Top 5 of the week: Business casual

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This is actually a request, from a reader named Meghan, who writes, “I’d like to know your ideas for business casual. I’m packing for a conference in Chicago and kicking myself that I didn’t ask about this sooner!” This is a tough one, as it has been seven years since I’ve worked in an office, and from what I understand, things have gotten much more dressed-down since then. Which is cool, but can be confusing when you want to look on point. My advice is to play things pretty straight: it’s a look I like anyway, and one you can’t really go too far wrong with. I’d start off with a nice cashmere V-neck.

And then I’d go for some tailored-but-casual trousers, like these chinos from Vince.

Under the sweater I’d layer a cotton button down like this one.

I’d have a little fun with footwear and go for these burnished metallic boots. (Here’s a cheaper pair I  like too.)

And—just so I wouldn’t come across too preppy, I’d throw on this faux fur jacket.

Velvet and velour are having quite a moment

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I approached this post with some degree of caution, as velvet and velour can skew really cheesy really easily. But they can also be quite elegant, and few things feel as good to wear. My main rule with these materials is to play it relatively straight: velvet in particular makes enough of a statement on its own, so you don’t want to get too tricky with it. This dress is  so feminine, but at the same time nicely streamlined.

A black blazer looks nice and rich.

If I still worked in an office, I’d be all over this dress.

This tee is the lightest, lightest lavender, and hangs so nicely.

A dress for throwing on when comfort is the priority. It’d look amazing with leather leggings.

Here’s pencil skirt with nice clean lines.

This tank worn with your most beaten-up jeans would be aces.

A blouse that’s ladylike without being prissy, which is nice.

Velvet on shoes can be disastrous, but if the color is good enough, as it is here, they can really add a lot to an outfit.

This blazer is just such a good green.

I like the dressed-up feel of these Tretorns.

The kind of tee that goes into high rotation as soon as it reaches your closet.

Grey velvet jeans are nicely sophisticated.

I adore this vest, and so wish I had the nerve to try and pull off a vest.

Just a very simple top that could easily be dressed up or down.

The choker collar here is really sexy.

And why not a velour hoodie?

It is ankle boot season at last

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Summer is my favorite season in many ways and I’m always sad to see it go, but fashion-wise, fall is the best time by far. I’m always pleased when it’s time to switch from sandals and clogs to boots, and am therefore delighted that New York—after an unseasonably hot September—is finally getting cool enough to do just that. Here are 12 pairs I like, starting with this chic ecru pair from Everlane.

This looks very Isabel Marant, but in fact is Madewell.

My favorite boots these days come from Officine Creative, and I’m nuts for this pair, because the shape is so good and the height is substantial but still walkable.

I am so excited that No 6 has made their clog boots with serious treads on the soles so you can wear them in inclement weather without slipping all over the place.

A nice stiletto heel that isn’t too perilously high.

I like the combination of pointy toe and clunky heel here.

And I like the very eensy, walkable heel here.

My most stylish friend wears her Rachel Comey Mars booties endlessly.

These ring in just under $100, but look like they cost a lot more.

Just a really show-stopping hue.

These offer a nice amount of height without too much pain.

You could traipse all over town in these.

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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