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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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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinspired: Black Turtleneck

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sweater: Gap (gift) ~ shirt: Old Navy ($24) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ boots: Chinese Laundry via Macy's ($65) ~ necklace: Free People (gift)

Date: January 20, 2012
Ensemble message: A mid-week casual look!  I wore this on a Friday in January after being inspired by this photo on Pinterest.  You should know that my thinking at times can be very straight and narrow, so I'm always looking to expand my perceptions so I don't limit my creativity.  This outfit is a great example of this... at one point in my life, I would have looked at the original photo and scoffed that it's silly to pair a collared shirt with a turtleneck.  Fast forward a few years later, I may have admitted that it looked cool, but that I couldn't pull it off for a number of reasons.  Fortunately, an older and wiser self saw this photo and immediately thought, "Awesome!  Now I know what to wear on Friday."

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I guess the moral of the story is to keep your mind open.  Do you find yourself limiting what you wear, eat, do, etc.?  How do you break out of that comfort zone??

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mixing Blacks

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shirt: American Rag via Macy's ($35) ~ blazer: Marshall's ($24) ~ skirt: Atelier via Nordstrom Rack ($20) ~ shoes: BCBG (gift) ~ necklace: gift ~ bangle: NY&Co ($10ish)

Date: January 19, 2012
Ensemble message: I always tend to dress a little more formally when I have meetings with directors and VPs... pencil skirts and blazers usually come into play.  I'm personally not a fan of wearing a lot of black in the form of a suit - too *yawn* for me.  So I mixed up the the colors and prints a bit with a floral top.

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Oh, and I didn't forget - here is the winner from the Shabby Apple contest:

random winner
winner congrats

Congrats Erin!  Shabby Apple will contact you shortly.
Monday, February 27, 2012

Blustery Day

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dress: Anthropologie ($30) ~ cardi: August Silk via Nordstrom Rack ($20) ~ scarf: Gap Outlet ($8) ~ shoes: Mia via DSW ($60)

Date: January 18, 2012
Ensemble message: Just a colorful outfit for a blustery day!  Been pretty crazy around here lately - the Day Job has been highly challenging and has me going full speed all the time.  The optimist in me says that this will all be worth it...... my impatient side wants to see results now ;)

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Don't forget - you still have a few more hours to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shabby Apple - Spring Giveaway!


Guess what?  The lovely folks over at Shabby Apple, the online boutique of beautiful women's dresses, have asked me to host another giveaway!  This time, it was a bit easier to choose the prize - I recently booked a vacation to Peru, so the Inca Trail collection jumped out at me :)

This time around, you have the chance to win the "Andes" skirt!  To win this beauty, please "like" Shabby Apple on Facebook and leave a comment below telling me that you did so.  For additional entries, leave separate comments telling me how you follow Employed Panache (Google, Bloglovin', Twitter, and/or Facebook).  You can also tweet about this giveaway - just link back to me @EmployedPanache.

* Please note: Open to US residents only.  Please use Disqus to leave a comment.  This giveaway is open until 11:59pm EST on Monday February 27, 2012.  I'll pick a random winner on Tuesday February 28, 2012.

Good luck!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinspired: Faux Collar

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t-shirt: Target ($8) ~ blazer: Zara (old - $35ish) ~ collar-actually a scarf: Express (gift) ~ silk scarf: vintage (my mom's!) ~ pants: Calvin Klein via Filene's Basement ($24) ~ shoes: Mia via DSW ($60)

Date: January 17, 2012
Ensemble message: While I love getting inspiration from my fellow style bloggers, Pinterest has jumped the ranks and is now one of my go-to places for style ideas.  And DIY ideas... and home decor, recipes, etc etc etc.  When I saw this pin, I was instantly drawn to the fur collar and silk scarf.  I personally would not have pair them together - in my head this is too much.  But they actually balance out well, and this has been one of my favorite outfits from the past month!

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My collar is a fake one - both the fur and the fact that it didn't come with this blazer.  I carefully pinned the edges to hold it in place.  What do you think - would you wear a fur collar and scarf together??

