Grayscale

This week feels especially busy. I’ve been trying to get up earlier in the morning to prepare my clothes and food for work, and it still feels like I barely have enough time to do everything. The weather is also in full swing and we are officially back to sun and heat here in Southern California after two weeks of muggy, overcast weather. Thankfully the AC at work has held up. At any rate, the heat typically makes me a lazier dresser. Here’s what my work uniform has looked like over the past few weeks:

DSC_0763
Such facial expression. Much model. πŸ˜€

Tee: Target Mossimo boyfriend v-neck pocket tee (similar)
Skirt: H&M pencil skirt (similar)
Shoes: Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole Gabby

In the summer I don’t want collars or long sleeves that bunch and roll up at the elbows. I want to be as airy as possible (and long hair can be corralled in a bun) around my neck and arms. Legs matter too, but I don’t really want to attempt wearing shorts in the workplace so we’re going to stick with fairly conservative skirts. When I first started this blog, I had visions of Brooks Brothers-esque workwear and blazers and women’s shirting. But my reality is that my specific workplace is so casual, so much so that the “no-open toed shoes” rule is more of a suggestion than is it ever actually enforced. I still prefer not to get TOO casual, because I still believe impressions matter, and I feel that if I let myself get sartorially casual, my brain will also follow suit and take a vacation. Not good when you’re trying to move up in life and generally become an interesting, well-rounded person.

However, we don’t live in a vacuum, so in trying to meld the company culture with my own philosophy, I’ve ended up with a mosaic of half business-half casual wear. I know that in a traditional workplace, a tee-shirt wouldn’t be dressy enough. But for cubicle work, it will suffice. The skirt and shoes ought to pass anywhere (even if it is a tad boring); it’s basic, solid workwear. Maybe heels would make this dressier, but the only heeled items I own are ankle boots (too warm) and strappy sandals which are a bit unstable for walking.

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Picture shot at lunch time hence I’m a little rumpled. #honestOOTDs

Sometimes I wonder if this even counts as “fashion.” Probably not. But it is what I’ve worn and I still think there’s value in documenting that and brainstorming how to do it better. A friend of mine once told me that people like to talk about the world of “shoulds,” but exist in the world of “is.” IΒ shouldΒ iron my clothes, and wear a proper cardigan up top, and maybe put on some lip color to look more polished. Or maybe wear a dress and heels and put on some jewelry or a scarf and find a nice purse to pull it all together. IΒ should try/do/be xyz, but I am…harried and rushing in the mornings; sometimes I forget parts of my Five-Minute-Face routineΒ in favor of eating breakfast (and not gonna lie, sometimes forget the latter in favor of the former, which is terrible. Breakfast is delicious.) If I even think of a general look the night before and remember to execute it the next morning, I feel like a million bucks. Sometimes things just are the way they are, so you do your best with the time and tools you have. I’m hoping I can keep practicing and learning how others do it so I can dress more efficiently and elegantly with the little I own.

What is your workplace like? Do you have a dress code at work, and how do you navigate adhering to it (or not) with your current wardrobe?

To those of you new to Uniformly Dressed, welcome and thank you for dropping by!

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13 thoughts on “Grayscale

  1. Unfortunately I don’t have much insight on the matter since our dress code at work is practically inexistant. Apart from, you know, being dressed. I guess that’s a perk of working in video games, I have only one wardrobe. I like to wear polished outfits nonetheless though, but comfortable is my number one priority these days πŸ™‚ Your outfit does looked very polished though, the skirt and top work very well together.

    1. Thank you Kali! In some ways that’s also how it is for my work–be clean and well-groomed but otherwise they don’t care how you’re packaged. I try to use my clothing to look older (perhaps therefore more “responsible”) so I can be considered for more work…too often I get told I’m really young-looking (which is NOT a bad thing, mind you) but in terms of perception at work I wonder if being young is a code word for inexperienced.

      It probably is. So I have to try to both get that experience and give the impression that I’m capable of doing more.

      1. I’ve been wondering about that myself – how being small and looking younger can affect career and the perception of people we work with. I was very keen on looking older when I was in my early twenties, but with time I realize attitude is more important than outfits in that matter.

        In other words, I’ve learned that what inspires serisousness, respect and confidence is not so much the high heels, make-up and “adult” look, but rather the confidence of your voice when you explain your point of view, the professionalism of your presentations and e-mails, and your speech skills – sounding sure and convinced is the best way to appear stable, experienced, and convincing. In my line of work, we are at the crossroads of many other services + external partners, and it is important to look self assured and confident that we know what we are talking about and be able to handle it, but all the while looking diplomatic, polite, and not impose on other people.

        I believe it has worked for me to some extent, despite the fact that I wear flats, jeans & chinos, and almost no make-up at work. I remember a discussion with a colleague in which he thought I was already over 30 (he was surprised when I explained I wanted to get a new tattoo for my 30th birthday). He explained I looked young but was mature and self assured, therefore he thought I was over 30. That’s what made me believe that demeanor, attitude and confidence are more important than looks when it comes to being taken seriously.

      2. I am slowly recognizing what you said above and practicing it in my day to day life. There is a way to be soft-spoken but confident, to be assertive without coming off as a pushy know-it-all. I agree, it’s something in how you carry yourself–like you know what you’re about–but also if you do make mistakes then the mature way is to accept them gracefully and rectify the situation immediately.

        I suppose that’s a bit outside of fashion blogging, but I enjoy this type of discussion anyhow πŸ™‚

  2. I just came across your blog & I am obsessed.
    I like seeing what people really wear, not an outfit that they put on for 5 seconds to snap photos, then changed back into their sweats — my long way of saying I don’t iron my shirts either, you do you! I am a teacher at a private school and our dress code is super casual. Not flip-flops casual, but I could definitely wear jeans every day if I wanted to. Sometimes I feel weird posting my ootd’s because I feel like people won’t be able to match my casual outfits to what they think a teacher should dress like — but it just depends on your particular workplace’s rules.
    xx Abby a geek tragedy

    1. Hi Abby, welcome!

      It”s quite refreshing to see what other people actually wear. It’s why I like to write and post here too. Sometimes I preview outfits I’d like to wear in the future (and I do wear them eventually.) It’s almost like having someone check on you in the fitting room except over the Internet; that’s how I think about it.

      Like you, I could also go to work in jeans if I wanted to. And on some days I have, but I try to pick the least obvious jean pair (usually black) and keep it as neat and clean as possible when I do.

  3. My dress code is business/business casual. I usually dress in black or nautical. I rarely wear heels. Occasionally I can get away with some avant-garde Rick Owens/Thom Browne/shiny jacquard suits. And I’m not a makeup person, oh well. I just bought eyeliner, and if I do wear it I half tight-line so it’s not even noticeable.

  4. i totally understand – these past two weeks i’ve been pretty much wearing only navy sweaters + jeans + sneakers. i do like the simplicity of a grey v-neck and skirt though, if i can get away with that in summer it’s almost too easy πŸ˜‰

  5. Heat laziness–that is exactly what happens to me, too. My workplace is a little more formal (bank-like business wear), but I put all my effort upfront into the purchases so that my day-to-day is as lazy as possible. Neutral tailored cotton/wool dress + tomboyish blazer + stylish but still neutral flats. Mix and match as necessary. Sometimes I throw in a scar or bracelet, but mostly I accessorize with red lipstick.

    1. I’m going to refine my formula for summer; I still want to find Madewell-esque dresses like you do for work! πŸ™‚ So far I’ve been stuck with the pencil skirt as a staple and the three random black or one white dress that I own.

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