Shopping for business clothes using Black Friday sales

We’re all friends here, right? Can I just share that my shopping victory of the weekend was finding a suit I want and will actually wear, in a tall size, for $115?! I know that’s steep, but it’s hard to find anything cheaper when it comes to suiting unless you are lucky enough to find one second hand. 

I accomplished this by using Black Friday sales to finally get some business clothes I’ve been eyeing. Yes, I know, the season of giving gifts to others, etc etc…but this is also a really good time to find business casual clothes at more affordable prices. 

Here are some picks from the J. Crew sale, which is 50% off almost everything. That makes J. Crew almost affordable! Above, the suit I bought (jacket $75, pants $40). Below, some other good choices: 

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Style on a budget: Sezane lookalikes for cheaper

If you don’t know about Sezane you should probably skip this post, because I think the cool French clothing company is out to steal my whole wallet. They’re unsuccessful, though, because $120 for a shirt is noooooope not happening on a graduate student budget. 

….but that doesn’t mean I can’t look. 

Looking at expensive clothes is a hobby of mine. It could be purely painful, but I actually like looking at the inspiration and then keeping a phone note of items I want to find on sale or thrift. In the spirit of that, here are some Sezane pieces I have been coveting, along with cheaper “dupes” of those items.

White lace shirts: Sezane is all about the lace shirts. I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this lookalike at Loft for under $30. I bought this shirt this week! More lookalikes below.

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Surviving academic conferences

My yearly national conference is coming up this week and it has me Amazon prime-ing myself so many items that I need to keep it together at academic conferences. Germs, lack of food, nerves…academic conferences are a nightmare on my body. But, keeping a few items in my bag goes a long way. Here’s what I’ve needed in the past.

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Wearing florals for winter

I’m flexing my styling muscles this week to try a new combo that I’ve seen on Pinterest repeatedly this season: layering floral dresses to make them stretch into winter.

It’s clear that dark floral patterns are in right now, and that makes the 90s kid in me extremely happy.

Loft (comes in plus and tall sizes)/J. Crew Factory/Loft (comes in plus sizes)

See how I’ve been styling my current dark floral dress below.

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My Fall 10×10 picks

The Fall 10×10 starts today and there’s still time to join. Just pick 10 clothing items and restyle them to make 10 outfits over the next 10 days. Easy, right?

Hah. By day 8 I’ll be making all sorts of strange combos, I’m sure. But that’s kind of the point. This is a great challenge for learning to use what you have while also identifying wardrobe gaps. Usually by day 10 I have a pretty good idea of what items could be nice additions to my seasonal closet, which is why I (try) not to shop for the season until the 10×10 is over. Here are my picks for the next two weeks:

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Blazer (thrifted, similar)

Shirts: Long sleeve, pink button up (thrifted, similar), white button up

Plaid shirtdress (old, similar)

Sweater: Vetta (can be worn 3 ways, so this is probably gonna be the 10×10 all star)

Bottoms: Green dress pants, tweed skirt (thirfted, similar), jeans

I’m pretty excited about a couple of potential combos right out the gate! And I’m hoping that these layers will help me cope with the Colorado 40 degree temperature span. 

Are you doing the 10×10? If not, what are your wardrobe all stars this season that you could mix and match?

A week of outfits: Transitioning from grad school to 9-to-5

Today, my friend Sue, who graduated with her MA last year, talks about dressing for your first adult job!

Hi y’all! I’m Rebecca’s friend Sue. I just graduated and I’m back in the working world. Before I got my MA I worked at a Fortune 500 company, so I had to adjust my wardrobe for grad school (the West, a more casual vibe). I moved back to the East Coast this fall and started a new job so I had to adjust my wardrobe again. 

Monday
I typically start the week in a dark dress – I think because it’s easy to roll out of bed Monday morning, put on a dress and not worry about mixing and matching. I typically pair with a cardigan or (maybe) a blazer. My office is business casual, leaning more towards the business than the casual…no casual Friday’s here! I had a few staple dresses from grad school but definitely have been in a bit of a buying frenzy and utilizing Rent the Runway Update! 

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How I’ve (successfully) used Rent the Runway

I just got back from the second wedding where I used Rent the Runway to get a dress, and I basically never want to buy a wedding guest dress in my life. Why would I store something in my closet when I can get something different every time that doesn’t contribute to clothing waste??

However, I have seen some horror stories about Rent the Runway (they average one angry instagram comment a post, I would say). So here’s how my experience has been (so far) and what I suggest to maximize your experience.

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How I figured out my personal style in grad school

When I arrived at my MA program, I had a lot of clothes, and liked clothes, but was also one of those people who never felt “pulled together,” and especially not in a way that looked effortless. Fortunately, I had a habit of stress reading blogs. And I soon found capsule wardrobe bloggers. Through their influence, I figured out that my problem might actually be too many clothes, going in too many directions. So I started doing a couple of things to find the direction in my style. 

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Bags for grad students

Thanks to @yikesbutmakeitfashion who asked for a bag round-up for grad school ❤ Here are my current favorite workhorse bags….

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Let’s start with what I’m currently using, the Everlane twill zip tote. This tote is $48, has a ZIPPER, and it has held up super well–no strap damage or loose stitching. Cons: It doesn’t have any shape so any bulges caused by throwing your whole life in there will show. Other options below.

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