Foundation #1 – Dressing With Strength

Jacket: Ralph Lauren, Dillard’s
(Sale Price: $50)
Blouse: Jones of New York, Ross,
Jeans: Coldwater Creek, $20

Understated elegance…I am not sure what this phrase means to you…but it is the phrase which motivated most of my decisions for my FOUNDATIONAL FIVE 
. I want my style to reflect a strength, dignity, and class that doesn’t look like I am trying that hard to achieve.

The first of my personal criteria (and please remember, we are all different and will aim at different goals) is I desire to look STRONG. When I look in the mirror….I want to see a strong, confident, in charge woman. I want people to mistake me for an executive or the principal of the school rather than a teacher. In reality, I might sponsor a high school newspaper…but I want my style to look as though I was publisher of the Washington Post. Since I am in the workplace and also a public speaker and writer, I want the strength of my style to reflect the many hats I wear. When I look in the mirror now, my first question is “DOES THIS LOOK PORTRAY STRENGTH, CONFIDENCE…. A WOMAN IN-CHARGE? I believe I can do this on a teacher’s middle class budget…by combining some quality pieces with well- placed budget shopping.

Bag: Bueno @ Marshall’s
Shoes: Target

Your comments and support for the FOUNDATIONAL FIVE
 idea were overwhelming!! I truly hope this works for many of us and not just myself. One of you asked if the FIVE can change as our lifestyle changes….and I say OF COURSE. If I am retired or strictly working from home, then I just do not need the professional looks that many of us are striving for. But I do want to encourage those of you in that position to remain determined to look your best whenever you go out of the house. I have noticed that salespeople will treat you better when you dress up for any type of shopping from grocery to clothing. Also, when you feel better about you…your confidence level will grow. And, as my mother used to say, you just do not know who you are going to run into!!

A couple of you asked on the YELLOW post, yesterday, why I would not purchase the first blouse pictured under my new shopping guidelines. I will answer that question in the next post…when I discuss FOUNDATION #2, CLASSY!

Bracelet: Kohls

I know that there are several of you working on your list of five, is anyone ready to share??

Message: Confidence


  1. The whole Foundation thing seems a great idea for me. But I can't find only 5 things I want to look like. It changes a lot depends on the situation (if I'm at collage, with friends, with the family, shopping, traveling). I have to think about it for a while to find 5 common things.

  2. There are several things I love about this outfit. That Ralph Lauren jacket is gorgeous. I think you will get lots of use out of that jacket. It can be casual as well as dressy. That bag is delicious! And the bracelet? Exquisite.


  3. I just bought that top, and I live in my Coldwater Creek knit jeans when it isn't so hot outside. I hope I look as good as you do in both pieces. I believe both pieces will work with any jacket that would look good with my coloring.

    I agree with you on dressing well regardless. I work from home, but whenever I go out, other than to the gym, I dress as if I worked in an office. By choosing nice knits and pieces that can be washed in my front-loader, I can look nice and yet be as practical as if I wore sweats. You most definitely get treated better when you dress well.

  4. i don't know how said the quote
    dress for the job you want, not the job you have!!
    you are so right about being treated better if you look put together, not only by salespeople, but the general public!
    can't wait to read what you have to say tomorrow

  5. i love the justaposition of feminie and masculine pieces..nicely done here with the soft ruffles and military coat. strong? yes.

  6. You DO exude strength in this look–and I like the feminine touch the collar on the blouse adds. Now, I'm off to investigate the "foundational five"

  7. Pam~You get an "A+" in understated elegance today, GF! I agree with dressing for the position you want and better than your boss…I have always dressed at work with that in mind–especially when I was climbing the corperate ladder. It works.
    I have been thinking about my five..and I checked out serene's insightful comments too.

  8. I've always wanted to be one of those women who looks so effortless put together… and I'm still striving toward my goal. Much of the time, I look and feel rumpled, frumpy and discombobulated. My blog was started for me to work on that issue.

    I love that delicate blouse, and the contrast with the more "safari" feel of the jacket is an interesting contrast. I love how much easier for those of us without a ton of money to burn can still command respect with well-chosen bargains.

  9. Your blouse is so beautiful. I love Ross! Confidence shines through you!
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. Please let me know if your friend likes the idea. My cost for the cuff was only about $7.00.

  10. When I was still teaching, (I'm retired) I had to dress to be 'believable' That was my strength word. I wanted the parents or colleagues to know that what I said was just that believable and genuine. Now I am developing a new word list because I stay at home and do chores for myself and family. I have come up with Flamboyant Natural because the other ones had to do with a service provider. Somehow service provider connotes uniform which is not what I want to express. The bottom line is if I am weeding I will do it stylishly whatever that is….Love your blog..

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