Tuesday, October 12, 2010


And no I don't mean my abdomen.  Although if donuts keep swirling 'round my gluten-free mind you just might find me under the wheel of the gluten wagon at Le Donut say around, oh, 3am right smack on the dot when Mr. Le Donut let's the glazed cinnamon twists out of the glaze.  Not that I'd know anything about that or anything.  Ahh the good old days last week.

Rather, what I am referring to in this case dear friends is the neeeeeeed for appropriate staples in the wardrobe.  Now before you run off or slip into a coma (if you're even remotely like me the words "wardrobe" and "staples" cause inevitable head nodding) just bear with me a moment as I feel your pain and share a tale that occurred yesterday.  I had a meeting that required me to leave the house (work required rarity) - and before 10am.  This is a red alert in Carrie-land.  I am not a morning person.  As a matter of fact my mind does not even function properly until 10:30 or 11am - it must be in the DNA because I've been this way since birth.  In addition to this early morning allergy - I don't own a suit (waves victory flag!).  Even the word makes me break out in a hive.  For 8 years I have consulted with one of the most fancy-shmancy retained executive search firms in all the land and successfully avoided the suit.  You don't understand dear people...this feat requires the attention of Guinness Book.  I am the last of a dying breed - a population of one.  How have I done this you ask?  With craft and skill and diversionary prowess, friends.  Last week I feared my city of "Hell No To Suits - Population 1" may have been on the verge of extinction when I (was coerced into) agreed to meet the President of a company.  For one entire day I fretted and sweated the possibility of having to purchase the suit ixnay.  But victory was mine when I dove into my closet with fierce determination and came out with a slough of basics that resulted in a brilliant outfit that in no way, shape or form said "I belong to 'the man' " (one of my biggest fears ever).  And so I say to you fine women - incorporate at least these simple staples into your wardrobe and you too will be victorious.

I remember one of my most fave clients ever advising me to
invest in this magnificent staple.  She was and is brilliant.
At first you cringe, but then you wear it with skinny minnie
poplin stretch pants and loafers on an "off day" and realize you're still cool.
Or the Ludlow Jacket from J.Crew is a great alternative, too.
This way you provide the "illusion" of the suit, but never actually 
don the pants.  
Instead opting for dark colored skinny denim.  
Black or midnight blue is best so as to remain professional, but 
also still have casual ways to get full use of the pants
and not relegate them to that icky part of the closet known as "work clothes"
Here is where the fun really begins.  
Invest in a good pair of black knee high boots and a pair of heels.
If there is one thing I have learned in consulting 
it is that hair, skin, nails, shoes and bags speak volumes.  
If you are well-groomed, carrying a chic handbag and 
wearing a killer shoe - they won't even remember your non-suit.
But they will always recall "those shoes" and "that bag".
 The bag.  I actually first bought this bag in brown and because 
it was so amazing later picked it up in black as well.  
They do go on sale so keep watch vigilantly.
I've had mine for 3 or 4 years and they are my go-to bags.
Client meetings - yes, but also for daily living.
And let us not forget the statement necklace.
Sometimes you may opt for a cashmere shell or silk camisole in place of 
that woven.  In this instance especially the statement necklace will keep
the outfit from being too casual thereby masking the lack of woven.

I would also sing the praises of all of J.Crew's cashmere in photos right now, 
except their server seems to be blocking this at present.
All I can say is you will never go wrong investing in cashmere - 
especially when it is on sale.  It lasts forever and never stops being classy.

Now don't get me wrong - a beautiful suit is a treasured thing to own, but I don't have $1500 lying around to get one I want (and then several more so I can wear daily if need be).  Instead I have been very successful for several years meeting company heads who didn't bat an eye at my non-suit provided I was still dressed polished and professionally in basics.  What did I wear today, you ask? J.Crew Black Boyfriend Blazer - sleeves rolled displaying pinstriped lining, charcoal grey Vince silk camisole, Gorjana 'Tree of Life' necklace, J.Crew skinny denim, Banana Republic Black leather knee-high boot, Foley + Corinna Mid-City Tote in black, hair pulled back in sleek low ponytail.

I would've taken a picture, but it was early and I couldn't really see straight.  And by the time I got home I had to work and then quickly turn around to leave for evening class.   There wasn't even time to read your blogs.  Monday.  But today's a new day.  Yay for Tuesday!! Is it Friday tomorrow?


