Holiday Work Outfit (& first time at high tea)


H&M x Unicef blouse, thrifted & altered skirt, AA sheer dot tights (thanks to Elle), J.Crew Lady Day Coat (old), 0P in “Cobblestone” (2011 version is called “Warm Gray”), Ann Taylor Perfect Patent Pumps,sz 5, Chanel small flap

Here’s another example of an affordable business casual outfit. If you’re starting out fresh, make sure to first add some quality pumps to your lineup that can be worn repeatedly with bargain finds from H&M;, thrift stores, and the like. My trusty pumps here were scored for $65 (you can get 50% off right now using WINTER50), blouse was $10, and skirt was thrifted for $4 plus $25 for dry cleaning and alterations.


This month, my dear friend Carolyn introduced me to one of her favorite traditions – afternoon tea. After a few of my friends studied abroad in London, they came back obsessed with having afternoon or “high” tea every weekend. The prices charged by local hotels here are a bit extravagant for the amount of nourishment you receive, so we’re reserving the experience for the holidays : )


We went to the Taj Boston and had the “Taj Royal” – a selection of savory mini sandwiches plus a tray of sweets. Below: Prosciutto olive & cheese, egg salad, cucumber & cream cheese, smoked salmon & caviar, and lobster puffs. The sammys seem pretty easy to whip up for a house party as well.


Carolyn “toasting” in her pretty blouse (Kardashian sisters for Sears…surprisingly nice, no?):


I wore the same H&M blouse to tea but with jeans and booties. Here are more shots of the work ensemble:



I’m behind on reviews and will probably post again this week, but for readers who are “signing off” and going home: I wish you a safe and happy holidays, and I look forward to exchanging more tips and good finds with each of you in the coming year!


44 thoughts on “Holiday Work Outfit (& first time at high tea)

  • NeutraKris December 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I love your friend's blouse! Do you happen to know where she purchased?

  • Tori December 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

    So Chic & Professional!!

  • Demmy December 21, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I love your outfit. It's very professional but cute at the same time.

  • December 21, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I looooove your look!<3<3<3

  • Hi I'm Jane! December 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Afternoon tea is fabulous. It makes me feel super girly. In NYC, my favorite place is the Plaza or the restaurant in Bergdorf with their fancy egg chairs!

  • shoppingtosaving December 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Gorgeous Jean! I have to try high tea some time, I've heard of great places in San Jose to try some. Going home this Friday to SJ and super excited! I wanna go to H&M; too to find that blouse and those wool skirts you mentioned in a previous post.

  • Katherine December 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I love afternoon tea! So yummy but you are right that it can be pricey. The Taj is a wonderful place for your first afternoon tea – all the food is delicious and they have the cool violinist. The only thing that I found with Boston is that the high tea places are pretty stuffy and formal, lol.

  • Suziee December 21, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I just bought a red skirt – thanks to your post the other day! It's at the tailors now, and I can't wait to wear it! It looks so lovely on you. =]

  • Yulia December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Such an elegant and gorgeous outfit. The dotted tights are a particularly nice touch that is perfect for the holidays! Your friend's shirt is very nice too =).

    Could you do a post some time on cold weather fashion? Particularly, layering and/or outerwear.I'm constantly finding myself sacrificing the chic for the warm, and would love to hear/see your ideas! You know how it gets here in the Artic….I mean….New England ;).

  • Jackie December 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Cute! I LOVE high tea lol I've only done it a few times but it's so fun to get dressed up and drink tea and eat *petite* sandwiches and desserts =D

  • Sammie December 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Jean! I love the combination of black, white and red — it's so chic and appropriate for the holidays. I wish I could go to tea everyday. 🙂

  • Girlie Blogger December 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I like your legging. Those petite eats look delicious.

  • Rainy Days and Lattes December 21, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Wow, you amazing Jean! I've never had high tea before, but I saw some good deals in my area on Groupon so I might check that out too 🙂 I am going to be on a hunt to get the Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps for work next year. I have this whole vision of looking more professional next year :p

  • Petite-ish December 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I love high tea! When we tried to do it at the Mandarin in Hong Kong, they kicked us out for wearing flip flops 🙁 My absolute favorite is Lovejoy's Tea Room in the Mission, if you ever find yourself in San Fran for work. Its so delightfully kitschy and delicious!

