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wardrobe advice

Fashion

Reader Q&A: “What are your tips for dressing when you’re curvy?”

11th February, 2019
Ashley Graham, model Jada Sezer and Robyn Lawley all know how to accentuate their figure

I always love hearing from my readers especially if there’s a burning fashion question they’d like answered. Late last year, I heard from a reader, Steph via my Facebook page who sent me the below message as she was on the hunt for a dress to wear over Christmas.

Hi Kate! Love your style!

I was wondering what fashion tips you could suggest for a curvier women like myself I am self conscious of my arms and upper body.

What kind of dresses would you suggest? Any tips would help I’m looking for something for Christmas Day.

I knew I wanted some expert input with Steph’s question so reached out to celebrity stylist (and someone who I’ve worked with on several occasions) Jess Pecoraro. Jess styles everyone from Jesinta Franklin to model Georgia Fowler and has worked with brands like Witchery, Topshop and eBay so I knew she’d have really useful and practical tips to share. Read on for some great tips for accentuating a curvy figure.

What are five key pieces a curvy woman should have in her wardrobe and why?

1. Good quality undergarments are just as important as clothing so invest in items that fit well and are made from quality fabrics to help with support and shaping the body correctly

2. A classic style black dress, this can be an A-line style, wrap style or
even a slip as it will be the perfect go-to for anything last minute.

3. Dark denim jeans or a dark trouser, the style may vary depending on
what you prefer but it’s a [wardrobe] must which can easily be dressed up or down.

4. Shirting that is slightly fitted and that isn’t too boxy. It’s another go-to
piece to have in a few colours.

5. A nude pump as they elongate your legs and are perfect for all occasions.

Are there any particular styles or silhouettes a curvy woman should avoid?

Styles which are boxy or have minimal shape are no go as they add extra volume and don’t show off your curves.

What’s the key to dressing to flatter a curvy figure?

Paying attention to the fit and fabrication of clothing is key. Select items that emphasise your waist as well as your curves by considering items which have a waist band, are slightly more fitted or are in a wrap style.

Is there a particular part of the body that a curvy woman should try and focus on with what she’s wearing?

This is very personal and may vary on different bodies yet focusing on your waistline will help show off your curves and give your body an overall nice silhouette.

Are there key accessories a curvy woman should have in her wardrobe? If so, what?

Key accessories to invest in are nude heels and sandals which will work back with any look and won’t add any extra volume to an outfit. Also a mix of neutral and black waist belts to style over dresses, shirts and even blazers to help define the waist line.

What are your tips when it comes to colour and patterns and prints when it comes to a curvy figure?

Bold block colours and darker shades are always best. Coloured panels also work and can give the illusion of a print without it being to over the top as long as the panelling is on the side which lengthens the body. Prints can be a bit tricky as they can sometime add more volume so go for more graphic and vertical lines.

What are your tips when it comes to swimwear for a curvy figure?

Go for simple shapes and darker solid colours. Higher cut briefs give the illusion of longer and leaner legs and for extra support try a bra style top or one piece with thicker straps (in built wire will give a better shape). A panelled one piece with side ruching will help draw attention away from your tummy area.

What are some go-to brands for curvy women? 

You can follow Jess on Instagram at @jesspecoraro

Fashion

The questions to ask yourself about your style

21st January, 2019

Nailing your personal style makes getting dressed infinitely easier. It helps you hone in what will and won’t work in your wardrobe with laser precision and you’ll end up with a more cohesive, wearable look. It’s also the kind of thing that comes with a little experimentation and a few little a-ha moments along the way.

I’ve gone through my own periods of trial and error, dabbling with looks that I thought were “me” but ultimately I tended to gravitate back towards the same aesthetic. I like looks that are classic, polished yet still incorporate a trend or two. And knowing this has meant that everything from shopping to deciding what I’m going to pull out of my closet in the morning is a seamless process.

If you’re still in the midst of rediscovering or honing your style you’re not alone. It’s often a process that adapts and changes over time but ultimately knowing what makes you you fashion-wise is at the core of what makes great style. Here are a few questions that will have you on the right track.

