Winter Work Wear with Metallic Cardigan & Bootcut Pants

Well, hello there! Welcome back to 25 Days of Winter Fashion! This week seems like it’s on fast forward. I can’t believe it’s Thursday already.

Today I’m attempting a work wear look, but I don’t love it. (I know… do I ever love my work wear looks?)

I do like the individual pieces, but I’m not crazy about how they work together, and I’ll tell you why. (Of course I will… did you ever doubt it?)

This metallic pointelle cardigan came from Trunk Club earlier this week. (Stay tuned for Trunk Club unboxing post later today!) I think it’s a really fun piece for this time of year because the metallic threads add a festive sparkle to the look and make it perfect for a casual holiday party but it’s still office-appropriate.

Okay, so I haven’t worked in an office in 18 years… but I’m assuming this would be fine for most office situations. Someone got snarky with me when I labeled an outfit “work wear” on Facebook the other day… so what do I know!?!

Wherever you decide to wear it, this cardigan is super soft and looks and feels really nice on. It’s also a lot warmer than you would think based on the loose weave.

It’s the Halogen brand, which is one of Nordstrom’s private label brands and is exclusive to them. They typically do a great job with mid-priced apparel, and their sweaters are made for women, not for the junior’s department, so they’re usually fairly forgiving in the way they’re cut.

I normally wear a small in this brand, and my stylist sent a medium, so it looks a little matronly on me, but if you look at the model on the website, you can see how it’s supposed to fit.

The other reason it looks a little matronly is because I wore it over a camisole that isn’t structured enough. These two pieces are too voluminous paired together; this sweater would look better over a more body-conscious top, and this cami looks better under a more structured leather jacket or blazer.

That said, I do like the cami. It is reversible, which is fun. The other side is burgundy, which I almost wore with this look, and maybe it would look better, but I was afraid of it being overall too dark with a burgundy cami under the charcoal grey sweater with the black pants so I went with the blush.

So let’s discuss these pants. As much as I love my skinny jeans, I’ve never loved the ankle length skinny pants that are all the rage. Most don’t work for me for some reason, but these ponte slim bootcut pants are amazing. The ponte fabric is thick and stretchy, so they don’t cling or ride up, and they have a nice weight to them.

I also think these pants look better paired with more structure on top, but they would be okay with this outfit if the cardigan were a size smaller and my base layer more fitted.

I feel like this outfit doesn’t do these pants the justice they deserve, so I’ll definitely style them again in the near future.

These are my favorite pumps, and I have them in more colors than I am willing to admit. They’re good quality, comfortable, and so attractive. They also just happen to be the perfect heel height for the length of these pants — at least for me. Of course we’re all different, but I’m 5’5″ for reference.

I’ll link to some other black pumps below, and some with lower heels for those who can’t do 3.75 inches. Burgundy pumps would also be fun with this outfit.

Also, my satchel has been reduced. The prices on Amazon fluctuate randomly, and at the moment it’s back down close to what I paid for it around this time last year. I find myself carrying this satchel a ton during fall and winter. It’s a great size for everyday, roomy but not oversized, and classic with a bit of an edge. If you’ve had your eye on it, you may want to snap it up before the price goes up again.

So yeah, overall this outfit is a bit of a miss, but the individual pieces are all great. Hopefully it was helpful to see how they look on and discuss how they could be styled better.

Halogen Metallic Pointelle Cardigan // WHBM Slim Ponte Bootcut Pants // WHBM Reversible Woven Cami // Sam Edelman Hazel Pointed Toe Heels (lower heel comfort shoe option) // R Minkoff Mini Perry Satchel (reduced!) // similar layer necklace // Stella & Dot Yves Wrap Bracelet // Moonbow Sunglasses c/o Maui Jim // faux pearl earrings

Don’t forget, I’ll be doing a Facebook Live Q&A at 11AM EST this morning over on my Facebook Page, so if you’re around, I hope you’ll tune in!

