Comfortable Shoes for the Working Girl

We don’t know about you, but most days, it feels like stilettos and sky-high heels are a thing of our youth.  Instead, we find ourselves reaching for the classics that are worn in, comfortable, and timeless (usually nude and black heels, though we’re prone to go for the pretty shoes once in a while too!).  Thanks to our tried and true tips below, you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort when it comes to your shoes!

commuter shoe guide

Go for heels with greater stability.  Kitten heels (like this pair by Michael Kors), wedges (this Jeffrey Campbell pair offers extra support with the ankle straps), and block heels (check out these by Tahari!) are far easier to navigate than stilettos.  Also, in general, it’s a good idea to go for heels have a bit of a platform at the front of the shoe so that there is more of a cushion between the ground and your foot and the heel height is actually less severe than it appears.  Finally, ladies, flats are always a good idea, so make sure to invest in a timeless pair like the ones offered by Tory Burch!

Use supplements.  If you haven’t yet jumped on the shoe liner bandwagon, then run to your nearest Marshall’s/T.J. Maxx or Ross to find the greatest deals on these (also available online if you prefer not to leave the comfort of your couch to shop!).  These liners are lighter than socks and have a little gel patch on the back of your foot to keep them from moving around within your shoes.  We just recently started wearing these and the cushion and comfort are amazing!  If you prefer more support though, there are tons of different gel cushioning options at your local drugstore or shoe store.

Wear gym shoes on your commute.  A recent trip to Washington DC had us in awe of how many women wear tennis shoes on their commutes.  For most women, it seems counterintuitive to wear tennis shoes with our work clothes, especially suits, but as we’ve said before, this can totally be accomplished stylishly, so here are our tips on how to wear sneakers with skirts!

How do you make your footwear more comfortable for long work days and/or your commute?

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Style Guide – Professional Headshot

House of Marbury - Style Guide Professional Headshot

[Photo credit:  Theory]

Many of our dear readers have asked for another post on professional headshots.  And they’re right to suggest it – what to wear for a professional headshot is an important decision.

Before committing to an outfit, do some research on what the others in your firm or company have done for their past headshots.  Is color encouraged?  Is jewelry kept to a minimum or do people tend to add flair through accessories?  Do most women have their hair up, down, styled as it typically is, or done professionally?

If your firm’s photos are of little guidance, or if, like Kate, you are one of the few women in your firm, you can forge your own path.  As we see it, you have two basic options:  go traditional or go bold.

Going traditional would involve wearing a conservative suit in charcoal, navy, or black, with a white button-up shirt, pearl earrings and an optional pearl necklace.  Going bold would involve a colored suit and larger accessories.  Regardless of the colors or patterns you choose, we always recommend you wear a suit jacket, a blouse with a respectable neckline, paired with earrings, a necklace, or both.

A third option is to do something in-between, like the below:

Hosue of Marbury - Professional Headshot

  1. Dot Necklace | Banana Republic | $20 (on sale!)
  2. Delevan Edition Jacket | Theory | $395
  3. Crepe Tie Neck Shell | Ann Taylor | $69.50 (available in coral and green, too!)
  4. Sparkle Stud Earring | Banana Republic | $20 (on sale!)

Do you prefer a bold look or a traditional look for your professional headshot?

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Essential Stripes

PicMonkey Collage

[Photo credit: popsugar.com]

Over the course of HOM, we have done a number of posts on professional wardrobe staples and we’ve remained fairly consistent throughout.  Every professional wardrobe needs, for example, a power suit, a go-to pencil or A-line skirt, a white button up, and a versatile blazer.  Over time, however, there is one item that occurs to us as an unexpected essential – this item is one that every professional should have in their closet, but probably do not.  The item: a great striped shirt.

A striped shirt is unquestionably chic.  It’s bold and subtle at the same time.  And, if worn correctly, can serve the same purpose as a neutral.  That is, stripes can be worn with everything – patterns and solids alike – but can add richness and a little bit of spunk to an otherwise run of the mill outfit.

Here are a few of our favorites of this new essential in our wardrobes:

PicMonkey Collage

  1. Striped Low Cut Shirt | Zara.com | $25.99 (sale!)
  2. Elizabeth & James Carine Striped Shirt | Nordstrom.com | $265.00
  3. Isabel Marant Etoile Stripe Urban Shirt | Barneys.com | $195.00
  4. Striped Chiffon Blouse | Forever21.com | $22.90

How do you wear stripes?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Update Your Style for $10 or Less

No matter how much we want to be able to buy an entirely new wardrobe every season (we’ll even settle for half!), the reality is not so.  Instead, we try to stock up on wardrobe staples and indulge in a seasonal trend or two.   Another way to spruce up your summer style, though, is by focusing on the details — adding a fun accessory to your outfit or reworking an old favorite.

