Archive for the Business Casual Category

Confusing business casual

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on April 12, 2011 by Jessica

Apologies for my lack of blogging this week. A few of my colleagues are taking vacation this week, so the rest of us get to pick up the slack (no complaining – I hope my colleagues will happily cover for me when I get to take some vacation time).

Anyway, I had to share this fascinating article from USA Today – “Business casual” causes confusion. Basically, the premise of the article is that business casual is a very fluid concept  and one that not everyone agrees on. Fair enough. Every office and dress code is different – different industries and different regions have different expectations as far as dress.
What I loved most about the article was the attitude of the article’s subject – a 24 year old woman working in public relations. She stated:

“Each generation seems to have a different idea of what is acceptable in the workplace, and in this situation I was highly offended,” says Cohen, who works at a marketing firm in Philadelphia. “I was actually not allowed to attend a meeting because my attire was deemed ‘inappropriate.’ People my age are taught to express themselves, and saying something negative about someone’s fashion is saying something negative about them.”

I’m just going to be honest here (because what is a blog for, but for expressing your honest opinions). This attitude annoys the crap out of me. Just because you and your generation have some idea of what’s appropriate, doesn’t mean it in fact is. And as a member of the same genereation I totally wouldn’t have found her outfit to be at all appropriate.

My message here is simple – if you wanna play with the big kids, you need to look like you fit in with the big kids. And that means dressing like the big kids. Obviously, by big kids I mean those in power such as the managing partners and executives. Just because you’re obeying the dress code doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself. I love feminine looks, bold colors, and funky accessories and I still incorporate those things into my daily workwear. And no one has ever or will ever tell me that I can’t attend a meeting or go to a hearing because I’m not dressed appropriately.

If you want to read a little more on this subject (and have a few laughs), I suggest you check out the Corporette open thread on the USA Today article – What NOT to Wear to the Office.


Not your typical lady who lunches

Posted in After Work, Business Casual with tags , , , on April 7, 2011 by Jessica

Part of being a successful professional, in my opinion, is getting involved in and giving back to the local community. And not just the community of whatever your chosen profession – but the local community as a whole. With this in mind, I decided I needed to get involved. And, truthfully, not just for the above reason, but also because I like and want to be involved in the community. I am very fortunate to be where I am in my life and to have had the success that I’ve had in this short time and it makes me want to give back to those less fortunate. So I started looking into what organizations I might be interested in. That’s when a friend suggested Junior League. So I went to an open house orientation meeting this week to check it out. This is what I wore:

With the silk blouse and delicate gold jewelry, I was going for a look that would allow me to fit somewhat into the idea of a typical Junior League member. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the month of casual – as is common with lawyers, there was some fine print to the offer. If there are clients visiting, we’re asked/required to wear business casual. Oh well. Though I suppose it’s not so bad as I probably wouldn’t have wanted to wear jeans to the JL meeting anyway.

Now, I know JL has a very particular reputation among the public as being made up of a sort of “ladies who lunch” crowd. Having sat in a room of prospective and current members, I will say that image isn’t entirely false. Yes, there were definitely some ladies who fit that mold very well. But there were also several young professional women there as well.

I will be the first to admit that I didn’t feel 100% comfortable in the crowd – many of the ladies reminded me of the sorority girls from college and people who grew up and live very differently from myself. But I’m going to go for it just the same. Many of the causes and organizations that the local JL support are ones that mean a great deal to me. From their literature, it’s not a small time commitment but I am excited to give it a try.

Slightly school girlish?

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on March 29, 2011 by Jessica

I put together today’s outfit on something of a whim. The skirt I’ve had for a while but, due to how my closet is organized, I haven’t worn it more than once or twice. I wanted to wear a skirt and I wanted to mix things up a bit. So this is what I came up with:

As the day went on, I couldn’t help feeling that the outfit looked slightly… school girl-ish. I’m not sure what it is about the outfit – the color of the shirt, the cardigan, or the texture of the skirt. Though at the end of the day I was pretty satisfied with the overall look. It’s feminine, has a little bit of texture, and still completely appropriate for my position and the office environment.

Also I’d like to point out this necklace which is a favorite of mine:

I know many people have strong feelings about religious jewelry at the office, but I have a hard time seeing this necklace as particularly offensive. I bought this from a seller on Etsy who unfortunately no longer has an active store (and if you’re unfamiliar with Etsy, I highly recommend you check it out). I love the slightly antiqued look of it and its uniqueness.

Anyway, it’s time for me to settle in for the night and get some rest. Nighty night all!

Just a little preppiness…

Posted in Business Casual, Uncategorized, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on March 21, 2011 by Jessica

I could give you the same excuse about being dead-tired and completely bogged-down at work (which are all true), but it would be the same old excuses for being a recalcitrant blogger. So to my meager audience out there – my apologies. I’m trying to set up a schedule for blogging and getting better at this anyway.

