business casual: lace skirt and chambray

I’m leaving for my legal conference this morning (right after my eyebrow waxing, priorities yo) so I snapped some quick pics on my deck before you’ll be forced to see OOTD’s from horrible hotel lighting.  I also wanted to catch the last few rays of sunshine that I’ll be seeing for the next three days.  Not only is the conference in a hotel, but it’s in a windowless and smoke filled casino. Woe is me (sarcasm font).

Skirt: Forever 21 // Chambray: Old Navy // Cardigan: J.Crew // Belt: J.Crew // Necklace: Forever 21 // Bracelets: Forever 21 // Wedges: Payless

Am I the only one who hates the smell of casinos?

what to wear to a professional convention

Tomorrow I’m headed out to Atlantic City for the New Jersey State Bar Association annual convention.  I started attending legal conventions last year and this one will be my third (my fourth will be in San Francisco for the American Bar Association in August!).  Conventions and professional conferences are great for networking for business contacts, future employment, and for making friends.  You never know who you’ll meet!  I met one of my best friends in New Jersey at last years NJ convention and the people I went skiing with when I tore my ACL are friend I met at conference in Nashville!  
For my first convention I had no idea where to start with packing:  Would I need to wear a full business suit?   Are dresses ok?  What about flat shoes?  If you’re in a conservative industry (legal, accounting, finance, teaching, etc.) then here are some ideas that might help you.  Short answer: no suit needed.
1. WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT
This means wear clothes that fit correctly, that you don’t have to adjust every 2 minutes, and that you feel like you look good in.  Looking good means feeling good and for networking you want to feel your best.
2. WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING
That skintight dress might make you feel great, but it won’t get you any bonus points with the more seasoned members of your profession.  This is your opportunity to be taken seriously.  Dress for the job you want.  
Skirts should be around the knee.  Pencil skirts are fine as long as they’re loose enough to sit down in.  Rock a v-neck but hide your cleavage with a camisole underneath.  Sleeveless tops are generally ok, spaghetti straps are not.  It’s always better to err on the side of more conservative.
A good general rule is to stay away from anything skin tight, animal print, or metallic.  Sorry, Katy Perry.
Do not wear anything that looks like this:
3. BRING A CARDIGAN OR BLAZER
Conference rooms are always cold.  Bring a cardigan or a blazer because you will, invariably, find yourself freezing.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOR
Some professions are known for being devoid of color.  The legal profession is one of them.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be a sheep!  Don’t be afraid of patterns (except for animal print) and colors.  Color makes you stand out in the crowd a bit, which is good when you’re networking.  Just don’t go overboard.
This week I’ll be wearing printed pants, a hot pink blazer, and a flame orange blouse (obviously not all together). 
5. BRING SENSIBLE SHOES
You’ll be walking and standing around a lot.  Wedges and heels less than 3 inches are good for this.  Professional conventions aren’t the place to break in your new stilettos.  Peep toes are ok, strappy sandals are not.  Subtle platforms are ok, lucite heels are not.  Flats are acceptable to wear as long as the rest of your outfit is professional, as flats have a way of styling down an outfit. 
6. PICK A GOOD PURSE
You’re going to be getting business cards, pamphlets, free stress balls, bottles of water, and tons of other stuff to carry around.  Make sure you bring a bag that’s big enough to hold these things and to wear on your arm.  It makes it easier when you’re holding a glass of wine in one hand and shaking hands with the other (Tip: Always hold your drink in your left hand so you can shake with your right).
7. BRING DRESSIER CLOTHES
Most conventions have events at night.  Check the social calendar ahead of time if there is one.  Sometimes there are theme nights or black tie dinners.  Pack appropriately.  If there’s a Western night at a convention in Texas, pack that hat and bandana!  You won’t be the only one dressed up and your outfit will be a great ice breaker!

8. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BRANDS
This depends on your industry, but it’s my opinion that your Christian Louboutin shoes and screaming designer purses should be left at home, especially if you’re a young woman in your industry.  People will notice you if you’re well put together but a walking advertisement of how much money on spent on your outfit can be misinterpreted and take the focus off of what’s really important while networking: YOU.

9. SMILE
You’re never fully dressed without a smile.  Cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.  Conventions are long and tiring and can be nerve wracking if you’re new.  People are friendly and welcoming to happy people. So smile while networking.