    Also, if you're still in Boston, the Anthro on Newbury still has an amazing selection of sale items on an additional 50% off (great for last minute gifts for the bf's sister, college friends, etc.)

  • lacoquettedumode December 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    You look beautiful in these shots– so classy!

    XX Kathryn

  • Savvy_Izzy December 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    My stepmother hostessed a high tea for my baby shower. It was absolutely perfect and so girly!! Now I'm hooked!!

  • littlemissandrea December 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Mmmm,the food looks so yummy! I definitely agree, high tea can be very expensive, and all the places here where I live make a big deal of it and it's very formal.

    Your outfit is beautiful, Jean! I love the red skirt on you!

  • Ping December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    wow that blouse is super cute on your friend!! i love it. ahh no more small sizes left. i been wanting to do high tea. neiman in sf has a restuarant (rotunda) that does it. bf refuses to go with me. hahahha.

  • DSK Steph December 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Very fancy!! Tea looks like so much fun! : )

    Happy holidays Jean!

  • Helen December 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    The sweets made me hungry:) Love your outfit as always

  • Mary Ann December 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    You look beautiful – and way pricier than a budget outfit!

  • Petite and Hungry December 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    you look absolutely stunning!

  • Forever Fashion December 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Love this! It's so cute how you guys went to tea! XD

  • The_Leather_Skirt_Blog December 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Gorgeous. LOVE the red/black/white ensemble. My favorite combination of the moment.

  • joyce December 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    love the daintiness of the dotted tights; the ones i've seen tend to have dots that are too big (more like spots?).

  • R.L. December 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Love the Parisian chic outfit, Jean! I made those oreo balls today (with white chocolate instead) and it was heavenly. I plan on using golden oreos next time 😉

  • Michelle December 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Those tea sandwiches look amazing!

    Carolyn has such a pretty smile! 🙂

  • Elaine A (TOBeautyReviews) December 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Gah I'm so behind, haven't even seen your last video yet 🙁 I had high tea not too long ago too, I loved it! Going back for my birthday 😉

  • Anonymous December 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    You look Amazing as always Jean!

  • Jowongster December 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Nice outfit with the red pencil skirt. I can never pull off that outfit.

    I know this is a fashion blog but check out my blog post on how to receive your first box of Julep Maven nail polishes for $0.01.

  • Anonymous December 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    love the high bun! could you please add that to the list of topics to post about sometime? it's so elegant.

  • Sensy~Style December 22, 2011 at 2:48 am

    I could tell your friend's blouse was a Kardashian for Sears when I first spotted it…I love it that much! If only i didn't live far away 🙁

    Happy Holidays.

  • Emma December 22, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Jean, I'm a California girl, so my definition of cold is 50 degrees. Since you're in Boston, I'm sure you're more experienced with cold weather. Could you do a post on cold weather dressing aside from wearing a thick coat? Would love to pick your brain!

  • Katie December 22, 2011 at 4:55 am

    ohh i may well have to buy that blouse from h&m;, i love it!

    As a Londoner, I can say that afternoon tea is the best! It's great for a birthday treat. If you're ever in London I would recommend The Wolseley, Claridges, or the Soho Hotel (more affordable, traditional tea is about 12 pounds, which includes unlimited scones, jam & cream – we kept on getting more & even wrapped some up to take home!)

    Katie x

  • Steffi December 22, 2011 at 7:09 am

    I'm loving this ensemble. Also, you're inspiring me to grow my hair back. I love the natural wavy look 🙂

  • Marija December 22, 2011 at 7:15 am

    OMG Jean, you are so beautiful!

  • Anonymous December 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    she said that its was from the kardashions.. do you not read the posts?

  • Karen (littlepiecefnb) December 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    High tea is the best with both sweet and savory bites! Hope you enjoyed it!

  • Frugalista December 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I went to high tea for the first time 2 weeks ago and I was intruiged… It is a bit expensive for my taste but it was a group of girls going. You're friends hair is so pretty! and her top too!!!

  • Bourbon&amp;Pearls December 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I'm an awful pedant about this, it's 'afternoon tea,' high tea is a completely different meal!

  • K January 4, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Love your outfit! I have that same blouse from H&M; – it was such a good deal, I couldn't resist. I do have a question, though – how do you keep it static-free? My only gripe is that it clings all over every time I put it on. Dryer sheets can't even help!

  • Mary January 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm
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