03 June 2010

What Suits You?

As most of you know, I get to work from home, which in itself has a whole bunch of pluses and minuses. So on most days I get to wear pretty much what I want to, which was one of the reasons I started this blog - so my daily outfits didn't downward spiral themselves into pajama bottoms and slubby tees all the time. But as you can tell, I still keep a pretty casual office.

But with an impending whirlwind business trip looming, I am once again - temporarily - on the business dress front. Most of my trips revolve around going to trade shows or business meetings where the attire is business. And in the industry I work in and company I work for, I am usually one of the youngest people in the group daring to break up my suits and wear color, while everyone else is in their typical conservative dark ensembles with the sensible shoes.

Suffice to say, I'm not comfortable in a suit. I feel a bit like I am playing dress-up, and am not myself. However, I appreciate it as a way to look respectful and appropriate for the audience I am dealing with. And in it, I do get the mini-power surge and feel a little bit more like "yes I belong here."

What do you think? When you need to dress to impress in a corporate environment, do you still dress like yourself, or dress for the "part you'll be playing?"

And here's me dressing as myself today:

Top: BDG from Urban Outfitters (worn here and here before)
Skirt: J. Crew chino back-tie
Shoes: Franco Sarto Talento pumps
Necklace: from Etsy (worn here before)


  1. It definately depends on the work, but I think it is important to be seen as a professional amongst your colleagues and clients. A suit can be pretty important.

    You can usually add a fun accessory to make it still "you" though!

  2. Love the red stripes with the lighter skirt and black shoes. A little PopEye!

  3. i love the striped top. i can't get enough of stripes!

  4. I can comment on this topic..
    as a teacher, when I "auditioned" for my job (giving a demo lesson) I didn't wear a suit and one of the administrators asked why. The question totally caught me off guard. My response was that it was an inauthentic representation of myself- it made me feel and look unapproachable to my students and I would most certainly NEVER wear a suit if I was offered the job. I regretted my answer at the time and cursed myself for not conforming to expectation, but I got the job :)

    I think you really have to dress to impress not only your colleagues/boss but you have to dress to impress yourself too. I feel like a monkey in a suit, but if time a place require it, I'll definitely add something to make it more "me" .. just so I recognize myself in the mirror.

    I so admire that you actually dress yourself working from home. I don't know what I'm going to do with my blog when summer hits consider I wear running shorts and a tank 90% of the time.

  5. Now that I am working for a "younger and trendier" company, I worried alot at first about my personal style fitting in.
    But you know what? Just dressing like myself has made me fit in regardless!
    And actually gotten me loads of compliments from some of the very young girls that work for me (not that I am ancient or anything...lol)

  6. Ack, Ady!!!!!! How have you been?! You bloggee absence has been misssed!

    Thanks, Krameymartin and WWNW!

    Thanks, Spiffy. If I was in your position, I would totally not regret your answer - teaching is so much about reflecting bits of who you are and how you dress is certainly part of that. I do miss the more "creative" aspects of having a non-corporate job - though I don't regret the job I have, but I think there's a lot of "corporate-think" that it's hard to get out from sometimes.

    Thanks for visiting, Eleanor! I love your style and I really admire you for dressing like yourself. I think you have a very chic, but timeless style that doesn't really reflect an age-group - I would like to get there with my style someday.

  7. I love that necklace! I clicked over to the older post for the closeup shot. I'm obsessed with object (and animal) jewelry right now. Great find, Lisa!

  8. I tend to dress for the situation. I look younger than I am, so if I need to present myself in more mature way or closer to my age I dress accordingly. Good topic :-)

  9. loving the red stripes Lisa! I LOVE suits. I really think they are the most flattering dressy item I can wear. I prefer wearing suits to work and I think they have gotten me noticed, even in my lowly administrative position because I look professional. I feel best at work in a suit. Now if I could only get my large behind in one of the zillions of them I have in my closet! I luck out at ROSS all the time - I have Calvin Klein, Anne Klein, Jones, Tahari, etc. and I've paid anywhere from $13 to $50 for entire suits! Where I work now you don't have to wear a suit, but at my old company, they were mandatory!

  10. love the striped top! if i see it at UO i'll probably end up getting it bc it's super cute and i'm now an official striped-shirt collector lol. the few times i've had to wear a suit, its been with a skirt andi usually add my own flair to it...instead of wearing a button down, i'll wear the sleeveless victoria top so that i don't feel so boring! i have the hardest time with suits because i look younger than my age so i feel like i am playing dress up (not in a good way) when i have to wear a button down, pants, and jacket.

  11. lovely look!

    I just recently started wearing regular clothes to work (was in scrubs before). The dress is "business casual," but as you can see I interpret it fairly loosely. In a corporate enviroment, I don't think you necessarily have to wear a suit as long as you keep bright colors and ruffles to a minimum :)

  12. Oh darling, I can't believe you seriously dress for work at home, lol!! When I am home in the winter I live in my jammies, in the summer I put a little more effort into my look since I tend to jump outside spontaneously ;)

    When I am in office, I am well polished, but to suit my style.

  13. I don't know exactly what line of work you are in, but I regularly face a similar quandry. I am a young professional who works on at a university. Because of that, I am often overlooked. On days when I know I am going to be interacting with different departments, I step up my game, wear the dress pants and nice top. On days when I know I am working with my students only, I'll wear something more relaxed, even skinny jeans. I have coworkers about my age who on the "student days" even wear sweats. I think it all depends on who you are working with; some people get hung up on business professional attire, some people don't.
    I have every faith in you though that you will wear put together outfits that proudly show your personality. =)

  14. Since I have not had a 'real' job in 6 years... I should give you advice right? I used to dress whatever the part was. I worked at Nordy's (at a makeup counter) through college and remember during training days I would wear a suit coat that I purchased for just such an occasion! I think you can dress the part and still be yourself! Good luck! I just because a follower, great blog!


  15. Cute outfit! I'm a teacher, so dressing professionally is a must. We don't, however, have to wear suits everyday, thank goodness. When I do have to wear a suit (for an interview, for extra curriculars that I chaperone, board presentations, etc.), I try to put a bit of my own flair into it. I don't feel like myself unless I do something uniquely me. I agree, this is a great topic!

  16. Thanks, Breanne. Etsy has the best stuff - I could search on there for hours!

    Thanks, Gigi. I think that's what I do as well, because I'm often one of the few girls AND I look young for my age. Better safe than sorry is my motto.

    You look great in your suit today, Peggy. This is a whole other story entirely, but I often have trouble finding suits that fit me because I'm short. Too-long sleeves on a jacket can - for me - emphasize the feeling that I am playing dress-up, so I have to be super careful about my selections.

    Thanks, Tippy. It is the worst for me when we have uniforms to wear for certain shows so it IS totally like playing dress up then. But at least in those situations, it ain't just me ...

    Thanks, Eek. I love how you play your pieces up for work. You always look appropriate and polished, but know how to throw in some of your signature color or fab shoes.

    OneCraftyFox - I know, sometimes I'm like, why do I bother ... but it felt way worse for me in those beginning months when I DIDN'T dress for work - this is my way of getting ready to "go to the office." Plus when I have to meet with vendors or go out to lunch or whatever, I don't need to waste time in the middle of the day getting dressed!

    Thanks for your outlook and comments, Lisa!

    Thanks so much, Tricia!

    Thanks much, AllDressedUp!


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