Poppies and Sunshine said...

I love these staples you have chosen. Yay for skinny jeans. Love those! I like how dark ones can be professional looking. I will never wear a suit...ever! So I agree with all of these things. You can definitely look professional without a suit!

annelise said...

Yuck, suits. I have to wear one for work but it's only one day a week so I suck it up and get on with it. I hate the formality of it though.

The man! The man can suck it.

Collette Osuna said...

I agree...you cant go wrong with these pieces...for sure:)

Statements in Fashion Blog♥

c.w.f.h.l. said...

great picks Carrie!!

Diana Mieczan said...

I so wish it would be Friday tomorrow...sweetie...hahaha
Those pieces are perfect...and I agree you cant go wrong with any of them:)...Now I need to get that bag:)

LyddieGal said...

I know how you feel about mornings, and I'd much rather wear separates than a suit any day. Not that I'm opposed to suits, just that I haven found one that feels like me.
But give me a boyfriend blazer and some killer boots and I'm a happy gal.

Chas said...

Great picks! I love that Foley + Corinna bag, been lusting over it for a while now.

Closet Fashionista said...

Oooh those are indeed great basics!! I haven't had to wear a suite yet either, but I'm only a few months out of college XDXD

Krystal said...

I want to see this outfit!!!!
And I'm with you on not being a morning person. i can't really talk to people without being annoyed with them for like 2 hours after I wake up.

Anna Jane said...

haha i have a suit allergy, too! when i was interviewing for finance jobs in college, i refused to buy a suit and just wore an oxford with a pencil skirt. i look very bad in suits and finally bought one because i HAD to for a business class in college and i ended up giving it to my sister.

i want to see your outfit!
xx aj

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

i have the foley bag in tie dye :o) .. and i have a few blazers but i swear i think i look like a football player in them :o( ..

PS PASS IT ON --> GIVE-AWAY going on – 2 necklaces = 2 winners .. LAST day to ENTER!!!

~Join Necklace Give-Away Here~

*kiss kiss*
Erika @ ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Lisa Griffin said...

Thank you so much for this post! i am continually being told by some ppl that i need a suit, but it is just soo NOT me! I also like a skinny black textured pant if denim is just not an option, or charcoal grey. what classes do you take?

Cara said...

Love your picks doll! I love to throw on a blazer with skinny jeans...so chic

FortyNotOut said...

Gorgeous pieces and you are so right...it's about looking polished and together. Although I could bang on about staples all day.. in fact I frequently do! xx

Taylor said...

I am sure you looked amazing, I too agree suits stink!! I had to wear a suit EVERYDAY for a job I had a few yrs ago...It was impossible to find anything remotely decent on a tiny non-woman frame. I stuck to basics just like this slacks and blazers...only finding one suit that fit halfway decent from the limited. It is in the back of the closet covered in dust I'm sure...for those just in case days!

PS I wish it was Friday too!

kirstyb said...

LOVE the boots xxxx

Miss Caitlin S. said...

really great points and you're so right, those are masculine-feminine staples that women SHOULD own! I was jonesing for a picture of you thoug hat the bottom! :) I like how you slowly put this outfit together because I could picture it all coming into one menswear sensation!

Anonymous said...

I don't own a suit and never buy an entire outfit made to go together. I like to mix things up.
I do own a black jacket, white blouse and sharkskin denim suit jacket so I feel safe, although I never meet with anyone important. ;-)

Jamie said...

I confess I do not own a suit either. I would much rather put together separates that look sophisticated chic. Love what you chose!


PS. Did you get my email?

Anonymous said...

I commend you for not owning a suit and your outfit sounds fabulous. I would comment more but this day started sucking at 6am, Ive had to take an anti nausea pill, and I think I'm passing out at the computer. It had better be Friday, like now, because I swear this week is trying to kill me. And it's not taking me out fast enough.

Nikki said...

Carrie, you always make me laugh out loud!
I love this post and your personal experience. I am ALL about finding alternative ways to look professional. I think I would have an exorcist-like reaction if I ever wore a suit.


ruthy ann said...

after many years of suit wearing i'm SO glad to not have to wear one....i love your suggestions...so much better and so much more feminine...and so much more me!

Claire Kiefer said...

