essentials

The Secrets of A Good Work Flat: (the Unknown, the Ignored and the Mistake)

The Secrets of A Good Work Flat: (the Unknown, the Ignored and the Mistake)

All Images: Naturalizer (Nordstrom.com)
What makes a good work flat? There are plenty of flat shoe styles to choose from — oxfords, loafers, ballet — but what details make for a “comfortable, stable enough to run around in all day” flat? Since we have already tackled finding the perfect work heel, we are ready to help you uncover the secrets of a perfect work flat. Let’s delve in.
1) The Most Overlooked Feature:  Arch Support
1) The Most Overlooked Feature
Arch support is the foundation to an all-powerful flat. Without it, your flats are just…flat. Arch support helps align and provides care to your foot, back, and other parts of the body. That is why a feature like a built-in insole or cushion is the core of a good work flat. Buying an insert (removeable insole) is an option. However, it can be more of a hassle than its worth. Inserts can slide around, produce fit issues or make the toe box tight. Take time to identify a flat with built in support; your feet and back will thank you later.
2) The Most Unknown Detail: Toe Box Shape
2) The Most Unknown Detail
From pointy to square to almond to round, there are many shapes from which to choose. But not all shapes are equal when it comes to comfort. Toe box shape directly effects the comfort of the shoe; hence the reason why this detail matters, a lot. Some shapes can be painful causing friction in the toe area, leading to blisters. To steer clear of this pitfall, opt for a round toe. Why? The round toe mimics the natural shape of the foot, making it a more comfortable choice. And it is the most universal silhouette, regardless if your feet are narrow or wide.
3) The Most Common Mistake: Achilles Heels
3) The Most Common Mistake
One the opposite end, flats can rub your Achilles heel causing bleeding and sores. Heel discomfort is destructive to your feet. And mistakenly, people sacrifice comfort for fashion. If a shoe irritates your heel (or any part of your foot), then RETURN IT. Looking for a flat shoe with sufficient padding around the heel collar will prevent against rubbing or irritation of the Achilles tendon. Additionally, finding a shoe that comes up higher or lower than your ankle will help avoid the sensitive area altogether. Live by this principal and you will not be a repeat offender: if the shoe does not fit properly, walk away. The market has too many good options waiting for you.
4) The Most Disregarded Thing: Wearability
4) The Most Disregarded Thing
Now think, how wearable is this flat? Will it slip off when I walk? There are super cute slip-on styles that unintendedly slip off when walking. How secure is it? This probably goes without saying but good work flats need to be secure, especially in the back. Does the flat provide some protection? Offices can be a jungle. Open-toe designs are liberating but a sturdy, closed toe structure may be best for protecting against falling items or the office environment in general.

Suits 102: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Suits 102: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

All Images: Brooks Brothers website
Now that you have an idea of what a proper fitting suit should feel like and how to check for fit, let’s discuss the remaining three characteristics of a suit—quality, style, and color.

Quality

What increases the quality of a suit are the materials used and attention to detail during construction. If you are shopping for a high-quality suit, think 100% wool, cotton and cashmere lined with an equally luxurious fabric like silk. When it comes to construction look for blazers and skirts that are fully lined and pants that are partially lined, at least.
However, if your budget cannot afford a high-quality suit, then that is okay. Go with what works within your budget because suits do not need to break the bank. You can find nicely constructed suits at an economical price point. Suits in this category are usually made out of a blend of fabrics like cotton, polyester, linen, and viscose and lined with similar fabrics. A combination of a good fit, flattering style, and nice color can make up for a lack in quality.

Style

Selecting a style of suit is usually the fun part. There are so many silhouettes from which to choose — wide leg, cropped, high-waist, slim fit, the list goes on. To simplify things, ask yourself these three questions. 1) What style will I get the most use out of? 2) Can this style be worn in every season? 3) Does this look nice on me?
If this is your first suit for work, then try to stay away from what is trendy and opt for a style that is timeless, like a flared pantsuit or a pencil skirtsuit. Flared pants and pencil skirts are so versatile; both are universally flattering and can be worn year-round. If you have a bunch of suits and you want to add more to your collection, then focus on what flatters your body.

Color

Color is paired expertly with style so give them equal thought. Bright colors are ways to express your personality while neutral colors are usually more professional and symbolic. For instance, navy is calming and signifies trust. Black is sleek and portrays elegance. Patterned suits like pinstripes are another beautiful option. Grey pinstriped suits are very popular and are not just for men; they look just as good on women. Color is genderless, so think about what image you want to portray, first. Then, choose a color that flatters your figure and complements the style of the suit. Black and navy are top choices.
If you’d like to go a little further and master suiting, here are additional things to consider.

Suits 101: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Suits 101: 4 Things You Should Know to Look Exceptional in Any Suit

Image: Brooks Brothers website
At some point in your life, you will need to navigate the world of suits to buy at least one that is good for work and more. To help make your search for a suitable suit go well when the time comes, let’s discuss the basics—fit, quality, style, and color. Those are what we call the four characteristics of a suit. Once you have a better concept of them, the suit world will magically become demystified. This is a two-part guide; part one focuses on fit since it’s crucial.

Fit

Fit is the way something conforms to the shape of your body. In a sense, it is measured by how a garment hits your body in all the right places and feels comfortable while looking nice on you. A proper fitting suit can take you a long way, thus making it very, very important. If an item doesn’t fit properly, then most likely you won’t feel confident when wearing it. And suits are commanding! They are sophisticated, casual, captivating, and sleek.

In general, there are things to look for when determining the proper fit of a suit. However, keep in mind that fit varies by style. Here are further details to know about fit and simple ways to test for it.

Jacket

Sleeves: The shoulder seam of a suit jacket (where the sleeve is set) should fall slightly off the top of your shoulder to just before the rounded part. That placement allows for free arm movement. If the shoulder seam falls before, or higher up on your shoulder, then the jacket will be tight and restrictive in the arm area.
Movement test: With the jacket on, hold your arms out wide then cross them high in front of you. Almost like you are hugging yourself but make your arms boxed. If you feel like something is pulling or tight, then try a larger size.
Body: The jacket buttons should not show any signs of tension or pull when buttoned up. That is a sign of ill-fit, in this case, the jacket is too small. Also, the jacket lapels when buttoned make a V-shape. This V-shape should not be too wide. That is another sign the jacket is too small.
Size test: Button up the jacket then look at it from the back in a mirror. If there is a lot of room in the back, then the suit is too big. If your back is bulging, then the suit is too small.

Pants

For pants, fit is focused in the waist, hips, and crotch areas. The fit in those areas should be more relaxed this is where tension shows. If this area is too tight, it will also be highly uncomfortable. Your Waist is probably the trickiest because most people have a slimmer waist. So, pants can fit in the other areas but your waistband can be too big. A simple fix is to have the waist taken in by a tailor or use a belt.
Comfort test: Try sitting down in the pants before purchasing to see how it feels in those areas. If it’s tight, go up a size.
Leg Length: Very long pants will drag on the ground and get holes over time. To prevent against this, make sure your pants stop at least 2-3 inches above the ground with heels on. Two to three inches is suggested because weight fluctuates and this provides some wiggle room. (weight loss = longer length/weight gain = shorter length)
Length test: Walk around in a pair of heels with the pants on. If they drag on the floor, then get them hemmed.

Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Everyday Work Bag

Your Guide to Selecting the Perfect Everyday Work Bag

Image from Strathberry website
We all yearn for it. Search high and low for it. We admire others’ and ask where we can find it. You know what we are talking about. A bag that is mostly used for work but can transitions from desk to dinner with ease. While the everyday work bag can vary by person, there are certain components it must have to be considered perfect.

1) Lightweight

Because you will fill your work bag with many items, laptop and gym clothes included, choose a bag that is lightweight. One way to determine the weight of a bag is by picking it up when empty. Our recommendation: stay under 2 pounds. You do not want your bag to be the cause of any back or shoulder problems.

