Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Reader Request: Back to School for Working Professionals

After gorging on amazing foods and taking in the breathtaking sites and history in Europe, I'm finally back to my regular routine.  I will definitely blog more about my European adventures in later posts, including the few stand out fashion dos (and some don'ts) I saw all over Rome, Florence and Munich!

But swinging back into the reality of things I wanted to address a reader request from last month.  This one was submitted by my sister who's been a working professional for years but is always striving to improve upon her skills and learn something new.  This fall she's taking a class at Columbia University and asked me about what to wear to school for people who've already been out of school for years and are going back. This is a bit tricky because school, whether it be your primary education from grades K-12 or college, has its own style rules.  What I see high school kids to wear these days is not what I'd recommend myself to try because I'd basically look like a 30+ year old woman trying to look like I'm 15!  Besides they do look an awful lot like they're wearing some of the things I wore in my high school days anyway! Trends are cyclical... Pass it on!   Another thing to think about is when you're so used to dressing for work every day, you don't want to dress that professionally for a class but also you don't want to dress too young or too casual.  Especially if the class is one for people who, like yourself, have worked for a while and are taking more classes to learn new skills.  But there is definitely a happy medium out there so don't give up yet!

As you can see below, I put together two really cute fall looks for this very particular style group.  I think you can still do the cute casual thing really well but look a bit more adult going to class -- as opposed to copying what you see on MTV!

The look on the left I absolutely love because the jeans are colored, skinny and very now!  Instead of just a regular tee, which would also compliment this look, I decided to plug in a cute, casual blouse and pair the whole outfit with studded flats to keep it hip and comfortable.  Adding in the  wrap sweater and some cute accessories keeps the looks cozy and polished without putting too much effort into it! I'd definitely wear this look on a weekend jaunt to the grocery store or something! How adorable are those earrings??

The second look is just so stylish and cute I can't help wanting to go buy something like it myself!  I love the polka dot sweater -- polka dots are still big this fall/winter season.  Pairing this with a colorful, longer and swishy (technical term) skirt and some knee-high wedge boots will have you standing out in a good way.  A pair of simple stud earrings and gold bracelets finishes off this look which, again, looks comfortable, stylish and polished.

Pairing either outfit with the quilted tote pictured below or a similar cute tote, as opposed to a backpack or messenger bag, will really put the "spit and shine" into any look so that even a drill sergeant couldn't find something complain about.

It's the polished look you really want to pull off to make this a more appropriate look for a working professional going back to take classes.  I'm definitely not saying appropriate as an analogy for old by any means, but this type of a look is appropriate because it's youthful enough without making you look like you're trying to be a college kid again.  I'll tell you, when I was in college, I don't think I wore any jewelry aside from a cuff here and a necklace or earrings there and jeans paired with a tee and/or hoodie was a standard outfit for most people.  Having moved on and up in the world, I've learned the benefit of being polished which highlights anyone's inner fabulousness!  Work it out girl!

I hope my sis likes these!  I can see her looking cute in a million things but I think she'd really stand out in looks similar to the ones below. 

Back to School for Working Professionals

Asymmetrical top

French Connection silk shirt

Alice Olivia polka dot top


J Crew j crew

Flat shoes

Kate spade tote

Plastic jewelry


Kate Spade clip on earrings

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