Anyway, on to the fashion! As a general rule, I’ve never considered myself preppy. Frankly, there’s part of me that still cringes at that world. I’m a girl who used to wear band t-shirts, Chuck Taylors, clothes from Gadzooks, always jeans, and nary a skirt or dress in sight. But as I’ve gotten older my style has turned more towards the “classic”, though there are occasional moments which reflect more former punk rock college student propensities. And just the tiniest little bit of prep seems to have worked its way in… 

Behold – the sweater vest. Only one of the preppiest items an individual can wear. At least it’s not argyle. It’s actually quite cute – there’s a row of buttons down the front (like a cardigan) and small lacy ruffles down either side of the placket. I’ve tried this vest with t-shirts underneath it (a look of frequently done using structured suiting vests), but for some reason it just doesn’t quite work. So I stick with button front shirts – this one is a lovely jewel-tone blue made from a fabric with both sheen and stretch.

I quite like this look. The touch of preppiness is just that – just a touch. And a touch of something different from our norm adds variety and interest to our wardrobe. I rocked my sweater vest today. I can let my punk rocker girl shine through the other 6 days of the week.

Comfort and finding common trends in your wardrobe

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work on March 9, 2011 by Jessica

When I’m most tired and completely lacking in energy in the morning to plan out a spectacularly fabulous outfit in the morning, I find myself reaching for my stand-bys and oft-worn favorites. Partially out of comfort – because if I wear it frequently, I probably find it comfortable. And partially out of ease – because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! This week I’ve been dragging a bit, so I pulled out some of favorite go-to’s. This includes not just specific items, but also fits/shapes/silhouettes and color combinations. Check out this outfit I wore Monday:

Cream sweater and brown slacks. Hmmm, I think this might be slightly similar to what I wore on February 23, 2011. I’m not sure that the slacks were also brown on that day, but you get the idea. I love the color cream for my skin tone and wear it often. It’s a soft color and not as harsh as white-white. And it just feels like such a cozy color to me – like the color of your favorite old sweater you throw on on Sunday morning.

Also check out this detail shot of outfit I wore on Tuesday:

Twist-trim long-sleeve shirt and lace camisole… hmmm, does that look familiar? If you’ve seen my post from February 17, 2011, it should. Yes, I own multiples of that shirt. I bought one and loved it, and when I saw more of them on sale a few weeks later I picked up a few more colors. And as for that lace camisole – yes, it does make many, many appearances in my wardrobe.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that not every outfit has to be new and interesting. In fact, I would argue that knowing what works for your body, your life, and your personality is very much an asset. It’s a matter of striking that balance between wearing what works for you and makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and putting together something innovative every single day.

Comfy business casual and first office happy hour

Posted in After Work, Business Casual with tags , , , on March 3, 2011 by Jessica

Happy Thursday (i.e. Happy almost-Friday)!

So this week has been a little crazy. I’m sure you’ve guess by my less than regular blogging this week. Work has really picked up for me this week and I’ve also had a few personal engagements after work this week. So I’ve been getting home late the past night or two. In other words – I. Am. BEAT.

Today’s outfit was picked with two particular facts in mind: (1) When I woke up this morning I was beyond tired (2) I was going to my first office happy hour. Based on both of those facts, the natural outfit was a dress and cardigan. Apologies for the lack of model (i.e. me) in the pictures – I got into PJs as soon as I got home and didn’t get a picture while I was still in the outfit.

To me, one of hte only things comfier (sp?) than an old t-shirt and jeans is a dress and cardigan. This dress looks gray from afar, but up close has a houndstooth-esque pattern to it. It’s one of my favorite work dresses (and is actually the first I ever got!). The cardigan is fun and has a cute little detail along the edges.

The detail along the edging of the dress adds a little extra interest to an otherwise very simple outfit. And the earrings… well they’re just fun! As I said before, I went with the dress/sweater combo for today because it’s comfy (and I was dead tired), but also because I thought by removing the cardigan would transition the outfit really well into happy hour. As it turned out though, I left the cardigan on as it was a little cool this evening.

Nighty night everyone and sweet dreams!

Exhaustion quickly setting in…

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , on February 23, 2011 by Jessica

So, I’m tired. So. Very. Tired. Therefore, my sincere apologies for being something of a recalcitrant blogger. Even more sincere apologies for neglecting to photograph and blog some darn cute outfits this week!

So you’ll just have to settle for today’s outfit –

The sweater is one of my absolute favorites. I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s held up pretty well over the years and multiple washings. I also love the color. It’s creamy and soft and not as harsh as a stark white. It’s from Express – not one of my typically favorite stores to shop in for professional clothes. In my opinion their clothes are a bit too trendy for a conservative work environment – but I guess this goes to show you never know where you might find great appropriate pieces.
I added a lace trim camisole to raise the neckline of the sweater. Some people feel lace is entirely inappropriate for the office, but I personally find small amounts to be perfectly fine. And it’s the only cream-colored camisole I own.

This is a bracelet I love. I love the color and the painted on flowers. And you know what else? I made it. Ok, I didn’t make or paint the beads, but I did buy them from the local JoAnn’s and strung them myself. DIY apparel can be totally appropriate when simple, not kitchy, and not covered in holiday glitz and kitties.

And now it’s late. Well, maybe not late. But I am dead tired. Nighty night blog-world!