Friday, September 28, 2007

fast forward: shoppingsmycardio designer interview

that's right, we have another fabulous designer Q&A coming up on monday - this one's a doozie, so make sure you check back on monday! (hint: she designed the completely gorgeous handbag pictured above!)

stay tuned...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

what i want today: bottomless pit of money for shoes....

argh. i have been so, so, so good about shoes lately. and now, it's fall, and there are at least a dozen pair(s?) of shoes that i'm completely dying for. i am so very in need of a money tree!

first, as you know, i had to have those gorgeous red suede pumps. not so much practical, but literally could not stop myself. too fabulous.

then it occurred to me that i actually have no presentable boots for fall. given the size of my shoe closet, you can imagine my shock. boots are not exactly cheap, especially given my tastes. ideally, i think at a minimum, i'd need a casual pair (flat) and a dress pair (heel). for the flats, i'm leaning heavily toward the dharma boot by delman, but i'm also seriously considering loeffler randall's matilde boot.

for the dress boots, i'm a little stumped...but i'm thinking maybe the thing to do is be a teensy bit fiscally responsible and pick up these very classic j.crew boots for a very reasonable $225. as soon as they have a free shipping promo, of course. i actually think these are a pretty perfect dress boot. pointy toe, but not too pointy, and a very walkable 2.5" heel makes them workable for skirts or pants.

then flats. how is it possible that i have no silver shoes, and no black round-toe flats? seriously. i have gold, and i wear them all.the.time. but sometimes, one needs silver. i'm pretty sure i've chosen the classic sue london flats for that purpose, though i'm still deciding between a true silver and a yummy gunmetal color (anyone with input, please speak up!). i just love that they fold up - makes them completely perfect for travel, as i'm always looking for a way to squeeze one more pair of shoes into my suitcase. plus, the metallic shoe really is the answer to the "i have no shoes to go with this outfit" dilemma almost every single time.

the black flats are easier, but expensiver (yes yes, send your grammar police somewhere else). sigerson morrison is my drug of choice in this case. i'm lusting after these, but may decide these are a bit more lasting in terms of style. but the studs on those first ones are so freaking cute. agh.

and then, of course, the chunky heels, they are everywhere this fall. i was trying desperately to avoid them, but then those most fabulous ladies over at bunnyshop had to point out some amazing cuteness from frye (yes, i was shocked too). i think i have to have these, either in cognac or grey. grey would be much more "of the season" i realize. but the cognac would be super fun too, and the color is just fabulous. plus, $150...much cheaper than almost anything else i've posted here. (ps: ahem, if someone buys the last size 11 while i'm debating, i'm going to be SO annoyed!)

yeah. um. so that's the problem. i'm up to about $1500 in shoes, and i haven't even been out to check out the new barneys that just opened in san francisco. plus, i still want about 7 fall dresses besides. as i said: argh.

so, anyone know where to find that money tree???

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

what i want today: beauty bargains

this is part two of our quest to find you fabulous products at fabulous prices (if you missed the fashion edition of frugal finds, check it out here). we upped the ante a bit on this one: we didn’t consider any products over $25, and we really worked to find products that really were a cut above your average drugstore find (while a few drugstore products did make it onto the list, they all impressed us just as much as their high-priced counterparts). here’s what made the cut:

(head on over to TDO to read the second "frugal finds" installment!)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

olay giveaway: and the winners are......

first of all, a HUGE thank you to all of you for entering the olay giveaway contest. i seriously can't believe i had so many entries!!

anyway, i conducted the drawing my very own self, using a very high-tech method: i printed out all the comments, cut them up into individual pieces, and threw them into a saks bag. and i didn't look, i swear! i even took pictures of the drawing...granted, it was with my crappy camera phone, but hey...better than nothing!

so, the winners are (i'm posting them exactly as they commented, in case screen names are similar):

* Melissa
* only4becki
* Amanda
* Tiffany

congratulations!! if you won, send me an email with your mailing address at within the next 48 hours, and i'll send your prize out ASAP!

and everyone else, stay tuned...there are many, many more goodies to come, i promise!