Five ways to update your style for less than 10 dollars

  1. Stripes print oblong scarf, Target, $9.99
  2. Colorblocked disc studs, Forever 21, $4.90
  3. Double layer metal barrette, Amazon, $2.27
  4. “Go Ginza” nail color, Essie, $8.50
  5. Tailoring: Depending on what you want to do, this might cost you more than $10, but it’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending a lot of money. Most tailors will hem things for you and even make design changes for quite affordable prices. For example, you can get sleeves or hems shortened, make a dress into a skirt, or simply have a favorite suit tailored to fit your body shape perfectly (in fact, some places like Banana Republic will tailor your purchases for you if you ask!).

How do you update your wardrobe without spending a lot of money? 

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The Best Earrings At Every Price Point

House of Marbury - Best Summer Earrings

While we recommend that every professional have a go-go pair of conservative pearl or diamond posts for formal occasions, statement earrings are one of the easiest ways to update an outfit.  Carry an extra set of great earrings with you to change your look from day to night, or, when you do not have to be overly formal for work, wear them to enhance your business casual look.  Here are a few of our favorites in a variety of colors, styles, and price points – all perfect for the summer season:

House of Marbury - Best Earrings Every Price Point

 

  1. Magdelena Hoop Earrings, Anthropologie, $118
  2. Bronzed Brulee Earrings at J.Crew, $32.50
  3. Stone Chandelier Earrings, Ann Taylor, $39.50 (50% off with code SHOP50!)
  4. Crystal Drop Earrings at BaubleBar, $32
  5. Sophee Textured Drop Earrings by Kendra Scott, $50
  6. Teardrop Stud Earrings at Nordstrom, $10
  7. Koa Drop Earrings (in turquoise or coral), BaubleBar $34
  8. Pop Crystal Hoop Earrings at J.Crew, $78.00 (30% off with code GOSHOPPING!)
  9. Summery Cluster Post Earrings, Anthropologie, $38

Where do you shop for accessories?

 

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How We’re Leaning In

House of Marbury - Lean In

In the wake of the Lean In phenomenon, we have seen more and more of our colleagues take charge of their careers.  Over the course of our collective careers, even before Lean In had a name, the ladies of HOM have found that one good way to get ahead is to be all-in and more, and to make clear to those around us that we are serious about where we are headed in our professional lives.

Here are five ways we have tried to make the most of our professional lives:

1. Be Amazing at What You Do

This first point cannot be overstated.  If you are amazing at what you do, everything else will fall into place.  Instead of going through the motions, dedicate the time it takes to learn and master your trade.  Once you do, you will step into leadership and other prominent positions within your workplace as a matter of course.

2. Be a Leader

As a natural follow on from point 1, as soon as you possibly can, find ways to act as a leader in your career.  Whether you are taking more junior colleagues under your wing, launching a unique initiative within your office, or taking on projects that are just slightly above your skill set, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself, and to set yourself ahead of the pack.  No one is going to designate you as a leader – it will be up to you to take on the role.  And when you do, your colleagues will notice.

3. Join a Board

HOM co-founder Kate serves on numerous boards of consequence in the city of Chicago.  Joining a board is an amazing way to contribute meaningfully to your community, make life-long connections, and learn a unique set of skills (people management, fund raising, event planning) that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.

4. Seek Out Opportunities to Give Talks

Anytime the opportunity arises, share what you know with others in a public setting.  Speak on panels, act as the keynote speaker, share your thoughts in a boardroom.  Everyone we know who has taken the world by storm gives a killer public speech – it’s essentially non-negotiable.  If you’re nervous about speaking in public, we completely understand.  But, we’ve found, the more you do it, the less nervous you will feel.  And it is a form of leaning in, in itself, to overcome our fears.  (Look for HOM’s tips for public speaking in upcoming posts!)

5. Pursue Your Passions

HOM started as a passion project that has come into its own.  And part of what makes the ladies of HOM thrive in this space is that we launched it with no expectations – rather, just a notion that a fun blog centered on professional style was missing from the market.  Whether your passion outside of work is in fashion, food, travel, sport, or otherwise, make sure you are making time for it, so that when you are away from work, you are filling your days with things that re-energize you and make you whole.

How do you lean in?  Let us know in the comments below!  

(Our hearts go out to Sheryl Sandberg and the tragic loss of her husband.  May he rest in peace.)

