LBR Insight | Part II | Work Wear Inspiration


We need to talk about what to wear to work.  And for that, we have answers for you after plugging the LBR Insights team for their work fashion insights and inspiration.  If you need a quick fix:  scroll down below to the photos and links while SHOPBOP is having their major Spring Sale (we included a special boutique to celebrate and motivate!)

And then come right back up here.  Because we also need to talk about women and work.  All of us.  Monday was 2018 Pay Equality Day.  I’m a day late, forty almost four years old, and still 30 cents shy on the dollar to men, at least in my income.  How about you?  And nothing changed yesterday.  So how about today?  Or tomorrow.  That part my friends, is up to us.

Will you all humor me for a minute, or twenty, and read these three articles?  Preaching to the choir, I know…HOWEVER…we are our own best advocates.  So maybe, just maybe, the better informed we are, well maybe we fight for ourselves with future generations in our minds and hearts, and sometimes,  I know, when I’m fighting for children, I fight harder, smarter, better.  #youtoo?  Here’s the best of what I read this.  It was refreshing more than frustrating for me.  It reminded me to work on this too. AND then after we read, we’ll talk about what to wear to WORK.  First this:  “THE ‘BOYS’ CLUB’ MENTALITY IS STILL ALIVE”: HOW MILLENNIAL WOMEN ARE COMBATTING THE GENDER-PAY GAP  Then this:  PTA culture and the working mother  And finally this piece:  The 10-Year Baby Window That Is the Key to the Women’s Pay Gap.  We need to close that gap.  And then we can talk about clothes to wear while closing it!

Once upon a very long time ago, I dressed for work.  Because I had, wait for it… a real job.  I cringe.  I had a salary, a bonus, and benefits, a few (all male) bosses, a large staff and responsibilities and a schedule.  And I had a uniform:  suit (Armani or Boss), shirt (Club Monaco), 3-4″ high heels (Manolos).  Done.  I also had work-out clothes, jeans, and t-shirts.  And that was that.  Because when you work 80+ hours a week, and you aren’t in a relationship and don’t have kids, you pretty much just work and work-out, and eat in crappy hotel and airport restaurants.  Then I had 3 kids in less than 4 years, left said job 9 months after the first was born, and was home with kids for almost 10 years and it was a whole lotta Lululemon I wore, and a whole lotta shit I took in answering the question, “what do you do?”  Arguably, that was always worst felt (for me personally) when answering to other women.  And now…well now my closet is a hot mess of fun pieces; I’m in joggers, high-tops, and a fancy sweatshirt or jacket, daily.  And when I have to be ‘dressed’ for work, it’s the fancy joggers (no joke.)  You’ve all seen my closet.  S loves me in spite of my (un)dressed self, or tolerates me, at least.  Which is all to say:  what to wear to work…is NOT my area of expertise right now.  Because right now, I’m working 2 full-time real jobs, but for myself, which is a whole other thing, while simultaneously trying to pretend to be a stay-at-home mom to a 5, 7, and 9 year old.  In addition to said two “real jobs” for which I actually get paid and have responsibilities and for which I answer to others, and the not-at-all-paid, never ending SAHM gig, I also still play class mom, pre-school board emeritus, and kidney foundation contribute, and show up for all class trips, parties, and HSA meetings as well at PTC conferences, science fairs, plays, fundraisers, events, throw a parties for teachers birthdays and holidays and create art work with kids for fundraising auctions.  And then I  go to my actual work.  But first I’m mapping into my ‘work’ calendar 3 kids worth of 3 field trips to chaperone each, this month.  #youtoo???  It’s hard.  Genuinely.  And so I remind myself every day, that we all need to:

Respect one another.  Respect each other’s life choices.  Just do the best we can, all of us, in every moment.  As my dear friend Kari put it on FB the other day:  “Who says women don’t have choices?”  “A) Child bride  B) Geriatric pregnancy  C) Lifelong pay gap  D) No kids.”  She cracks me up.  Yup Kari.  You NAILED it.  There is NO perfect way to do any of this.  We are ALL just doing the very best we can; all of us.  Every damn day.  Regardless of which woman path we choose professionally and in child bearing and rearing, we all make sacrifices, either to our careers, our pay or our families.  And at best, we all average those sacrifices and after everything, most of all,  “we” suffer, for the better of the whole family.  Yet good comes.  And so we do.