Monday, September 24, 2007

reminder: enter the olay giveaway!!

just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the olay definity eye illuminator giveaway. just check out the original post, and leave any comment there - winners will be announced on tuesday, sept. 25.

good luck!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

what i want today: aunt sadie's candles

i can tell it's nearly fall. all of a sudden, my shopping instincts are starting to lean heavily toward gifting to others...a clear sign the holidays aren't as far away as my bank account would like them to be. cruising around anthropologie the other day, i came across these completely darling candles by aunt sadie's, and my first instinct was to buy a dozen of them and call my christmas shopping done for the year!

these cuties have the chic/kitsch blend down to a science, and it doesn't hurt that the scents are totally addictive. my favorite is the fresh cut grass (in fact, even my hubs loved that one), but check out the wacky orange and wacky lemons as well - they're so fresh and summery, without having so much citrus smell that they're overpowering. plus, the canisters are so cute that i want one in every room of my house.

pick a couple up for yourself now & give them a test drive - at only $16 each, they're a steal. once you've sampled, you'll be back for more....just in time for all of their yummy holiday scents (hello, "pumpkin pie" and "gingerbread"?!). i guarantee these will be showing up on my holiday gift list!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

what i want today: great fashion on the cheap!

we've all been there - after a month of looking through all of the fall fashion magazines and seeing thousands of fabulous looks that cost, well, thousands of dollars, you just want to throw your hands up and forget the whole thing. we feel your pain. so, for the last month, we've been scouring the web and every store we could visit (tough work, i know) to find the best bargains under the sun. today, we'll be talking fashion finds, but next week, we'll bring you a list of beauty products. the only rules we gave ourselves were that the pieces had to be fabulous, fashionable, and under $75 (or $25 in the case of the beauty products). so, without further adieu...

(head on over & check out my post at TDO for loads of great fashion buys for under $75...finally, i'm blogging things i can actually afford!!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

and speaking of fabulous...

be sure to check out the interview TDO did with jessie randall, of loeffler randall. it's a really lovely interview, with lots of pictures of their gorgeous RTW collection. the pic at right is my first (no doubt first of many) love from the fall shoe line, the matilde boot.

what i got today: stuart weitzman fabulousness

would you just look at the completely fabulous suede pumps that followed me home last night?? i try so hard to be opposed to stains, it scuffs - it's basically the highest maintenance material out there (except for satin shoes...don't get me started). but these just called to know, like the evil queen in sleeping beauty? i've been wanting red pumps, but these are so much more wonderful than plain red. and i loooove the pointed vamp...the whole thing is just yum!!

true, i totally blew my spending money for my trip to montreal this week....but it was soooo worth it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

shoppingsmycardio interview: jennifer tuton

i have been so excited to talk about this designer...i've literally been making myself a little giddy with anticipation. jennifer tuton designs absolutely amazing jewelry, right here in my hometown of san francisco. she has such impeccable taste when it comes to her designs, i couldn't wait to pick her brain!

SMC: How did you get started designing jewelry? Tell us your story!

JT: After college I worked in an advertising agency. By the time three years passed, I realized I could no longer fight the urge to be more creative in my career. I gave my letter of resignation. What seemed like the biggest decision in my life (at the time), led me to a series of part time jobs. One of which was hand painting on barrettes (using toothpicks!). I called them ‘Jenniclips,’ and there my business was born. I designed every hair clip imaginable—sparkly bobby pins, hand painted barrettes, crystal wrapped clips and ornate ponytail holders. As my business began to unfold, I kept asking “what else can I make?” and that led me into jewelry making. At that time, I moved from Boston to San Francisco (1998) and my jewelry line really started to evolve and take shape. Soon thereafter I’d made a Crystal Cluster Ring that was featured in In Style Magazine. To this moment my business is constantly shifting and changing and unraveling...what will it be next?

SMC: I love the fact that your pieces are so unique – you aren’t afraid to play around with color and shape, which makes your designs really stand out. Can you talk a little bit about your design philosophy?

JT: I have always had a passion for color, every since I was a kid. I played a lot with watercolors and painted the most amazing trees! Reds and browns and greens and yellow! There were no rules! In my own work today, I create from the same type of chaos. I have all these supplies in front of me: beads, wire, tools, pens, sketches, and then I begin putting the parts together. What would this look like? Gems next to gems, different shades and shapes, jumbled or neat, asymmetrical or balanced…this evokes a feeling or nostalgia...and then VOILA! CREATION!

