Most days my favored mode of dress resembles Uli Herzner's, the runner up of Project Runway 3: no makeup, straight blond hair, and casual relaxed clothes. In fact, I look forward to casual Fridays, because this outfit echoes just what I would wear to work that day.
But there are times when I have to look spot on at the office and represent my company in front of the managers I oversee, or when I travel, which is frequently, or at meetings and conferences. I share Laura Bennett's philosophy: It is better to own a few good pieces than a lot of ill made clothes.
And then there's the problem of finding age-appropriate outfits. I am a tweenie: neither young nor old. However, I am not ready to join Pepto Bismol land. Here's an example of the sack suit that so many of my colleagues deem appropriate after they've had a few children. I don't want to look like my grandmother: I want to look like a vibrant woman who is at her peak of power and femininity, while maintaining a certain authoritative air.
I am also not thin, but neither am I too heavy, which puts me in limbo land as far
as the designers are concerned. And my budget is hugely limited. Which totally puts me in the dog house, since most suits within my budget make me look like a miniature man or a model out of the L.L. Bean Catalogue.
So what's a single girl on the prowl to do? Why, ask her gorgeously clad, perfectly coiffed, ultra smooth and sophisticated friend Marcie for advice. And here is what she said:
1. Look for fit and proportion. The suit on the left will always look dowdy. It just isn't proportioned for fabulousness. The suit on the right (which resembles a recent purchase I made at Marshall's for only $150) looks sexy without being cheap, and authoritative without being Victorian.
2. Look for excellent quality fabric. This suit will never cut it. Beside being blah in color, the fabric has no structure. I would be self-conscious about those puckers once I noticed them and the saggy design. This suit would probably hang in my closet after I'd worn it once.
3. Know what will make you feel good. This outfit is too young and would send out the wrong signals, besides which, it would accentuate my small hips and large waist. I'd be more concerned about my mid section than my monthly presentation. However, on some women and in some office situations, this ensemble would be entirely appropriate.
4. Know your colors! This suit has it all: fabric, fit, color (perfect for a blond with fair skin), and proportion. I would probably get a job if I wore this suit at an interview. And observe the cuffs. Nice touch.
5. Choose incredibly beautiful, well made fabrics. When I saw this vintage designer suit online, my mouth watered. The fabric is similar to something I bought recently. If I'd been able to purchase this suit under $300, I would have. Look at those contrasting cuffs and lapels and the length of the jacket, which would hide a host of figure flaws. Absolutely fabulous.