Business Casual Superstar: Inspired by Annie (Alison Brie, “Community”)

Alison brie

I’ve heard Community is an absolutely fabulous show. I’ve seen about 1.5 episodes of it, the same number of episodes that I’ve seen of Sex and the City, and the O.C. I know. It’s a number that does not inspire confidence.

But I loooooved Joel McHale on the Soup, and followed him over when he made his network debut. I liked the first episode well enough, but then kind of forgot about it. And then I was about 6 episodes behind and figured I’d wait until I had some free time and watch all of them. And then I was a half-season behind. And then a whole season, so I figured I’d wait for the DVDs.

And here we are today.

But all my friends love Community, and they all love Annie and want Jeff and Annie to get together and have ten million babies (I guess they like Jeff a bit more than Annie, because that ordeal sounds unpleasant). So I’ve figured I pretty much have to start watching this show.

Also, I heard the paintball episode was RIDICULUOS.

So here we are with an outfit inspired by Annie.

Now, since I don’t watch this show, I did a bit of research before I put this post together. I looked at various Community galleries so I could get a sense of Annie’s style, and I watched some clips so I could get a sense of her personality. I’d like to say that this was because I really feel like I do a better job putting together outfits for or inspired by people when I really feel like I have gotten to know them.

In reality, though, I just like wasting time and looking at pretty pictures of pretty people. Also, I have revisions for a seminar paper due on the arguments for extending federal labor protections to lay teachers at faith-based schools in a way that skirts around the entanglement issue with the Establishment Clauses, and I am procrastinating because I am a terrible person inside and out.


But today’s outfit is actually inspired by the outfit Annie wore in the paintball episode. I thought her little sweater vest was adorable and very true to the character’s buttoned up, but still very feminine style. (Also I noticed that even in her buttoned up outfits, Annie still always flashes just a glimpse of cleavage. She’s nowhere near as buttoned down and shrewish as, say, Angela Martin of NBC’s The Office. She’s a little wild under there.

Although, according to Dwight, so is Angela.

Anyway! Ze clothes!

Black Straight Leg Trousers ………. $15
Brushstroke Print Shirt ………. $15
Sweater Vest in Black ………. $38
Shoes With A Bow ………. $26

I found a cute little black sweater vest like Annie’s. Sweater vests are adorable and under-rated, but you have to be careful that you buy the right one, and that it’s in the right size. That seems like a no-brainer, but it’s often not that simple. When you find a sweater vest, be sure to try it on rather than just looking at the tag and making sure it’s your normal size. This is particularly important for petite girls. (Like me! Which is why I know this and why I’m passing it on.)

Sweater vests just sit on you a bit differently than other tops. Plus, you’re wearing something underneath them. Sweater vests will almost always have a banded bottom, meaning that the bottom will be distinguishable from the body of the vest (see? You can even see it in the small picture I have above) and if the vest hangs on you so that the banded part goes right across your hips, which are the widest part of your lower body, you’re just going to look boxy and wide all over.

But if they sit just a little bit above your hips, like maybe right where your hips just start to flare out, it will be a much more flattering and appropriate and ladylike look.

I had this great sweater vest that I just loved, but I bought it without trying it on (I just held it up to myself to make sure it was in the right ball park). And sure enough, the banded part sat right on my hips, stretching out the vest into a boxier, bulkier shape. I tried to make it work a couple times, but it just didn’t. So I finally dug it out from the back of my closet and donated it to the Salvation Army this weekend. (What? It had only been worn 2-3 times. It was still in excellent condition.)

So don’t make the same mistake I did. Head to the fitting room and try that sucker on and make sure the banded bottom isn’t sitting on an awkward spot.

Anyway, I polished up this look a little by pairing the vest with black trousers. I found this pretty printed shirt at the $15 Dollar Store (thank goodness – that store is very often the reason that I’m able to make my $100 budget work for these posts). Basically, what you want here is a shirt with short, flirty little sleeves and some COLOR. Which was why I went with a brushstroke/abstract print (lots of colors), and why Annie’s own polka dotted top worked well for her. It’s a pattern, it’s interesting, there are some colors tossed in there – it just looks way better than a solid blouse would have looked under that vest.

Annie often wears a lot of understated little bows and such, so I thought these shoes would be a great fit. They’re that weird color somewhere between gold and silver, but they work. And they’ve got ribbon and a bow, totally channeling Annie’s character.

And there we have a Community-inspired look! Hopefully, the next time I do an Annie outfit, I will be all caught up on the show.

  • Lara

    I love Community, and the character of Annie, so thanks for posting this.  For the record, though,  Annie and Jeff would make an awful romantic pairing, not to mention he’s in his late 30s and she’s 19 or 20.  So there’s that.  But watch Community and you might fall in love.