Prest-o Change-o: Professional to Party

I think one of the biggest wardrobe mistakes women make is to have too many party dresses. Once upon a time, I had more party dresses in my closet than tops. Now I have 2. It’s not that I’ve stopped going to parties (although I’ll admit that my clubbing experiences look more like a scene from “Neighbors”’ these days), but that I’ve learned the value of being able to mix, match, and accessorize pieces in my functioning wardrobe.

Maybe it’s my skill in rationalization coming into play (on some days I believe it’s my superpower), but it doesn’t hurt so badly to invest in quality everyday pieces when I know that with a flick of the wrist, I can remix them into formidable party outfits.

Here are my keys for turning office wear into party all-stars:

  1. Invest in staples with special details. Impeccable cut, intriguing fabrics, extraordinary details-these are what make a piece easy to take to the next level.
  2. Have a few anachronistic, luxe, or just plain weird accessories on hand. The last thing I want to see at a party is someone looking perfectly respectable. I want to see your personality ringing through loud and clear.
  3. Make use of your skin. I don’t want to see your skin at the office, but once the party starts, show me your neck or arms or legs (just remember-pick ONE. The idea is to live on the edge, not to fall off it).

How to do it:


For work, this spade scarf adds drama to a sweater and textured scuba skirt (see #1) combo. Black boots and tights create a long, lean leg in the absence of skin.


In a matter of minutes, I’m ready for the party with a printed shoe (leopard is my favorite), a “maximalist” bow belt (#2), tsujzed-up sleeves, a vintage brooch from my grandmother’s closet, and fishnets (#3).

Now show me yours!


Black Bubble-Textured Scuba Skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Mustard Sweater, The Limited.

Black Tights, Spanx Assets, Target.

Black Booties, Calvin Klein.

Dotted Spade Scarf, Kate Spade.

Party Accessories

Fishnet hosiery, Victoria’s Secret (in stores only).

Leopard Calf-Hair Pumps, RALPH Ralph Lauren, via TJ Maxx.

Poufy Bow Belt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Antique Brooch, inherited from Grandmother.



Green Jeweled Skirt

I bought this skirt from local boutique 5th and Hall shortly after Corsten was born. I hadn’t yet lost all my baby weight, but I couldn’t wait to have something pretty to wear again (I burned all my maternity leggings the minute I could).

Green skirt waist up

However, buying it at the size I needed 8 months ago meant that it no longer fit by December (hallelujah! Thank you, planks). So I took it to my favorite tailor and had them take it in. Voila! New skirt.


green skirt full shot

It’s finally cold enough here to wear tights, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing peep-toe shoes.


green skirt head shot

I’ve been seeing “palm bracelets” everywhere, so I just bent a cuff I already had to fit my palm. I like the look, but I think I’d have to keep it on my left hand; trying to write with one would be too annoying.

What do you think of palm bracelets? Would you wear one?



Ivory thermal top, Victoria’s Secret.

Jeweled skirt, 5th and Hall.

Earrings, thrifted.

Bracelet, I don’t remember.

Shoes, Cole Haan.

The Most Stylish Gifts

Black and Tan by open door.jpg

“There are two ways of spreading light; be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”–Edith Wharton

What a year it has been! Over the past year, I gave birth to a son and moved from a one (albeit roomy)-bedroom loft downtown into a four-bedroom home in my city’s historic district. It was all gloriously overwhelming, and in the six short months we’ve lived in our new place, I’m settling right in and already noticing an accumulation of stuff. Admittedly, some pieces were direly needed (hello, dining table that seats more than four people), but some of it is just that inevitable creep of stuff one acquires to fill space (toilet paper holder that turns out to only hold super small rolls, I’m looking at you).

For a few years now, I’ve avidly avoiding collecting stuff, and my downtown living arrangements helped keep me in check. But as the holidays approach and I see the White Elephant parties looming, I’m getting hives on my neck just thinking about the impending stuff I am bound to receive during the holidays by people who are simply trying to tell me they love me dearly.

Thankfully, a colleague saved me from adding another item to my “re-gift” cupboard (talk about showing someone how much you love them). While my office was scheduled to have a holiday gift exchange, she (brilliantly) suggested that we each bring an item to donate to a local charity instead. No pointless accumulation AND spreading a little Christmas cheer? Count me in!

If you don’t need another scented hand soap this season, you might consider asking your office/holiday partygoers to bring a donation instead of exchanging gifts. We can be the mirror reflecting the candlelight with which we’ve been lavished, and something tells me someone truly in need could use a brighter holiday.

Ideas to point you in the right direction:
Office Party: Bring a toy to make a child’s holiday brighter ( Locally, Crystal Lake Elementary is in need of Dollar Store gifts which they allow their students to “shop” for their families. School closes on December 18th, so these gifts are needed ASAP (Ms. Gambill, 863.499.2966)
Dinner Party: Holidays are often difficult for seniors. If you’re hosting a party, ask your guests to bring a new throw or blanket to warm their heart and legs instead of a hostess gift (
Girlfriends’ group/book club: We often think of food and clothing for the homeless, but underpinnings are often sorely needed as well. Collect bras and underwear for those spending the holidays in a shelter (Lighthouse Ministries,, 863.687.4076).
Extended Family Gathering: We often gather with our extended families, but someone in your family probably knows a soldier who isn’t home for the holidays. Consider bringing care package items to wrap up and send them with a note of appreciation. This would be a great activity with kids. Go solo: Are you a party of one this Christmas? Consider making an extra round on your next trip to Target to compile a bag of supplies for PACE Center for Girls, a school whose program is nationally recognized for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system. They are always in need of gift cards for restaurants and establishments teenaged girls would enjoy (used for academic rewards—I think of Black & Brew, Taco Bus, Target Starbucks, etc.), hair accessories, make-up items (eye shadows, perfume samples, lip gloss), journals, costume jewelry, and fun snacks (PACE Center for Girls, 863.688.5596).

Outfit unpacked:

Beaded sweater: Banana Republic

Pencil Skirt: Express

Leopard Calf Hair pumps: Ralph Lauren

Necklace: J. Crew

Sunglasses: Cole Haan

Bag: Ralph Lauren (blue glitter poinsettia not included)