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dressing for work

I realized I'm jealous of my 10-month-old baby because you know what? she doesn't have to dress herself. someone buys all her clothes, then each morning comes down and physically puts her into a clean outfit. also, a coordinating set of sweatpants that match her onesie is considered a really put together look.

someone please figure this out for me. I hate buying myself clothes, putting on clothes, deciding what to wear. Are women supposed to get joy from this? I would literally outsource all of it if I could.

I want to look nice at work, I just don't have a lobe in my brain to tell me how to do it. I have other things to think about.

Sometimes I search for fashion on pinterest... general fashion is a mess, so I'll search for something like "gray slacks" to find ideas that at least incorporate a piece I already have. oddly enough, most everything I search for has as many if not more men's results than women's. that's me failing as a girl, I realize.

but honestly for work I can't be that girly because it's a freaking airplane factory, so most fashion is eliminated because of one or more quirky requirements I have:

1) No open-toed shoes. This is a hard-set rule by my company, for safety reasons.

2) No skirts or dresses. They just don't feel engineer-y enough, and aren't glamorous when climbing past the pedestal to sit in the cockpit in 6-seater jet.

3) Layers are a must because I never know what the temperature will be. The office is kept at 68, unless the HVAC system is freaking out which happens at least once every two weeks, then it'll be 80. Or I'm going outside and it's either hot or cold. Or I'm running around and just need to shed a layer because I just walked a mile and I'm hot.

4) Did I mention that I'm abnormally tall? This limits selection.

So last week I think I wore the same black cardigan 3, maybe 4 days, over different tops... that's okay right? I need something I can layer with my black pants because if I wear the black cardigan with it I look like I'm in my pajamas. I googled some looks and apparently you're supposed to pair black pants with a "pop of color"... again, not in my engineering vocabulary.

for a couple years there I stopped caring about my career and just wore khakis and polos every day. but I'm trying to look like I want to be the boss. not ashamed to say it. just not sure how to dress like it.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 23rd, 2014 04:44 pm (UTC)
I have the same problem with needing to layer. In fact I keep a cardigan in my office in case I forget to layer. I do use a lot of cardigans or tops that have open fronts, that I can layer over another shirt. If you keep several (Black, white, a different style of black, a few colors) of layers and then other things for underneath you can pretty much mix and match all the time. As long as nothing clashes, you'll be fine.

Also, I don't know how you feel about scarves, but if you like them you can switch up scarves a lot and people will never know you wore that same cardigan/top/pants combo last week.

Bear in mind this is fashion from a physicist, and you may need a truck of salt. ;)
Mar. 23rd, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
Ugh...work fashion...ugggggghhhhhh. I concur on not being able to wear skirts/dresses.

What I currently do (but am not super happy with):

*Wool slacks: they don't wrinkle so I can wear them for ages before I have to dry clean them
*Blouses/short sleeve sweaters/nice t-shirts: I go as colorful as I can on these but I have a lot of blue/purple/black. Sigh. Generally tucked into pants.
*3/4 sleeve cardigans: They look less "secretary" to me than long sleeves, plus they stay out of the way
*Scarves (generally not with cardigans): Help on the warm front, add some color
*Belt: useful for clipping my badge to, plus it just makes things look more pulled together.
*Heels: generally pumps, I have one pair of wedges, typically black, though I do try for color/pattern here too.
*Earrings/necklace: I favor handmade. This isn't going to get me the corner office. For that try Brighton or similar.

As far as getting someone to dress you. Do you have a Nordstroms? They offer personalized shopping services (no additional fee afaik, just make the appointment). Ann Taylor does the same thing, no appointment needed, but their selection is smaller. Just save some money and let them know what your budget/needs are. If that's not an option, you could look for a personal shopper to help you. Then you can just Granimals it each day.
Mar. 23rd, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
ETA: From my observations, the most important thing is quality. To buy a cardigan and have it look sharp, buy Cashmere or a nice wool. Cotton (which, full disclosure, I wear), doesn't hold up as well or look as nice. Buy one piece of expensive jewelry, wear it everyday and boom! Not only do you look nice but now it's a "signature piece".

Buy expensive shoes/purses (shop sales to keep costs down) since you wear those far more often. I find even with a t-shirt and jeans if I add a pretty scarf and nice shoes/purse suddenly it looks "relaxed" instead of "sloppy" and you can wear them with everything, so you get more mileage out of them than an expensive t-shirt.

