It really helps when trying to decide what skirt or dress to put on during a given day if the weather is beautiful – we’ve had some wonderful warm days in New England, and that makes choosing a dress or skirt that much easier. Fall and Winter weather requires a bit more preparation – especially regarding skirt length and linings or slips, but warm spring and summer days simplify things greatly!
Day 10 was a day I had to go into the office, so it required a bit more polish than the days I work from home. That’s easy to do when you choose classic silhouettes and relatively polished fabrics. You don’t have to retreat to a stuffy suit – though I love wearing suits and find them very versatile – and you don’t have to wear the same things over and over again either. Though I’m only in the office once a week, I take that opportunity to be really intentional about my attire. Making a great first impression is only the first hurdle in creating a positive and polished image – you’ve got to keep the level of polish high in order to avoid an image disconnect that might call your credibility into question.
My outfit for a Wednesday at the office consisted of a black knit maxi skirt, a white knit tee, and a white cocoon-style sweater (very open weave). The high-contrast combination of black and white is very classic and is suitable for a majority of employers. While a more conservative employer might prefer a pencil skirt and a white blouse with a cardigan, and a more avant-garde employer (think fashion, art, music) would feel more comfortable and at ease wearing a very full circle skirt is crisp white cotton with a black pullover and a jet-black denim jacket.
Consider color, fabric and 0rnamentation when choosing your pieces – while black and white do indeed go with nearly everything, which color you wear nearest your face can make a big difference in the overall effect of the outfit.
Day 11 was a work-at-home day, but I ended up going to lunch with a friend in the middle of the day. The weather was so beautiful that I decided to walk, and I wore an embroidered white gauze dress I had purchased from Old Navy (their Mexicali dress) prior to my trip to Arkansas. Gauze is extremely forgiving – it does not show wrinkles much at all (unless they are extreme) and because of the loose weave of the fabric, it can also help to keep you cool and comfortable. My dress had an elasticized waist, embroidery at the neck, and bracelet-length sleeves. I made sure that the dress was lined (essential with lightweight fabrics) and that I also planned ahead and wore compatible-colored undies (white, in this case) to help avoid show-through. Make sure to check your outfit in bright light before leaving the store – you do NOT want to become a fashion mistake on the next bright sunny day!
I paired this pretty dress with a pair of flat white sandals and coordinating jewelry and felt not only cool and comfortable, but very “in season”. It’s important to add a piece or two for each season that harmonizes and coordinates with your existing wardrobe and accessories. I paired this dress with white, but I could just as easily have chosen bronze sandals and earrings (which I already own), or silver earrings and flats (again – things I already own).
This dress can also do double-duty as a swimsuit coverup – it’s long enough you could throw it on at the beach and be ready to go to a casual dinner or out dancing with friends.
Day 12 was happily, the end of the week and time for me to enjoy a special outing with my dear husband. The local arts center, the Norwich Arts Center (formerly the Norwich Arts Council – http://www.norwicharts.org), created a ‘First Friday’ Concert series and my husband and I are big fans.
This particular Friday night, there was a wonderful jazz band and a singer – we had a wonderful time! I decided to step my game up in a slightly different direction for this event. I chose a chocolate brown blazer I’d purchased from New York & Company many months before and paired it with a light coffee-colored blouse I previously purchased from T.J. Maxx. I had also purchased a toffee-colored lace skirt (lined) from T.J. Maxx, but hadn’t worn it because it’s a bit short on me – I am nearly 6 feet tall, so skirt length is important to maintaining my professional polish and my modesty. Of course the skirt was completely lined, but the skirt color is so close to my skin tone it’s tough to tell in low light where the skirt ends and my skin begins.
I finished off my ensemble with a wonderful pair of Luichiny pumps – if you have not yet discovered Luichiny, you MUST look them up! They have the most fabulous shoes – a true haven for shoe lovers everywhere! I have gotten rave reviews whenever I wear their shoes.
The pair I chose for this night were caramel and black striped, with a high platform and heel. Quite comfortable to walk in, despite the height of the shoe – I really enjoyed wearing them, got lots of compliments on them, and even danced a few songs with my hubby in them!
This outfit was accessorized by unique jewelry I had purchased many years ago when first arriving in Connecticut – it’s amber with jet black – an unusual combination. I don’t wear the necklace and earrings often because until recently I was a little uncomfortable wearing such “warm” – golden amber – stones in combination with black. I had succumbed to a bit of color “prejudice” if you will, not wanting to confuse things by wearing warm and cool colors together. It’s one of the things retail stores do that frustrates me to no end. They pair up a lot of warm and cool colors, not realizing that it may cause problems for the ordinary consumer that just walks in and purchases an outfit “off the mannequin” so to speak.
We have a certain amount of trust (and an expectation of expertise) in those who put together store displays – and I’m all in favor of using them for inspiration, but slavishly copying the outfits you see on store mannequins may NOT give you the desired results. Remember that the mannequins don’t care if there are shadows thrown onto their faces, or if the colors placed on them for sale give a negative impression of their body size balance. For them, it simply doesn’t matter.
We, however, are human, and it makes a difference to US. Wearing warmer colors is something I’ve only NOW started doing, and in small doses. The jewelry I’m wearing in this final picture does have gold metal, but it’s not a lot, and it’s not the primary focus of the necklace. The jacket and skirt I’m wearing have a “cooler” temperature to them, being more black /mocha than purely brown. The shoes I’m wearing have the “warmest” color temperature of all, but they are on my feet, not at all near my face, and so no harm, no foul.
All in all, a great few days in the challenge – as we start to wind it down, please let me know if you have questions or just want to talk about YOUR skirt and dress challenge. As you can see, its NOT about buying a lot of additional clothes, but instead, making the most of what you already have, with strategic additions when you find something special or something you really want to try.