SMC: I’d love to hear about your creative process when you actually sit down to design a piece. Do you just start playing with stones, or do you get a mental picture of a piece before you even begin? Are most of your pieces filling a hole you see in the collection, or is it more a question of a design just sticking in your head and begging to be made?

JT: Sometimes I sit down and know exactly what “look” I’d like to create. In that moment I have a vision or an idea of what I’d like the piece to look like—and I make it quickly and effortlessly. Mostly I sit at my desk, surrounded by my gems and tools and wire, and in the silence I begin playing: placing beads next to beads and it’s almost like I’m in a trance. Anything is possible in that moment...and some of my most admired pieces emerge from that space. Ultimately, there is no form or structure of how the creative process takes place for me. It’s ever new and ever changing, and usually starts with a question, like “What would I like to create today?”

SMC: What piece from your collection is your favorite (we know you have one!)? And what one piece would you say is a “must have” for someone new to your designs?

JT: One of my favorites are my Gemstone Branch Earrings. They are quirky, intricate and organic—they take some time to actually make them—while still being very chic, unique and sparkly. I love sparkly. What woman doesn’t? As much as I love being up with the trends, I like that these particular earrings are timeless, which allows them to be “in style” every season.

SMC: Where do you find inspiration?

JT: Designers like Missoni that work a color palette like none other, that’s where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I love seeing what the big designers are creating. With that being said, I can also look at a country-side and it evokes something in me that ignites an idea. I was driving to Reno (of all places!) last November, and when I was going through Tahoe I couldn’t help but notice the incredible mass of trees, like stalks of asparagus tightly packaged, with pointy tops. I was bombarded by the hues of mocha, and emerald, hints of garnet and yellow. It’s all right there in front of us.

SMC: What jewelry are you wearing today?

JT: I have been really into “layering,” and can’t seem to get away from wearing more than one necklace. I keep it simple with a dainty gold necklace and then layer it with a longer one either with shimmery discs, or a locket, or one with gemstones that add a flicker of color. I love the subtlety of sparkle or color or design that pulls people in, and makes them wonder “What is she wearing? I want that!”

SMC: How would you describe your personal style? Tell us about your favorite, no-fail outfit.

JT: Like most women, I am drawn to beautiful shoes, great-fitting jeans, and a simple top. I always like to have one piece of my outfit STAND OUT from the rest. Whether it’s a top with a ruffle, or a gold sandal, or a great handbag or belt. If my clothing is the canvas, then my jewelry is the paint, bumping it up a notch. I’m into simple and chic.

SMC: What one style secret do you wish you could teach every woman out there?

JT: Ask YOUR BODY what IT wishes to wear, don’t just wear what everyone else is wearing. When I go into a store before I buy something I ask “Body, would you like to wear this? Would it feel good on your skin? Does it make you happy?” My personal style is conveyed when I feel comfortable in my own skin, that’s when I’m walking confidently and strutting my stuff. When I wear clothes and accessories that are personal favorites, it makes me smile and pleases my spirit, which is always, in my point of view, “in style.”

see? i told you she was fabulous! i was first introduced to her designs when i came across that gorgeous turquoise necklace i teased you all with over the weekend (which, by the way, you can find here). i'm still coveting it desperately, and i think i'll be adding it to my jewelry box before long. the thing i love about all of her designs is that she manages to keep her pieces really unique, while making sure they're still very wearable in a "real" woman's everyday life. that's something that is always a struggle for me: keeping my jewelry interesting and fashion-forward, without it being too trendy or over-the-top. but jennifer's pieces are always a safe bet - they have the perfect amount of "wow" factor.

some of my favorites are pictured throughout this post: i absolutely love the multi-disc necklace ($165), which is impossibly versatile. the waterfall gem necklace ($170) is just the perfect thing to make any ensemble suddenly fabulous, especially on a day when you feel like your outfit just isn't "popping" the way the you want it to. the 24K gold leaf charm necklace ($130) would be a fabulous "everyday" necklace - i'm pretty sure if i owned it, i'd never take it off. the aquamarine linked necklace ($170) is the ideal modern version of a strand of pearls - picture it with a classic white shirt and slacks, or a gorgeous little black dress! and i want a handful of her stunning stacking rings!

