Stop Asking Where I'm From

Business Casual Superstar #485: She Sells Sea Shells By the Sea Shore

Written By: humarashid - Nov• 29•11

Man, is anyone else exhausted by this Black Friday/Cyber Monday mess? I sat both of them out. Frankly, I find BF/CM intimidating. I find most things intimidating, really, but that’s my cross to bear. I don’t want you guys to worry about it. And if I find you worrying…


Anyway, I was browsing the Ann Taylor Loft sale – not to buy anything, just to look around – and found myself paying particular attention to the shells. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have enough of them. Shells are great for under suits, and I also like wearing them with cardigans and flats for a business casual look, or a slightly dress casual look (when I’m running errands but don’t want to look like a slouch).

So I thought I’d put together a little collection of shells to be worn with fancy-schmancy suits, and with flats and a sweater for a prim little casual look. Let’s get started! As always, click the picture to purchase.


I love the color red. I wear it often enough. My handbag, as you guys saw, is red. Two of them are, at any rate: my Longchamp and a Liz Claiborne leather tote that my BFF Nida gave me when I graduated from law school (it’s gorgeous and perfectly my taste – we rarely shop together but that girl always gets things I just love; I have no idea how she does it!).

But what I really like about this is the beading or sequins or whatever up top. I like shiny things, you guys. I can’t help it. Once, Andy gave me a big jar of nuts and bolts to play with, and I was happy alllll day. But then I learned that he removed those nuts and bolts from my car, so I wasn’t happy after that. After I set something that he owned on fire, though, I felt better.


It’s purple-y, but with sparkle. Slight sheen, really.


I like shells with tiny little prints like this. And I like the gentle pleating at the top.


I also like colorblock, often enough. And this color pattern is nice. I would totally wear this, with my black editor pants, silver ballet flats, and a lovely cropped grey crochet sweater. And maybe something yellow in my hair. Yellow flower. Yellow ribbon. Something yellow, for a bright splash of color.

I had two great tops to show you from Ann Taylor but the site was down for maintenance and otherwise being buggy for HOURS, so they don’t get any linkbacks.

This image represents what I feel like when I want to buy something and the website is like LOL NO NICE TRY.



It’s shimmery and it’s got a drape neck. Therefore, I like it. I like drape necks a lot. I like anything that adds interest around the neckline, really, now that I think of it. Not always, but usually.

I’d wear this with a bold splash of color. A colored sweater. Brightly colored flats or heels. Or I’d throw on a bright red trench and leave it open while I ran errands, weather permitting. I’m a big fan of bright trenches and not buttoning them up.

…I don’t know what’s wrong with me.



OMGah, I love this top. It’s everything I love put together: red, silk(y), pleated. (OK, I don’t always love pleats. Sometimes I hate them. But whatever, give me this one, yeah?) How great would this look under a suit jacket? And it’s a great top to wear out with skinny pants and the highest heels you can find. (Not me, though. I’d just fall over. And look ridiculous, like a child playing dress up.)


Now, everyone’s all “DON’T SHOP AT EXPRESS IF YOU’RE A LAWYER!!1!” I’ve heard all that. I just don’t agree.

The reason is that Express’s clothes are too sexy. That’s fine, I get that. I don’t think, however, that ALL their clothes are ‘too sexy,’ or even ‘sexy.’ I think this top, while fitted, and quite feminine (due to the lace, which is a very feminine fabric/accent to use), isn’t all that sexy. Your sweater puppies certainly won’t be hanging out. There aren’t any cut-outs. There’s nothing overtly sexy about it.

The other reason is that Express’s clothes may fit women better than they should.  Especially if the women in question, you know, buy the size that they normally wear.


This crap about ‘buying a size up’ so that your clothes are slightly looser and not form-fitting and you don’t tempt anyone in the office or give the ol’ boys an excuse not to take you seriously is just that – crap. I’m not advising any of you to prance around the office in a tight pencil skirt and this top and nothing else. (Well, shoes.)

All I’m saying is that this top is cute. It’s flattering. It’s not going to leave your sweater puppies out there for the world to ogle. It’ll look great with a blazer.

So forget that crap about not shopping at Express if you want to be taken seriously in the corporate world. If you like this top, if you also think it would look sharp with a blazer and a skirt, get it. It’s that simple.

Anyway, there we have it! A bunch of shells. Hopefully, you saw something you liked.


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