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Summer Wardrobe Staples

summer wardrobe staples via house of marbury

From simple formulas on how to style business casual outfits to making casual trends like nautical work at the office, business casual is a favorite topic around here!  So, of course, as we start to figure out our summer wardrobes, we decided to choose five staple pieces that make up a business casual wardrobe for summer time.  After all, one of the many reasons we love summer is that it gives us a bit more freedom with our wardrobe choices — more colors, lighter fabrics, patterns and a lot fewer layers!

A pretty pencil skirt like the memphis skirt by Draper James (this is a new line launched by Reese Witherspoon that we are absolutely head over heels in love with!).  We also recommend J.Crew for timeless pencil skirt options year round!

summer skirts

A pair of neutral pointy-toed flats to give your black pumps a day (or two!) off.  We love these Manolo Blahniks, or for a more affordable option, try Old Navy!

summer shoes

A colorful cardigan is the perfect solution for air conditioned offices and it looks oh so pretty amongst a sea of black blazers (for the days you’re not in court, of course!).  This J. Brand cardigan is just peachy, while this ModCloth cardigan is 100 percent ladylike.

summer sweaters

We can’t say this enough: a silk shell is the holy grail of a work wardrobe.  For the ladies who prefer a bit more modern and slightly edgy, this blue pleat shell is practically a work of art!

summer shells

And of course, a girl must have a go-to summer dress (and we have a whole collection of options for you here!).

What are your favorite summer pieces? 

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Seven Great Pieces for Under $70

HOM - under 70 dress

Whether you’re working at a large corporate firm or the AG’s office, you’re fresh out of law school or a seasoned professional, it always feels good to purchase great pieces for your work wardrobe without spending a ton.  And luckily, places like Zara, H&M, The Limited, ASOS and LOFT make doing so a piece of cake.  Below are seven lovely pieces that would work well in any professional’s closet, each for under $70 (and most are below $50!).

House of Marbury - 7 under 70

 

  1. Black and White Button-Front Shell available at ASOS, $22.00
  2. Mariposa Ear Jackets available at BaubleBar, $32.00
  3. Short Crepe Jacket by Zara (available in black, coral and yellow), $69.90
  4. Black Dress with Raglan Sleeve by Zara, $69.90
  5. Pleated Knit Skirt by The Limited, $41.97
  6. Wide Leg Cropped Pant available at H&M (available in navy, khaki, and olive green), $34.95
  7. Patent Mid Heel Court Pump by Zara, $49.90

Where do you shop when you’re not looking to spend a ton?  Tell us in the comments below!

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To The Max

PicMonkey Collage

[Photo credit: jennypackham.com]

Whether for work or play, we love a great maxi dress.  This week, we are featuring our favorite maxi dresses that you can wear in any professional environment.

We love the bold flower print of this Eliza J chiffon maxi.  Pair with a cardigan and mismatched heels for a summery, business casual look.

chiffon

The simple silhouette of this Alternative maxi dress is a perfect backdrop for a structured black blazer and black pumps.  Take this from day to night by ditching the blazer and adding some fun jewelry.

alternative

If you’re feeling bold (and your office is relaxed), opt for this polka dot maxi by Vince Camuto.  The sheer skirt and popover top are fun and cool, but still professional enough to get by in most office environments.  Try a white blazer and tan wedges for a casual Friday at the office.

polkadot

We’re obsessed with this Rag and Bone maxi.  Wear as is.  Perfection!

whitedress

 

How are you wearing maxi dresses to the office?

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Summer Dressing

summer work dresses for every budget

[photo credit: Boden USA]

As the temperatures warm up, it gets more uncomfortable to wear black and grey.  No matter how conservative of an office you work in, there are so many options for summer office dressing!  We recommend finding a flattering sheath or a-line dress in a bold color – for example, think cobalt blue, yellow, or a shade of purple.

If you work in a more casual environment, you can go for a fun print dress or something with more detailing than the basic sheath.  All of these dresses are easily paired with a blazer or a cardigan (you can keep one in the office for the air conditioned space, making your commute that much easier too!).

summer dressing for the office

  1. Print jersey faux wrap sheath, Ellen Tracy, $58.80
  2. Megan ceramic slit sheath dress, DVF, $199 (also available in fuchsia and chrome purple!)
  3. Seamed a-line dress, Tahari, $128 (this might be The Summer Dress – so many colors and ultra flattering!)
  4. Split neck sheath dress, Clove, $132
  5. V-neck a-line dress, Maison Jules, $59.99
  6. Angular neckline sheath dress, Ellen Tracy, $104
  7. A-line dress, Kasper, $69.99
  8. Striped a-line dress, Chetta B, $99.99

What is your go-to dress in the summertime? 

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