What do I feel good in?

It’s simple enough but wearing what makes you feel good is often the key to great style. This is because it generally means that you feel confident in your outfit and that’s often the thing that underpins any look that works. So if you find that you always feel amazing in feminine pieces then go ahead and make them a staple of your everyday look. If colour puts a smile on your face, then you’ll know that a muted colour palette might not be your thing.

What do I always gravitate towards when I’m shopping?

We all tend to have things that will immediately catch our eye when we’re shopping. Whether it be sleek, tailored pieces such as blazers or skirts or comfy, relaxed looks like jeans and t-shirts, there’s always something that will speak to you when you’re browsing and that’s a clear clue to your particular style. Start paying attention to what catches your eye to enable you pinpoint your signature look.

What words describe my style?

Think of a few words to describe your look. Often that’s a good indicator of what your overall style is all about.

What pieces do I wear all the time?

Take stock of what items in your closet are always doing overtime. Often what we instinctively reach for when trying to decide what to wear is what speaks to our style the most. So start noting down the things that you immediately pull out the next time you’re getting dressed in the morning. You’ll soon discover a very obvious pattern…

What do I want my style to say about me?

What we wear on a day to day basis often sends a message to the world about who we are. So think about what you want your wardrobe to say about you? Often this is a key area which can steer you in the right direction towards ultimately defining your personal style.

Tell me—what things have helped you start to define your personal style?

Fashion

How to change up your style this year

16th January, 2019

The start of another year marks also the start of another 12 months of getting dressed day in and day out which begs the question: are you happy with your style? If you’ve been feeling as if something is lacking in the fashion department of late and you need something to help you get excited about your wardrobe again then you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few easy ways to change up your look this year with minimal fuss.

Challenge yourself to use something you wear infrequently

We all have those pieces in our closet that we still like but admittedly don’t wear all that often. So this year, make an effort to put those pieces into rotation. Often you can end up wearing the same things from your wardrobe all the time that incorporating something into your look that doesn’t get used frequently can make it feel new again.

Learn to play with accessories more

Accessories are honestly one of the easiest ways to inject some new life into your existing wardrobe. A pair of statement earrings here, a necklace there or a great pair of sunglasses can really lift an outfit and make it feel fresh.

Try different silhouettes

Of course we all have our favourites as far as the style of clothing we go for goes but sometimes that can get a little monotonous. So why not try working with different silhouette styles? Relaxed pieces as opposed to fitted, long instead of shirt, dresses instead of pant—these are all easy ways to inject a little different style into your life.

Look to your style icons

A style refresh needs a little outfit inspiration to get it going. So why not check out what the women whose style you admire are doing? Often a quick scroll through your fave blogs or Instagram accounts can help you hone in on a few new trends to try and looks worth experimenting with.

Broaden your colour palette

It’s easy to get caught up wearing the same ol’ colours all the time so this year, make an effort to go beyond your favourites. Try colours you usually wouldn’t wear to help add a new dimension to your fave outfits. Often a little injection of colour here and there can really transform your old favourites.

Tell me—what are some ways you’re trying to change up your style this year?

Fashion, Shop

My tips for buying a flattering swimsuit

15th January, 2019

Shopping for swimsuits can be quite a challenge sometimes. I know for some it’s something that needs to be done but it can become quite overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. I’ve found that with swimsuits the best thing to do is to treat it with the same approach you would a regular shopping trip—that is, have a plan and have a general idea which stores you’d like to visit and a few different styles you’d like to try. From there, it’s about trying the following things…

Have a moodboard

Are there particular swimsuit styles that always catch your eye? Whether it’s a certain colour palette, a print or silhouette compile a little inspiration board for yourself to help guide your search. Even it’s just a series of Instagram images you’ve saved, having a visual guide is extremely handy during any shopping trip.

