Thursday, 14 November 2013

Shopping Triple Play - Part Three

Corporate Style

Last weekend, I had so much fun shopping!  First, I went with two sisters who found many pieces and stuck to a budget; next I hit a different location with a petite gal who had amazing success; and last, I went shopping with Joanne to help flesh out her corporate wardrobe for work.  I had the opportunity to meet with Joanne ahead of time to browse through her closet and discuss how to take her "business" wardrobe to "corporate."  This is a relatively uncommon work dress code.  Most of us dwell in the "business casual" realm where cardigans rule and blazers are the exception.  Joanne's strictly corporate work environment presented an interesting challenge: how do you meld your work style with your personal style?!     

To tackle the challenge, I turned to Pinterest, naturally, created a corporate style board and found some great corporate style bloggers - The Classy Cubicle and Capitol Hill Style to name a couple.  These are good references for inspiration for shopping or putting together outfits.  Joanne and I came to the following conclusions to guide our corporate style adventure:
  • always wear hosiery (nothing embellished!)
  • stick to closed-toe shoes
  • replace cardigans with blazers
  • look for structured fabrics rather than knit, cotton or jersey, with the exception of structured ponte knit
  • fake a more structured look by adding a classic belt
This ponte knit dress looked more polished with a patent belt rather than the cloth belt it came with.
  • focus on suit pieces and neutral separates paired with button-up tops or blouses rather than casual cotton tops
  • still utilize the rule of 3, but subtler (i.e., delicate accessories)
  • eye wear becomes part of your look - Clearly Contacts is an affordable option for glasses if you want to have corporate frames and casual frames
  • build a work wardrobe of foundational pieces, "fun" pieces that subtly reflect personal style, and finishing pieces such as a pretty watch or unobtrusive scarf...  
  • Finishing includes those final polishing touches as you get ready, like pulling your hair back neatly and wearing some mascara and lip product.  Little touches go a long way! 
As a general guideline, I suggested limiting the more casual or personal-style elements of the outfit to one in order to maintain an overall corporate look.  For example, if wearing a patterned blouse rather than a button-up, stick to straight-up corporate blazer and bottom with classic pumps.  If wearing hair down in a more casual style, that becomes your "one."  If wearing a coloured pump or more funky shoe, that becomes your "one" and the top should be classic.  If the button-up is a vibrant colour, that becomes your "one."  This guideline gives some flexibility for personal style but some parameters to guide your outfit choices.

With these corporate style tips in mind, I met Joanne to shop up a storm!  Joanne's sister joined us and those ladies are so efficient, I missed many photo ops, but I will report that Joanne looked amazing!  She recently lost 25lbs and is a tidy size 6!  Here are a few of the pieces we found:
The pants need a good hem and press but otherwise were a classic fit in classic gray, 
a nice template for this pretty blouse that can be worn loose or tucked with a belt for added polish!
We loved the elegant detailing of this suit top, but the best part was the price: $7 for both pieces!
Styling up a basic black dress with a contrasting blazer and classic belt.
Joanne can copy this look with any black top and bottom.
This tweed suit fit Joanne like a glove and was also $7!
The pieces can be worn with other blazers/bottoms for better wardrobe mileage!

Joanne selected 38 pieces for $177.00 using a 30% off stamp card including great brands like Louben, Banana Republic, Tabi, Ricki's, Cleo and more.  She got:
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 3 skirts
  • 7 blazers
  • 2 dresses
  • 7 blouses
  • 3 shirts
  • 4 camisoles
  • 6 belts
  • 2 pairs of heels
  • 1 pair of boots
The average cost per piece was $4.66 and the most expensive item was $13.99!
Good corporate haul, Joanne!

Whenever she has the opportunity, she can quickly browse by the suits, dresses, pants and skirts to look for classic structured pieces in her size.  This approach of confining your hunting zone helps to avoid becoming overwhelmed and saves time!  Joanne doesn't love shopping (I don't get it, wink wink) but she now knows that VV Boutique can supply her corporate wardrobe at an unbeatable price!

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