Stress Event No. 1: Starting a new job.
Stress Event No. 2: Spending first week of new job 2,000 miles from home.
Stress Event No. 3: Dressing for new job.
If there was ever a time custom-made for professional fashion help, this would be it. This holds even more true when you factor in that the only thing I hate more than the contents of my current closet is shopping for new clothes. Working up a Pinterest board of basic bitch styles and consulting with a stylist ranks higher than a trip to the dentist on my Good Times list, but lower than one to the gynecologist.
Time to bring in the big guns. Luckily, we live in the future and MM.LaFleur (https://mmlafleur.com) has done much of the thinking for me. After answering a dozen simple questions — and giving some admittedly vague answers on my part — a stylist had a Bento Box of casual, work-ready pieces on its way to me, giving me four days to try them out, figure out what’s me (or, rather, what I want to be me) and send back the rest.
A four-day trip, four days to decide. Game on.
Flying from Los Angeles to Chicago at 5:30 a.m., followed by several hours meeting new colleagues is a tall order for a “first day” outfit. This one behaved admirably. Although workwear, MM.LaFleur promised to mimic my favorite t-shirt and sweats and largely delivered.
The Didion is a great staple top that doesn’t cling or bulge and works wells with pants or skirts. A modern hem keeps it from being boringly basic. But, what we really need to talk about is the Pigalles.
While I’m a solid size 8/Medium, the Pigalles I was sent were a Small. They were still extremely roomy with a good drape that didn’t droop. I unzipped the ankles to add a little flair at the bottom and found myself making use of the pockets throughout the day.
When women admit that they’re still wearing some of their maternity pants months after having given birth because they’re “so comfortable,” I imagine that they’re describing what these feel like.
Whether or not that’s an apt comparison, I made it to Chicago, had multiple meetings and got signed up for new health insurance without anybody showing me the door or worrying I wasn’t making a good first impression, so we’ll call it a win.
When I saw the name of this top, it gave me pause. I am way more Katharine Hepburn than Audrey Hepburn, as the slightest feminine detail — a ruffle, a bow, a puffy sleeve, a row of tiny buttons — can easily go horribly awry as soon as I step into it.
I needn’t have worried, as none of those things came to pass. Inky black with a loose, mock turtleneck (with just the right amount of 3 small buttons in the back) and loose sleeves ending in a lovely fan pleat at the wrists.
The Great: There are not enough ways to describe how hard the neckline of the Peggy rocks. It’s a broad, shallow V-neck and it’s sexy as hell. Way more so than the typical plunging V. Added bonus, it’s great for when you’ve been a bit remiss keeping up with your Gold Bond Neck & Chest Firming Cream applications. Added bonus are the clever snaps on the shoulders to keep your bra straps in place.
The Good: The Fosters are those pants you buy when you need something dark and reliable but don’t expect them to blow you away. Then, a couple of months later, you realize that you’re wearing them several times a week because they’re so comfortable and look so good and you need to buy several reserve pair RIGHT NOW.
(It should also be noted that even though both pants MM.LaFleur sent gave a slim silhouette and I never hesitate to employ shapewear should the occasion call for it, no Spanx were needed at anytime.)
The Disappointing: I was excited about the Woolf Jardigan because 1) the name (obviously) and 2) how could a cross between a jacket and cardigan go wrong? Alas, while I did like the cut and fabric, though small, the outline of the shoulder pads that give the jacket a bit of structure could be seen and the color MM.LaFleur sent — taupe — is not a good one for me. Plus, paired with a white top and navy pants, and it was basically my mother’s preferred color combination of the past 40 years.
100% my issues, but there you have it.
While the Sabrina top was a pleasant surprise, the Dietrich jacket was love at first sight. It was so fabulous I was worried my new colleagues wouldn’t be able to handle it if I showed up wearing it too soon.
Instead I saved it for my last morning in the office and return trip home. It’s a big responsibility to put on an article of clothing to elevate my own dark skinny jeans and a t-shirt to a level that is simultaneously glam fun and wholly professional yet translates well to a cross-country flight without ending up looking bedraggled. The Dietrich was up to the challenge.
Photos by MM.LaFleur