It’s Business Time

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Friends, countrymen: As I mentioned in a post this summer, I have an office job! We’re all student employees, so, baby steps, but the department is cracking down on professional, “business casual” dress. It’s been a while since I’ve done a style post (and it’ll be a while before I do another (mama put on that post-wedding weight), but faithful followers know how I dress. I’m basically a spokeswoman for Madewell. Ripped jeans are my life. I own one blazer.

Luckily, my mom was game to take me shopping for a few office-appropriate dresses to tide me over. But I’m viewing this new dress code as an opportunity to overhaul my entire wardrobe. Since I’m officially going gray (more on that later), I should probably own more than slogan tees. Unfortunately, guidelines about women’s business casual are pretty vague, and range anywhere from “don’t be a slob” to “buy a bunch of skirt suits”. The only resource I’ve found so far that’s been remotely helpful is this list. Refinery 29 also put out a list, but it’s a bit high fashion for working in public schools. Like, I’m not getting away with a silk jumpsuit.

Here’s the thing: there is no such thing as a set business casual dress code for women. For men, it’s shockingly simple—a polo or button-down over khakis. Done. It’s industry standard. But women*, whose wardrobes tend to be more diverse (let’s change that, though #teamromphim), have a lot more at stake, both because of the uncertainty of what’s appropriate and because of the general lack of understanding of men*, colleagues and bosses. Additionally, every workplace is completely different, and some are far more conservative than others. Suddenly, skirt length and neckline depth come into play.

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i obviously play pretty fast-and-loose with the rules (this was my halloween costume tbh). top is oui fresh, bottoms are madewell

So, here are a few of my tried-and-true favorite pieces and combinations to help ease you into adulting!

High-Necked Dresses

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this loft sweater dress is a dream!

The high-necked dress can’t fail. Conservative, stylish, and diverse, this is the #1 best option for women in the workplace, imo.

Tips: avoid strapless or spaghetti-strap looks, keep the hemline close to the knee

This Madewell sweater dress is #goals.

This JCrew stunner is on my wishlist.

Living for this cobalt blue number.

Blazer/Tank/Jeans

A casual/cool riff on the suit, this look is easy and super stylish. Make sure your jeans are a dark wash, and that the tank isn’t too revealing!

This tank, with these jeans and this blazer would be adorable!

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Bodysuit & Midi-Skirt

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this look is killer

To tuck or not to tuck—that is the question. Tucking in shirts is a terrible curse. I honestly don’t know how guys do it every day. Inevitably, you get fabric-bunch and spend the entire day stealthily readjusting to avoid lumps and bumps. Plus, if your top’s not long enough, it falls out constantly. Enter, my great love, the bodysuit. Goodbye, lumps! The bodysuit’s design keeps your top looking sleek and in place all day. Pair it with a midi-skirt for maximum cuteness.

Tip: Tall girls—size up! Bodysuit proportions are definitely made for the vertically-challenged. I’m a size S/M and I always order a large for a flawless fit. #longtorsoproblems

Madewell’s body suits are bar none the best.

This skirt is too good. Loft sure knows how to make a skirt!

Classic Blouse (or sweater!) & Trousers

How can you possibly go wrong with this combo? Bonus points for high-waisted pants with tucked-in shirttails!

This blouse from the Who What Wear line at Target would look amazing with some cream or khaki pants!

Or this sweater and these pants? *faints*

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But what about SHOES?!

This is still an area I struggle with. I’ve spent years putting together a dope sneaker collection, and now all my sweet kicks are collecting dust. I tend to fall back on the same few pairs over and over again, but I’m trying to vary my shoe game.

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Strappy Sandals

These are perfect for summer! Avoid super-high heels, since comfort is the main objective. My tip is to invest in one super nice pair that you can wear to events and one everyday pair that looks nice but is secretly cheap enough to replace after a long summer. Get one black pair and one saddle—you’ll thank me.

Here’s your cheapo pair!

And here’s your splurge! Seychelles makes the best sandals ever.

Flats

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ella pump evangelist, party of one

Flats, or shoes with a small heel (less than 2″) are great for sedentary jobs. Opt for a leather/pleather or suede finish for ultimate polish.

These Madewell pumps are the comfiest heels ever. I’m wearing them in the pic above.

These are the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

These are absurdly cheap and very comfortable.

Loafers

Loafers, oxfords, or (nice) moccasins are a super comfy way to class up an outfit.

These are snazzy and would go with everything.

These are the actual cutest (and they come in pink!)