Be prepared to try on a few different styles

In an ideal world the perfect swimsuit would fall into your lap the first try and you can call it a day. The reality is however you have to be prepared to try on a few different types. Have a general idea of what you like but be prepared to venture outside your comfort zone as you never know, you could find yourself a pair of swimmers that look amazing on you but is not a silhouette you’d normally consider.

Look for the right support

There are so many great high-tech fabrications when it comes to swimwear these days that are guaranteed to pull you in in all the right places so use it to your advantage. I think the most important thing to feeling confident in a swimsuit is knowing that you’re not going to be fussing around and ensuring everything’s in place every five seconds! Invest in the best quality swimsuit you can to ensure that you’ve got the most flattering, perfect fit possible.

Don’t judge based on what you see on the rack

Try every single swimsuit you like on. Sometimes something looks far different on the rack as opposed to when you’ve got it on and you never know when you may stumble upon the perfect style. Also this will enable you to slowly pinpoint the styles that are going to accentuate all your best features. I truly believe there’s a style to suit everyone and it’s important to devote some time to the process.

Bring someone along for a second opinion

Whether it’s your partner, your bestie or your mum, bring a trusted shopping buddy with you to give you an honest opinion when you’re trying things on. Fluorescent change room lighting can be less than flattering at times so it’s good to have someone there to give you a second opinion.

Remember your style

Treat a piece of swimwear as you would your regular wardrobe and remember the things that are flattering for you. Do v-necks work for you? Then see how it translates to a swimsuit. You could try a halter neck top which has a similar silhouette. If you’re all about off the shoulder styles, you can find a similar top when it come to swimwear.

What are some of your favourite brands for swimwear?

Fashion

Easy ways to refresh your work wardrobe

14th January, 2019

One of the things I like doing every year is re-evaluating my work wardrobe and seeing what pieces need updating and what gaps there are to fill. Having my own business means I have a little more flexibility in my office attire but I’ve always still approached what I wear in much the same way I did when I was working a full time job at a newspaper and that is to look professional and polished at all times.

If getting dressed for work every day has become a bit of a struggle then you know that it’s time to reassess what you have and think about giving your style a bit of a refresh. Here are a few great places to start when it comes to your office style.

Have the basics

The concept of office basics really depends on what kind of environment you work in. A corporate workplace will have a different dress code to a more relaxed creative environment, but the most important thing is identifying the building blocks of every look. So whether it’s a well tailored suit or jeans and a blazer, you need to ensure that these pieces are front and centre in your closet. Having this in place means you can afford to play around with your looks a little more.

Incorporate new accessories

Accessories are one of the easiest ways in which you can take your look up a notch and inject a little more personality into your work wardrobe. A great pair of earrings, a stylish bangle or a necklace are all simply ways in which you can inject a little new energy into your attire.

Change your work bag

It’s easy to carry the same bag day in and day out but it can also get a little monotonous. Your work bag is one of the easiest places to give your office wardrobe a refresh. This year, why not try something different? If you usually carry a tote, swap to a shoulder bag and vice versa. Push the boundaries as far as your office dress code will allow and have a little fun. After all, it’s the one accessory that you will carry with you every single day so you may as well love it.

Experiment with new silhouettes

Everyone has their go-to pieces for work. I know I have a few that I turn to all the time. However this year why not make a commitment to try new things? If you tend to favour knee length styles opt for a midi instead. If you’re a fan of voluminous pieces try incorporating a few more form fitting items into your wardrobe. A new silhouette can often make your work attire feel new.

Introduce bold accents

It’s easy to get caught up in the wonderful word of wearability that is neutrals but an easy way to refresh your work looks is to incorporate a few bold items into your ensembles. A striking print here or a vibrant shade there can easily lift an outfit and bring it to life. You can also temper this according to your office dress code so it’s easily adaptable.

Fashion

What to ditch from your wardrobe in 2019

9th January, 2019

A brand new year means it’s time to take a good hard look at your wardrobe and pinpoint the things that you need to say goodbye to. Doing a big purge of your closet means that you’re left with the pieces that you’ll wear often and genuinely love, meaning less style dilemmas. Here’s what to consider ditching this year…

“Someday” clothes

If you’re still hanging onto things that you hope will fit sometime in the not so distant future it’s time to bite the bullet and toss them. If “someday” does come you can always make a few new additions to your wardrobe. In the meantime all those clothes are just taking up valuable real estate.

Clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle

If you’ve got a closet full of party dresses but you barely go out these days or you’ve got corporate clothes aplenty but have started working at a more casual office then perhaps it’s time to consider farewelling those pieces. You can always hang onto 2-3 favourites then donate the rest to charity.

Scuffed and worn shoes

Shoes that have seen better days are probably best retired. You want to always put your best foot forward (pun intended) and wearing footwear that looks tired doesn’t make a good first impression. If shoes can be re-soled or revived in some way then by all means go for it but if they can’t be salvaged then it’s time to bid them adieu.

Shoes that are uncomfortable

While we’re on the topic of footwear, if there’s a pair of shoes that leave you in agony every time you wear them which in turn means they hardly ever see the light of day then it might be time to retire them.

Underwear that you’ve had for years

Good undergarments are often where good outfits start so it pays to replenish your supply every so often. Ill-fitting bras that no longer offer support and underwear that’s faded or stretched are both good places to start.

Costume jewellery you never wear

Investment jewellery is an entirely different thing so it’s exempt from a wardrobe purge but inexpensive costume jewellery is fair game. I’m talking earrings that you only wore once, tarnished necklaces, or bracelets that are gathering dust are all things you can afford to farewell.

Anything that doesn’t fit right

Looking polished is all about wearing clothes that sit well. If you’ve got things in your closet that have never sat right then consider having them tailored. If they’re beyond the alterations stage, for example if you’ve already tried to have it fixed but it still doesn’t look right, then it’s a sure sign that you should probably let it go.

What are some things that you’re vowing to ditch from your wardrobe this year?

Fashion

The pieces every spring/summer wardrobe should have

22nd December, 2018

Have you started planning your spring/summer wardrobe yet? I’ve been planning my checklist for awhile now and I’ve noted a few key staples that I’d like to add to my closet to welcome the warm weather that’s about to descend upon us. Before doing this I think it’s always a good idea to do a little reconnaissance mission of what’s in store and online so you know exactly what pieces you’re going to be snapping up. It also allows you to pick the best of the bunch and get a really great deal on key items that you know you’re going to be investing in for your new season looks.

I’ve been keeping an eye on everyone from my favourite celebs, to my stylish friends and checking out my go-to blogs and magazines over the past few weeks to pinpoint what’s going to really update my outfits for this time of year. If you’ve yet to compile your list, here’s what I think you should definitely be adding to it.

A Midi-dress

Dresses are one of the most wearable, stylish things you can add to your spring/summer wardrobe. Opt for one in a gorgeous print that will take you through many a sunny afternoon looking effortlessly chic.

A Co-ord set

A co-ordinating set is an easy way to look polished without really trying. There’s something about a matching top and bottom that just screams stylish whether it be a blouse and shorts or a skirt and slip, there are so many different sets to shop this season you’ll be hard pressed to limit yourself to just one.

Sandals/slides

Summer calls for at least one trusty pair of sandals or slides that you can easily slip on. I’ve really started gravitating towards slides as I like how wearable they are, however it really depends on what feels comfortable—some people like the support a sandal gives. You can always go for classic colours such as black, white and tan however I think the sunny weather at this time of year is a great excuse to embrace vibrant shades that will pop against any outfit.

A straw bag

If you’re going to buy one bag this season make it a straw one. Whether it’s a satchel, top handle or bucket style there’s definitely a trend towards embracing natural, earthy materials as far as bags go.

Lightweight trousers

I think there’s nothing better than a pair of linen trousers to keep cool during spring/summer. They’re also super easy to pair with everything from a button down shirt to a plain white tee so you’re guaranteed to get plenty of wear out of them.

Bold sunglasses

Don’t step outside without a pair of great sunglasses by your side. I think now is the perfect time to push the boundaries a little—think coloured frames or interesting embellishments for a little fun.

