Our CMO Ruth Hartman’s on the Art of Outfit Creation

You know those ladies who never have a day off from style? Our Chief Merchandising Officer Ruth Hartman is just that kind of person. We chronicled her style for a busy work week to watch and learn. Read on to find out why she wore what; followed by a crash course in the art of outfit creation and her secret trick to keep her closet organized!   


“This statement top is part of Olivia Culpo’s collection for Le Tote. It’s perfect for an important lunch meeting because I want to look dressed up, fashionable and feminine. It’s a trend piece but it’s more sophisticated than the other big trends like an overall ruffle or off-the-shoulder. Between the color, the great fit and the magnificent sleeves, it doesn’t need much — just these high-waist cropped palazzo pants and lace-up shoes.” 


“This BCBG Max Azria dress is part of Le Tote Select. The fit-and-flare silhouette makes it feminine and even though it looks like lace, it’s knit. It’s comfortable, looks professional and the black tassel earring contributes as the trend quotient of this look. I chose casual sandals to dress it down — isn’t it amazing how a shoe can change the vibe of an outfit? For me, the biggest difference in feeling dressed up or not is whether there’s a heel involved.”  



“This top is trendy and not too bare, making it so office-appropriate. I wore it with white denim because white feels more summery than a pair of blue jeans. White jeans are so versatile and has the effect of making me feel more put together. Some people feel that they can’t wear white denim because it’s too bare or clingy, but find a top that’s just a little bit longer and take the plunge. You won’t regret it!”  


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“This Endless Rose crochet top with a ruffle trim is one of my favorites. This top always gets me noticed even though that’s not my most favorite thing in the world! I wore it in New York recently and was randomly complimented by so many strangers. The top is great for midweek, when you have a dinner plan right after work. I love that it’s professional with a fashion twist. I wore it with a pencil skirt, lace-up sandals and earrings to complete the look that I call ‘feminine chic’.” 


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“This easy striped dress has casual Friday written all over it. I like the geometric pattern and the fact that it’s a fitted silhouette without being a real body con. I love Eliza J dresses — all of them! I layered this with a summer cardigan, draped over my shoulders, almost like a shawl. Knotted, it stays put and then comes off as just as easily when you are freezing at the cafe or your desk!”

A Q&A: The Art of Outfit Planning

Are you the type of person who plans the week’s worth of outfits on a Sunday night?
No, I do not pre-plan or even think about my outfits on Sunday night. I plan my outfits on a day- to-day basis — usually the morning of, depending on my day’s agenda. 

What is your process of outfit creation?
It starts with what I have from my tote. Then I mix and match with my own closet. I like to wear my Le Tote pieces a few times before sending it back. I have a big closet so I have a lot to pull from, whether it’s clothing, accessories or footwear, so I don’t necessarily worry that I’m not going to have anything to wear. It’s really about how to put it together and mix and match that particular morning.

What is your approach to accessorizing?
Sometimes, an accessory drives my outfit so I start there and then go backward into my clothing choices.  I pick my area of focus and prefer not to have loud accessories and loud clothing. For me, it’s one or the other.

497A4969What jewelry do you always wear?
My wedding ring, engagement ring and my anniversary ring given my by husband. I often wear these diamond huggie earrings that I bought myself around 10 years ago. Those are my go-to earrings when I don’t have earrings from my tote, not to say I have about a 100 pairs of others! I always wear a watch, less to tell time, more as an accessory. It’s a classic Tiffany watch which I got after exchanging a lot of baby gifts when I had my first son!

For all the busy women out there, what are your tips on getting dressed effortlessly to make mornings easier?
Having your go-to pieces helps. I have about 20 black pants in my closet and I probably wear 3 of them consistently. Identify your wardrobe essentials that you can always go to, and think about how you can mix them up so you don’t look the same everyday. Having a signature style is great but I consciously try not to have a ‘ fashion uniform’. For me, it’s really thinking about that persona you want to be that day, all the while staying true to yourself.
Another thing I do is that in the five days of a week work, I try not to wear the same thing everyday. It’s easy to get into a rut but I like to change it up for myself. And of course, having a Le Tote subscription helps. It gives you that variety. 

Lastly, what’s your secret to keeping your closet organized?
My closet is not uber-organized in terms of color or anything, but I do have one rule: I put everything back in the same place it was before. This helps in knowing where what is and I don’t end up wasting my time in front of the closet looking for things!

PS: Read more about Ruth’s life and style here


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