Boots

I’m in Massachusetts where the weather has the potential to be terrible during any season, so boots are a wardrobe must. Make sure you have at least one black and one brown pair. Also, peep toes are awesome for the early fall!

This quilted look is adorbs!

I own boots similar to these (same brand), and they are comfy, chic, and go with everything.

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Office environments vary, but I guarantee if you’re in a relatively chill field like higher ed, this will help you conquer the first-job what-the-hell-do-I-wear?! blues. Just don’t forget your BOSS necklace!

 

 

*It should be noted that when I write “men” or “women” I refer to all those who identify as such and am not trying to enforce an outdated gender-binary system. Biology ≠ gender.

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Wishlist Wednesday

Alright, it’s Thursday. Get off my back! As that garbage Christina Perry song goes, “I’m Only Human”!

Now that I’m (officially) on track to be a broke grad student, I can’t shop with the reckless abandon that I have been lately. I’ve long been a practitioner of retail therapy, but it might be time to hang up my hat. I don’t think I’ll ever truly free myself from the shackles of capitalism, but it can’t hurt to window-shop…right?

With that in mind, here’s some of my current wishlist!

RINGLY

I heard about RINGLY a few years back, but stumbled upon the company again while I was whiling away the hours on Amazon recently (a dangerous pastime, I know).

Side note: I am NOT responsible enough to have discounted Student Amazon Prime. Last night I bought 11 nose rings, a magnet, and a retro kitchen timer. O brave new world, with such gadgets in it!

But anyway, despite the fact that I cannot justify spending $165 on a ring that does not a. contain diamonds or b. alert the world to my marital status, I still want one so badly! They’re so pretty, and I’m dying to find an excuse to disconnect from my phone for a while. First Date, Daydream, or Dive Bar would all be perfect complements to any outfit. The bracelets, which I believe are a newer addition, are just as adorable, and way more fashion-forward than the FitBit I’ve been rocking. And I do have a birthday coming up in August…

All of the Lights, All of the Lights!

I’ve recently been tasked with a joyous assignment—picking out a new light fixture for my husband’s office! After years of waiting for this to be “his idea” he finally asked me to upgrade his situation, and I am only too happy to comply. As you may or may not know, I have a mild obsession with light fixtures, but have never had the budget to swap out all the ceiling lights in my house (saving that for home ownership, bby!)

To get an idea of my true style, check these babies from Anthropologie: Brass-Capped Spinning Pendant, Villier Chandelier, Anchored Ord Chandelier. As indulgent as my husband often is in my flights of fancy, there is no way in Hell that he’ll let me spend a grand of his $$$ on a light, so here are some far more reasonable options I’m going to throw at him.

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Bell White Flush Mount Lamp, CB2
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Alchemist Pendant in Gold, Anthropologie
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Mid Century Sputnik in Modern Brass, Lucent Lightshop

S’cute!

Madewell Denim

I’ve only ever snagged Madewell denim on sale, but in my aspirational life where I have upwards of $120 to spend on a single pair of jeans, I will live in it. The few pieces I own are the most beautiful, buttery-soft, perfect jeans known to man. Fun fact: I actually like my Madewells over my Citizens of Humanity, so, do with that information what you will.

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this triptych of denim perfection is literally what I imagine Paris looks like

Gimme all the pairs! The fit of Madewell pants is actual perfection. The same can’t be said about sister brand, J.Crew, unfortunately, or at least not for me and my disproportionately massive butt. I don’t know if it’s vanity sizing or what, but stepping into a pair of Madewells is like the Sisterhood of the damn Traveling Pants. Booty for days.

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I’m also super-feeling the wide-leg trend. I guess all these years of reading Man Repeller has finally gotten to me. I resisted wide-legs for years because I assumed they’d make me look, well, wider. I was wrong, bbs! I have this amazing velvet pair of cropped flares and pair similar to this gorgeous J.Crew pair and they are serving me LIFE on a silver platter.

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These are just a few selections from the abandoned shopping carts that I have littered the internet with lately. What have you been salivating over lately?

—DellaBites

 

Fourth of July

So, from the title, you probably think that I’m going to link you to a Sufjan Stevens song, right? (You guys are probably going to think I only bought 1 album this year. My bank account says/weeps otherwise.)

We celebrated the Fourth of July in style, graciously hosted by the family of my fiancé’s dear friends. I had never been down to Manomet before. I didn’t even realize Plymouth was that beachy of a town. I’m so bad at being from Massachusetts.

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We asked a friend of ours to catch some beach/engagement snaps. Not a single one turned out decent but the bloopers are pretty hilarious.