High five to you for pulling off denim at the meeting! I'm one of the lucky ones who has never had a job that requires a suit (thank GOD, as I am not even a blazer type of girl!!). I still wear dresses to work every day (though I don't HAVE to), but I wouldn't even know where to BEGIN if I had to buy a dang suit!!

Bren said...

Omg Carrie...I hate mornings too, and try not to talk before at least 10:30! (with the exception of my cats, because they don't care if I mumble and don't make sense) The tough part is that my job FORCES me to get up at the butt-crack of dawn! I'm sort of use to it, but still hate it every day!

I don't own a suit either, as most of my days (work included) are spent in cotton dresses or leggings and a tee. And, I wear my havaiana's more days than I care to admit! Once the weather gets a little colder, it'll appear that I've stepped up my work wardrobe, when actually I've just traded my flip flops for boots, and thrown on a jacket. Exciting right?! :)

Happy Tuesday!

Bren @ Chasing Beauty

Connie @ SogniESorrisi said...

I think you're so right. If you have the right staples you don't need actual suits.

Dancing Branflake said...

It's like Carrie vs Corporate America! I love haring about it though and how you have come out victorious! Great writer!

Jen said...

I'm still looking for that perfect blazer... oh how I want one bad!! Love the one you have pictured tho. Can you send me one in a size Medium? ;-)

Valerie said...

I love this post, Carrie. I have a whole closet full of "work clothes" and even if I loved the items when I bought them, once I start wearing them to work, they stop looking cute to me and fall into that dreaded category. I do own a few dreaded suits, but try my best only to wear them when it's absolutely necessary. Thank goodness you didn't have to break the wallet restriction to get one! Your outfit sounds way cuter and more chic. What class are you taking??


la petite coquine said...

Is it Friday tomorrow indeed! Your staple picks look a whole lot like mine, although I do confess to owning one suit. One ridiculous, poppy houndstooth skirt suit, with a riding length jacket and a pleated skirt. It's so loud you could never wear it together, so I'm saved from actually being the girl in the crazy suit!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Totally agree, staple items are a must. So why don't I have most of them?! Hehe!

I've been looking for the right boyfriend blazer for some time now, sounds olike yours is perfect!

Daisy said...

great advice. I guess I don't own a real suit either! I have H&M to thank!

Alicia said...

Yes professional staples are always a must! Your never know when you will need to pull together a semi-professional look. I have 2 suits yet only wear them on occasion and actually prefer NOT to wear them, but opt for pencil skirts or black pants and fancy blouse.

But seriously Carrie, when do you find time to blog?!!!

Jessica said...

Carrie, I love all of your staples! I'm addicted to dark skinnies, blazers and boots!

Taj Acosta said...

These are definitely must have pieces in every woman's closet. That bag is super cute too! xoxo

fashion clocked said...

hey beauty- this is hillarious I am so not a morning person either- I am sure a look of pure disdain crosses my face when someone mentions they were up at 6am for a 'run' before work.... who would do such a thing. Bypassing the suit is certainly a triumph, apart from one I acquired for a promotion event ( I worked for a spell aged 20 both modelling and promoting) I have never been there since. Phew I guess Harley Davidsons image doesn't encompass a suit. Love your choices- so chic and classic. I think the dior homme suits are pretty incredible.. but I guess my wallet or shape disagree... Freja beha on the otherhand - whole different story. Hope you are well - totally understand the craving something we just can't eat issue. Katie.

fashion clocked

Nell said...

I love the boyfriend blazer. It's very cool. I'm very thankful i don't have to wear a suit for work. I get away with wearing my converse, thank goodness! x

Catita said...

I am in love with the bag! You are so lucky to have it in 2 colors!

hip hip gin gin said...

The phrase "early morning allergy" had me cracking up! I may have to start using it because I am the exact same way. Love that you won't submit to the suit!

Marie a la Mode said...

I work in an office (although I wish I had a job where I could work at home, like you!) but have never had to wear a suit thank goodness! I get away with dress pants or a skirt paired with a nice blazer bit that's only on special occasions and against my will.

Jess said...

I avoid suits at all cost, too! Too boring for me - and uncomfortable, too.
And by the way - that bag is perfection. I want!

OneCraftyFox said...

I just got myself an awesome boyfriend blazer a few weeks ago (well, it's tapered though, so not sure if it's still considered to be the same thing... but anyhow...) and I LOVE it!!

Congrats on your Anthropolgie CG win over at Debby's blog!! You lucky girl ;)

MarchMusings said...