Take it easy on yourself.  Take it easy on other women.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Give another woman a hug; we could all use one right now.  And then, do what you can.  Do what you can for yourself, do what you can for the women you mentor, do you what you can for generations to come.  BE the CHANGE.  Make the change.  In whatever way(s) you can.  NOW.  And while doing so, WEAR this because….

If I were going to put ONE WOMAN in charge, of dressing ALL of us for WORK everyday, and for doing our hair and make-up, and coaching us all in how to stand-up straight, straight talk, and in general be more confident in ourselves…it’d be my girlfriend Laura Radosh Butt, if you missed it, check out this post on her Work Space, business and career.

Do you know why that wage gap exists still?  In large part, it’s because women don’t negotiate.  We don’t ask for more, for fair.  AND…we make choices about when we have children and that interrupts our careers and our pay.  And we don’t have female mentors leading-us-up; most of us don’t anyway.  And if we are lucky and do, the world could still use more of them.  Be that.  For the next generation.  Be the woman that pulls other women up.  Get dressed.  Put on your game face.  Feel confident.  Be confident.  Make your life choices, and be your own strongest advocate-because together we are a FORCE!  ASK, for what you deserve, confidently.

Laura is amazing and she lives and breathes all of the above.  She’s a force to be reckoned with and if you missed our piece on her work and work space, catch-up here.   I had the pleasure of picking-out a couple of fun things to help decorate her work space.  While we were there we decided to make a whole thing of it…we’re going to share her and her insights and wisdom on style, beauty and momming, and maybe at the end of it all, we’ll ALL feel more confident.  And we’ll all GO GET IT.  For our own sakes and for those that come after us.

Laura, three words, describe your real self:

Which self? She jokes, I have many:  Mom, Business owner, Friend, Wife.  Not in that order.  Ok fine, maybe in that order.  Or maybe friend comes before business owner.  (And we all laugh.)  As a Business Owner:  Proactive, Dedicated, Resiliant.  As a Friend:  Dedicated, Loyal, Present. As a Mom:  Dedicated, Loving, and totally Confused.

Three words, describe your dream self:

I struggle with this but in the end, I feel like it’s all of those things amplified, and less confused.  I feel like I’m way more laid back than people give me credit for, but maybe that’s also my dream self.  I wish I were more articulate. I wish I had a better vocabulary, the ideas are all there, I just sometimes struggle to find the perfect words in a moment.  In work I wish I could be pushing myself more.  But I don’t want to take myself away more away from my kids. It’s the balance, right?  That’s the challenge for all of us.  As a wife, well I’m a pretty damn good wife.  I could still be better though.  I remember when we first got married someone gave us the joke book about the perfect wife and we laugh at it still.  In the beginning, Tosh would walk in the door and  I would get up to greet him with an enthusiastic Hello and a big kiss. And now?  Now he’s gotta find me, somewhere in the house, trying to get everything done.  As a mom:  Patience.  I wish I had more patience.

Things we ALL know about you:

I never leave the house without lipstick.

A lot of people would think you take no crap, that everything matter of factly is what it is.  You are very direct.  You know what you like. You know what you want.  Do you feel like that’s true?

Not at all.  But I do dream big. And I go for it.

Tell us about your boots on the ground team; who are they and where did you find one another?

Maggie and I found one another on Linked-in through an Ad I posted.   Maggie wrote in.  I hired her for her competence and her attitude.  There’s nothing Maggie can’t do, and I’m so lucky that she’s part of my boots on the ground team.

Laura G-W was my very first au pair.  At work, I knew I basically needed a a mini-me.  And then and a-ha moment struck:  I know one of those. She’s proven to be amazing in so many ways.  She’s an even better employee than she was au pair which says a lot b/c she set the bar pretty ridiculously high in that work as well.

What does a ‘normal’ week look like for you?

There is no normal.  I can barely remember what happened yesterday let alone last week, but piecing it back together, Monday I was in LA,  Tuesday Chicago, Wednesday Orlando and then back to Philly Thursday.

