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Nicole Martin
New Jersey
Remixing my wardrobe to create buzz-worthy, office-approved outfits! Find out more at: Creating Panache.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Keep Your Head and Play

blouse: H&M ($40) ~ pants: Target ($22) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ bracelet & wrap watch: NY&Co ($10ish & $20ish) ~ earrings: shop in Arizona ($7)

Date: September 30, 2010
Ensemble message:  Just a quick one today!  Last day of travels and I knew I'd be in a conference room for most of the day (again).  I wanted to be in something comfy but also representing my office well as I was meeting employees and leadership teams for the first time.  I might also add that I was in a manufacturing site... I always feel odd wearing skirts in that environment because everyone is in jeans and super dressed down.  And usually dirty from their work, haha!

I got these black skinny pants from Target... I was originally looking at the new Gap line, but unfortunately, they fit oddly.  But I can't really complain because these fit like a glove and were a third of the price!

Did everyone else wake up to another gloomy, rainy day?  I feel the need to apologize since it's Hurricane Nicole heading up the east coast!  Ha, like I had any control ;)  Well, either way, keep dry my readers!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

shirt: H&M (free due to BOGO... or $15 if you split the cost ;) ~ jeans: Target ($20) ~ scarf: ?? (gift, I think) ~ shoes: Pink via Daffy's ($26) ~ earrings: gift from Vancouver

Date: September 29, 2010
Ensemble message: More travels this week!  For work, not for fun unfortunately.  These pictures were actually taken yesterday evening, and my outfit survived quite the long day.  First a full day of observing/facilitating a training course, then team building plus community service, and finally a 2 hour drive to my travel destination.

As much as I truly loathe indoor pictures, I think these came out decent.  Granted, I took the shades off most of the lamps for maximum light... but whatever works, right?!

Oh and these earrings are newly gifted from my hubby... he was in Vancouver for business this week but had some down time to explore the city (when it wasn't raining).  He got these little ceramic tile earrings from an art vendor.  Since the light sucks, you can't tell that they are a subtle blue/green/gray that go perfectly with my olive green shirt and blue/grey scarf.  Thanks hun! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday


shirt: Gap (gift) ~ skirt: Anthropologie ($35) ~ belt: UO ($14) ~ shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's ($36) ~ socks: Target ($8 for 6 pr.) ~ earrings: boutique in Arizona ($7)

Date: September 27, 2010
Ensemble message: Oh hey Fall, nice of you to join us.  Just wondering why you returned with a cold, dark, drizzly morning?  Not that you or Mother Natures cares, but this provided no motivation for what I already know will be a crazy week.  So when there isn’t any inspiration to be found… create it yourself!  I’ve wanted to wear this shirt/skirt combo for awhile but decided to wait until it cooled down a bit.  I love that the mixed prints that are anchored by the purple in each.

Please ignore the blurry bits in my shots… it was incredibly windy this morning!  And it was freezing in my office as well… I probably should have worn tights instead of socks/bare legs.  But, I want to hold out on daily tights until absolutely necessary since I know I’ll be living in them for about 6 months!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pearly Like the Whites of Your Eyes

shirt: Ann Taylor Loft (gift) ~ skirt: Gap Outlet ($19) ~ shoes: Pink via Daffy's ($26) ~ watch: Fossil (gift) ~ necklace: Macy's ($11)

Date: September 23, 2010
Ensemble message: WARNING: This post starts out sweet, contains some pretty pics, but ends in a rant!

This morning, my intent was to rock the neutrals with a couple complimentary colors (blue shoes and beaded necklace, check and check).  I also had a goal of not re-wearing one of my typical summer outfits even though it’s back in the 80’s here. 

Around 12:20pm EST, this outfit and my attitude went from polished professional to crazy confused woman looking for revenge!!!  I went to fridge to discover that my salad had been STOLEN!  Ok… so maybe I’m a little dramatic.  But seriously, who steals someone else’s lunch?!?  Ok so maybe it wasn’t labeled, BUT!  It was a homemade salad in a Tupperware container.  And it had tofu in it!  Tofu!!  Who steals tofu?!  It’s not like I work at a crunchy company where everyone is super healthy.  No offense to my co-workers who read this, but let’s be realistic.

*Sigh*  Well, that’s the end of my rant.  Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far.  I don’t complain often here and I promise not too many future posts with yucky feelings.  Unless of course it’s during Q1, which will be an interesting time for this blog as it’s my busiest time at the Day Job.  But, we’ll worry about that later :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Queen of Rap, Got No King of Rome

blazer: BCBG via Macy's ($55) ~ shirt: Banana Republic ($30ish??) ~ shorts: Anthropologie ($35) ~ shoes: Target ($9) ~ earrings: gift

Date: September 22, 2010
Ensemble message: It’s a new morning and I’m refreshed… well, not 100% yet, but feeling better after a run around the neighborhood and hours of tv/bumming around last night.  So, I was able to piece together what I feel is a much better looking outfit than yesterday. 

I don’t think I’ve worn this black boyfriend blazer with these short yet, but I really like the result!  I kept the color palate simple and wore minimal accessories. 

(yes, I'm out the door so early the sun is still rising - hence the new photo shoot spot... more light!)

I’m headed into the city (meaning New York City) this weekend and can see myself turning this into a weekend outfit with a graphic tee and bolder accessories.  Check my Facebook page to see if I do, where you’ll find other “off duty” outfit pics, too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Been Dazed & Confused

shirt: Old Navy ($25) ~ skirt: Zara ($35) ~ tights: ??? ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ necklace: DIY ~ wrap watch: NY&Co ($20) ~ bracelets: via Wear Your Music ($10 each)

Date: September 21, 2010
Ensemble message: Well, can’t say I was thinking anything this morning as I got dressed other than “get something on that’s blog worthy!”  I was sooo tired I could barely think, and as I started to run later and later, I had to settle on something and this was it.  Hopefully the tights tone down the spring/summer look of the skirt… and I wrapped the top instead of buttoning for interest – what do you think?

I think next time I wrap a shirt, I’ll come armed with more safety pins and double-sided tape.  Good thing I had a cami underneath!!!

So the reason why I’m exhausted is because I’m on my own this week – the hubby is away on business and I have to take care of everything on my own.  While I’m a perfectly capable adult, when he goes away, I realize how much we team up (awww gush ;)  Not having dinner ready when I got home was a major bummer last night! 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Personal Branding IRL: Don’t Compromise the Value of Your Brand!

A little bit of a story to kick off your weekend… The other day, I received an e-mail with a proposal for a giveaway here on Employed Panache.  OMG, did I just read that right?  My first giveaway!!!  My heart fluttered a bit as a read it… this is exactly what I’ve been working my tail off for.  A giveaway could bring EP to the next level – for some reason, this is one thing (of many) that is proof of a legit blog to me.  Chalk it up to high expectations for myself, but either way, I was psyched!!

I started to re-read the e-mail, taking in the details… I’d never heard of this company before, but hey, I do love to support small businesses.  I clicked the link to their website to check out their products.  First impression was that the items for sale weren’t really my style, but I continued to explore the site, looking for the right product for my giveaway.  (Grand assumption here that I would be able to choose which product I wanted to feature!)

As I looked through the site, I became increasingly disappointed.  Anything that I thought could work for the giveaway just didn’t feel right… not exactly my style and not my typical price point either.  Not that EP is about fashion on a budget, but that’s how I shop and I’m pretty sure my readers notice!  In any case, I just couldn’t relate to what was being offered.

Then I started thinking about the IFB Evolving Influence conference recaps.  There were so many talks around the value of your blog and your brand.  Overall, the message was to be sure not to sell yourself short.  Also, it was stressed to not compromise who you are and your reputation.

Excitement turned to disappointment and doubt.  Not sure what to do, I went for a run to think things over (I seriously do my best brainstorming this way!)  35 minutes later, I knew 2 things… first, that I had a topic for my next post.  Second and most important, I was not going to pursue the offer any further.  I’ve replied back with a polite decline, and if I ever hear back, I’ll post an update.

