Work Wear

Work Wear


7 Trends We’re ‘Fall’ing For

7 Trends We're 'Fall'ing For

Investment Bag on a Budget

Hello, again! Last week on the blog we were talking about wardrobe basics. As a follow up I wanted to discuss one of the most important basics: an investment bag. An investment bag is really an investment in yourself.
According to an infographic from Highest Paying Careers, 65 percent of bosses say that     dress could be the deciding factor between two similar job candidates. And you want to dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

Mostly, though, it’s a representation of yourself. Fashion is more than how we dress, it’s a form of self expression. It is how we tell the world who we are, what we are about and how we feel about ourselves. We want the world to know we value and respect ourselves, because we set the bar for how we are treated by others.
Now, when talking about investment bags, a few items stand out in most people’s minds as classics i.e. the Hermes Birkin, the Louis Vuitton Speedy or the Chanel Quilted Flap. And although the Kardashians make it look like you can pick up a Birkin at your local Target, some of these bags cost more than my car. A Birkin starts out at $7,000 and goes upwards of $35,000. So what’s a regular gal to do? Read on.
There are most certainly some quality bags out there for much, much less but before we delve into the options let’s discuss what to look for in an investment bag.
Brand: To be an investment bag most people say it must be a big name designer, and for the most part, I agree. However, there are some smaller Italian brands that make gorgeous quality, leather bags. So, yes, look for a designer bag but if what you find is a quality piece you love, buy it.
Material: Leather, period. Sorry ladies, but canvas or nylon do not make an investment bag.
Shape: Seek out a classic tote or satchel shape, even a hobo for a more relaxed style. The focus here should be a timeless style as you want it to take you from year to year without looking dated.
Color: Mostly neutrals. Black, brown or tan are typical and will go with most of your clothing. Red is powerful color, but also a classic, so that would work as well. Any color will do, but be careful as you may tire of that turquoise or eggplant bag very quickly.
Here are some fabulous ‘budget’ options for bags under $500 (except one that I LOVE that is just over)
1. Brahmin Kathleen $325 Brahmin
I love the laser cut leather in this stunning bag and the tan color is a very flexible option to have in your wardrobe.
2. MICHAEL Michael Kors Selma Studded Tote $428 Zappos
This is a fresh approach to a classic tote, the studs really make it contemporary and add a bit of fun to this style.
3. Dooney & Bourke Button Slouch $525 Dooney & Bourke
I’m in love with this bag. This rich leather is soft and supple and the button detail on the sides is so very pretty.
4. Alice + Olivia Quilted Leather Bag $495 Neiman Marcus
This satchel’s quilting is so lovely, it offers a fresh approach to a timeless shape.
5. MARC by Marc Jacobs Too Hot to Handle Hobo $438 Marc Jacobs
Hobo’s are excellent day bags and this lovely piece here is no exception. Marc Jacobs’ mid range line offers up quality construction and materials.
6. kate spade new york Oxford Street Sloan $495 kate spade
If you like a croc look, take a peek at this fab tote from kate spade, it’s shoulder strap makes is a wonderful length and it comes with a detachable cross body strap.
7. Tory Burch Thea Satchel $475 Tory Burch
This satchel is so gorgeous, the pom pom on the side adds some visual interest and the color here is perfect for any season.
8. Coach Legacy Courtenay Hobo in Leather $278 Coach
This one is on my wish list! Love the color and the option to carry as a shoulder bag or a cross body bag. It has a bit of slouch to it, which makes it work as a casual style but its overall structure keeps it office appropriate also.
9. Coach Poppy Colorblock Tote $348 Coach
This is indeed, a timeless style. A simple black tote has enough room for all your stuff (including an iPad pocket!) and its shape will remain a classic.
Investment Bag on a Budget


Brilliiant Blogger Sets of the Week

Rainy Day Chic

Well, the rain has passed here in Austin & will likely be a while before it rains for days like that again. I rather enjoy the rain, though, must be my east coast roots. While it was raining buckets over central Texas it got me thinking about fabulous rain boots and frilly umbrellas. What better way to beat the rainy day blues than looking amazing, right?
Who could feel glum while wearing this gorgeous Metro dress from the TIBI pre-fall 2013 collection? It’s bright neons will surely inject some light into to the dreariest of days. Paired with the lovely Champery wedge boots from Hunter, you’ll be sure to stay dry while still looking chic. And I really like the way this Michael Kors Grayson tote in patent leather matches the look of the wellies. The Elvira Sazesh Purple Python necklace adds a dash of color and interest at the neckline and pairs very well with the coloring in the dress. Top it off with some accessories like these drop earrings, a watch and this Ruffle Umbrella from Lisbeth Dahl and you have yourself a stylish look that is sure to make you shine even when the sun won’t. So what’s your rainy day style?

