My wardrobe update is long overdue on this site, but I actually provided Lani from Real Life Style with some pix and commentary a few days ago, and she published it in a blog post on her site!
The backstory: Lani Inlander was a guest on BOBW a few months ago (Ep #141: Style Advice for Working Women) and I was very impressed with her approach to dressing at work and intrigued by the services she offered. The episode was recorded just before the pandemic really hit (March 4!), so at the time there wasn’t much thought about the changes to come.
As things unfolded . . . it became clear that life was going to be different, at least temporarily. Lani and I stayed in touch, and she ended up offering to do a virtual styling session as a thank you for the podcast appearance. To be completely honest, I didn’t quite understand what I was signing up for at the time, but it ended up being essentially a virtual wardrobe overhaul, and turned out to be incredibly helpful and fun!
I ended up deciding to spend cash that would have gone towards a 40th birthday celebration on a wardrobe update instead because a) HELLO, 40!!?! and b) it was long overdue anyway, as you’ll read in the recap on her site.
I will include some pictures here, and then discuss a little bit about current wardrobe habits . . .
First, some closet “before” pix:
BEFORE, OUTFIT HABITS: I have to admit I was in a major wardrobe rut. No jewelry, black jeans (technically not really allowed . . .) and a neoprene logo jacket (with our hospital logo) many days per week. Sometimes an aging wrap dress.
AFTER, OUTFIT HABITS: Well . . . this is the tricky part, because COVID. On working from home days, you can find me often in black jeans or pants plus one of these miraculously washable and stylish Uniqlo drape tees, plus a necklace. This is such a simple outfit but it’s 10x better than what I was wearing before.
On working “at work” days (none since mid-July but likely starting up again soon as we begin seeing patients in person again), I have either been putting on a dress (so comfortable for summer) or the super-versatile and comfortable skirt shown below, since it’s hot. I have a moto jacket that I looooove as an outer layer when the air conditioning in the office gets to be too much – better than the logo neoprene.
OUTFIT HABITS on non-work days: In full disclosure I am not dressed to the nines on every day off 🙂 I do often spend some portion of the day in workout gear. But my daily uniform is typically jeans + a tee of some kind. Which means I do (usually) try to get dressed in actual non-legging pants at some point.
And for these crazy times. this is actually a habit worth noting!
Even though I may not be going anywhere, I do feel better when I shower / makeup / put on an intentional outfit. And now I have the wardrobe to fully support that, especially for when (someday) things head back to normal. Plus, it’s nice to be wearing a decent looking top on video calls/presentations!
I definitely recommend working with a stylist (and Lani was fantastic!) if you have the resources and have reached a point in your work life where you just feel like you need an overhaul (post-baby, new career, post-residency, etc). I do not feel that I could have been nearly as successful in finding pieces that really fit what I was looking for without her. AND, I now feel confident in which brands/styles are best for me so I feel like I can go into the future and expand (when needed) without further handholding.
Finally, I felt like Lani gave me permission to spend on myself, which sounds sort of silly especially since I was primarily using funds that would have disappeared on a vacation. It does cost something to look nice at work, and that’s okay. I know many of you are probably curious, so here is the breakdown of what I spent and what I ended up getting:
If you do an overhaul with online shopping like I did, I highly recommend tracking your returns so you make sure you follow through on those! As you can see, I kept about 50% of what I ordered. The rest were returned for full refunds.
Listed below is what I kept for the above price (~$1600):
- 2 work dresses (1 Persifor, 1 MM LaFleur)
- 2 work skirts (Nic + Zoe)
- moto jacket (Majestic)
- long sleeved wrap top (MM Lafleur)
- sleeveless draped blouse (shown above w/ skirt) (MM Lafleur)
- tailored shirt x 1 (The Shirt)
- 3 drape tees + 2 casual tees (Uniqlo)
- black wedges (Cole Haan)
- new wedge sandals (casual) (Flexx)
- new jeans (not for work but I needed a pair) (AG)
(note: I already had black pants I was happy with, so did not need to spend on that.) This amount seems like plenty for right now though I still do want another neutral / cognac pair of closed-toed comfortable shoes (apparently HARD to find!).
SO, there you go! Feel free to ask questions. I am very happy I went through this process and grateful that Lani took the time to work with me!