Holiday Work Outfit (& first time at high tea)

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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.

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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 : )

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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.

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

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

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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!

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44 Comments

  1. Anonymous wrote:

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    Posted 1.29.12 Reply
  2. Mary wrote:
    Posted 1.5.12 Reply
  3. K wrote:

    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!

    Posted 1.4.12 Reply
  4. I'm an awful pedant about this, it's 'afternoon tea,' high tea is a completely different meal!

    Posted 12.29.11 Reply
  5. Frugalista wrote:

    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!!!

    http://shopfrugalista.blogspot.com/

    Posted 12.23.11 Reply
  6. High tea is the best with both sweet and savory bites! Hope you enjoyed it!

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  8. Marija wrote:

    OMG Jean, you are so beautiful!

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  9. Steffi wrote:

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

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  10. Katie wrote:

    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

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  11. Emma wrote:

    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!

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  12. 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.

    Posted 12.22.11 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  14. Jowongster wrote:

    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.

    http://jowongster.blogspot.com/2011/12/juelp-maven-nail-polish-program-for-001.html

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    You look Amazing as always Jean!

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  16. 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 😉

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  17. Michelle wrote:

    Those tea sandwiches look amazing!

    Carolyn has such a pretty smile! 🙂

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  18. R.L. wrote:

    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 😉

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  19. joyce wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  20. Gorgeous. LOVE the red/black/white ensemble. My favorite combination of the moment.

    http://theleatherskirt.blogspot.com/

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  21. Love this! It's so cute how you guys went to tea! XD

    fashionqueen294.blogspot.com

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  22. you look absolutely stunning!

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  23. Mary Ann wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  24. Helen wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  25. DSK Steph wrote:

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

    Happy holidays Jean!

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  26. Ping wrote:

    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.

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  27. 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!

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  28. Savvy_Izzy wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  29. You look beautiful in these shots– so classy!

    XX Kathryn
    http://lacoquettedumode.wordpress.com/

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  30. Petite-ish wrote:

    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.)

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  31. 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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  32. I like your legging. Those petite eats look delicious.

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  33. Sammie wrote:

    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. 🙂

    http://sincerelysammie.com/

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  34. Jackie wrote:

    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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  35. Yulia wrote:

    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 ;).

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  36. Suziee wrote:

    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. =]

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  37. Katherine wrote:

    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.

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  38. 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.

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  39. 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!

    http://janemyalterego.blogspot.com/

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  40. I looooove your look!<3<3<3

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  41. Demmy wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  42. Tori wrote:

    So Chic & Professional!!

    http://www.mythriftychic.com/

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply
  43. NeutraKris wrote:

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

    Posted 12.21.11 Reply

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