Rainy Day Chic




MICHAEL Michael Kors monogrammed tote bag
$365 –





Lisbeth dahl umbrella
$38 –





The Wrap Dress

At the request of a dear reader I have put together an outfit that is flattering on any body shape.
The wrap dress is a universally flattering look. Popularized by Diane von Furstenburg in the 1970s, and inspired by her divorce, the design has been credited as a symbol of the women’s liberation movement. This iconic style has even been been on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The wrap dress has several key factors that make it functional and flattering on any body type. 
The “V” neck style elongates the torso while the wrap cinches the waistline. For the oval and rectangle shapes this helps create that visual waistline and gives the illusion of an hourglass silhouette. The “A” line skirt camouflages the lower half for the triangle shapes and adds balance and fullness for the inverted triangle. And for those who already have a natural hourglass shape, this style hugs and enhances your curves.
The next time you are looking for a dress, wrap yourself in one of these beauties. It’s a style that will last for years to come!


~ Sara

The Wrap Dress


Lanvin short dress



MICHAEL Michael Kors calf hair purse
$1,985 –


Michael Kors chronograph watch
$350 –




The Oval Body Shape

Next in our “Dressing for Your Shape” series: the Oval
The oval body shape is defined as a shape with bust, waist and hip measurements that are very close. Typically has smaller shoulders and fullness at the midriff. Also called the diamond shape.
Goal: Mask the waistline or use seams and lines at waist to create visual waistline. Create visual balance at shoulder and hip.
•Balance top half with shoulder pads in tops and jackets
•Choose “v” necklines and vertical design lines
•Medium scale prints work well (not tiny, not oversized)
•Create waist definition with visual accents like seams, darts and line
•Use fuller skirts and wide necklines to create a waistline
•Avoid wide waistbands, cropped pants and oversized dresses
•Careful use of vertical boning and seaming will flatter
•Use dark solid colors underneath lighter outer layers (like a two piece suit with a blouse)
When choosing accessories seek out long necklaces and earrings that can elongate the torso and the neck. Also try bold accessories above the bust-line like brooches and statement necklaces.
Don’t forget to check out The Fashion Refinery on Facebook (\thefashionrefinery) or Pinterest (\fashionrefinery) for more information and tips on dressing confidently in today’s best styles.
The Oval Body Shape


Dorothy perkin




Rebecca taylor




Ted baker


Giuseppe Zanotti ankle boots


Coach shoes





Silver jewelry


Suzanna Dai peacock earrings



Statement necklace


Oasis gold jewelry
$60 –



Summer Wedding Guest Style: The A-line Dress

Wedding season is in full swing! As you prepare to share in the joys of friends’ and family’s blissful nuptials you may be wondering what to wear. The answer is simple, and so is the dress: the a-line.
This cut is universally flattering. I love this “Amelie” dress from TIBI, shown below. The soft line and color ensures you will stand out without being too flashy and this short style will help you stay cool when the temps are hot. Paired with some nude pumps, like the “Claudia” peep toes from Timeless featured here, you’ll have a sophisticated style that will work for just about any venue. I chose to pair this with a daytime bag from Michael Kors, but you could easily swap this tote with a neutral tone clutch for a more formal affair. Add a pop of color with some lovely accessories to round out your look and you are set for the delightful devotion of those dear to your heart.
Let the weddings begin, and don’t forget to pack your tissues!

Summer Wedding Guest Style: The A-line Dress



Timeless nude heels
$44 –


Michael michael kors tote
$470 –


Chalcedony ring


Feather & Stone feather earrings
$135 –



Tom ford eyewear


A Peace Treaty silk shawl
$270 –



How Would You Wear It?

Colored leather – a huge hit last fall – is still trending this spring. With an abundance of colors and styles available it has become a popular and versatile look. No longer reserved for your inner rock goddess alone, leather has many faces for work or play.

One of my favorite colors for leather is this rich oxblood tone. It screams sophistication. I personally love the sharp contrast of the black with it, but you could easily pair it with neutral tones of cream, gray or tan for a softer look.

If a leather dress is a tad too edgy for your style, you can try incorporating it into your wardrobe with a leather cuff, belt or bag. If you do decide to try out the colored leather look be sure to look for classic & simple silhouettes as they translate well to leather.

How Would You Wear It?


Derek Lam leather dress
$1,010 –


Scoop neck top
$150 –


T By Alexander Wang short skirt
$200 –


Rupert Sanderson suede pumps


Zipper boots


Alexander mcqueen handbag
$3,065 –





LK Designs black earrings


Cuff bracelet



Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses