Another basic office outfit


What I Wore to Work Today: March 26, 2015
Blouse: Don’t remember, Xi?
Pants: Ann Taylor
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

April 22, 2015. Tags: , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today. Leave a comment.

Bare shoulders

2015_03_25What I Wore to Work Today: March 25, 2015
Top: Ross
Pants: Goodwill
Belt: Target
Shoes: Payless

My office dress code is business casual Monday-Thursday with more relaxed standards on Friday. Dressing full business is allowed at all times; when interacting with customers, vendors, or business partners outside the office it is expected to meet their minimum standard. Our corporate center has maybe 2,500 people now and will double in size when another two buildings open sometime in the next year. We all work for the same big company, representing a number of different business lines with varying policies and dress codes. I regularly see people in other areas in patterned leggings-as-pants, cargo pants, running shoes, flip-flops, casual t-shirts. Sometimes I see people in suits and the occasional man in a tie.

My group of maybe 150 people covers half of one floor. We have a program in place to “buy” casual days; the proceeds go to the designated charity of the quarter. For $1/day, I could follow casual Friday guidelines instead of business casual Mon-Thu guidelines. I haven’t done this in over a year, though, I like dressing up a little.

Our version of business casual is fairly relaxed, and probably includes some accommodations for the climate. (Climate: surface of the sun.) Bare shoulders are fine in a top like this that doesn’t have spaghetti straps and doesn’t show undergarments. I often wear a cardigan or jacket anyway, and I keep a black cardigan in my desk for air conditioning temperature fluctuations. Bare legs are fine with skirts and dresses, no panythose or tights required. Open-toed shoes are fine; I stick to peep-toes with some coverage rather than full-on strappy sandals.

I don’t remember if the differences in typical men’s and women’s fashions are written into the dress code or not. The company is big on issues of diversity and inclusion and avoiding discrimination, so in some ways I’d be surprised if it said “women are allowed to wear this, men are not”.

Can you show bare shoulders in your office? Even if it isn’t against policy, how do you feel about wearing something sleeveless or open-toed?

2015_03_25 hand on hip

April 21, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

The usual office look

2015_03_24 hands at sidesWhat I Wore to Work Today: March 24, 2015
Everything but shoes: Target
Shoes: Payless


April 20, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today. 2 comments.

What I Wore to Work Today history

2015_03_23 arm across body

What I Wore to Work Today: March 23, 2015
Shirt: Ann Taylor, new
Pants: Banana Republic
Shoes: Payless
Watch: Target
Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Pucker Up 175, new

I started the What I Wore to Work Today feature of this blog in 2006, before I saw the whole style blog thing elsewhere. Twitter was in its infancy, Facebook had just opened its doors to the wider public a couple months before, and Instagram wouldn’t be a twinkle in its creators’ eyes for several more years. My first post includes pants and tshirt that I still wear, even though many early entries have a certain cringe-worthy factor. It’s not far enough in the past to smile with nostalgia, and there’s still a lot I would definitely not wear now. Which makes sense, I suppose, considering the differences a decade can make in terms of financial resources, fashion trends, age, job expectations, career development, body comfort and confidence…

At some point in my WIWTWT journey I began including notes on my clothing sources. Not the exact brands or links to items for ordering online, just an explanation of how it came into my wardrobe (ex.: “Goodwill” instead of “Express via Goodwill”). It didn’t occur to me to establish a system for guiding readers to the exact piece of clothing if they wanted to buy it for themselves, not expecting many readers and certainly not many who wanted to snag some of my style. It seems reasonable to keep the same system for now unless I love something and want to evangelize. Change is hard. Heck, I haven’t changed anything about the WordPress template since original creation, even though putting a little work into building a better website would be beneficial for everybody. I’d like a search function for myself if nothing else. One day…

2015_03_23 balcony plants


April 19, 2015. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

Painting clothes

2015_03_20What I Wore to Work Today: March 20, 2015
Shirt: Goodwill, taken in
Pants: Target, hemmed
Shoes: Target

When I was growing up I always had a set of painting clothes: an old shirt and maybe a pair of pants that would be worn while painting because the paint splatters wouldn’t matter. This doesn’t make sense to me anymore. How often was I repainting stuff? Did my family really need designated painting clothes? Was it just the pull of hoarding, keeping a perfectly good shirt for painting instead of turning it into rags or even, god forbid, putting it in the garbage?

I wore this shirt while painting chairs several years ago and splattered dark gray paint on the sleeve. The paint is still there, hidden when the sleeves are rolled, and here I am wearing it to work on a Friday.

April 18, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

Bridesmaid Dress Before and After

a beautiful bridelittle black dressI

How to wear a pastel yellow bridesmaid dress again: dye it black and hope for the best. I don’t have a true Before picture of this dress because I shortened it by a couple inches before realizing I hadn’t taken any photos. I added the straps myself, using wired satin ribbon. After the wedding, I removed the ribbon and dyed the dress black, which came out more of a dark gray. The polyester zipper and the thread I used for hemming didn’t take the dye, so I colored it in with a permanent marker. So classy.