do your jewelry box a favor, and take a few minutes to drool over the goods on her website. if you find something (or several somethings) you can't live without, email jennifer at, let her know what struck your fancy, and she'll be more than glad to send it right out to you! also, tobi has a few pieces that aren't on jennifer's website (including that gorgeous turquoise necklace i adore, as well as a red quartz necklace that's just amazing), so you can check her work out there as well!

(PS...a great big thanks to jennifer for taking the time to tell all of the shoppingsmycardio readers about her gorgeous designs!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

what you're going to want on monday....

just dropping a quick weekend note to thank everyone for entering the olay giveaway - looks like it's going to be a fabulous success! and, for all of the newbies that are here just for the free goods: hugs, kisses, and a great big welcome to you!!

it's going to be well worth sticking around - we're full of firsts lately here at shoppingsmycardio, and we're going to be releasing our first (hopefully of many) designer interview next week. so, if you like what you see above, look out on monday for even more of her gorgeous designs, and lots of fabulous fashion and design tips from her as well!

Friday, September 14, 2007

big, exciting GIVEAWAY - olay definity eye illuminator

so, in celebration of the fact that olay is the official beauty sponsor of this year's emmy awards (airing this sunday on fox, i believe), they've oh-so-kindly offered to give five of my darling readers a full-size bottle of olay definity eye illuminator! seriously, i just adore the peeps over at olay - they're super sweet, and have totally converted me to their products. i've already told you all how much i adore this product, so i'm really excited that some of you are going to get a chance to try it out...for free!

and, in the spirit of red carpet glamour, i thought i'd share a few makeup/beauty tips, tricks and trend predictions from bruce grayson, who is the head of the makeup department for the emmy awards. can't get much more expert than that, i think. he recently did a press Q&A about the overall look he's expecting to see at the emmys, and i thought it was worth sharing.

Q: What major beauty trend do you expect to see on the runway this year?
A: This year I predict that the emphasis will be on the lips, rather than the eyes. Lipstick is back in a big way and I think we'll be seeing lots of moisture matte formulas and glossy formulas. Lip stains blotted down in shades of plum or red will be the "it" colors. But don't discount the eyes; they'll be soft and beautiful, simply framed with false lashes instead of heavy liner.

Q: Clothing or Makeup: Which Comes First?
A: Wardrobe always influences makeup, like using matte red lips with a 50s vintage gown. Sometimes a hair style will force a makeup artist to choose a single focal point on the face, like the lips, if the hair style includes bangs that cover the eyes.

Q: What are some of your all-time favorite techniques and must-have products?
A: Thin translucent foundations and powders that allow natural even skin tone to be seen are key. Blotting papers to take down shine are a great alternative to power build-up, and Kleenex on-hand for the occasional teary eye are a must. I always keep cream blush nearby because it blends right into the skin and looks natural, along with false lashes to frame the eyes without using liner.

now sure, i'm not exactly headed for the red carpet any time soon (but if i were, i would so want to wear the dress at right....sigh!), but i always love getting new ideas for makeup - it's so easy to fall into a rut where you're doing the same things every day. in fact, i recently dressed up for an evening out, asked my hubs what he thought of my makeup, and he said "it's your regular 'going out' makeup - it looks fine."

anyway, on to the freebies! to enter, just drop a comment (must be on this post), and make sure you include your name, of course - i'll choose my five winners at random. check back next week and i'll reveal the winners!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

what i want today: new leather handbags by orla kiely

i am incredibly excited to report that orla kiely has finally stepped it up from the fabric bags that i love but which are tough to carry to an office environment. this fall, she's introduced a small line of leather bags which are completely divine. my top pick is this gorgeous, retro patent handbag. i love that she's paid as much attention to detail as i'd expect from a much higher-end bag, but that she's kept the price point in the reasonable realm (under $500). i love the vintage vibe this bag has - there's just never going to be a time that this bag isn't completely cool and fabulous to have around. to be honest, it's one of the first handbags i've seen in months that i've actually craved (well, other than the clutch we talked about last week, but that's an entirely different genre...).

it's hard to get a good visual on just how fabulous this bag will look for fall, but here's a picture of it being sported by a model at shopbop - you have to admit, that bag is so stealing the show. major kudos to orla...i hope this is the start of some really wonderful new things from her. snap it up now at shopbop...i seriously doubt this one's going to make it to the sale section at the end of the season.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

reminder: it's fashion week!