If you can’t tune in but want to watch later, feel free to leave questions you have for me in the comments, or email me if you prefer. That will help me get started, while people are tuning in and give me something to talk about if (heavens forbid!) no one shows up or asks questions. (Can you tell I’m nervous? LOL!!!)

Thanks for visiting, and be sure to visit Cyndi and see the winter outfit she’s styling today.

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44 Responses

  1. Hi Jo-Lynne – the look is good !! I think the pants are nice would look great with a more fitted crew neck or turtleneck sweater also. I have worked in an office environment for over 25 years and feel the angst of putting together a work outfit with pants………with that being said I got bored with pants and top/sweater combos and felt they all started looking the same day after day……….I honestly have switched over to wearing a dress everyday. It is less complicated than figuring out what pants to wear and then match a top. This way my dress is “one and done” and then I get to pick out fun shoes – mostly boots for winter. And I never feel like I wear the same thing everyday – dresses are all so different. It has made work life so easy and getting ready in the mornings so simple 🙂 I loved the dress you posted yesterday BTW, great look.

  2. For Facebook Live: Where can I find some black flats that aren’t pointy toed that don’t look matronly? (Flat or about 1 inch heel)

    1. Try Lucky Brand. I got a pair of their black leather flats with a rounded toe for my birthday this year and absolutely love them. Cute and comfy!!

    2. Ashleigh I recently bought some flats at Belk that are the jellypop brand.  They are round toe but not at all matronly (or childish which is how o usually feel with round toe flats).  Best part is they are super comfortable!  I got them in a neutral but in pretty sure they had them in black.  Hope this helps! 

  3. Have I mentioned that I love your honesty in these posts?!?! The way you break down an outfit and discuss all the details makes me feel a lot more confident about putting things together. You are great at being truthful so that women realize that fabulous outfits don’t always just happen; sometimes they require tweaking to get it right .
    I just appreciate you so much! I follow a bunch of bloggers ( I am fashion obsessed. I confess .????) and you, girl, are my favorite!

    1. I’ll just second everything Lori said about this post! I always learn so much from you, and so appreciate the way you talk through the looks that are not your favorites!

  4. Here’s a couple questions I have for the Facebook live video:
    What’s ” business casual ” ? I have an important event coming up and that’s the dress code. Can you give some outfit ideas for this type of situation?
    What boots or shoes should I near with a midi length sweater dress? It hits mid calf.
    I plan to tune in but I also start my babysitting shift at exactly the same time as you’re planning to start so I will have one eye on Facebook and one eye on three active boys..might not leave much opportunity to type lol

  5. Thank you so much for your work looks. I work from home and home school my daughter but I dress for unexpected business meetings everyday. I live in Washington,DC. and the work culture is very well dressed even if you work from home.

    I appreciate your timeless fashion.

  6. I think for someone who hasn’t work in an office in awhile, you do a great job with workday outfits. This one would be totally office worthy and those pants are fabulous. I no longer work in an office but a good pair of black pants was a must have and very versatile. 
    Here’s a 2 part question for your FB live session. Why do a majority of the clothes you style come from Nordstrom? Do they give certain bloggers a special discount? If it’s because of the free shipping and returns, how often do you style something, then return?
    (Because I know it’s got to be challenging to be able to keep all the pieces you style, especially if you don’t work outside the home and don’t need all those clothes) 

  7. I appreciate the fact that you don’t always get it right:) None of us do, but the fact that you recognize it’s not exactly what you wanted and explain why is most helpful. 

    Personally, the question I most often ask myself when I see people with obvious “misses” is “Do they have full length mirror at home?” No home should be without one:) 

    You do a great job. Love your blog and your detailed explanations of each piece and how they all do or don’t work together. Keep up the great work:)

    1. Ha, true, but even with a full length mirror, it’s hard to get it right every time. What I think REALLY helps is taking pictures – in the full length mirror. For some reason, looking at those pictures is far more telling than seeing myself in the mirror.

