Closet invasion// Mary

17 Oct

My first closet invasion! Mary is the first to ask me to provide my styling advice for some neglected clothes hidden in the back of the closet (I need a name for this process…open to ideas). And what a wonderful wardrobe to work with!

Let’s cut to the chase.

Item 1// Missoni for Target sleeveless sweater dress
Styling concerns: Mary wanted to incorporate this dress into her business casual work wear. For me, this dress has some very minor elements that can throw an outfit off completely.

  1. Shift shape—Mary has a curvaceous (never knew that was how you spelled it) slightly pear shaped body. The shift shape doesn’t usually flatter her waist area.
  2. High neckline—This proves to be an issue that is overlooked when trying to pair something over this much coverage on top. In this situation, you want to find a coverup that has a similar neckline, a high crew neck cardigan for instance.
  3. Color palette—This is a relatively neutral color palette and you have to trust that Missoni knows what they’re doing. And now trust me when I say, you can wear just about any color cardigan you wanted. In this case, we chose a magenta and black.
Look 1// mod office.
  • magenta cardigan/Gap
    • A thinner material works better here, because something with more texture here could potentially overwhelm the pattern of the dress.
    • Notice the neckline of the cardigan compared to the dress; if it was buttoned up all the way, the cardigan should hide the dress’ neckline completely.
    • It is important to be aware of the shape of the cardigan with a this shift dress. Something that is too long will look frumpy. Avoid ones that have a ribbed band that cinches the cardigan at the bottom which will break up the sleek shape of the dress.
    • This cardigan functions as part of the top. It isn’t a coverup, it’s not meant to be removed, hence the belt over the cardigan.
  • chain belt/vintage
    • Even a small chain belt can define a waistline. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple cord or ribbon either.
  • 3 strand necklace & bangles/vintage
    • The necklace isn’t merely an accessory here. The short length and dramatic shape softens the stiff neckline.
    • Definitely pick something more neutral with such a bright sweater so close to the necklace.
    • With the bangles, you can experiment with brighter colors since it’s farther away from the body of the cardigan.
  • nude pumps/Kate Spade
Look 2// chic zags.
  • black cardigan/Gap
    • Again, the cardigan hits her around the hips. It shouldn’t be any longer than that. The shape is straight and doesn’t interfere with the lines of the dress.
    • Black and brown is okay in my book. Try it on, you’ll know if it clashes. The more subdued the coverup, the more the colors of the dress pop. This black cardigan brings out the pretty pale blue.
  • long multi-strand shell necklace/vintage
    • Since we omitted the belt here, we want to accentuate the length the shape of the dress creates. The necklace should be longer, hanging below the breastbone. Wearing a necklace is key for this dress if you’re wearing something over it. The neckline would look covered up and stuffy without it.
  • shiny chocolate pumps/Kenneth Cole’s Gentle Soles
    • Mary swears by this brand for comfortable everyday shoes!
Item 2// Betsey Johnson knitted cape
Styling concerns: How the hell do I wear a cape?!
  1. Warmth—People have the same issues with a cape. When do I wear them? The cape by itself isn’t a sufficient form of a jacket for fall and definitely not in the winter, and most capes are made of heavier materials that would look silly in the spring and summer. Solution? Treat it as a scarf or shawl.
  2. Length—The lengths of capes can be tricky. My tip is match the length of the came to whatever you’re wearing underneath. See how the leather jacket is about the same length as the cape?
  3. Handbags—Ladies, please wear only bags that you hold or hang at the crook of your arm. Shoulder bags and cross bodies can cause a lot of unnecessary tangling.
Look 1// cozy casual.
  • caramel leather jacket/Banana Republic
    • This is one of my favorite combinations with a cape. You’ll be surprised by how much warmth the cape adds to a leather jacket. The contrast of textures also makes this really fun.
    • Note length as mentioned above.
    • Paired with simple jeans and you’ve got a really unique fall look!
Look 2// equestrian team.
  • navy blue sweater/Banana Republic
    • I apologize for the bad photos. I’ll get better I promise. The color choice for this sweater is pretty easy. The grayish tones go well with any cool colors.
    • Choose a sweater that is a little tighter and more thinly knit to wear underneath the cape. You don’t want a loose fitting sweater under the swinging shape of a cape or add bulk under it.
  • high waisted wool full skirt/Dries van Noten
    • The fullness of the skirt here echoes the shape of the cape, but doesn’t compete with. Make sure to choose a more subdued material in contrast to the thickness of such a cape.
    • A full high waisted skirt is perfect for pear-shaped bodies, it’s all about accentuating the waist, and softening the curves.
    • Add thick opaque tights for warmth and this look should get you through the fall.
  • riding boots/Ariat
    • These are some legit riding boots! What a great idea! You know you’ll be getting a well crafted boot that will last you a lifetime.
Item 3// Frye nut brown ankle boots
Styling concerns: Do I look like Peter Pan?
  1. Boot height—One of the most difficult boot heights to wear without cutting off your legs. With shorter legs, the need for length is even more apparent.
  2. Work appropriate—Mary also wanted to be able to wear these boots to work. These are definitely pretty enough to incorporate into a office look.
Look 1// sweetheart dress.
  • black short sleeved sweater dress/Armand & Alba
    • The key here is the mini. You need need need that extra leg length for these boots. I would normally go with short here, but Mary didn’t have any. This sweater dress is a perfect alternative.
    • With black tights, it gives the illusion of length by using the same color as the dress to create one long silhouette.
Look 2// these boots are made for working.
  • printed silk blouse/Tucker
    • The blouse here is tucked in to accentuate the hips. You can wear just about any flowy blouse that’s long enough to be tucked in.
  • high waisted black mini skirt/Theory
    • I know you should probably avoid mini skirts at work, but Mary is young and with a pair of opaque tights the look is definitely office appropriate. Plus, she’s worn it to work before.
    • The super high waistline helps lengthen her legs as well as accentuate her curvy figure. The slight A-line prevents the skirt from looking too sexy.
The longest post yet. I hope you’ll get inspired to rework some of these pieces into your own wardrobe. This looks like a great start for Mary’s fall wardrobe, no?

5 Responses to “Closet invasion// Mary”

  1. Mary 10.17.2011 at 5:28 #

    I had a blast–and “office Mod” has already garnered a million compliments! Thanks for lending your incredible talent and expertise!!!

    • cassandra hsieh 10.18.2011 at 2:15 #

      Thanks Mary! Maybe we can do a Part 2 when the weather starts to warm up again? 😉

    • Naara 02.9.2012 at 9:38 #

      Can’t beat a clsasic pair of Louboutins and lets hope “Santa” is good to you this year!

  2. Jen 11.4.2011 at 6:49 #

    Mod office is fab! I am not a fan of the Missoni patterns…the print is just a bit much for me, but you made it actually adorable. Love it. I also love the Sweetheart dress look! Way to work it Cass and Mary!

  3. Vannessa 02.9.2012 at 6:29 #

    Ooooh!!! I agree with your cohices wholeheartedly!! A girl has to splurge on a good pair of shoes once in a while! Gorgeous!

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