A statement skirt

I am loving bright printed pleated midi skirts at the moment as they’re seriously easy to wear whether I’m off to work or on mum duty. However if midi’s not your style, there are still plenty of options whether it’s a knee length wrap skirt or a cute mini. Just don’t be afraid to go bold!

Sneakers

A pair of trusty sneakers always has a place in any wardrobe, whatever the season. Chunky dad style sneakers are in at the moment but if they’re not your scene, you can always turn to a pair of classic white trainers. Whether they be from classic French brand Superga to urban-ready Adidas or a designer pair by Gucci or your favourite go-to brand you’ll be guaranteed to be turning to your sneakers multiple times a week.

Fashion

10 outfit ideas for Christmas Day

17th December, 2018

Christmas Day outfits are always a funny thing. You want to look your best given you’ll generally be catching up with loads of people but at the same time you want to be as comfortable as possible. Let’s face it— it’s a giant eating fest that awaits you and the last thing you want to be dealing with is a way too tight ensemble. So if you’re still trying to piece together something to wear on December 25, scroll through for some great looks that will have you looking amazing.

 

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A gorgeous printed skirt is one of the easiest things you can wear. Flowy and very summery it’s the perfect thing to wear during the festive season.

 

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A dress (especially a wrap style) is such a gorgeous option for Christmas Day. It’s an outfit that requires minimal styling and will be appropriate no matter where the day takes you.

 

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Cropped trousers and a fun cami make for a stylish look that’s not too over the top and appropriate for the day.

Grab your favourite white tee and pair it back with a skirt and slides and you’ve got yourself an effortless ensemble that will work for any family occasion.

 

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Avoid this if you’re prone to food spills but if you want something classic and polished you can’t deny the appeal of white pants and a crisp white shirt. Swap out the heels for sandals or slides for something a little more comfortable.

 

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Anything pink is a fun hue for such a festive time, especially when it’s of the gorgeous blush variety. Team with a boxy tee for a look that’s got a hint of French girl styling.

 

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A flowy dress accompanied by your favourite belt is one of the best things you can wear on Christmas Day. (Read: plenty of room for feasting—just take off the belt if you need a little extra space!).

 

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A shirt dress teamed with sandals is a no-brainer outfit option as it’s chic, requires minimal styling and suits virtually everyone.

 

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A colourful jumpsuit is such a fun look for Christmas Day. A shirred bodice also offers the added bonus of extra stretch should you need it…

 

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If your Christmas Day requires something a little dressier try a blouse with wide leg pants. It looks oh-so classy without being too formal.

Fashion

8 foolproof outfit combinations to save you during a wardrobe crisis

29th November, 2018

We’ve all been faced with days where we find ourselves just staring into the closet and thinking that we’ve got absolutely nothing to wear. If you’re in a rush it can be particularly stressful trying to pull a look together as you try one look after the next with little success. So this is why it pays to have a few outfit combinations that you know are guaranteed to work. I like to keep a few of these mentally filed away to call upon whenever a wardrobe crisis hits. Here are a few key pairings that will ensure you look amazing when you walk out the door.

 

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Lunch run

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Jeans and a white tee

This is an easy outfit to turn to and will always look chic. And the best bit is it’s comprised of things we all have in our wardrobe. All it takes is having a pair of go-to jeans and a great white t-shirt and you’re set.

 

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Jumper and jeans

Whether it’s a pair of blue jeans, black skinnies or any other colour denim you like, pairing it back with your fave jumper will always result in a great look.

 

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Blazer with jeans and a top

If you’re looking for something dressier, you can take the base elements of jeans and a tee, pop on a great blazer over the top and you instantly have an outfit that looks polished.

 

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Blazer over a dress

If you’ve got a few fave dresses in your closet that are feeling a bit tired, you can change up their entire vibe by adding a blazer over the top. A black blazer is one of those pieces that will always be a lifesaver and can instantly make any look dressier and more pulled together.