What’s the most amazing career thing that’s happened to you so far?

My Best work day ever:  My daughter needed her tonsils out and I couldn’t make it to a project.  Laura and Maggie had it covered and nailed it.  As a leader, that was my best day because I knew I had chosen well and had trained them well.

What was the worst work week ever?

When a good friend and mentor of my husband’s gave me an introduction and I messed-it-up royally.  I take full ownership and will never make those mistakes again.  I give myself credit though for being introspective and having the ability to not only realize, but to also admit to, and learn from my mistakes.

How do you balance home/kids/and hubs with a job that travels/and owning your own business?

One word (or two):  Au pair

If you had it all to do over, what would you do exactly the same?

Dedication.  I give a shit about every little detail.

And what would you do differently?

Consistency…I would be more consistent with my kids.

When you aren’t working and momming and wifing, sistering and friending, what are your favorite things to do?Entertain have friends over or be out with them.  Travel.  I love Paris!  Once I get my Italian back I’d love to get back there.Favorite Color?  Blue.  Royal.  Like Blue Blue.  No baby eggshell.  I want a Happy Blue.

Favorite Drink?  Cabernet.

Favorite Restaurant?  Audrey Claire, Philadelphia.  Lupa NYC.What’s the last thing you read and what are you reading next?

A Little Life, but I don’t recommend it.  It’s all consuming. It consumed me. It’s so so sad but so, so good.

Where do you get your sense of style?

Fran.  My mom.  She’s crazy stylish and looks and moves like she’s half her age.Where do you shop and how?

Online:  ShopbopRebecca Taylor, Maje.

Do you have general rules you follow?

No collars.  (I am short waisted and narrow, collars are not a good look on me.)No busy prints.  Go-to outfit:  black pants, blouse, blazer, done.  Safe outfit:  jeans and a cotton shirt.  Treat yourself to a few forever pieces: a great jean jacket, a great black blazer and a great bag.

What have your favorite recent trends been?

I’m not good at trends.  I like to wear what looks good on me, trend or no trend.  I guess frayed hems  I like those.  And cold shoulders, those too.  Flared capris, no thank you.  No purple.  Love pink.

Tell us about your morning routine:

Tosh, when he’s not traveling, brings me coffee every morning.  Tosh is my rock. He has done amazing in his career and is a true leader in every sense of the word. I learn a lot about how to treat employees and work with clients through him. He and my girls (including my furry dog daughter) are the best things to come home to after a long work day or a busy work trip.

After coffee, it’s off to the gym for cross fit, home for shower hair make-up, and then I’m off to work.  Assuming I’m not traveling and already at work.  Which isn’t often.

What’s your best career advice to other moms?  There is no balance.  Just do the best you can.

What is your best mom advice?  Be present.

If someone just landed a brand new amazing job, and hasn’t worked outside of the home for years, what are the three things you’d tell them to buy first to dress well?  Black Blazer, Black Pants, Blouse.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?   Let me do the math, in ten years my girls are 19 and 18…Same.  I’ll still be here doing what I do in 10 years.

20 years from now?  Not doing the same thing.  I’ll be living back in a city, not worrying about education suburbs etc. and working less and traveling more for fun!

Outfit 1 | 1/ Top | 2/ Jacket | 3/ Pants | 4/ Boots

Outfit 2 | 5/ Top | 6/ Pants | 7/ Shoes

Outfit 3 | 8/ T-Shirt | 9/ Blazer | 10/ Pants | 11/ Shoes

Outfit 1 | 1/ Top | 2/ Cardigan | 3/ Pants | 4/ Shoes

Outfit 2 | 5/ Top | 6/ Cardigan | 7/ Pants | 8/ Boots 

Outfit 1 | 1/ Blouse | 2/ Blazer | 3/ Pants | 4/ Shoes

Outfit 2 | 5/ Top | 6/ Cardigan | 7/ Pants | 8/ Shoes

SHOPBOP SPRING SALE!  Get your work wear on!

Thank you to LBR, Maggie and Laura for sharing your insights with us! Keep on ladies!!! xo A

***photo credit to the amazing Marissa of Redfield Photography-working with you is always a pleasure woman!


  1. “…women don’t negotiate. We don’t ask for more, for fair. AND…we make choices about when we have children and that interrupts our careers and our pay.”

