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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Installment II: Underwear-as-Outerwear

Wearable at Work?

Yes! sometimes.  and obviously it depends on where you work and how conservative or fashion-forward the environment is.  My reader, of the reader mail that inspired this post (See Installment I), works for BCBG Max Azria, obviously a fashionable environment where I think this look would be more acceptable.  If you are a librarian, probably not.

In my opinion, balance is key.  One "underwear" item per outfit and the rest of it should lean toward the conservative side.  It is also helpful if you are able to adjust your outfit to cover-up/conservatize (new word) if need be.  Layering is the easiest option, as you can see below I chose a lot of cardigans and blazers that can allow you to show as much or as little as you like.

How I styled/tried it: 
(click picture for larger image)

Huh? basically I just thought my confused-at-photobooth face was too hilarious not to include. also, excuse the poor quality photos, I was alone at home and that's all I really had for self-portrait-ing.
Cosabella cami, Splendid tee, Banana Republic skirt, Jessica Simpson shoes.
Layers! I will always consider this the Clueless look. remember how that movie had us all layering our tee-shirt with tanks for a minute? so here is a lacey, low-cut, lingerie-ish camisole, layered over a thin crew-neck tee, creating, in my opinion a very pretty, sweet look; especially worn with a high waist-ed pencil skirt, I think this outfit is pretty work-appropriate.

Pair a sheer bodysuit or corset style top with a sharp blazer and tailored pants.  also, keep it sweet! pastels or feminine florals like this corset dial down the boudoir element of these pieces.

Asos corset, Asos wide-leg pants , Oasis crop blazer, Bebaroque bodysuit, Topshop tank.

A sharp suit balances out the lingerie-factor of these tops, and I love the nude and blush tones.  I also looovvve that bodysuit.

A strapless dress, especially one with an underwire style top like these would generally never be appropriate for work.  but layered over a sweet short or three-quarter length sleeved tee, really dials down the sexy factor, and in my opinion looks super cute.  a bodysuit is a good option here.  this is another example of how to balance out an outfit.  just make sure the dress isn't too cocktail-y or bodycon.

H&M pink label top, F21 skirt, Target peep-toe flats (so, instead of being embarrassed lets just use this to illustrate how a girl can dream of everything at shopbop, but manage to shop it on a budget).
Me trying out black lace. I think with lace usually white or lighter colors keep things more appropriate, black or (eek!) red is a lot more bedroom style. with black I say the sleeves should be short or three-quarter, never full length, and it should be on the looser side. I'm wearing mine with just a light pink bra underneath, but I think it works with a skirt worn high, above the waist actually.   I paired my outfit with flats to tone it down further.

Kiki de Montparnasse caftan , Elizabeth and James lace button-up, Urban Outfitters bodysuit , Organic by John Patrick skirt.

Pair a sheer flowy top with a high waisted skirt.  black and lacey is balanced beautifully with a demure light pick knee-length skirt.

Like the strapless dress, I love a corset top over an appropriately conservative top.  bottoms are best high-waisted and knee-length or just above, and again, layering is the easiest option.  a long cardigan (there are lots of really pretty lightweight options in blush and grey tones in stores now.  I bought a couple at Zara about a month ago that I'm practically living in, see below), button or belt it at the waist letting as much or little of your "underwear" style top (depending on how revealing or sexy it is) show through.  I've also been seeing a lot of these scarf-like cardigan/vest options that I really like.

American Apparel nude lace bodysuit, vintage camisole, Zara cardigan.
Here I'm layering two underwear-style pieces, the lace bodysuit, and camisole (slip, actually, cut into a cami), to make one that is appropriate to wear in public. I'm layering it with a long belted cardigan that allows me to cover up more or less as needed. keeping everything in these pale blush tones makes it pretty and sweet as opposed to overtly sexy.

A low back is a nice way to let a little lace peek through, and a cardigan allows you to button/unbutton to the degree that you feel comfortable with.  I think these camis are perfect for this look. they're sexy but still very sweet, and, importantly they are obviously not just a regular bra - it is important with "under/outer" that it's clear your choices aren't accidental.

H&M bra, Hanky Panky bralette, Zara cardigan.
I'm a little less sure if I'd wear this out during the day or at work, basically I am wearing two bras and a cardigan. I do think the layering of the bras, one very structured, almost corset looking, but actually not very low cut or cleavage-y (at least not on me, haha) under the lace bralette, which could pass for a cami from this viewpoint, sort of makes it work. again, it helps that everything is in lighter, similar tones, and this outfit displays the versatility of a cardigan.

asos peg-leg pants, asos trousers, asos sleeveless tuxedo jacket, Loeffler Randall Bustier.

In my opinion, high waisted, tailored pants are important.  they reel in the sexy, hips, hourglass effect of a corset-type top.  and like a sharp blazer or suit jacket, vests like this one are a great option.

to recap: balance is key. layers. it helps to have the option to cover-up. keep it sweet. lighter colors, blush tones.  cardigans.  sharp, tailored trousers and jackets.  high waist-ed skirts and pants.  one "under" per outfit.

So what do you think?  am I way off base or do these outfits work for work, and for what type of work/workplace?  let me know what you think bebes! xoxo 4 evvaa, caitlin


Sarah Klassen said...

Haha, I'm still chuckling over: "if you're a librarian, probably not." Lovely pieces and ideas for inspiration -- I think this look is so pretty and feminine, and done right, completely appropriate -- just as you have demonstrated :)

What a fantastic post!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend,


tessalexandra said...

I love this! Thank you so much. And agreed, the post of your confusion is just priceless

Nat K. said...

I think the first two would be work appropriate. But prob not the last. Cute looks though!

caitlinmarie said...

Thanks ladies! such nice comments from everyone, xoxo.

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