[Shirt: J.Crew factory; Jeans: James via Gilt (similar); Booties: Report; Necklace: J.Crew factory; Ring: Aloha Sunday; Nails: Essie 'Merino Cool']
I donned this look for the first day of my new job. Growing up, the first-day-of-school outfit always seemed like such a big decision, and that has definitely translated to the first day of work.
As I learned a few weeks into my last job, my office then was a very, very casual place. I think over time I gradually let that sap my outfit choices of creativity. I thought that putting effort into my look would make me look silly. But that all changed once I discovered the world of personal style blogging, and I was totally reinvigorated with my fashion choices, despite not working in the industry (thanks blogging world!). That pushed me to investigate and write more about startups in the fashion tech space, which ultimately got my publication more readers, and made my bosses happy! Moral of the story: pursuing something I was personally passionate about made for a good professional payoff!
Still, once I accepted a new job, I was nervous about what it meant for how I dress. Would I have to go super casual and sporty, given that I was working in the health and fitness space, and with a lot of men? Would looking like I cared about my clothing too much come off as me not being serious enough about work? Because of this uncertainty, I put a lot of thought into what I exactly I would wear on the first day to feel like me, but not over the top and out of context. And here is the result.
Navy is pretty but comfortable color for me, and the oxford shirt, jeans and boots combo is a good classic choice. All in all, it may seem like a vanilla, safe look—and it intentionally was, as I was testing the waters that first day and week, but I added a few touches that felt modern and 'me.' The ankle booties felt current, as did the polka dots and the monochromatic palette I pulled with the dark blues. When trying to show personal style but still be subtle in a somewhat unknown style setting, I look to interesting jewelry. In this case it's the black button anchor ring (on my right hand in the second picture). It's not so splashy that everyone in the room will notice, but it's interesting and genuinely makes me smile when I glance at it when typing away. And it took the outfit from being just the jeans-shirt-shoes thing. Sometimes it's the little things.
To my relief, I'm starting to think that my new office will be a place where I can definitely self express with my style and not worry about being looked down on. It seems like a culture where people are just genuinely open and encouraging of one another, and where plenty of people have their own creative pursuits on the side. It feel like a safe place to dress how I want to dress and not try to dumb down my outfits for fear that showing an interest in personal style would mean I am a less serious employee.
That may not mean stilettos or glitter every day, but I am making a move to wear my first dress to work today (should the weather behave)—which is much sooner than I thought it would. Yeah, that excites me. Again, it's the little things.
I feel like I have so much more to say about the fine line of looking appropriate for the context of your office, and still expressing yourself! What do you think? Am I over-thinking all this and coming off like a crazy person? Or do you think about how you balance the workplace and personal style? I'm talking to YOU, ladies who aren't working in the fashion industry! Is your office dressier or more laid back? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
All photos by Mikhail Glabets