The moral of this goes way beyond blogging.  Know and understand well who you are and what your values are – in other words, everything that makes up your brand.  Once you know this, do not compromise it for anything!  It’s easy to be tempted by bigger companies or seemingly great opportunities when it comes to taking on new clients or even job offers.  But don’t be swayed – be true to yourself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Got a Devil's Haircut in my Mind

dress: F21 ($23) ~ belt/scarf: Gap Outlet ($10) ~ boots: Rocket Dog via Famous Footwear ($40) ~ socks: Target ($8 for 6 prs.) ~ necklace & cuff: gifts ~ bangle: thrifted via Beacon's Closet ($8) ~ jacket: Target ($35)

Date: September 15, 2010
Ensemble message:  Good-bye long, scraggly hair, hellllooooo short new ‘do!  Last Friday I mentioned how I really liked Alexa Chung’s cut because it kept the bangs.  What do you guys think, any similarities??

Alexa's pic via

Hmmm, yeah, my freshly cut bangs need to grow in a bit and I think I accidentally ok'd the layers to be a little shorter.  In any case, a new haircut called for the debut of another new item in my closet.  I found this dress at Forever21, where the print and price tag both lured me in. 

I’ve been really cheap thrifty this season!  I can honestly say that nothing I bought has cost over $40, shoes included.  Actually, I just added it all up, and for the fall I’ve spent about $280 total on dresses, tops, skirts, shoes, and accessories.  (Reading this Husband?  I did good! ;) 

I also feel like I am pretty much done updating my closet.  I am still on a hunt for long cardigans and a pair of straight or skinny legged black pants.  I tried on black pants at Gap, but they fit kinda… oddly.  Booo!  Tell me, are you guys done shopping yet or am I the only one who jumped the gun? :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Like a Book Elegantly Bound

skirt: Gap Outlet ($19) ~ blouse: H&M ($30 but really $15 with BOGO!) ~ jacket: F21 ($20ish) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ watch: Fossil (gift) ~ earrings: gift via Cape Cod

Date: September 14, 2010
Ensemble message:  Today I’m wearing a couple new items in the Panache wardrobe.  Inspired by your comments in August, I went shopping to look for more business-y pieces to add some polish to my work wardrobe.  I'm definitely more comfortable in true business casual clothing, especially in the summer.  But, I’m loving these results, so thank you, dear readers!! :)

I wasn’t sure about tucking in this blouse because I thought it would be too poufy.  I’m so glad I took the risk because it’s actually very flattering.  

What are your office wardrobe staples?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Guest Post + Interview

Quickie mid-day post for you!  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you already know that I've recently written a guest post and was also interviewed for another blog.  Very exciting!  (for me at least ;)

For everyone else who subscribes elsewhere, here are the links:

Guest post on Ms. Career Girl ~ "3 Misconceptions about Personal Branding for the Everyday Professional"
Dress Like a Fashionista interview on The ABC's of College

Stay tuned for an outfit post later this evening!
Monday, September 13, 2010

Gossip in the Grain

dress: F21 via Delightfully Tacky ($20) ~ footless tights: gift ~ necklace worn as bracelet: thrift store in Zurich,  Switzerland ($20) ~ shoes: BCBG (gift)

Date: September 13, 2010
Ensemble message:  Today’s outfit says that it’s fall, but not freezing cold yet!  I was so lucky to score this dress from Shop Delightfully Tacky.  Very happy to help Elizabeth fund her cross-country Winnebago trip, especially since I got a fun dress in return ;)  As soon as I saw that this dress was for sale, I e-mailed her because this had been one of my favorites on Delightfully Tacky.  Between the ruffles and mixed print, I just had to have it.

Here’s how she styled it:

I kept my look simple but will be experimenting with different layers, tights, and shoes in the (near) future.  The footless tights were fun, but next time I want a color that pops more! 

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