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Inspired: Off of Broadway

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sweater: Express (gift) ~ jacket: Olive & Oak via Century 21 ($30) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ bracelets: self-made & old ~ necklace: gift ~ earrings: won from Acute Designs

Date: January 13, 2012
Ensemble message: I like to read style blogs that focus on professional style, but I also read many that have a more casual vibe.  Off of Broadway is one of those - Amanda has a great sense of style and wears mostly thrifted items.  Which makes sense, since she runs her own thrift store :)  As soon as she posted this outfit, I knew I could remake it from my own closet.  Amanda lives in a warmer climate, so she can get away with wearing the lightweight jacket on mild winter days, but I used my jacket as another inside layer.  This is perhaps a little more casual than a normal Friday at the office, but some weeks call for slouchy layers and flats.  Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda!

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For more of my style inspirations, check out my Pinterest account - you'll find Amanda's original photo here as well!
Monday, February 13, 2012

Olive & Raspberry

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dress: Target ($28) ~ cardigan: Banana Republic (gift) ~ boots: Steve Madden via DSW ($120) ~ belt: Anthropologie (gift) ~ necklace: gift

Date: January 11, 2012
Ensemble message: When I received this cardigan for Christmas, I immediately wanted to pair it with all things olive! I started with my favorite olive pants, so I decided to wear it with my favorite olive dress next. I really like how the raspberry color brightens up an otherwise neutral outfit. Also, I’m loving the preppy nature of the overall look (belt, boots), but that the color of the cardigan gives it a twist!

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My only regret?  Not pinning the neckline better :(

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Striped... Again

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shirt: Old Navy ($7) ~ skirt: Atelier via Nordstrom Rack ($20) ~ boots: Chinese Laundry via Macy's ($65) ~ belt: Target ($15) ~ necklace: Free People (gift)

Date: January 9, 2012
Ensemble message: Hi, my name is Nicole, and I'm addicted to stripes.  Except, I don't really want to overcome this addiction.  There are few prints that I find myself turning to over and over... actually, stripes are the only print that I can wear multiple days in a row.  And stripes are the only print that I don't mind buying multiple of in one shopping trip.  So, I'll stay addicted, thank you very much :)

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't Cut Off Your Co-Workers


If you know me in the workplace, you know that I tend to come across as reserved, polite, and PC. This may even come through in my blog posts as well. Some might even label me as boring, unless I open up and we start talking about my hobbies or vacations. But even then, my personality comes across as… vanilla. It’s really no surprise that I’m like this – besides being an introvert, my dad is the epitome of politeness, and I was raised to be concerned about what others thought (early personal branding??) I have thrown some of that concern aside with my taste in music and clothes, neither of which can be considered to be mainstream. But overall, you can be sure that I will not give anyone the impression that I’m anything but a nice person and overall good citizen. I've even gone to the extreme of running to the other side of a grocery store when I saw a colleague on a Sunday morning… because I was hurting bad from a large number of cocktails the evening before.

However, I do have a different side that I don’t really let shine outside my circle of friends and family. It’s kind of weird, being so straight-and-narrow at work and then letting loose at night and on the weekends. Don’t misunderstand – the reserved, PC side of me is authentic. I just do a better job of balancing the niceness with the sarcastic jokes when with friends.

Since I started supporting the sales team, I’ve realized it’s important for the team to get to know the real me – not because they care (some might), but because they want to know that I’m human, that I make mistakes like them, and overall so they can trust me. So, I’m trying to be more comfortable being my authentic self while at work. I’m more open about my personal plans on weekends, I’m not shy about ordering an adult beverage while at a work dinner, I’m letting my snarky side make appearances as appropriate, and I’ve let a few curses slip here and there (fact: I actually have a really bad potty mouth!)

But I am sure to draw the line somewhere – which is what originally inspired this post. I often haul ass out of the parking lot at the end of the day, music blasting. I have to keep reminding myself to tone down my typical aggressive NJ driving near the office, because it would be pretty embarrassing if I got caught cutting off a co-worker!
Monday, February 6, 2012

Oversized Sweater

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dress: Spotted Moth (gift) ~ sweater: Express (gift) ~ boots: Steve Madden via DSW ($120) ~  cuff & necklace: gifts

Date: December 30, 2011
Ensemble message: Hey guys!  I was so lucky to be able to travel to Orlando last week to help facilitate a training seminar... I'm still a bit tired and getting used to being in cold weather again ;)  I thought I would have had more time for personal stuff (ie. blog) but I was kept busy all week.  But now I'm back, and happy to start the week with this outfit - it's one of my faves!  The oversized sweater layered on top of a dress is such an easy and fun look... I have to restrain myself from creating the same look with the variety of other dresses in my closet ;)  On this particular day, I had a half day at work and had plans to meet up with some friends... so easy and fun were right on target.

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