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This is legitimately more of an accurate depiction of our relationship than any of the staged photos.
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sweatshirt/Madewell, jeans/Banana Republic, sneakers/Keds

On Sunday, the day after we arrived, Fig had a gig in Hyannis at an outdoor music festival. I wish I could say I actually listened to them play, but I met his drummer’s wife (aka the most interesting person alive). Nothing pleases me more than meeting older (as in, older than my mere 23/4) women that have achieved great things in their lives. This woman is a historian with a PhD whose father is a medievalist and who can sew period clothing (as in, potentially, a 1930s-style wedding gown for me). That doesn’t even begin to describe her merits. It was 100% worth the hideous 2 hours we got stuck in traffic on the way back to meet this amazing human being.

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Things are just prettier down the Cape.

hyannis 2Hyannis was such a cute town. As a native Bostonian who has spent 0 time down the Cape, it was refreshing to see such quaintness as the south of Massachusetts boasts.

My dad and I got crêpes! It was kind of a perfect morning,
My dad and I got crêpes! It was kind of a perfect morning,

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I didn't know there was a JFK Museum in Hyannis! I wish we could have stayed to tour it.
I didn’t know there was a JFK Museum in Hyannis! I wish we could have stayed to tour it.

My fiancé is not one for the beach, so my dad (who had faithfully shown up for the gig) and I took a cooler of Millers down the beach and got our ocean on. I got what amounts to about half a sunburn (while wearing organic SPF 50 baby sunscreen), and jumped in the Atlantic for the first time since 2013. I’m so lucky to call my father one of my best friends. We actually just got back from having drinks with my newly 22-year-old baby brother. It was so great to have a relaxing beach day. Although relaxing apparently took a lot out of me—I slept like 14 hours Sunday-Monday night!)

I dutifully returned to work after our truncated (but amazing) weekend on the coast. My store marked down a bunch of Tahari sample sized dresses down to $12.95 as a July 4th special, so of course I had to try on about a thousand of them. Unfortunately (or…fortunately?) at size 6, most of them were hilariously huge on me. I’m still buying a royal blue jumpsuit though, and having it altered. I mean, c’mon, $12.95 plus my employee discount??

I mostly picked out white dresses (because REASONS!) and I landed on one that actually fit me. I texted my fiancé this picture with the caption, “$9 wedding dress? Probably.” Needless to say, he was down. We’re obsessed with the environment/fighting the wedding industrial complex, so any frugality is a plus.

dress 1dress 2The dress probably looks wacky because it’s super sheer, but it’s nothing a slip or shapewear couldn’t fix!

I have Friday off from work, so I’m going to try to commit to an honest-to-goodness recipe post and actually see the mission of this blog through. But for now, here’s a My Morning Jacket tune that rules! I haven’t been able to stop listening to this album. It makes me wish I’d gotten on the MMJ wagon a long time ago!

Life-Swap

I took a few half-days at work this month so that I could take a night class. I have just enough time in between to drive home, eat lunch, and change before heading back out on the road.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, my dress code at work (which I must admit is pretty permissive compared to other dress codes I’ve had to observe) is primarily black, so on “school days” I do a mid-day outfit switch so that my pasty skin can soak up some Vitamin D. I’m for-reals medically deficient, so it’s been a balancing act between getting adequate sun exposure and practicing “safe sun.” And playing in the sun is a lot more fun than swallowing the bright green horse-pill supplement that I have to take.

So grateful to have a big wooden porch this summer.
So grateful to have a big wooden porch this summer.

I noticed a funny thing when I looked at these photos this evening. Both my work-appropriate outfit and my life outfit today featured Madewell & Keds. Where’s my endorsement deal, universe? I could totally be a spokeswoman for tiny adorable sneakers. I’m almost 5’8″, so flats and sneaks are more of a way of life than a fashion choice. #tallgirlproblems, right?

The rest of my evening will be spent finishing off last night’s Vinho Verde, watching Orange Is The New Black instead of working on my research, and then eventually capitulating to my education, making an irresponsible cup of night coffee, and sucking it up. Schoolwork can be tedious, but that minor annoyance is exponentially exacerbated by procrastination, something at which I excel. Here’s hoping I get inspired by the feminist muses to thoughtfully analyze elegiac poetry!

I'm not really sure what my mouth is doing here, but when your curl game is strong, you gotta to document that shit.
I’m not really sure what my mouth is doing here, but when your curl game is strong, you gotta to document that shit.

top/Madewell, shorts/Banana Republic, shoes/Keds, bag/Kelsi Dagger BK, sunnies/vintage (aka the ones I wear in every picture), earrings/Kate Spade