About a year ago, I bought two dresses from an online retailer who happened to be having a mid-season sale. Those garments are the only ones I consider "professional" in my closet so I've worn them to every interview, meeting, and career event in the last 12 months. Believe me, when you roll up to every staff function in the same lilac and lavender dress, you will get funny looks. Thus, I was delighted to find professional attire that worked with my hourglass shape at Louisa Ellis. Here are three outfits I'd be happy to wear to work:
1. Little Black Dress
Dress: Beyond Vintage, Necklece:??, Shoes: Earthies
This dress has singularly changed my opinion on shoulder pads. When I was slipping into it, I made some comment about the padding. However, once I saw my reflection in the mirror, the extra shoulder biznatch seemed to disappear and I was left with a professional, pulled-together silhouette. The faux-wrap top and the nipped waist are both ultra flattering, but I'm completely obsessed with the sleeves. I don't usually consider my arms to be a zone for "enhancing" but the way the sleeves hung was so, so sexy.
Lady magazines constantly tell you how essential a little black dress is, but I've never actually owned one. Now I see what all the fuss is about! The fabric is fancy enough for wearing in a business setting while the design is youthful for post-work summer evenings. With my top "filled in" by the necklace, I felt that I was showing just the right amount of skin for work. Shoulder pads 4ever!
2. Ladylike Suit
Jacket & Skirt: Darling, Top: Saffron
Ever since I saw this photo from Lucky magazine, I've been on the hunt for a ladylike suit. Just like lingerie sets, there's something about two matching garments that feels old-fashioned, special and romantic. I'm also drawn to boxy, Chanel-like suit jackets. Unfortunately, that cut makes my bust look matronly and looses the narrowness of my waist. With this jacket, the v-neck suits my chest and the buttons start significantly lower, which means there's no unsightly straining or gaping. Along with the seams at the waist and the unique fanning details, this suit's adorable design is killer for my hourglass shape. Check out the outfits, sans jacket, below:
After several mishaps with peplum skirts, I wrote this style off as something meant for less curvy girls. When I stepped out of the dressing room, I think I may have squealed. Since the peplum is subtle and confined to the sides, the design showcases my curves rather than bluntly announcing them. With the solid darker top minimizing my top half, the skirt creates the most classic and feminine appearance.
3. Classic Monochrome
Tank: A'nue Ligne, Skirt: Beyond Vintage
I'll admit it: I'm terrified of anything maxi-length. This was one of the last items I tried on for exactly that reason. Melissa explained that this skirt has flattered every woman who has tried it on (Sisterhood of the Traveling Skirt!) and I believe her since I was blown away by how it made me look. First of all, the draping is genius. I suspect that the placement of the folds -- directly below my hips -- minimized my lady lumps. For anyone in a creative or more causal business environment, I think this combination would be perfect. With such a monochrome ensemble, there are a ton of things to do with accessories too.