on heels that aren't mumsy, are great quality, and comfortable for heels. If you're a timid heel wearer, block heels are in right now and Schutz has some really beautiful ones for under $200. The Kate Spade heels are absolutely beautiful, and she continues to release them season after season in several different colors. Finally, the BBs are my FAVORITE work shoes. And weekend shoes, for that matter. They're sleek, sexy, and super comfy. I can last all day and into the night in my patent black BBs, so I plan to buy more colors in the next few years to build a little BB army. They're definitely an investment, but considering I wear them 2-3 times a week on average, my cost per wear is excellent.

1: BB Dakota // 2: J.Crew // 3: Madewell

Layering pieces have the most impact on otherwise boring outfits. I probably wouldn't wear black skinny jeans and a white tank to work on their own, but throwing a suede moto jacket over it instantly pulls the look together. I love a slouchy boyfriend jacket with a tunic and leggings. I own many jackets that have bold colors, patterns and fabrics that add a little interest to my basics. Plus, it's cold in the office. Wear a jacket, not a snuggie.

Other things I can't live without in my office? The honorable mentions go to:

  • A giant Sonic Diet Dr. Pepper
  • My 52 oz Bubba Mug
  • Apple Watch to remind me to stand up, you lazy thing
  • Phone charging cords because my desk is near two Poke-stops
  • Super chic door opening keychain thingy 
  • Giant Hamburger Ottoman

PS - some links in this post are sponsored by Shopbop. Some contain affiliate links. And some of them are just for your information. Hodge podge!

AJ Wears :: A Dress Over Pants

Didn't dresses over pants come into style, like, years ago? Everyone's acting like this is some new thing this season, when I'm pretty sure we've been doing it for a while.

When I first saw this dress, it was the multi-wear dress of my dreams. Wear as a dress. Wear as a shirt. Wear it open and pretend you're in your bathrobe. I wish I'd taken the time to do a One Piece, Three Ways sort of post, but I am busy and I need some CONTENT.

Dress, Everlane.
Jeggings, Old Navy (exact - I'm in 8 petite).
Heels, Manolo Blahnik (look for less from F21 - $14!).
Bag, c/o JustFab (comes in a ton of colors!).
Belt, Gap (similar from Old Navy).

More ways to do Dress + Pants (kind of):

with Pants* // with Wide Leg Pants // with Leather Leggings

*Okay I know those are leggings but I swear, I wore that dress with like, skinny ankle pants one time and it was super cute.

Faking Fall :: The Cropped Sweater

The word "cropped" is enough to bring terror into the hearts of many. But as is the case with most trends, there's a way to do the trend that's a little more subtle. Layering a cropped sweater over a longer top is one of my favorite ways to add a little interest to an outfit - and, bonus, it makes an outfit feel decidedly more fall-like for 90* days.

This one's a little tighter than I'd originally hoped (blast this weight gain and the boobs that come along with it!), but it did give me a little bit of an autumn boost on a day that I honestly felt like melting. To make this trend work for you, I'd choose a chunky knit with a bit of an oversized feel (see how I wore this trend during the winter here). Trend officially tackled.

PS - Want to see other ways I've faked fall? Check 'em out here.

Sweater, Forever 21 (similar from boohoo).
Tank, Forever 21 (cute plaid peplum from JCP).
Jeans, The Limited (this year's version).
Bag, Balenciaga (similar from Rebecca Minkoff).
Necklace, BaubleBar (exact).

More cropped sweaters I love: