Workweek 9/22 – 9/26

Is it just me or did this week feel really long? It’s probably just me. Our weather is still fairly warm around these parts–not quite in the 90s, but close, which makes it a challenge to dress for the office, which has its own microclimate. The theme (as of late) seems to be the following: quick-drying, light fabrics and relaxed fit. Here’s what I crawled into the office with for this week:

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Monday: MUJI wool-cashmere open cable-knit cardigan, Uniqlo Heattech v-neck long sleeved t-shirt, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans in navy
Tuesday: old H&M military jacket (similar), Uniqlo Heattech v-neck long sleeved t-shirt, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch jeans in navy
Wednesday: Lands End Supima Cardigan sweater, old Uniqlo ruffled polka dot chiffon dress (similar)
Thursday: Lands End 3/4 sleeve Boatneck Sailor tee (I had the sleeves hacked off), Uniqlo Ultra Stretch ankle jeans in black, Camper Nina Right flats
Friday: Uniqlo AIRism short sleeved scoopneck tee (not available in US currently), Uniqlo Ultra Stretch ankle jeans in black

Let’s all laugh right now because whoa color! The funny thing about wearing color is by having worn it so sparingly over the past year and a half, it feels like a special occasion every time I do incorporate it into my look. I’ve been told to “be less somber” at work by well-meaning older staff, which is hilarious. There’s nothing like receiving fashion advice from my beloved engineers who are legit #normcore #dadcore.

As I progress with finding my style niche, I find the input I get from my environment is quite informative and at times entertaining. I’ve gotten “angelina jolie” remarks when I’m in my long black skirts, or “schoolgirl” when I’m in the white JCrew sundress from that week. Usually when I get these comments I’m laughing but sometimes it makes me ask–is that an impression I want others to have of me? And how much of my clothing choices ARE influenced by those image stereotypes–see Friday’s scoopneck look up top, which personally strikes a Grease/end-movie Olivia Newton John vibe for me. I’m still debating whether borrowing those notes/vibes are a good thing–I suppose there’s a part of me that wants to feel “French-inspired” by wearing Breton stripes + red.

For those of you reading along, what was the turning point in which you felt secure about the look that you’ve made? Was it a slow realization or a fairly rapid change?

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15 thoughts on “Workweek 9/22 – 9/26

  1. I wish someone would say Angelina Jolie style to me. I LOVED her Oscar morticia addams dress. I think the most important thing in an office, esp. around engineers/men is to be known first for your smarts than how you dress. I feel secure that I look neat, professional, and modern in my work clothes–but my casual wear can definitely use some help.

    1. I thought that by dressing “somberly” in monochrome I would avoid the remarks on my looks, but the culture here is VERY traditionally male-oriented/male-dominant. It’s science, and it’s old school science. I generally just try to keep my head down and deliver my work on time.

      It’s so strange being praised for dressing classically feminine (I get the most +1s for that JCrew white dress, the Uniqlo/IDLF wrap dress, or when I’m in the pencil skirt + any soft blouse.) It’s not like I’m being hit up about my looks every day, not at all, but conversational topics tend to revolve around what I’m wearing and/or my health and if I look tired or not. I try to leave things in my cubicle like photographs of places I’ve traveled so we can talk about something other than my person…how bout hobbies, you guys?

  2. That is a very interesting subject to ponder, and I probably could write pages about image versus self, identity, self esteem and who we want to be or appear to others.

    In my case, it has been a sudden realization that my style of the time wasn’t right at all, and I suddenly stripped all the details off and started again from a simple canvas, learning from big to small – first figuring out the overall shapes, fits and proportions I felt comfortable in, then adding in layers, then favourite fabrics and drapes, then colours, then style details.

    This took a lot of time, and in this case, I’ve started feeling comfortable in my skin little by little. The more I understood, the more I added in, the better I felt. I think it’s still an ongoing process though – I’ve been wondering about jewerly and underwear lately 🙂 I’m guessing this is a journey of trial and error, but I found we only move forward by doing regular checks and accepting past mistakes.

    1. Please do consider writing about it, I would love to engage in a discussion! Can you tell I miss critical thinking + writing classes? 🙂

      I like exploring the idea of “who we appear to be” to others. My clothes make the outward statement (I hope) that: 1. I care enough to keep good health and hygiene, 2. I’m presentable and respectable, 3. I’m fairly conservative/straight-edge/no trouble. I don’t want my clothes to talk for me, I want to do the talking. And yet when I changed my clothing just a fraction, that grabbed people’s attention first instead of me. Maybe it’s human nature to notice change first, but either way, it’s been very interesting looking at the psychology of what we wear.

      Re: underwear and jewelry: I’d like to hear about that too. I’ve been mad wanting some lace bralettes but can’t justify or think of a place for them in my daily life just yet–they seem too pretty for every day wear!

  3. I think my style evolution was a sharp change following by a slower realization. One day I just realized that what I was doing wasn’t working and then I went about changing it piece by piece, purchase by purchase. I am not entirely sure what my co-workers make of my style, but I usually get called “quirky” or “unique” in reference to what I wear — I’ll take it.
    xx Abby a geek tragedy

  4. Hmm that’s an interesting question! I guess I am still quite conscious of how I’m perceived for the way I dress. Right now I guess my style is quite simple and classic but I still like to look a little different from everyone else? It’s the former “alternative” kid in me, haha. I think I’m in a good place now, and it’s been a gradual change. There was a time where the way I dressed projected the image I wanted but I still felt self conscious about it? Whereas now I feel totally comfortable (physically and mentally) with my style.

    1. Isn’t it funny how even our self-perception evolves? I went through stages of not caring–ratty tees and all–and then I look back at photographs of myself at different ages and I try to remember how I felt and why I decided to wear what I did. In high school I couldn’t do much with uniforms–it was a pleated wool plaid skirt (in desert California?? are you kidding me) and an oxford button down for 9-10 months out of the year. I think that’s why traditional office wear is comforting for me. But then throw me in anything other than work or school and it’s like, the hell do I do now??

      Maybe I kind of wish I had an “alternative” kid–maybe she would know what to do! So far my idea of rebellion is really cheesy slogan tees and ironic snapbacks (see entire H&M Divided line.)

      1. Actually now that you mentioned it, leaving school (with the uniform) for uni was probably a bit of a turning point for me – it was a bit of a jolt and I had to rethink if the way I dressed was how I wanted to dress EVERYDAY.

      2. Suddenly, choices! It was actually a bit disconcerting to have to plan…before that we got “spirit” days where we got to wear jeans every once in a while, and then I only got to wear my own clothes on the weekends. College was a waste land of tee shirts and fast fashion and poor nutrition.

        Oh the things we learn as time marches on.

  5. ha i know what you mean about colour especially if you wear a lot of neutrals. nice bringing it out every now and again though! not sure what “less sombre” means as i don’t think your dressing is very sombre to begin with (haha). particularly love #4 – it’s a nice surprising pop of colour and love the simple graphic lines. and an interesting point on associations with look and feel – i think only applies if the other person gets it and these days there are so many different subcultures and genres it’s getting harder and harder to define. i guess angelina jolie is pretty mainstream hehe

    i think i went the other way (i used to wear a lot of colour and print) but the older i got the more i gravitated toward less “look at me” and that naturally meant less brights/prints.. so i devolved somewhat i think and found a few silhouettes i am definitely comfortable with.

    1. Right??? I don’t feel somber but I suppose everyone can interpret things differently. The stripes + red is a fun combo, that was suggested to me by a friend who said I needed red heeled shoes for my Bretons. I compromised with flats because I am an eternal tomboy 😀

      I agree with you–its tough now because there are so many genres, and then it also depends on what that other person knows. In my workplace I’m one of the youngest so it’s always funny to hear what my coworkers make of what I’m doing. Angelina Jolie is popular enough and her look has stayed mostly unchanged throughout the years (neutrals, lots of black, clean lines, little jewelry) that I guess wearing all black brings to mind her style.

      I’d rather be likened to her than Miss Cyrus.

  6. Do they have MUJIs in America?? I just discovered them in Japan, my hubby introduced me and then I also saw one in Korea. I loved it but all I bought was some tea in their grocery section 😦 That would be awesome if there was one here.

    1. Gina, you’re up north near SF right? There’s a MUJI in SF’s SoMa district and one in San Jose. Then there’s one down near me (Hollywood.)

      I haven’t been to the NorCal MUJIs but I really like the one down here near me. The housewares section is a dream!

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