When you find a store you like and you know their size, get on their mailing list and shop the sales. : ) You can do it online.
Mar. 23rd, 2014 05:41 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you said except for the tall part. I bought a ton of cardigans and do a lot of mixing and matching.
Mar. 23rd, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
I've tended to buy things that are solid colors b/c it's easier to mix and match, rather than patterns, but it can get boring after a while. I've had a lot of tops that are jewel tones, b/c I usually look good in those. I am also a fan of short sleeve sweaters...they can look dressy, are a step up from polo shirts, and are comfortable. You could throw a baggier cardigan/sweater/light jacket over them, if necessary. Or maybe a blazer coat if you want to look even more management material sometimes, like if you had a meeting and weren't mucking around. Finding some blazers that are comfortable/well-fitted would be the challenge, but you could probably find some somewhere, since that is a staple item (more so for men, but they do make them for women...not sure about selection for talls). I'm tall but a little bit shorter than you...I don't like overly long sleeves, anyway, so I was able to swing regular sizes some times since my arms aren't super long. If worse comes to worse, if there's something you want but can't find, you could check into tailors. Something well-made can last for a very long time and is worth the investment, I think, especially if it is neutral and you could wear it with a lot of things/wear it often.
Mar. 23rd, 2014 06:55 pm (UTC)
I started with basic pieces - black and grey slacks that fit well, and a couple of cardigans and blazers/jackets to wear with them, and then added shirts in various colors and prints that I liked and would coordinate with my pants. A black blazer can be left in your office to dress up for meetings, and a cardigan for when you need the warmth. I am also tall (5'11") and I've found that I love the Worthington slacks from JC Penney. They have a long option and they fit well and are proportioned better than many other places "long" pants (they've adjusted the rise through the crotch as well as the length of the legs).
Mar. 23rd, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
J Crew has nice suits (in tall!) that strike a good balance between conservative workplace and yet stylish. I will sometimes look to see what they put together with suits (or grey suit pants) to get inspiration.

Female architects share the first two work requirements. And many female architects are fairly interested in fashion. A quick preview of Pinterest reveals that not much has been pinned, but if you look for interviews with architects in magazine, newspapers, etc, you might find some more inspiration.

Mar. 23rd, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
Apparently, there are places out there in which you can outsource this! Crap, I don't remember the company my friend used, but you input your sizes and needs, and they send you a box of outfits that go, you keep what you like and return what you don't. I think she said each item averages $40-50? Anyway, if this is of interest, let me know!

And for what it's worth, I have the same problem with "appropriate clothing" for work. Comfort, mobility, and covered up is the name of the game for me, but I also have to be cool because I run warm all the time. And shoes? God, how I hate them.
Mar. 24th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC)
Target has lots of cardigans and tank tops for cheap in lots of colors and patterns and the mossimo tank tops hold up well. I have 5 black ones and a few in other colors like a dusty purple and olive green.

Any top with ruffles, floral/animal patterns, or pastels will look feminine and will compliment a structured suit jacket or blazer

I usually just take people shopping and tell them what to try on. Do you have someone who can do that for you? Someone who just seems to have a good eye for that kind of thing?
Mar. 24th, 2014 05:06 am (UTC)
Same deal for doctors. I just bought a bunch of dress slacks in neutral colors (black, khaki, gray). Then I got a bunch of collared button-up dress shirts. Then I'd just grab whatever in the morning.

Alternative tops: in winter, thin merino sweaters in solid colors; in summer, silk short sleeve blouses.

I also bought a bunch of identical black dress socks. Makes laundry and dressing both easier.
Mar. 24th, 2014 12:02 pm (UTC)
I generally feel like I'm winning at clothes when my clothes are clean and un-ripped....

That said you can outsource this - "personal shoppers" are totally a thing, and (at least here) many large department stores have them. You may have to pay a bit, but they should listen to your requirements and help you find suitable things. (although every time I've tried it the answer appears to be "you are too weird to shop here" since I refuse to pay that much money for fabrics I detest).
Mar. 24th, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
Sigh. I guess this is another gender-privilege area... sorry. But I'm still glad I don't have to worry about this stuff, it seems like so much worry and hassle.
Mar. 24th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
I would love, love to take you shopping. I can see you in lots of work clothes that are both comfortable and professional looking, as well as less comfortable (suits, jackets, etc) and even more professional looking. Black, gray, and khaki/camel slacks in good cuts, well fitting. Jewel toned tops, both solid and patterned, would look great on you. Color is wonderful. I also am a fan of short sleeved sweaters, pullover tops, and cardigans x 1 million. I agree that shoes, bags, and accessories are what really pull an outfit together. Scarves are great! I do think that there are some styles of dresses and skirts that could work, but if that's not your style then you don't really want to go down that road.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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