  8. Hi there! I wish I could watch your Facebook Live event at 11, but I’ll be at work. Hopefully I can watch it later today on a replay!! I love the metallic cardigan….it would go with a lot of my tops. I had a gold-ish one several years ago that I finally gave away because it was so itchy. They have come a long way with metallics, thank goodness!!
    As for your chat today, I’d love to hear more about your extended family and your childhood Christmas memories. Do you have any siblings? How did you all celebrate Christmas back in VA??
    You’ll do great today, just relax and be yourself!!!
    P.S. Was at the outlets yesterday and discovered the Tory Burch store just opened!! It’s beautiful!

  9. Beautiful outfit!  Until recently I worked for the private banking division for a major financial institution.  You can’t get more conservative than that!  The business world has gotten much less formal in recent years. 20 years ago I would never have worn anything other than a business suit or dress with nylons and heals. Now, what you are styling today was basically my work uniform:  no-close cardi, blouse, and black pants, usually with ballet flats or low heal boots. The only thing I would have done differently is to wear a cami with a higher neckline. You’ve got a little cleavage showing which would not be appropriate in more traditional offices (not that some people don’t do it anyways ????). 

    This outfit could also be worn to a business casual event although most people dress down a little more.   A nice pullover sweater with these pants or a straight leg pant and lower heal shoes with modest jewelry would be typical business casual. 

    1. That is all super helpful, thank you! And you’re right – I wasn’t thinking about the cami being lowcut but it is. I wore it out to dinner with my husband with a black leather jacket and jeans, and he liked it… ha! But I don’t think it would work for the office, at least not for anyone with much going on up in there. 😉

  10. Love all the pieces that you put together and you look great.. My best fashion
    Blogger. Thank you Jo-Lynne.

  11. Thank you for sharing why this outfit doesn’t work and what would make it better.  I think it looks very nice, but after reading the whole post, I get how the tweets would improve it.  My former corporate employer used to be business attire every day.  Then it went to business casual.  Since my retirement in Jan. 2012, I’ve heard that the attire is pathetic.  I don’t get it!  
    Thanks for the reminder about your Facebook live at 11.  I just need to be cognizant of the time so that I can join in.

  12. I love your honesty in walking us through what you’re thinking about an outfit. It has been so helpful to me! For example, I ordered two black jumpsuits recently. As I tried each one on, I verbally talked myself through what wasn’t working and why. Both jumpsuits are going back because they don’t work on ME! In the past, I would have wondered if I needed to loose weight, etc.

  13. Hi Jo-Lynne,   
      By not getting it right, you actually did get it right because you pointed out some very valuable tips and each of us learned from it.  It’s easy to copy a look. But not as easy to understand why a certain look works or falls short a bit. Thank you for your refreshing honesty and for pointing out what to watch for when assembling an outfit. 

  14. I really hope your FB live goes well! I remember that the hardest thing about getting ready for work was making sure that what I wanted to wear was READY to wear. Lots of my things were dry clean only. Laying things out the night before was key for me. You can have tons of clothes, but if they are wrinkled, in need of dry cleaning, or buttons need to be sewn back on blouses or pants, it can be frustrating getting ready quickly in the morning. Seems obvious, but when you are busy (and young and would rather do anything else), it’s not so easy! You’re gonna be great! 🙂

  15. I would definitely wear this outfit to work and I do work in an office everyday. Love all the pieces but I also think that a more fitted top would be cute. Thanks for sharing this outfit. I’ve been looking for new pants for work and love these.

  16. I’m not on Facebook, so I’ll have to miss it….sorry…but good luck! I, too, enjoy it when we can dissect why an outfit is not quite right. This looks just like an outfit I would have worn when I worked in an office, complete with what’s wrong with it. I’d invest in really good clothes, but something had to give because I was there to make money, not spend it, so I’d under-accessorize. Plus, it’s not practical to wear a lot of accessories at work. To make this look like something I would want to wear, versus need to wear, I’d like to see it with a chunky statement necklace or scarf at the neck. Something heavier. Plus more bracelets. That would up the personality. But at an office, bracelets that jangle are no-no, and I, personally, don’t want to dig my chin into a scarf all day. And quality statement necklaces are so expensive. So, that’s my two cents.

