Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reader Request: What to Wear Under that Suit?

A friend and one of my three loyal readers posed a question to me last week when she had to wear a suit into the office.

Do you have any ideas for good shells to wear under a suit?

With our office being business casual except for a few higher positions, there are a few occasions where people wear suits.  One is when you're interviewing.  Another is when you're receiving some reward or honor.  And a third, more common use is when a person holds hearings (yes we're lawyers and judges here... an all too common profession in DC), which is what my friend had been doing when she asked me about shells to wear under a suit.  Being that her laundry basket was full, finding something to wear under that suit was more difficult that day.  In light of her question though, I got to working on a Polyvore collage that incorporates a variety of options to wear under a suit, from button down blouses to sleeveless shells.  Can you believe all the effort to dress for something that only shows a triangle of fabric under that suit jacket?  More importantly though, is that when you take the jacket off (which I like to do when I'm just sitting at my desk or walking around outside) you still want to look professional.  Depending on your office, the type of shell you wear may make a difference.  While I believe a sleeveless shell is OK at our office, I always try to opt for a cap sleeve or longer just in case I still need to remain more professional when I take the jacket off.  Even with sleeveless tops and dresses, I always advise one to carry a blazer or cardigan or something to cover the shoulders if necessary.  You just never know!

Anyhoo, that being said, let's move onto to fun part!  Below are some great shells I found in varying price points and which range from being available at H&M, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to some online only options from  Modcloth, Dorothy Perkins (stores are only in the U.K.) and Karen Millen.  Even if you can't buy the exact same thing online, know there are a variety of options in stores right near you.  As you can see below, peplum tops are huge and making it into mainstream stores like Ann Taylor and I'm still loving them all the same  Clearly that $600 Vivian Westwood top is an "only in my dreams" kind of thing, but I thought I'd include it anyway because the shape and style is great and there are similar, though not exactly alike, styles out there. Also, needless to say, that Karen Millen floral top appears to be sheer so a camisole which covers your bra straps underneath anything sheer is always a must!

I hope this helps serve as a guide to the ever elusive women's work wardrobe!

What to Wear Under that Suit?

Banana Republic draped top

Banana republic shirt

Banana Republic sleeveless tank top

Kaliko jersey top
$46 -

Hoss Intropia summer shirt
$80 -

Ann Taylor floral top

People Tree polka dot shirt
$22 -

A Wear polka dot shirt
$48 -

H M woven shirt
$24 -

Karen Millen floral blouse

Vivienne Westwood silk top
$600 -

Cap sleeve blouse
$29 -

Coach navy blue shirt

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