The Struggle We All Face Trying To Get Dressed For Work
Refusing to Corporate: Week 1
Ok you may be wondering how the title came in to play, or maybe you’re not, but either way I wanted to give you a little history behind it. So around a year ago I had this idea to start a fashion blog just for Corporate Fashion. So I did what anyone who had this idea would do and spent 3 weeks thinking of the name (Ok maybe not 3 weeks but it was awhile) because it had to be the perfect combination of catchy, sassy, & unique. Finally one day I thought of “Refusing 2 Corpoorate” yes spelled like that. My logic? Merging the words cooperate and corporate together (maybe taking this whole mergers & acquisitions too seriously…nahhhh). Anyways back to the point, I was set on a fashion blog because ever since I started working I was a little lost (still am sometimes) on what to wear and when. Like when is it appropriate to wear suits vs a high-waisted pencil skirt? Or what do you wear in a meeting with bankers? How should you dress on an airplane when you’re traveling with coworkers? If you’re out on a banana farm? (Not joking) How do you dress for a Board Meeting? Meeting suppliers or customers? What does casual Friday even mean? I mean the list goes on and on…
Luckily, I have the rare privilege of working with my best friend Morgan. We have literally been best friends over 12 years and she is my business, fashion & life guru. I would die without her (Literally) and I would be a complete and utter disaster appearance wise if she hadn’t been there (basically holding my hand) though my first two and half or so years at Dole. So one day we started talking about wishing we had a manual of Corporate Fashion Do’s & Don’ts when we started working, and that is when the idea of a fashion blog started. I mean for men, dressing for any career could not be easier. I mean yes ok I get it, that suits can be hot, but the simplicity behind the morning routine for a man vs a woman is literally comical. The challenge behind picking out an outfit each day for a woman can turn something fun like fashion into a nightmare, and nothing is worse than starting the day not feeling like you look ok. That being said, besides some of the major questions of when to wear what we have other dilemmas that seem to find their way into our lives. Such as are these heels too high? If so what is the right height? Is it ok to wear black jeans on casual Friday? Are halter tops acceptable? How long does our skirt need to be? I mean there is really nothing simple about dressing for the work place (except if you get to wear scrubs… so amazingly comfortable, literally best work outfits ever). That’s how the “Refusing to Corpoorate” came into play. Just a couple of 23 year old girls, working in a very formal corporate office setting, and not wanting to give into the anxieties and premade presumptions of how corporate attire should be. You may be also wondering why this blog isn’t called “Refusing to Corpoorate?” but that’s just due to well I guess a few things. For one, my ADHD may or may not have come into play after I made the Instagram name (yes I was not joking Refusing 2 Corpoorate exists)… shout out to my 2 followers…me and oh wait my dogs account (Go me!) Secondly, my focus changed from being solely fashion to a whole career lifestyle blog including traveling, finding balance with life and work, nutrition, working out, and so much more. But not giving up on my original idea, I am now fully committed through this series and future look books to (eventually) have a manual on corporate attire and I would love for you guys to send me ideas, stories, and anything that helped you in the work place.
Now that I just rambled let’s get into the details behind my first look I am going to be highlighting on. Let’s do this, corporate style take 1…
1) Material: I think this is something that people overlook on the reg (remember that stands for regular). But material to me, is just as important, if not more important, than the style itself. For One, a critical thing for me is whether they are machine washable or not. This sounds crazy, but I really would rather spend money on anything but laundry service fees…wild right?
Two, ironing. One of my biggest life flaws. If ironing tested your capability of anything I would automatically flunk. So for me it is literally vital for my clothing to not wrinkle easily. Like not even an option. The only thing saving me from constantly looking like a bag of dirty laundry is the material, and also the classic old hang your clothes in the bathroom while you shower trick my dad taught me with some good ole wrinkle spray.
