Archive for the Wear to Work 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.

Going casual for a whole month? Ok…

Posted in Casual, Job, Wear to Work with tags , , , , on April 5, 2011 by Jessica

So in light of the tragedy that has occurred in Japan, my office decided to do something about. So they decided to do a fundraiser titled “Casual for Charity”. Basically, for a small donation individuals at the office can wear denim for the next month! Of course, I jumped on it. Who doesn’t like to wear denim as often as possible (and to keep down their dry cleaning bill)?

I find that dressing casually at the office presents its own particular set of problems. First, there is the ability to maintain an appearance of authority that is inherent in business attire. In order to do this, I plan to wear more structured tops than normal such as button-front shirts, more fitted/structured sweaters, and vests.

So for my first day of a month of casual, this is what I wore:

I think this particular outfit fits the bill pretty well. I like these jeans in particular for the what appears to be faux seams/pleats down the front of the lower leg. I honestly have no idea how these lines appeared down the front these jeans, but I rather like the look of them.
As for the vest – I spent some considerable time obsessing over finding a suiting-style vest that I liked. This is what I came up with. It’s not 100% what I wanted, but I do rather like it. As is very obvious, not all of the buttons can be button (though in my own defense I would point out that the bottom button-hole is not a real hole and is just for show). I am aware of the fact that an item such as this doesn’t… well… down-play certain assets of mine. However, I take the attitude that my, uh, assets are fairly obvious to the rest of the world. And it’s not like they’re hanging all out for the whole world to see. So trying to dress as if they don’t exist, or worse, that I might be embarrassed by them, is pretty much futile.

Now it’s time for dinner and a little de-compression after a busy day. Have a great evening, all!

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!

My first over-night business trip and stories from the middle of nowhere

Posted in Travel, Wear to Work with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Jessica

I’m on the road again…
So I find myself back on the road this week and back in the middle of nowhere. Actually, last time really wasn’t the middle of nowhere – where I went this afternoon truly was the middle of nowhere. Ever hear of Lake Butler? Neither had I, before I went there. It’s about an hour north of Gainesville and so out of the way that none of the several major interstates that run across the state passes within an hours driving distance of the town. I will say it was one of the loveliest and most pleasant drives I’ve taken in a very long time. But there were moments when I thought I had stepped onto the set of Deliverance: The Sequel. Which leads me to the most comical moment of the whole trip…
I really had to go to the bathroom. I was about half way between Gainesville and Lake Butler. There’s not a whole lot along that part of the drive except for a few towns so small that if you blink you would miss them. When I finally come upon what appears to be civilization a gas station, I pulled in to use the ladies’ room. And it was like a scene straight of a cheesy country music video or an old western. A few older guys in cowboy hats and Levis hanging around outside chewing tobacco and shooting the breeze. Then when I roll in everything stops. The old guys’ conversation stops to first stare at/ogle the fancy-looking car (a rented Dodge Avenger) and then to stare at/ogle the young lady in the suit stepping out of said fancy car. For the record, I did not request that car (but it was awesome). But… wow. I had not been looked at like that in quite a while. I was still getting looks when after I finished my business and got back in the car. And it didn’t get much better once I finally got to the courthouse in “downtown” Lake Butler. As I walked out of the courthouse, the entire lawn maintenance crew stopped to stare. I’m starting to think lady-lawyers don’t exist in this part of the state. As much of a die-hard Gator fan that I am, I was actually quite happy once I made it my hotel in Tallahassee. Sigh.

Anyway, as this post is about travel, it seems appropriate to give you all a couple of my packing tips:
(1) Travel size products are your friends. Call me weird, but I prefer to actually find my of choice in a travel size rather than buy the travel-sized bottles and transfer my product into them. But it works either way. Really the key is pairing down the size of all your necessary products. You’d be surprised how much room you can save in your suitcase by carrying travel-sized shampoo and conditioner rather than packing the full-sized product.
(2) Where possible, make your clothes do double-duty. I went to my Tuesday afternoon mediation in a red three-quarter length tee and suit. When I got to the hotel that evening, I took off the suit, left the tee, and put on a pair of jeans. Voila, I was ready to go get dinner.
(3) Stick to a common color scheme. By that I mean brown vs. black and silver vs. gold. This cuts down the number of accessories you have to pack and helps make sure most everything you pack matches with everything else.
(4) Style is important, but this is not a time to sacrifice comfort. I tend to prefer skirts over pants – pencil skirts tend to fit me better than dress slacks and I just like the way I look in them better. But I find for traveling (running around and sitting for long periods of time in a car) pants are much more comfortable.

If you’re wondering what I actually packed, I kept it pretty simple as (1) this was a fairly short trip and (2) I didn’t really want to have to think too much about what to wear. I wore a black pinstriped skirt suit with the above mentioned red three-quarter sleeved shirt underneath it. I packed the pants that match the skirt and a red short-sleeve button-front shirt for the next day. I wore the same black pumps both days. I threw in a pair of jeans and sandals to wear after I made it Tallahassee and to change into for my drive back to Tampa. And I wore the same jewelry both days. Simple and not terribly exciting, but perfect when wanting to travel light for a short trip.

Aaaaand now it’s late. And all this traveling is got me right tuckered out. Nighty night ya’ll!

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.

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!