I remember my very first day of work at a “real” job. I was taking the big, scary train, and I was so nervous I could have peed my pants. I was also on very little sleep, mostly because I spent the evening prior agonizing about what to wear, changing my outfit a bajillion times, only to conclude I would probably get fired upon arrival for looking like such a loser. I was headed into the office world, and I had no idea how to dress for it. I mean, what experience did I have? My life up to this point had included two looks. It was either Student at School, or Student at Night:
Student at school: Ah, the classic Co-Ed look. It was an easy recipe really: Ugg boots, a scarf, some kind of tightly-fitting tee, and bam – ready to learn! This look almost always included jeans that meant you could not, under any circumstances, tie your shoe (catch my drift ladies?). It was pretty basic stuff. I just wanted to come off as a naturally put-together college student with naturally pin-straight hair. It’s not like I was waking up two hours early every morning to fry the shizz out of it to get it to look that way (*cough-sarcasm-cough).
Student at a night: This was basically the Student at School outfit, just updated for an evening of dancing by substituting said tight-fitting tee for a sparkly tank-top of some kind. Curiously, I often decided the UGGs should stay. I always had very sweaty feet by the end of the night. Oh, to be young again.
So, when I finally landed my first job as a junior designer at a small firm, I assumed I had to tap into that foreign, strange “Business Casual” style of dress. I went to the nearest Tall Girl, got myself three pairs of pinstriped pants and a few sweater vests. I left for work that morning attempting to look like a “young professional”, but ended up looking more like Pam Beesly in the Roy days. It was sad.
I don’t know when I my style drifted away from pinstripes and pale button-ups, but I’m so very glad it did. You know what I wear to work every day now? Anything I want! You know what you can wear to work every day? Anything you want! You can still look respectable in bursts of colour and pattern, and you can still feel pretty whilst looking professional. I wore something to work yesterday that, to me, perfectly personified the balance I seek out when dressing for work.
I thrifted this brightly coloured, pleated dress at Talize a few weeks back. It’s red, floral, a little funky, and it has three buttons on one sleeve for reasons I’m not sure exist. It’s a brand name I’ve never heard of, and I have a hunch it came from 91’. But it’s light and flowy, and when I pair it with this little Guess jacket, I feel like a creative professional – whatever that is.
Since I’ve stopped aiming for “business casual” and started dressing like myself, I actually enjoy shopping for office attire, simply because the items I buy for work are items I can wear again on the weekend, and when I get home.
Over the past year, on the rare occasion that the trifecta comes together (clean hair, some makeup, and an outfit I actually like), I’ll snap a pic on my desktop webcam, just so I can look at those times when I sleep past the fifth snooze and revert back to Beesly. I compiled a little collage of those rare moments. As you’ll see, there is no one right way to to dress for the office. So have some fun with it! All looks, as always, thrifted!
Green cardigan + belt – Talize | Black lace top – Consignment shop | Striped tunic – Talize | Parasuco Jean jacket – Goodwill | Maggy London Polkadot dress – Salvation Army | Cassis Printed peasant dress – Clothing Swap | Red dress – Talize | Le Chateau Purple tunic – Talize | Chicos Polkadot blouse – Salvation Army
How do you dress for work? Pinstripes & cardies or pleats & polkadots?