I'm not too fond of the typical suit either and almost never have to wear one. I think people are more open now to smart dressing rather than just donning a suit and looking sad in it!

Smiling is Good for your Teeth said...

I am a new follower from La Mia Vita! I love the blouse in the first picture! Super cute!! And those dark jeans! Very cute!



I'm so with you! Yuck to suits! And luckily I work in a creative environment so I never have to wear them :) You've listed many of my staples including the Foley & Corinna bag! I have it in black and a brushed gold :)

Bella @Bellgetsreal said...

I love all your picks. I agree that grooming is key and the right boot or shoe will speak volume.

Congrat on the giftcard giveaway. woohoo

Josie said...

Haha, oh, Carrie, I'm not a morning person either -- in the slightest. And as much as I can appreciate a beautiful suit, I certainly don't need one at this point and would much rather invest in gorgeous pieces like these anyhow!
xo Josie

Hazel Williams said...

Just discovered your blog and I think I'm in looovvveeee!! This post was a great example of excellent writing and humour with FABULOUS style, I can't wait to be coming back for more!!

:) Hazel

just a girl said...

All fantastic choices, for sure. And I am dying for that bag!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

I don't mean to be a bitch but next time you want to use an image of me in my skinny jeans can you please ask permission and link back- thanks-

this free bird said...

Ren - AHAHAHAHAHA!! girl i love you!!

ryan said...

I couldn't have said it better! I hate to feel look like I am working for the man, and I hate suits! The dark skinny jeans are a great alternative, and I agree on the hair, skin, bag, shoes, nails. However, suits can be sexy on a guy in my opinion

Zabrinah said...

You're such a fabulously funny writer! I've really missed reading your blog! At least, now I have time to catch up!

And your tips are priceless!

I need me a pair of black knee high boots PRONTO!

Take care, my dear!



Lisa - respect the shoes said...

Is it not weird that we're all always told that the white shirt is like our must-have basic and practically none of us have a plain white shirt? What does that mean - do we think it's TOO easy?

I just bought my second white shirt ever a few weeks ago - and sure enough, I've never reached for it!

Mimi said...

i do need all those too! haha, love these picks! and yeah, it totally feels like it's friday tomorrow! :O

<3, Mimi

Style Attic said...

I saw that you won the Anthro gold, I mean gift card!! I commented that you would put it to better use than anyone I could think of :)

Love your modern and real take on the impressionism pieces! I will pay more attention to the shoes, bag and necklace...shoes, bag and necklace...shoes, bag and necklace...carrie said, carrie said, carries said :)



S.I.F. said...

My black boots are my favorite piece of clothing by far! I swear, I can be dirty and scrubby and if I put those things on; I feel sexy!

Brunch at Saks said...

I love the blazer and that necklace is gorgeous! xoxo

Taylor said...

Ahh, you are not alone in your fear of owning a suit. The thought of wearing a suit makes me cringe! Even if it were a Chanel tweed suit. I don't like the idea of matching separates.

But I LOVE my basic white button down. I wear it constantly. I'm trying to invest in some basic pieces too, right now. That boyfriend blazer you posted is perfect.

Ms Sublime said...

hellooooo! I have so much reading and writing to do. How are you? This is what I've been talking about all week! Thanks for articulating it so well as always...very sound advice, I too own not a suit but separates which are staples! xx

Anonymous said...

That is pretty cool that you don't own any suits. I have loads just sitting around in my wardrobe from when I used to work in a boring office... I used to love suits but I'd definitely prefer to rock the basics these days!

heather yalin said...

Hahah! I love your non-suitness! Not an easy feat indeed. I am SOOO certain you look much more professional and hip and just all around better than just about any suit. Because, girl, you have style!

Ashleigh said...

'Hell No To Suits - Population 1' - You crack me up!! What an accomplishment, wow girl! I used to be ok with suits but in the last few years am just so anti...I ended up going with a tailored dress lately so I wouldn't have to deal. I love your pseudo-suit! And OMG the bag!!!

style'n said...

ha ha love this post and just love you thinking about loud! I also don't wear suits much anymore. I prefer mixing and matching my outfits for work and actually I find dresses to be the easiest these days. No thinking required!!

christine, just bella said...

I love this post! The classic white button is the perfect staple! and even one from Banana Republic that is "no-iron" and it's the BEST.


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