 

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A sweater or tee and a midi skirt

A midi skirt in any length paired with a top such as a t-shirt or a sweater is a shortcut to looking chic and stylish. If you’ve yet to add a midi skirt to your closet, try a pleated style for an on instantly on trend look.

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A trench over almost anything

A trench is a wardrobe addition that will go far. It’s a topper that can work with myriad looks ranging from the super casual to dressy. Consider it a lifesaver whenever you’re stuck for what to wear — just throw it on over the top of any of the looks you’ve seen so far and avoid unnecessary style dramas.

 

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Cami and tailored pants

Take your favourite tailored pants, pair them with a cami and you’re set. If you’re not into camis you could sub in a button down shirt for a similar, polished finish.

 

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Blouse with skinny pants

A pair of skinny pants or jeans, teamed with a gorgeous blouse is one look that will take you from work to drinks without skipping a beat. Great for those days when you’re not entirely sure where the day will take you.

What’s your go-to outfit combination?

Fashion

The pieces you can wear to work and on the weekend

28th November, 2018

Versatility is one of the key criteria that I have for my wardrobe and that means I need to be able to wear pretty much everything to work and on the weekend. Obviously there are going to be some omissions because hey, a black tie dress might be a bit hard to deal with when at the photocopier or grabbing coffee, but most things should be able to be transformed from nine-to-five to relaxation mode by simple switching up what you pair it with. I’ve identified a few key pieces that I know are made for both office wear and off duty style.

Dressy flats

A pair of simple, classic flats a la the pair I have on below are a cinch to go from the office to the weekend. A slingback, a ballet flat or pointed style are all great options.

On Duty: Wear it with cropped trousers, a skirt or a midi dress.

Off Duty: Pair it with jeans or a skirt worked back with a tee.

A white tee

It’s a rare few places or occasions that can’t be worked back with a white tee. A handy staple for any wardrobe, it can be appropriate from nine-to-five to a relaxing Saturday by switching up what you pair it with.

On Duty: Wear it with a blazer on top, underneath a dress, or with a midi skirt.

Off Duty: Pop it on under a slip dress, with your favourite jeans or a wrap skirt or shorts.

A blazer

I’ve often spoken of my love of a great blazer and consider it one of my can’t-live-without items. And it’s primarily because I can wear a blazer to a work function one minute to a casual lunch on the weekend the next and it still works. Keep it classic with black or venture further afield with other colours such as grey, navy or white.

On Duty: What can’t it work with? Everything from tailored pants, to a wrap dress and a skirt and cami can be paired with a blazer.

Off Duty: Wear it with jeans and a white tee for a classic, always on-trend look.

A roomy bag

If you’re prone to carrying half your office/life around with you then a great, roomy bag is a must. I often like to get a bag that’s got a bit of structure, in a classic colour such as tan or black for work as I know that I can always extend its wear to the weekend.

On Duty: Get a size that can fit your laptop and essentials.

Off Duty: A great carryall can be used to get you through a busy day of running errands where you might need to carry a million things with you.

A wrap dress

This eternal classic is always a good idea especially for a day at the office or a relaxing morning coffee with friends. Your only issue will be trying to stop at just one.

On Duty: Wear a wrap dress with heels and a blazer for an effortless take on corporate dressing.

Off Duty: Paired with sneakers or sandals and a simple crossbody bag make an ideal look for relaxing.

Culottes

Wide leg pants aren’t as scary to wear as they sometimes might seem (check out my tips for how to style them here) and are so easy to change up according to what day of the week it is.

On Duty: A blouse with heels and you’re set.

Off Duty: Wear it with a tee or a cami and pair with great sandals.

A black skirt

Consider a black skirt a close cousin of the little black dress — it can be styled in myriad ways with so many different pieces. It’s wearable and versatile which makes it the ideal transition piece to take you from the office to the weekend.

On Duty: Wear it with a button down shirt and a cami for a professional look that’s ultra chic.

Off Duty: When paired with sneakers and a tee this look is polished yet made for an easy breezy day.