Archive for Business casual

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.

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!

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!

Day 2: What to wear after Day 1

Posted in Business Casual, Wear to Work with tags , , , on February 16, 2011 by Jessica

So sorry I missed you all after my first day. The truth is I was (and still am) dead tired. My body hasn’t quite adjusted to keeping lawyer-hours. An annoying side-effect it would seem from months of unemployment.

As I’m sure you all expected, my first day I wore a suit. And I have to say I am sorely annoyed with myself for not getting a picture of it – because I looked darn good! A silky royal blue button-front shirt with short sleeves. Black with gray pinstripe skirt suit. Burgundy pumps. Med-sized drop-shaped earrings with a mother of pearl finish. As I said, darn good.

But I find that dressing for day 2 is a bit trickier than dressing for day 1. In lawyer world, you wear a suit the first day. End of story. Maybe you wear a shirt underneath your jacket that can stand on its own if you can take off the jacket as your day goes on. But then comes day 2. The suit may not be necessary, but you haven’t been at the firm long enough to get a firm grip of dress code and culture of your new firm.

So in putting together today’s outfit, I tried to walk the line between I-just-started-here-formal and I’m-already-getting-comfortable.

There’s a few things I like about this outfit. For starters, I love the sweater. I typically avoid one-button jackets like the plague as they tend to make those of us with large busts and spare tires look like stuffed sausages. But this one, I’m guessing because of the soft knit fabric, falls much more softly but the shape of it still kind of resembles a blazer. The shirt is also a bit more formal than a t-shirt under a sweater. The fabric is cotton, but a bit thicker with more structure and nice ruffled neckline. The slacks are a classic, charcoal gray (matching piece to a suit).

When going for a more simple, classic look like the above I like to mix in funky accessories. It truly is one of my greatest loves in life. From the picture above you can spot a few of these extra touches. The dark nail polish (one of my newest loves which I hopefully will be doing a post on later). The bracelet – beads with blue, pink, and gold details. But my favorite in this outfit is the necklace.

This necklace is one of my favorite acquisitions of late. It was approximate $5 from Forever21 (my secret hunting ground for fun and inexpensive accessories). It’s just fun and a little unexpected, though still quite lovely and feminine.

Well that’s all for tonight. I’ll be back in the office tomorrow continuing to learn the ropes at my new firm – and hopefully looking fabulous while doing it!