Friday, October 28, 2011

Wear me out

Sadly, I cannot dress for work like this. (via pinterest)
How does anyone in the world even get dressed?

Rather, how does anybody get dressed for work?

When I got hired here, I found it difficult to get purchase on this whole business-casual deal. My understanding of looking presentable was stranded somewhere between the plaid bows on church dresses of my youth, the sparkly clothes of boozey New Year's bashes in squalid apartments, and later, weddings in echo-y social halls. Suddenly I needed a few weeks' worth of grown-up but still youthful clothes and my boots and tattered band t-shirts weren't really going to cut it. I didn't have much to go on, though - how to dress to be taken seriously but also like your(unserious)self?

Also, there is the issue of tattoos. For some, a tattoo is an intimate talisman sealed to a discrete area of the body. For me, it's a meaningful adornment, like a piece of heirloom jewelry, not something to be concealed. Except, of course, at your office job! The prescription: boatnecks, crew necks, oxfords, some mandarin collars. These kinds of garments are not awful in concept but in their execution on my figure they are, well, matronly.

Most of my lady friends don't do the office job thing, or work in creative or informal fields where the rules are different. My one friend who has a full sleeve is an attorney, so while she is stuck
with long sleeves to her wrist every day all year, she is petite and looks smart in a lawyer-y blazer over a gauzy low-cut blouse.

So here's my impression of ohh all women ever: You know I'd just really like to have fewer, but like, better quality clothes. In keeping with that spirit (hey I'm not immune), I caught some tailored linen dresses on sale last week online and bought 'em in a few different colors. They have interesting details and the faded weave of the linen makes the material look vintage - most importantly, they are crew necked without being school-marm.

And sometimes, you know, I just miss the mark completely. A dopey male coworker made some comment about my black crocheted tights earlier this week, which I indignantly dismissed in my head. I mean, I'd bought them at Target, not a lingerie store.

That afternoon, we're driving home from work together, and Nick reaches over and puts his hand on my thigh. "Oh sweet, slutty tights!"


  1. Shit, I just wore "slutty tights" to work on Tuesday. I assumed if you paired them with conservative boots and a knee length skirt your could avoid the "slutt" conotation.

  2. I have never figured out a work wardrobe that doesn't make me feel like a fairly frumpy fraud. Your linen dresses sound like great progress.

    Slutty is in the eye of the beholder. Don't let anyone scare you away from enjoying your clothes.

  3. GET OUT OF MY HEAD! Seriously, this was written by me. I have the exact same issues, especially the tattoo ones - a chest piece and a full sleeve do not scream "diplomat" but try finding blazers with long enough sleeves when you're 6 feet tall! And clothes usually have either long sleeves and a v-neck, or a boat neck and short sleeves, so I live in layers. Luckily the air conditioning is kept on full blast year round, so everyone else is too, but I always catch people staring at the inevitable tattoo sticking out of my sleeve - now I know how people with giant moles feel.

    Plus, skirts that on a normal girl are totally appropriate look insanely short on me, because so much leg is showing. There's a lot more leg under the skirt too, but I think people assume that the hemline is millimeters away from my lady parts sometimes.

    I basically live for Fridays, when I'm the only person in my office wearing jeans.

  4. @Rebekah Frumpy fraud is EXACTLY how I feel.

    @Rebekah @Andee I know they're not slutty (or even if they are, who cares) but in defense of a comfortable work environment, I'm just going to skip patterned tights from now on. I know, I know, letting them win..

    @Meaghan I also feel you on the skirt thing. I am only 5'8, and do not appear "leggy" (see: having my dad's insanely muscular legs SIGH), but my thighs are actually pretty long and nearly all skirts/dresses are super short on me.

  5. Maybe you can find patterned tights that don't show skin--- prints or stripes or something? Is that a decent compromise?

  6. I *hate* trying to dress professionally. The other women at my job are either slutty and inappropriate or matronly, and since I worked with teenage boys, I definitely err toward the matronly. GAH.

    THIS is what we need classes on in college. THIS. Someone to go with us to Goodwill and say "here's $100 of your tuition money, now buy these things and put them together and voila, perfect. Here's nine other looks you can wear appropriately."

    HArumph, education. HArumph.