Help me CMA.
March 14, 2013 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Recovering Spanx addict and emerging caftan woman needs to look professional at work. Snowstorm inside.

I've put on a bit of weight which is not likely to come off any time soon despite my best efforts. Oh well, I'm older than I used to be. Not looking for suggestions in that area.

So I'm slowly replacing my old wardrobe, much of which relied on cinched waists, Spanx, and tucked-in tops, with looser and more comfortable clothing - meaning no tight waistbands. Even if I lose the weight I'm fine with dressing comfortably for the rest of my natural days.

If I could wear knee-length sweaters and leggings for the rest of my life, I would. However, I still want to look professional and attractive at work.

I love J. Jill's spring collection of French terry pants as well as their thigh-skimming, lightly flared and feminine sweaters and tunics. I also picked up this dress which will be just ducky over leggings, or bare-legged in the summer.

Why do I love these things?
  • No fitted waistlines. The pants have a wide elastic band at the top.
  • No visibility for either my butt or my upper thighs.
  • The pants are loose-legged and are somewhat ironable (i.e. NOT PRIMARILY RAYON) but they are pants, not leggings. I doubt that I will have to iron much, if at all. This is very important because I hate wrinkled pants with the fire of a thousand suns but I hate ironing pants even more. I will never buy another pair of pants with a cute little crease in the front ever again.
  • The tunics and sweaters are cut really nicely so they flow instead of drooping.
I would love some suggestions for items from other stores that I might like. J. Jill is great but I'd like to mix things up a bit.

Bonus points for vivid colors in tops or dresses like purple or blue. I think I've hit my celadon and black quotas for the spring.

Empire-waist dresses that hit below the knee are also A-OK. No smalll fussy prints, though, if possible.

U.S. size 10-12, medium at J. Jill. For budget, think J. Jill and Talbot.

posted by Currer Belfry to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Boden! They have great dresses and lots of colorful prints so you don't have to worry about wearing all black forever. Also, I've actually had luck at Lands' End lately. If I can make a suggestion, I think that jackets/blazers make everyone look more polished. They look just a little more formal than cardigans and I think that for ladies in our size range, they don't deal with your waist at all. Good luck!
posted by kat518 at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

What about sheath style dresses? That is the primary style of dress I wear at work - slightly tailored, but not fitted (with a cardigan in the winter). Ann Taylor and Loft are good sources of this style. Example 1. Example 2. Example 3.
posted by something something at 9:31 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Travel-related clothing stores might fit the bill -- comfy and designed not to wrinkle. I've found some comfy work-appropriate pants at TravelSmith and browsing the women's section generally, I see some nice colors in the blue-purple spectrum.
posted by *s at 9:46 AM on March 14, 2013

You might like Eileen Fisher.
posted by joan_holloway at 9:55 AM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]

Check out Chicos. (I know, but hang in there with me,) Chicos has a Travlers line which is easy wear, easy care stuff.

They have some neat accessories too and the folks there will help you put together outfits.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:25 AM on March 14, 2013

Yes, Eileen Fisher might work: sweater, blue dress, linen jersey dress, comfy pants.
Also, Tea Collection, maybe? Brightly colored dresses and tops (but maybe you want longer tops)
Land's End has a line called Starfish which has a kind of soft, comfortable, feminine vibe.

You can find Eileen Fisher at most dept stores, and on sale much cheaper than the website.
posted by bluefly at 11:00 AM on March 14, 2013

Eileen Fisher also has a few factory stores and I agree she may be your best bet. I also find her frequently in thrift stores that are in fancier neighborhoods.
posted by Katine at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2013

Eileen Fisher is exactly what you're looking for. Her stuff is pricier than J.Jill, but if you wait for a sale you can get a ton of her stuff at a good price point.
posted by bedhead at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2013

In addition to Eileen Fisher, you might consider Misook or if you can afford it/find in on consignment, St. John. Misook is very easy to wash, which Eileen Fisher isn't always and St. John is not at all.

Flax Clothing, when you can find it, is another good option.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2013

Response by poster: Great answers everyone.

I see that Boden has a "Tunics and Kaftans" section. How wonderful. :-) The prices are good too.

After my J. Jill stop last night I went strolling in Nordstrom and eyed the Eileen Fisher pieces nearest the aisle with a sigh. I'm going to have to get myself on their mailing list.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:41 PM on March 14, 2013

Eileen Fisher is nearly all I wear -- I have pretty strict fabric needs and they're the only brand that comes in my size consistently. The current Eileen Fisher sale at Neimen Marcus online has really steep discounts. Same is true for for Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Garnet Hill. Their sales are what allows me to afford to wear the brand. I only wear the washable stuff: silk jersey and viscose jersey, some organic cotton (and, yes, I wear leggings and dresses all the time, too).
posted by sweltering at 8:53 PM on March 14, 2013

Do White Stuff or Fat Face deliver to the US? They do a lot of tunic-type tops.
posted by mippy at 8:54 AM on March 15, 2013

I just wanted to say that I've had an eye on Eileen Fisher for a long time and have thought to myself, when I have more money ... so I'm going to keep an eye out for EF stuff on sale. Side note: I think I read that Angelina Jolie wears a lot of Eileen Fisher.
posted by kat518 at 11:11 AM on March 16, 2013

> I see that Boden has a "Tunics and Kaftans" section. How wonderful. :-) The prices are good too

Get on their e-mail list. You'll get a lot of e-mails -- maybe one a week? -- but it's worth it for the discounts.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:16 PM on March 16, 2013

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