Conspicuous Consumption: Working Girl Clothes

I'm experience a growing obsession with shirt dresses. To me they say smart working lady. And since there might be an occasion here I have to be a very smart one, I've done two versions of essentially the same idea, using the same accessories.

Starting with the shoes and dress on the left. I admit it when I develop a thing for something (likes chai or jeans) I tend to go all out for it. So the brown suede heels are, yes, from Sofft. I got them the same time as the Talan loafers and they are very, very nice. Prim, but sexy, high and comfy. How cool is that to find in a shoe? As for the dress, this one is a four season wool, which I take to mean that it won't roast me alive in the summer but keep me warm enough in an overly conditioned high rise. It also has side seam pockets and I like pockets. (Sofft Gina brown suede heels, $90.95 at; J. Crew Super 120s Suiting dress in navy, $195)

I don't buy art, am not into expensive wine and nowadays a couple of days away from my computer officially qualifies as a vacation. This means I have to spend, ahem, invest my monies elsewhere to keep the economy afloat like a true patriot. Starting from the top. I like to doodle and write down random words when I take notes at meetings--it's the only way I can stay awake. Plus, I've found I actually end up putting down some useful information. I don't like lined paper and I like to keep my notebooks to reference my state of mind so I may as well buy something nice and not a $3 composition book from the drugstore. As for the pen, I could go for a pack of 12 Bics, but I'm truly convinced that a good pen will work miracles on my penmanship, which is atrocious. To tote stuff around in style a, yes, white leather purse. I don't own one and it's high time I do at least think about it. I have a watch, somewhere, but it's a decidedly girl in her 20s watch which was when I got it. Since I don't plan on buying another one, I figure I'd go all out and get a good one with a leather strap. Earrings. I have a few pairs that I don't wear and the hole on my right ear has closed up again, but I'd be willing to sit upon the high stool at Claire's and have that little gun thing shot at it to open again. (Venezia Fabriano medium Sketchbook, $16, Classic Tornado Rollerball in stainless, $20, both at Kate's Paperie; Banana Republic Flatiron Triangle Satchel in chalk, $228; Streamerica Hoop Earrings, $1,850 and Coupe Quartz Resonator Watch, $1,800, both at Tiffany's)

Since a four season wool dress might be too New York for an L.A. meeting, a cotton shirt dress that's a little more casual but still put together will work. And since the Gina heels are too Gina, a pair of simple brown boots with no buckles, buttons or lacing up the back would bring it all together and still work with the accessories. (Gap Pima Henley Dress in true navy, $49.50; La Canedienne Kara brown suede Boots, $301.95 at zappos.)

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