10. OTHER RANDOM TIPS
Bring plenty of business cards, stockings (I personally don’t wear them but a lot of people do), and load up on free food!  Careful with the free drinks!  Be friendly and collect business cards–you never know who you’ll meet!  Send LinkedIn requests and follow up emails to potential contacts when you get home from the convention. Have fun!

maxi skirt and chambray shirt

Today is one of those beautiful spring days where the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and I woke up with a renewed sense of vigor and productivity (the strong coffee I made didn’t hurt).  After days of rain, we’re getting up to 80 degrees in New Jersey so I’m wearing the maxi skirt I purchased back in February.  
This is my first maxi skirt.  I have plenty of maxi dresses but find skirts are usually unflattering on my shapely derriere.  The tribal print on this skirt, however, makes it a bit more forgiving.  The chambray that I styled over a plain v-neck tee also hides my hips just the right amount.  See, you almost can’t tell I won the “Most Likely to Be Mistaken for J-Lo from the Back” superlative in high school.
Skirt: Love Culture (similar) // Tee: Old Navy // Chambray: Old Navy (similar)  // Sandals: Nine West (simliar)

Teal and Gold Bracelet: Forever 21 // Gold Chain Bracelet: Yuni Kelly 
Necklace: Payless (similar)

How’s the weather where you are?  Are you finally dressing for Spring yet?

maxi dress and a tutu

I decided to try out my new maxi dress yesterday that I posted about here.  It was a challenge to style but I finally got a look that made me comfortable and was successfully winterized.  I was excited that the long maxi dress would hide my knee brace and make me feel like less of an ambulatory pariah, until I realized that nothing would hide the limp awesome zombie walk that I have. At least when I wear pants with the brace on the outside, it’s obvious that my walking dead gait is for a bum knee.
Although it looks like a skirt here, it’s actually a dress that I put a t-shirt and cardigan over and then belted with a black glitter belt.  
Maxi Dress: Love Culture // Striped Tee: J.Crew // Mustard Cardigan: Target // Belt: Joe Fresh //  Bracelet: Yuni Kelly 
Earrings: Stella and Dot
Yesterday was my Mom’s birthday so I spent the evening with my family to celebrate.  That means I got to see my baby niece again!  I was super excited to see her because I had made her a special tutu for Valentine’s Day.  Since I won’t see her before the 14th (ACL surgery will render me immobile for some time), I gave it to her yesterday.
I used this awesome and easy tutorial to make the tutu.  I couldn’t find red tulle so I added in red ribbons and made a bow in the front.  I had a blast making the tutu and kept squealing at the cuteness of it.  It looks big here but the length of the tulle is really only 4 inches because my niece is so little.  
Gah! Could you just die at the cuteness?!  I can’t wait to make her another one for St. Patrick’s Day and the spring and the 4th of July and Halloween and ok I’m getting a little carried away now!

pre-op shopping

My ACL surgery is scheduled for Friday and I’m beginning to freak out.  As I sit on my couch right now I’m stressing over the things that I should be doing (cleaning the house, doing laundry, arguing with the insurance company, etc) but instead I’m pinning outfit ideas to Pinterest.  Why?!  Because the most exciting thing happened today (relatively speaking, of course).

In addition to getting a hot pink and glittery pedicure (a woman’s got to have a little fun in the dead of winter), I found both a maxi dress and a maxi skirt that I’m able to wear over my knee brace–woohoo! In case you haven’t caught on to the fact that getting dressed with a gigantic knee brace has take a toll on my fashion abilities, I’ll reiterate now that it’s been quite the challenge.  Never mind the fact that I won’t be able to wear heels for about a year, my fashion options have been limited to leggings, jeans, tights, and flats or short boots.  
I went into Love Culture today, a teeny bopper store akin to Forever 21, looking for a faux leather motorcycle jacket (I didn’t find one) but instead came out with these two awesome pieces.  
Maxi Dress: Love Culture
Tribal Maxi Skirt: Love Culture
I got the maxi dress in black, which I’ll be able to winterize easily and will transition into the spring.  The tribal skirt I’ll also be able to style for winter but I anticipate it will be a bit of a greater challenge.  
How would you style these maxis?