2) Versatility: Don’t get used to me using big words, that for sure is also not my forte (Maybe I should practice ironing while reading the dictionary eh?). Fashion for me is just a collaboration of all your products. What are you even saying Mariss or why are you stating the obvious? Great question… you guys are such a great audience (and when I say great audience I am referring to my four dogs and cat who are surrounding me while I am sitting here writing this…maybe I shouldn’t be telling you guys this but what the heck Carpe Diem right?) Do you see what pant suits do to me??? It’s their fault not mine… Anyways, I have read article after article that says don’t mix your work clothes with your normal clothes and vice versa. And I do agree with that, if and only if, you have an unlimited budget for fashion. I for one do not, so splitting up my clothes is not an option. Instead, I focus on pieces that can multitask. Dresses I can wear to weddings and to a Board Meeting. Suits I can wear to a bank meeting, then change up the look to go out with friends, etc. For me, fashion does not come easy. Picking out an outfit that I think is cute takes time and wayyyyy too much effort, so there is no way on earth I am going to change out of a work outfit (that took me an hour to try on and turned my bedroom floor into missing in action) and relive the morning struggle but now at 8pm, when I am tired, and my patience is running as thin as my chance of getting to a 8:30pm event on time, to then pick out another outfit. Oh no. Not happening. I think all the clothes on my floor would swallow me hole first. So when picking out a suit, I try and pick ones where I can wear the pieces separately, together, and everything in between from formal to casual. Not only is it important for my suit pants to be able to work with other pieces but I also like to invest in clothing that can multiseason (get it multitask but for the seasons?).
These pants that I am obsessed with are the epitome of versatility. I have literally worn them on dressy occasions at work, Easter church service (picture on the right), in meetings in Delaware during a snowstorm, and on a hot July summer day. And as much as I sometimes get self-conscious about over wearing them, since I mean they do stand out with the stripes on the sides, my solution is only instagramming them once a quarter so like if I didn’t Instagram them it didn’t happen right??? Just kidding, I really don’t do that. I wear them when I want and I wear them all the time, and literally every single time I have worn them I have had people ask me about them.
3) Fit: No I am not talking getting in shape (well not right now at least). When I first started working I had somebody tell me about getting my pants hemmed and altered. I was like what why would I do that? Why on earth with a starting salary would I give up being able to get drinks with my friends over spending the money to have ugly pants that I do not like whatsoever fitted? Crazy talk. But with age, time, and maturity (jokes) came getting my clothes tailored and let me just tell you…what was I thinking. Now, I can grab a pair of work pants for less than $40 at TJmaxx or Nordstrom Rack and get them tailored to me and they literally look like a million bucks. I mean I can’t give details on what or how to tailor, but those tailors know what’s up and they know what will look good. That was my saving grace for changing work pants to look more feminine. Just try it.
4) Top it off: Now that you have pants that are perfectly fitted, with great wrinkle free material, and can work during every time of the year, we can move on to the unity of the shirt. Icing on the cake. I think picking a shirt for the pants is rather simple actually, but I would refrain from wearing shirts that are too baggy. I have paired these pants with everything from the halter top shown to a blouse, and a tucked in long-sleeved sweater like shirt. With these pants, I have usually stayed with white to bring the stripe of the pants into attention. But I am anxious to pair them with lavender or some similar pretty light color (Maybe during end of Q3 though?)
5) Shoes: Some days I have a hard time picking shoes for pants. And when I mean some days I mean every time I wear them. Why is it so much easier to pick shoes for skirts & dresses? Pants for me can be challenging due to whatever the bottom of the pants style is, which is why I usually resort to my favorite suede booties with these particular pants. I have also worn them with flat leather boots during the winter which I am obsessed with. The issue for me, with picking shoes with these pants is my ocd of not wearing black pumps with navy pants (First world problems and fully ashamed of it haha). I usually like nude color shoes with navy, but have not found the perfect heels for these pants. As I said earlier, I don’t buy shoes to match pants so one day the perfect shoes will naturally come that will work with these pants but for now my booties are just fine. Work with what you have!
Well I think that’s enough pants talk, at least for today. Hope you enjoyed my first look, stay tuned for more looks to come!
Pants: Willi Smith (TJmaxx)
Shirt: Naked Zebra
Shoes: Vince Camuto
Bag & Sunnies: Massimo Dutti