Summertime can be a hard time to get a work wardrobe to work. There’s something about wearing that third layer over a pant or skirt — such as a swing cardigan, jacket, or vest– that makes one feel dressed for the day and a little more professional in the workplace.
So what do you do when you’re wearing fewer clothes, less layers, going more bare but you still want to look finished, polished, and professional?
That was both the lament and a question from a reader.
Q: “I miss how my wintery jackets, blazers or cardigans always made me feel put together. Now when I’m just wearing a blouse and a pant or a tee shirt and a skirt, I feel underdressed. What should I do?”
A: Wear a strong enough necklace and you’ve virtually created a third piece. Why? Because it’s eye-catching, it is a focal point, it adds interest to “just” a blouse and a pant or a tee and a skirt. Statement necklaces can create a conversation or reveal something about your personality. Stop worrying about buying more clothes. Let your jewelry do the work of “getting dressed” for you.
I love these examples below. These photos were taken in a New York office. Both women were wearing slacks and blouses but they looked so great! I wanted to talk to both of them. Their jewelry gave me a clue that they were thoughtful, interesting people.
And their jewelry was right!
Amy RoseveareJuly 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm
Excellent article–very on point, and I love the photos you included!
BrendaJuly 24, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Thanks, Amy, Miss Jewelry Guru! I know we see jewelry a lot in casual or casual chic ways but I love how professional women weave it into their outfits. These ladies made stripes and polka dots look darn modern and sassy!
Ann Marie RoseJuly 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm
I am a petite woman, and I do not like big gaudy jewelry. Isn’t there any other way to look nice that doesn’t require you to layer on ten pounds worth of gaudy necklaces and bracelets? I’d rather look nice with clothing and a cute hairstyle, age appropriate of course. It would be nice to have someone show suggestions for women over 40 who cannot afford $80 shirts and $250 jeans and $500 shoes. Plus, it would be nice to see fashions for shorter women (I’m a size 6 on the bottom, 4 on the top) which don’t overwhelm or swallow us up and are affordable. I’m tired of wearing my daughters’ American Eagle and Hollister fashions…I’m 44 years old. But I also don’t want to wear evening wear when I’m walking around the grocery store or for a stroll in my neighborhood. Do you have anything that would help? Crisp pants and a silk shirt with 4 inch heels isn’t practical…
BrendaJuly 27, 2015 at 11:15 am
You’re a petite woman, 6 on the bottom, 4 on the top. Actually, I’ve styled a lot of petites and you sound like you have a great shape for clothes! No need for 10 pounds of jewelry for you. I’m hearing you when you want to look nice with clothing and a cute hairstyle. That is a great start. Not sure where you live because that makes such a difference. Location and lifestyle play into our clothing choices. I love the quote by Coco Chanel: “True elegance consists not in having a closet bursting with clothes, but rather in having a few well-chosen numbers in which one feels totally at ease.” You don’t have to follow other people’s looks or rules, just zero in on what gives you pleasure. A great haircut is one of them. Maybe you like to play with specific, memorable color combos? Maybe you center your wardrobe around a good fitting pant? I was with a colleague yesterday who was complaining about not knowing how to dress now and how everything is geared for the young. Yet she was doing some things already that were great. I asked her to name a top five of what she LIKES about her wardrobe. She said, “Maybe I just need more confidence.” I have no way of telling if any of these helps you in any way. It does take focus on style, insistence on good fit and choosing what design elements you want to use in order to dress your best self and be happy about it. I’ll keep you in mind for future posts. (Yeah, I’m not for the four inch heels either! Great in pictures, not good on the feet.)
Sally A.July 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm
It’s currently 105 degrees out here in the Valley, and it’s about 64 degrees in my office. A pendant necklace, however light, is too warm here, so I alternate with either black or white pearl stud earrings and a small pearl pendant on a light silver chain. At work in this heat, I wear a brightly printed skirt–pencil or flippy-hemmed, a dark boat-necked tee, and audacious flat gladiator sandals in either tan or black. Elsewhere, I wear nicely draped sleeveless rayon tops with neatly fitted knee-length shorts, the same sandals, and dangly earrings.
BrendaJuly 31, 2015 at 3:27 pm
Oooh, thanks for this image of you working with that kind of heat. YIKES!!!!! Well, you sound like you’re not looking sweaty, but fashionable instead! Thanks!