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The XYZs of Dressing for CLEs

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On Tuesday (here), I shared two outfits that were good examples of what to wear to CLEs. Both of those outfits showed off some leg, so today I thought I’d put up two more CLE outfits structured around pants. Yes, pants are annoying. In a perfect world, no one would have to wear pants. But I’m all about giving everyone options, so here we go.

This first outfit is more cost-effective than the second:

Slim Stretch Shirt in Warm Riviera ………. $39.99
Black Trousers ………. $15
Pierre Dumas Pumps in Black ………. $24.44
Starlight Eden Pendant Necklace ………. $8.50

Yes, yes, I went with $15 pants. No, no, I do not expect you to wear $15 pants! I put up the $15 pants to fit within my budget of $100, and am banking on a presumption that you already own black pants that are much nicer.

I played it safe with this cotton shirt from J.Crew in this bright navy color. It’s crisp and pretty and the style is a wardrobe staple. I’m sure you have plenty of similar dress shirts to go with your suits that are just like this one. And for your CLE you’ll be able to leave the suit jacket at home! The shirt itself is so formal that it will hardly be missed.

I chose these pretty round-toe patent pumps because it’s very hard to find shoes for under $25 that don’t look like they’ll fall apart after two steps. No, but I kid the nice people. Patent has always been a favorite of mine, one of those style preferences I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow, unlike, say, red corduroy overalls. In my defense, I was three. In my condemnation, I wore them everywhere. Everywhere. And you know what I always wore with my little red overalls? My little red patent leather shoes. I’ve since moved away from the red patent (one look in my closet will tell you that this is a lie) and on to black patent. I’ll always like it.

When it comes to button down shirts and especially wrap-tops, I always go with pendant necklaces in anticipation of that little pocket of space created by the neckline of the shirt. After all, you’re not buttoning every last button on your button-down. You’re leaving the top two buttons (the one right at the collar, and the one just under that where the actual shirt starts) open, which leaves room for a nice little necklace.

When I have to keep my budget in mind and come in right under the wire, I always turn to Etsy for jewelry. For those of you that aren’t aware, Etsy is a marketplace for homemade goods – everything from jewelry and apparel to furniture can be found there, and you can often find some great deals. Some items are pricier – I found a couple necklaces that would have looked gorgeous with this ensemble, but they were over $100 – but I’ve found so many treasures there.

I finally selected this glass pendant necklace because I loved the warm blue color and the gold mixed in there. It reminded me a lot of one of the rings one of my mother’s students gave to her when she (the student) graduated. It’s a gold glass ring, almost exactly like this necklace pendant in dimension, and is speckled with colors and bits in a fashion typical of the Italian Murano style. It adds a little brightness and whimsy to the alphabet, and, really, what’s life without whimsy? It’s why I only eat applesauce in months that contain the letter ‘A’: whimsy.

But let’s say you’re not all that strapped for cash and can afford not to have to buy $8 necklaces at Etsy. Fine, Ms. Rockefeller, this one’s looking at you.

Legacy Elysee Bootleg Pant ………. $49.99
Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt in Orchid Purple ………. $39.50
Tailored Jacket ………. $98
LifeStride Casey Croc Pump ………. $39.95
Beaded Collar Necklace ………. $22

I picked a pair of black bootleg pants from White House | Black Market because they’re pretty standard and safe. I wouldn’t have you showing up in clown pants, after all. Or…red overalls. I’d be tempted, but I’d sit on my hands until the urge to link to red overalls passed. (If you click that you will see that this is a lie.)

I paired them with this purple short sleeve shirt from the Limited, just because I like purple and it’s under-rated and goes really well with black and grey. Speaking of grey, I refuse to spell it with an ‘a’ and I added one to the mix! That’s why I went with short sleeves – long sleeves can be so awkward under blazers. I always feel like I’m loosely wrapped in a strait jacket when I wear long sleeves under a suit jacket.

The blazer I picked has a lovely, flattering shape, which is important with blazers and when you’re adding layers in general.

I went with croc-embossed shoes, which were big in the fall of 2009. Or maybe it was 2008. Regardless, they’re still going strong, and fit my budget much better than these Nuncio pumps that you might prefer if you don’t like these. I’m all about options.

Finally, for jewelry, we’re back to that nice little pocket of space I was talking about, but this time, I picked a collar necklace instead of a pendant. I found it at Lori’s Shoes, a great little online store that I absolutely love. The lady who maintains it (spoiler alert: her name is Lori) lives in Chicago and makes periodic trips to Europe, the lucky duck, and sells some of her purchases abroad online. She’s  got a large collection of, predictably, shoes, and also handbags, but I’ve found that it’s her jewelry that’s usually worth a quick perusal.

And there we have two outfits – with pants, detestable article of clothing that they are – for you to wear or merely draw inspiration from when attending your CLEs.

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