  17. I like all the components of the outfit but wonder why it misses the mark. Is it because of the longer length of the cardi? 
    I like it when you post the misses,  as we then learn from commentary. Your honesty is refreshing. You’re my go to stylist and can do no wrong. ????

  18. Jo-Lynne, I think you always look great! I personally have the hardest time with finding the right fitting top. The flowy ones overwhelm me – I’m short! The fitted ones are often too tight! In years past, I just don’t remember it being so hard buying tops!


  19. Hi Jo-Lynne-loved your FB Live this morning and just revisited as I missed first part. I just want you to know that I love that you are so real and I felt like I just had a great coffee/conversation with a good friend! Thank you-I am learning so much about fashion. Just have a question, though, about the “rules”. I know that Adore Your Wardrobe has the rule of 4 and I have not taken the class. Are you referring to them? Sometimes it is hard to know “what not to wear” and what “to wear” just looking in my closet. Sometimes I could just stand there all day-LOL! Thank you for all your advice!

    1. The rule of 4 is just her tip on accessorizing, but “the rules” we were talking about are the whole set of body type rules you learn in the Adore Your Wardrobe course. They vary based on your body type. It’s really brilliant. I highly recommend the course when it opens up again in January: https://bit.ly/AYW2017

  20. The outfit and you look great! I’ll bet it’s the dropped shoulder sleeve that’s throwing you off. That style, although everywhere, is not the most flattering look on anyone. Your honest analysis is so helpful.

  21. Love this look and it’s one I would wear with a more fitted top and flats or a short pump. I really like this metallic cardigan, it’s pretty! Glad the FB Live went well. I need to watch it this weekend! 

  22. Hi Jo-Lynn! I don’t like the outfit for ALL the reasons you mentioned so I don’t think it rude to say since you already pointed out. However, just SAY the cardigan is “too big”. I’m 57, I still work…I’m a matron and to call something matronly when it’s only too big, didn’t sit well with me. I rarely stop these days to read blogs bc I don’t care for the connotations that bloggers use to keep themselves talking about youth. As if we haven’t seen them age and change over the years! I love your sweetness and am indebted to you and others for keeping me currant but be careful about calling something matronly when so many people who look up to you are simply already that label bc of of our ages…not bc we look dowdy. Something too tight is just too tight and something that is to large is just too large. Ok, stepping off my soapbox. 

  23. This post was really helpful. I wear looks like this a lot and couldn’t figure out why they weren’t working. Now I know I need more structure.

    I like your style. It is real for what fits my life. I like reading other blogs but the style is nothing I could/would ever do.


  24. Lovely post. Thank you. I’m going to order the whbm ponte knit pants you featured. Do you find them to be tts?

  25. I recently outgrew my old black pants left over from my office days. I went to WHBM and tried on my normal size 8 in these pants, thinking they were a little snug. However, the sales lady swore that I should size down to a 6 because their pants run big and Ponte is known to stretch out a 1/2 size. The whole reason I was buying pants was because my current ones felt snug. While these are stretchy, I don’t want to fee like a stuffed sausage. I took her advice and got the smaller size. In your experience, do these stretch a bit? I have a bad habit of buying pants too loose for me, so I want to make sure I’m not falling into my old habits. Like you, I am rarely a perfect size 8. Sometimes I wish for an 8 1/2 or a 7 1/2, but never a 6! yikes! Thoughts?

    1. Hey Nicole, I feel that these pants run big. I have the 6 and I’m not at my thinnest, and if anything they’re a little roomy. I can’t say they stretch out, but ponte does give quite a bit so I would opt for the smaller size, I think.

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