Dressing for success in the boardroom

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Carlene Henry, of Murfreesboro, shows off one of the latest fashions from Joseph Ribkoff during a trunk show Sept. 28, 2012, at Penny’s Closet in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/T. Swann)
When adapting New York runway fashion to the Murfreesboro level – and forecast – dressing for success can prove tricky.

Fall weather has been teasing us with its warm days and cool nights, but rest assured, autumn is on its way.

Bella’s Boutique and Trendy Pieces owner, Judy Goldie, says incorporating fashion into the workplace is easier than it has ever been.

“So many businesses have stepped away from suits, thank goodness, and that does give each female and opportunity to express herself at work,” Goldie said. “You can put a dress pant on and put on a fun top or a cool jacket. You still have the professional look, but with style.”

Her boutiques offer key items like sweaters, jackets and wraps that can be paired with a skirt or dress pants for a fashionable, yet professional look. The staff at Bella’s Boutique and Trendy Pieces can also help shoppers find transition pieces that can be worn with jeans for date night or weekend shopping, but also go well with heels and slacks.

“Another way that you can wear dress pants and a traditional blouse … is with a really funky, really fun scarf,” Goldie continued.

Add an antique or glitzy brooch for a touch of style.

Dress your age, not your shoe size

Dressing age appropriate is very important, said Penny Bolton, who has owned and operated Penny’s Closet for some 13 years in Georgetown Park. She says her typical shopper is between 30 and 60 years old, and her boutique offers wardrobes that cater to that “missy contemporary” shopper.

“I’m 56-years-old, and I know I probably live pretty much the same lifestyle that my customers live: go to work, go out to eat, and go to some charity event. Of course, I may go to the movies every once in a while, but most people’s lives are pretty casual,” she said. “I do try to carry some things if someone is going to a party or a wedding or they just need a little bit dressier outfit.”

Bolton added that her shop – and her customers – are big fans of fashion accessories.

“We know that our ladies, our particular customers, likes jewelry you can keep in your wardrobe for years to come. Where a jewelry store would carry timeless and conservative (pieces), ours are more trendy,” she said. “When I shop at the market, I shop for that lady with a ‘missy lifestyle’ who is going to charity events and parties, but also needs casual clothes you can live in. We like to feel comfortable in our clothes. If the fabric doesn’t feel soft and yummy, we won’t buy it. We’re at the age where we want to be comfortable. We want to look nice, but we want to be comfortable.”

Bolton named several local fashionistas who really know how to complete a look. From scarves to cardigans to accessories, finishing touches can really make an outfit.

“When you see them, you know that they’re put together,” she said. “Really, from even their hair to their nails to their shoes; their whole outfit and accessories, they’re very put together in a classy way. They don’t try to dress younger than they are. They are age appropriate and trendy and fashionable.”

Dressing age appropriate applies to both ends of the spectrum.

As coordinator of marketing and special events with the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Kristen Hampton often goes straight from work to an event. The 20-something counts on layering and cardigans to get her through long days and ever-changing weather.

“I have my go-to places that I like to shop,” she said, naming Gap and J. Crew as her favorites. “I feel like they have a lot of clothes that are professional, but young. That’s usually what I try to go for: professional that’s still young.”

Fall trends

Denim used to be confined to one wash of Levi jeans (aside from the acid wash that took over the ‘80s), but that isn’t the case any more. Colored denim, Jeggings and leather-looking-denim have been flying off the shelves at Penny’s Closet.

A new jean from Miracle Body – you may know the company for its slimming swimsuits – is denim painted to look like leather.

“My customer typically would like to look 10 pounds thinner, and Miracle Body jean will make you look 10 pounds thinner; people love that.” Bolton said.

Fringe is also making a comeback in a big way. Look for it on cardigans, cowgirl boots and purses. Speaking of cardigans, expect to find them in more muted, earth tones.’

“Think Ralph Lauren Navajo look,” Bolton said.

Layering is also very, very important as Mother Nature makes her way towards cooler weather. Pair a short-sleeved sweater with a tank for warmer weather, or slip on a snug turtleneck underneath to avoid getting chilled, suggests Trendy Pieces and Bella’s Boutique’s Judy Goldie.

“We’re still seeing a lot of oversized tops, which is a really fun look, and lots of prints that work really well with a solid bottom,” she said.

Pair with some flat boots, and take on the workday.
Read more from:
Bellas Boutique, Business, Fashion, Murfreesboro, Pennys Closet, Shopping
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Members Opinions:
October 06, 2012 at 8:12am
Melinda should have left off the "in the boardroom." part in the title of this article. If you are in the boardroom, you are already successful and can pretty much wear what you deem appropriate.
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