...and you know what that means. tune in over at the daily obsession for up-to-the-minute coverage of all of the spring 08 collections by the fabulous TDO ladies.

what i want today: fabulous shoes at fabulous prices

seriously, if you happen to be a size 5 or a size 8, could you please, please take advantage of the fact that neiman marcus has decided to reduce these $600 ferragamo python pumps to $200 in their last call sale? this shoe is seriously the ultimate neutral - i really can't imagine very many outfits that wouldn't be vastly improved by these beauties. plus, i love the 2.5" heel height - makes them perfect for work, but completely appropriate for evenings as well. $200 for python is pretty freaking amazing - if the shoe fits, don't miss this opportunity. i briefly considered having my toes amputated to make these fit. (tip: if you live in CA, call an out-of-state friend and ask if you can borrow their shipping address, as you can't ship python into CA).

check out the rest of the sale shoes here - slim pickings, but there are a couple of deals to be had.

oh, and don't forget: free shipping with code NMBDAY.

Monday, September 10, 2007

bargain of the day: dolce vita flats, $40

these lovelies come in three delish colors (cherry, blueberry and black), and will be a perfect fall transition piece. the big buckle detail is a huge trend for fall, and at $40, you can afford to give it a test run. they'll be darling with skirts, and with those skinny jeans you're still wearing.

they are final sale at shopbop, so buyer beware and all that...but i'm not too worried about these cuties. also, if you feel like picking up a few other things, with code FALL2007, you'll save $20 on any $100 purchase, $50 on a $250 purchase, and $125 on a $500 purchase.

update: ooh, also available in super-cute metallic silver, same price...check them out here!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

found: great work dress

as i said in my answer to melissa about her 'business casual' dress code at work, i just love wearing dresses to the office. they're incredibly easy, almost always appropriate, comfortable, and just about universally flattering.

i saw a woman walking down the street near my office last week, wearing a dress that made me stop in my tracks: it was just the perfect work dress. the color, cut, print - everything was just right. but, of course, i figured i'd never be able to track it down.

lo and behold, guess what showed up in my shop it to me email this morning? by BCBG, on sale for $140 at bloomingdale's. trust me on this one!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

back to school...for big girls

i have to confess that one of the greatest letdowns of my adult life is no longer being able to shop for "back to school" supplies. in fact, if i'm being totally honest, i used to get more excited about choosing my new folders, notebooks and pens than i did about spending my back-to-school clothing budget. sad, i know.

so now, when i hit the office supply store anytime after july 1 (since retailers are incapable of waiting until an occasion is actually imminent before they start marketing the &*%$ out of it), there's a pretty big part of me that's inexplicably drawn to the aisles and aisles of new highlighters, fancy post-its and, yes, even those old-school spiral-bound notebooks.

so, in honor of everyone who's secretly wishing they were picking out a new lunchbox this week, i thought i'd feature a few grown-up school supplies. after all, being an adult has its down sides, but at least we can afford more upscale office decor than we could when we were 12.

the first thing on my back-to-work list is some personalized stationery. i am such a sucker for fabulous stationery, i can't even begin to tell you. and much as i adore the classic, hideously expensive designs at smythson and mrs. john l. strong...really, they are hideously, inexplicably expensive. and, to be honest, they're a little too serious for my taste. so instead, i'll head over to iomoi, where they have a plethora of absolutely beautiful custom stationery options, with unbelievably cute motifs, at a price that's ever so much more reasonable. the only down side: so many options, i have no idea how to choose. but, i think i have it narrowed down to the crown monogram (because, really, i think we all know i'm a princess at heart), the island floral, the love lemons, and the little ladybug (seriously, how cute and girly is that?!). hmm....okay, so i still have some option-narrowing to do. the point is, they're gorgeous, stylish, and won't break the bank - now that's an equation i could have actually solved, back in my AP calculus days. (okay, who are we kidding...i so didn't take AP calculus...)

