By Hayleigh Colombo - 11/17/10 12:09 AM EST
Here are some great business looks for this season, to make sure you put your best foot forward.
“We try to have a look that you don’t see at many department stores,” Rizik’s buyer, Sue Ellen Lewis, said.
On the right-hand side of the store are the racks for people who want to get more bang for their buck, featuring a selection of dresses with a price tag of $200 or less.
Check out the Eliza J. pewter and black dress with ruched sleeves for $175. The upper part of the dress resembles a satin, buttonless blouse sewn into a black pencil skirt.
More people are dressing up for work these days, which can cause more harm than good because people often do it wrong, Lewis said.
“The challenge is to look professional depending on the work environment but not be too trendy,” Lewis said, stressing that subdued and basic colors are the trick to keeping up a classic but formal look.
Lewis recommenda dressing up a simple black dress with colorful or fun accessories to show your personality instead of trying to do it with a loud or possibly unflattering print.
“A colorful handbag or a pretty pair of shoes can go a long way,” Lewis said.
Betsy Fisher (1224 Connecticut Ave. NW; Dupont Circle Metro) offers shoppers a personalized experience, as well as selling some of those fun accessories that can spruce up an otherwise Plain Jane dress.
“Accessories just add that extra bit of personality that make you stand out from the rest of the employees,” said store manager Teisha Beasley.
Beasley says the store’s 21 years of experience and single location is what gives it an edge in providing women’s business fashions.
Beasley also said that vintage scarves are making a “nice comeback.” Available at your favorite thrift store or Goodwill for a few bucks (or your grandmother’s pajama drawer for free), scarves give that splash of color that might look awkward or out of place if you slapped it across your entire body.
Try Eastern Market’s Clothes Encounters of a Second Kind (207 7th St. SE; Eastern Market Metro) to dig through baskets of vintage accessories, but only if you’re willing to encounter all the things you donated back in 2000.
For an immaculately selected but more bohemian collection, look no further than Art and Soul (225 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; Capital South Metro).
Owner Marjorie Tuttle is firm in her belief that women should know how to dress themselves.
“It can be learned,” she said. “I think it’s all about being aware and knowing what works for your body.”
When I asked her to show me some of her favorite professional looks, she threw together two complete outfits in a matter of minutes. My favorite was a Kathleen Sommers charcoal and black-striped open kimono jacket for $118, which could easily be thrown over black straight-leg pants and a black cotton short- or long-sleeved shirt — a perfect professional outfit that involves items you likely own already.
Gentlemen, I haven’t forgetten about you: when deciding where to shop for professional garb, look no further than Georgetown’s Lost Boys clothing store (1033 31st St., NW; Foggy Bottom Metro). Owner and founder Kelly Muccio said dressing men is all about knowing basic style rules and how to break them.
“Impeccable men’s professional fashion is all about the focusing on the details,” Muccio said. “And it’s our job to put those details together effortlessly so that men can look good, without trying.”
Not confident in your ability to pick out a great, tailored outfit by yourself? No problem. Lost Boys has trained in-store style experts around every day to help.
“[This is a] place where men can come in, let their guards down, and feel comfortable finding their signature style,” she said.
Muccio’s favorite look this season is a Shipley & Halmos suit-to-tux hybrid. The 1930s-inspired cut and stitched-lapel detail can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion, making it a fashionable yet versatile find.