    But this is not really true! It’s mainly due to gender bias & inadequate social support for working mothers. Lots of research has shown that mothers are penalized for having children, women are often penalized for negotiating fair pay, employees are discouraged from disclosing salaries, daycare costs are outrageously higher than many mothers’ income, etc. Fixing the gender wage gap requires addressing structural issues & implicit gender bias – we need to stop implying that the blame lies on individual women for making the wrong choices.

    • Shannon, first of all, thank you. For reading this post, for thinking about it, and for commenting. I appreciate you doing all of those things.

      It’s always a risk to put yourself out there and to share any thoughts on any topic; you just never know how they’ll be received. And it’s also ‘hard’ to cut these larger conversations down to ‘blog appropriate’ size.

      My larger point in this post, was to encourage women to be their own strongest advocates and to do so confidently. For some of us, it helps when we feel like we look like a million bucks, to stand up straighter and to speak more directly. Not all of us, some of us. We also, in advocating for ourselves, advocate for other women. And I’d like to encourage that as well. My basic point, was let’s pull one another up. And for me personally, there are women I look up to and who encourage me to do so for myself. And this crew are three of them. They stand tall and proud and they go for it. And that’s inspirational to me.

      That said, if you do a quick google search on “women don’t negotiate their pay” you will find pages of articles from the Harvard Business Review to the Huffington Post on the topic. There is truth to that statement. You’ll also find a splash of articles on the flaws with the assumptions on which encouraging them to do so are based, and examples of situations where the advice isn’t helpful. But mostly, it’s just hundreds of pieces, most from the past 5 years citing the fact and explaining it’s negative impact, on all of us. The HBR piece is a more recent one than the HBR piece that was shared with me early in my career and which I’ve always held near. I appreciated being taught that, and have continued to share those pieces with others. When it was given to me, I took it as a lesson, not a blame, just a fact, that in some situations, I might have some control over. And to take that control, when situations arose where I could. It helped me in my career to think back to it, to quote it, and to pass it on to others. I’ll paste the most recent below.

      Everything you say is absolutely, and unfortunately correct. AND I’d be the last person to blame women. That wasn’t at all the point. And I apologize if it came across that way. The point was share three articles that speak to all of the many truths you cite and to cull a few of them down to, well to own a truth, that we CAN do something about, and to encourage women to advocate for themselves. The real fix to this problem will require greater change than any one of us can make ourselves. But we can at least start there. No blame. Just encouragement. xoxo A

    • Thanks for replying & posting the additional link. This is clearly an issue near & dear to both of our hearts. When I read “in most published studies, the social cost of negotiating for pay is not significant for men, while it is significant for women,” that shows me that companies need to stop penalizing women for negotiating (change the culture!) BEFORE we expect individual women to change their individual behavior while the risk of a negative outcome is still high. I am 1000% for advocating for other women & appropriately compensating all women (and people of color of all genders) and I try to use my professional power & privilege to do so.

      • Bottom line to my argument: you can’t fix systemic oppression by asking the oppressed to act more like their oppressors. And yet, this is the message that society often falls back on. ?

  2. There’s definitely a confidence gap. I work in government in the Deep South. I see a lot of men who run for local office who have no experience, but are fully confident that they can do the job. I know many women who are ten times more qualified, but would never run because they feel they aren’t competent enough, have enough time to devote to it, etc.

  3. Love this article Annemarie! And it’s so true how we need to stand together, encourage one another and build each other up. Because yes we are all doing the best that we can while juggling so many things. Knowing that we all struggle and it’s hard to be the best mom, business owner, employee, wife, girlfriend, friend… is a relief. Knowing that we All have each other’s Back is also a relief. Standing together with strength, confidence and love is what we can do to close the gap. And clothes it at the same time 🙂 xoxo

  4. All you need to start back at work and still mom:
    Cashmere sweater
    Fancy t shirt
    Grey/black pants (love uniqlo for washable, subtle stretch waist, also affordable)
    Pencil skirt
    Power shoes.

    I get away with basically wearing pajamas in a conservative environment but with fancy shoes and earrings everyone thinks I am dressed up

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