since i don't have a locker to decorate any more, i'm forced to try to make my office as stylish as possible...while maintaining some degree of professionalism, so that my clients can at least pretend to take me seriously. i worry about going too far down the "girly" path, but i think these vintage wire desk trays toe the line between chic and professional pretty darn well. not cheap at $58 each, but if you're lucky enough to have an office budget, well, i suggest expensing a few of these babies without a second thought! and, if an expense account is just a pipe dream at this point in your life, another idea i love is repurposing these rectangular aluminum trays from jamali garden as "in" and "out" around $15, these are truly chic and cheap, two of my favorite things! check out the green bamboo version too...

nothing really says nostalgia to me like fresh pencils and a pencil sharpener. seriously...i think pencils just have that "bygone era" thing going, in a big way (mostly because i can't remember the last time i used one). if you're in the mood to go old-school, you can go in style with this fabulously kitschy needlepoint pencil case (complete with pencils, thank you very much...) from jonathan adler, on whom i have to confess to having a major design crush. and, since most of us can't use the "i have to sharpen my pencil" excuse to get up and wander around the office like we could back in sixth grade, pair it with this super-fancy silver pencil sharpener, and you'll be the envy of everyone in your class.

i'm always looking for alternatives to my worst work-related habit: covering my desk with scraps of paper and post-it notes, all containing relatively important information, which inevitably fall off the desk, get buried under other paperwork, or just vanish altogether (i'm sort of convinced the evening janitorial staff occasionally steals some of them, just to screw with me). one of the solutions i've recently enlisted is to buy a completely fabulous and decadent leather notebook cover (that can be refilled), the theory being that if it really is completely fabulous and decadent, i'll want to carry it everywhere, which means i'll put all of my notes in it, which means they'll never be randomly strewn around my office, but will instead be completely and fabulously organized at all times. now, i won't say it's completely eliminated the piles of post-its, but it has dramatically reduced them. and hey, that's progress, right? you can pick up one like it at vivre.

or, if you just know you're a scrap paper person at heart, embrace your style by putting one of these subtle but chic magnet strips behind your desk. i love the bright orange color - hip without being too girly - and the teensy magnets (included) are actually you have a fighting chance at finding that phone number you wrote down on the back of a burrito coupon two weeks ago.

and, just because sometimes it's the little things that make me happy, i'm going to be buying a batch (or seven) of these adorable, handmade(!) paperclips. a mere $2 for a pack of 25 (or a whopping $2.50 if you want them in blue), plus you get to feel like you're helping out an indy artist.

happy back-to-school,, get shopping!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

what i want today: sigerson morrison flats

argh! i want these so badly it's causing me actual, physical pain. to tell the truth, i've lusted after this style (a classic sigerson design) for at least a year now...but i always end up feeling like i should wait until they go on sale. the thing is, they never do. and it drives me completely crazy!

every fall, sigerson releases new color combos, and i spend an exorbitant amount of time choosing a favorite - my all-time fave was a gorgeous royal blue with orangey-yellow jewels. the black/grey version above would be infinitely more versatile, though. now, if only i could stumble across a spare $395 in one of my coat pockets, i'd be all set.

(check them out in mirrored silver, fabulous! probably not as practical as the black...but then again, the silver would go so nicely with the outfit i'm wearing today, whereas the black would not. and the mirroring makes them infinitely more cool than the millions of other silver shoes out there. agh, decisions!)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

asked and answered: "business casual"

oh, how i love reader questions! this one's from melissa:
I got a promotion & now have a strict "office casual" dress policy. I'm looking for affordable interchangeable options ASAP. Oh, and slacks - a staple of every woman's wardrobe, right? Can't find a pair that fits my badonkadonk and my waist. Help!
how i sympathize. while it's true that most people in my line of work (day job, people...if i blogged for a living, i'd go to work in my favorite cookie monster fleece pants!) have to dress pretty conservatively, i'm fortunate enough to be in the minority that doesn't have to wear a suit every day. less constraining, true, but sometimes freedom is stressful. i mean, how do you decide if trouser jeans are okay? or skirts - how short is too short? decisions, decisions.

