STYLE FILE || Aly's Southern Grace



My college friend Aly runs her own faith-based career coaching business in North Carolina. (Check her out here!) She loves Lilly Pulitzer’s vibrant prints, and is looking for ways to incorporate her sunny personality into her professional attire. Aly would like also outfits that layer easily, so she can catch up on emails in the morning, head to a client meeting in the afternoon, and go straight to dinner with her husband without having to change.

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Brights! Aly has a warm skin tone and looks fabulous in tropical pinks, oranges, greens, and blues. We’ll set these colors off against navy and white for a classic southern preppy look.


The trickiest thing when you love color can be planning how to incorporate it, so that you still get the most mix-and-matchable outfits. I’m going to keep the prints to blouses and dresses, and keep pants, jackets, and accessories mostly neutral. I’m also going to loosen up her silhouette a bit, and look for silk blouses and soft wrap dresses that have the color she loves, while layering more easily with a blazer than a Lilly dress, which are usually made of stiff fabric.

I’ll pick out a pair of white jeans and a pair of very dark jeans that will go with all of her tops and transition seamlessly from a work meeting to a dinner out. She’s definitely a skinny jean girl, so I’m going to keep that silhouette fresh by looking for a high waisted option that is a little more straight cut below the knee.

I’ll frame all these fun prints with a gorgeous navy blazer. The navy will lend a touch of seriousness, and it will match nearly anything in Aly’s closet.

A silk scarf will give Aly the option to add a pop of color to a simple outfit, whether she chooses to wear it as a headbead or tied to the handle of her tote, and some block heels in a beautiful cognac color will go with everything.

See all of my picks for Aly on this Pinterest board.


  • I want Aly to be comfortable, feel professional, and dress once each day. We’ll start each work outfit with some gorgeous jeans and a flowy top, so when she has a meeting, all she needs to do is throw on her blazer and head out the door.

  • Dark, high waisted jeans - I like the CDG cut in the Palais Royale colorway from Warp + Weft. W+W has such a nice amount of stretch that if you have to sit for work, you’ll still be comfortable, and if you are between sizes, size down. I would personally cut them off about 1-2”, right at the top of the ankle bone. I think at first the straight cut is going to feel weird after years of wearing skinnies, but times are changing and I think Aly will like the update in 2-3 months when her eye gets accustomed to the new look.

  • White jeans - Hold off for a month. If Aly likes the CDG jeans, they also come in white. :)

  • Tops - 6-8 total, some sleeveless and some long sleeve, mostly machine washable and maybe 2-3 silk options. I think Aly will like conventional brands BeachLunchLounge & Equipment, both plentiful on secondhand sites like ThredUP and Poshmark. Aly can tie these at the waist for a fun, casual look, or tuck them in for a more tailored aesthetic. (If you are new to Poshmark, you can use code “LAURENENGELKE” for $5 or $10 off, and if you are new to ThredUP, click here for a good $10 off! Both will give me an equal referral credit.)

  • Dresses - I have a feeling that a classic DVF wrap dress might hit that perfect middle ground between comfortable, stylish, professional, and exuberant. As soon as I brought up the idea, Aly started laughing and said that she has a navy wrap dress she’s worn on repeat since we were in college. I think this gorgeous emerald green print will be a great addition to her closet.

  • Blazer - Initially I wanted to go for color, but the more blazers I looked at, I realized that sometimes a fresh faced entrepreneur needs a no-nonsense navy blazer to lend seriousness to her outfits. I loved the navy options from Theory and Helmut Lang that I found on ThredUP, and personally, I think the heaps of Escada blazers selling for about $200 on ThredUP are one of the best deals on the internet.

  • Tote - I’d go with a gently used Rebecca Minkoff tote in an easy-to-match color like gray, tan, or burgundy from the RealReal.


  • Aly’s floaty tops and dark jeans can go straight into an evening look when we trade out her blazer for a light moto jacket. She can keep her heels or trade them out for some cute white sneakers.

  • Silk scarves make an easy headband or add a pop of color when tied to a handbag. I pinned a couple of options, but really - they should be $5 at your local thrift or consignment shop, so look there first.

  • We’ll swap out her tote for a cute crossbody or bucket bag, and off we go!



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