2) Durable

Choose a bag that is well-made. One that will hold up over time, scratch resistant, and is constructed from good fabric, which we will discuss next. There is an abundance of fashionable yet functional options on the market.

3) Waterproof(-ish)

Look for a material that is waterproof, like nylon, or waterproof-ish, like leather. Avoid materials that when wet will seep through the inside. Another consideration, choose a bag that has an inner lining of nylon or similar. So, when something spills inside, it is easy to clean.
Photo: LeSportsac website

4) Spacious

A work bag should be big enough to carry your essentials and then some without being overly large. A large bag will most likely be heavy when filled and bulky. On the flipside, a mini bag will not be sufficient. Finding the right balance is key. The right dimensions will depend on the shape of the bag; however, this is a good range: height 12-15 in, width 12-16 in and depth 4-5.5 in.

5) Minimal Color

Select a bag that is minimal in design and color so it can match many outfits. While a flashy color like neon purple would be super cute, it would clash and would not be versatile enough for an everyday workbag. Instead opt for a neutral or simple color.

6) Easy to Open

A really, really good work bag is easy to open BUT secure when closed, like a zipper. Contents will not fall out if the bag is turned upside down when zipped. Also, latched bags work really well, like a briefcase. Stay away from “open-mouth” bags because contents can easily fall out or get stolen.
Photo: Jack Georges website
Photo: LeSportsac website
Photo: Samsonite website

Buying the Perfect Everyday Work Heel: 7 Essential Tips

Buying the Perfect Everyday Work Heel: 7 Essential Tips

Images from Magrit Shoes

There are a few simple things to know when choosing a staple work heel. One thing is that it doesn’t have to be a designer brand. There are plenty options on the market that won’t break the bank. Do a little research and read reviews first. The below tips will assist with your purchase and its care. (Note: All shoes in this article are by Spanish brand, Magrit.)

1) Neutral Color
Pick a neutral color like black, nude, navy or brown. The color should be universal so you can easily pair it with multiple outfits without having to worry about going out to buy another pair of shoes.

2) Mid Heel Height
If you are going for a heel, then the right heel height matters. Be kind to your feet and pick a suitable height. Mid heel is around 3 inches, not too high as you’ll be running around all day and not too low if you’d like elongate the leg. However, if 3 inches is too high, then there’s nothing wrong going with a lower or kitten heel

3) Quality Material 
Spend a little more money on something high quality. Usually a genuine leather or suede material will do the trick. Additionally, it is very important to make sure the lining of the shoe is also made of genuine leather. If so, the shoe will stretch over time and mold to your foot.

4) Shape and Cut
The most common toe shapes are pointy, circle, and almond. Each shape offers a different look and is completely up to the individual. Some shoes are cut narrow, others wide, and the rest medium (which is regular). What you need to know about the toe shape and cut is the comfort level can vary. Depending on the width of your foot, you may have to choose a wider shoe or different style for optimal comfort. 

5) Placement and Thickness
The heel is where you get the support of the shoe. Although, skinny needle point stiletto are hot, for your basic, everyday pump, pick something thicker. Also, a heel placed exactly under your foot provides more support than one placed farther away. If you are going for a flat shoe, then this is not an issue.

6) When Trying on Shoes
It’s a debate on whether the morning or evening is better for trying on shoes. Know this, it’s important to get the proper size for you foot. As you move throughout the day, your feet swell, especially in heat, which can prevent a true read on the size; so does foot pain produced from current sores. Our recommendation is to try shoes on earlier in the day. As mentioned, leather stretches and will shape to your foot. That is why it’s crucial to make sure the lining is made of leather.

7) Longevity of Your Shoes
Invest in taking care of your shoes. Find a good cobbler and after some wear get the bottoms resoled and the heel caps replaced. This way your shoe will last longer. If you decide on a pair of Louboutin’s, high-end cobblers nowadays offer a red sole to keep up with the look. It’s also a good investment and well worth the money to polish leather shoes and clean suede regularly to keep them looking brand new.