so first, a little discussion about what i think "business casual" means for most of us. i tend to err on the side of overdressed, based on the theory that no one will ever question your professionalism and competence if you're overdressed, but there's a chance they'll do it if you're underdressed. plus, there have been occasions when i've wanted to give a staff person grief for wearing jeans to work, only to look down and realize i was wearing jeans too. granted, i'm the boss....but still.

so, rule one (eh, let's not use "rule" about "guideline"?): no jeans. that includes trouser jeans, i'm sorry to say.

guideline two: i know minis and darling short dresses are all the rage right now, but i really think knee-length for skirts & dresses is the safest way to go. if you do need to go above the knee, keep it less than 4 fingers above the kneecap, and add a pair of very opaque tights (no leggings, please). no bare legs and short skirts, period.

guideline three: when in doubt, go boring. i love daring fashion as much as the next gal...maybe even more. but if you're unsure, i'm telling you - better to be appropriate but boring than...well, whatever the opposite of that is. seriously. a twinset and slacks will never get you fired.

okay, now for the fun stuff: the shopping! first, i love dresses for work. they're so easy and so flattering (especially for those of us with that high waist-to-hip ratio my darling reader mentioned) - whenever i'm having one of those "i have nothing to wear" days, i alwaysalwaysalways reach for a dress.

my two favorite options are a wrap dress, which is just always perfect, or a classic a-line. remember, this is your go-to option when you feel like nothing's working, so you want a dress that's always going to feel flattering and fabulous. i love, for instance, this wrap dress at boden is a great classic choice, and under $100. for a great a-line classic option, try this cap-sleeve sweater dress by banana republic, also under $100. this piece is going to be a great staple, perfect for layering under a cardigan or even with a white blouse underneath. gap has a similar version for under $60, though i'm not as crazy about the cut, and would suggest ordering it in tall sizing (and wearing those opaque tights we talked about above) to keep this one office-appropriate.

as for slacks, i'm going to steer you toward the new crop of "curvy" fit options. they're designed to accommodate exactly the issue you've mentioned, and i think you'll find they work beautifully. you can find them at banana republic and gap.

stay clear of skinny pants - too trendy. also, no pleats, ever - they're not flattering on anyone. i'd also stay away from cuffs - they aren't bad, necessarily, but i think the cleaner the style, the more wearable the pant. wide leg pants are very flattering and stylish (if they're cut properly), but don't go too wide, as you want them to be in style for a long time so that you're getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak. my first choice are the contour pants at banana republic, which come in a variety of fabrics and will run about $100. i particularly like the lightweight wool version, which would have a really nice drape. for a less expensive option, i like this classic style from gap - they're cotton, but have enough polyester and spandex in them to keep them from attracting lint and wrinkling.

for tops, i think layering is the best option for most office attire. cardigans, wraps and blazers are your friend, as they let you dress up weekend tops for work, and add a ton of versatility to your closet, assuming you have enough base layers to start with. if not, check out this short sleeved sweater from gap (i know, lots of gap pieces...what can i say?), which is down to $25 on sale, and would have endless versatility as a base layer, but will also look good on its own.

for top layers, i love this blazer/cardigan hybrid from bloomingdales - i think it would be a perfect addition to your work wardrobe, and it's marked down to $69, which is a fabulous deal.

i also happen to think this lightweight mesh cardigan at anthropologie is pretty fabulous - it's a steal at $58, will be incredibly versatile in black, and i think it adds a degree of professional to a very generic, t-shirt and slacks ensemble. it would also be perfect over a dress, when the office A/C gets a little out of control.

okay, hopefully that gives you a little bit of help. i could have gone on and on (and on...), but i think the idea is to give you a framework, and you can figure most of this out from there. just remember to err on the side of caution, and i think you'll be fabulous! oh, and congratulations on the promotion!!!

(ps...if you're thinking "wow, that was such a fabulous answer to that reader's question...i sure wish this blogger would help me out!", good news. you can email me at, and i'll be glad to do whatever i can to ease your fashion woes!)