Full disclosure: these pictures are from fall 2013 and I still haven’t worn the After dress anywhere except my balcony to take pictures. Turns out I don’t have many occasions to wear a “if you squint maybe it’s not a bridesmaid dress?” dress in my regular life. If this dress isn’t in the giveaway pile yet it’s headed there soon.

chuppah bearer

Several years ago one October I was helping a friend find a bridesmaid dress for a small, low-key wedding. We looked through rack after rack of dresses at inexpensive stores like Ross and a Macy’s outlet.

“This is so frustrating, I won’t be able to find anything pale yellow, that’s not a color in stores in October, and buying a new dress is expensive!” She was frustrated. I agreed that it was not at all cool that they asked her to find such a specific color and just a few weeks before the wedding even! She looked sheepish. “Um, well, actually they asked for my favorite color and when I said yellow they requested that I wear something in light yellow because the three women in the wedding are each wearing their favorite color in a pastel version. And, um, that conversation happened over the summer.”

She found a lovely cotton short-sleeve dress with eyelet hem detail for around twenty bucks. To alleviate her concerns about whether it was wedding-y enough we made a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and she bought some satin in a pale bronze champagne color. I sewed a sash for her waist; she and the dress both looked great. She found the whole process stressful and costly and vowed that when she got married the people in her wedding would wear whatever they damn well please.

Fast forward a few years: She was engaged. The chuppah bearers were her friends, more or less bridesmaids. We were asked/instructed to wear $100-150 David’s Bridal dresses, short, in canary, with “a strong preference for satin or chiffon” (adding the note directed at me “I totally disregarded your advice there re: either direct orders or not stating a preference, but you’re not the boss of me anyhow”). The official bridesmaid were the couple’s collective sisters, and they were assigned long David’s Bridal cobalt blue satin dresses.

A friend and I went shopping together. We both chose the same strapless cotton dress, and I added ribbon straps to mine.

April 10, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Not pregnant

2015_03_19 not pregnantWhat I Wore to Work Today: March 19, 2015
Tshirt: Target
Trousers: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless

Walking with the dog back from the dumpster I passed a neighbor, a man in his 50s or 60s with a small poodle I see sometimes out and about.

“Congratulations!!” he called out to me, grinning, as dog and I walked towards him.

“Thanks!” I replied, pleased that he had heard about any number of amazing things that I, an amazing person, had done recently. Then I realized the absurdity of that statement and that he certainly hadn’t heard of the quarterly service excellence nomination I had received at work or my upcoming position as secretary on the board of my quilt guild chapter, and even if he somehow knew about those they’re not congratulations-worthy things.

Oh my god he was congratulating me on my non-existent pregnancy. It has happened a number of times over the past decade. I’m in the age range of people who experience pregnancies. “But you’re not fat!” people say when they hear of the latest pregnancy remark. Ah, but that makes me appear even more pregnant: being slender accentuates the protruding belly thing I’ve always had, especially when I’m completely relaxed and thinking I’m alone on the way back from the dumpster and not sucking it in and quite frankly bloated and a little gassy. When I’m relatively small everywhere else, people assume that the stomach thing is a fetus growing in there for them to comment on.

Dog and I hadn’t slowed down for more than the greeting in passing and I didn’t turn around to shout “I’m not pregnant! For godsake man how have you failed to learn to say nothing about a person’s pregnancy even if you think she’s so far along that it’s obvious to anybody with eyes and congratulations are in order because she wants to hear your thoughts on her body and her personal life??”

I’m sucking it in so hard in these pictures.


April 9, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

Making up for it

2015_03_18-001What I Wore to Work Today: March 18, 2015
Dress: Target
Cardigan: Target, new
Belt: Target, new
Shoes: Payless

I wore a dress with bits of green to make up for forgetting St. Patrick’s Day the day before.

2015_03_18 hands on hips

2015_03_18 hands upMy camera takes multiple pictures in a row. Sometimes it catches me in the middle of adjusting my glasses or hair.

April 8, 2015. Tags: , , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

This isn’t green

2015_03_18What I Wore to Work Today: March 17, 2015
Blouse: Forever 21, new
Skirt: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Payless, new

I passed a woman in a kelly green shirt on the way to coffee. “What a beautiful color, a little out of the ordinary for her, doesn’t she usually wear a lot of neutrals?” I thought. Behind her was another woman in green. “And look, the next person is also wearing green, what are the odds!” A minute later there’s a man in a green plaid shirt putting something in the fridge. “Oh my god it’s St. Patrick’s Day.”

I wasn’t wearing any green, anywhere. All those people participating in a fun little tradition and there I was in my stupid brown tweed skirt and my stupid new black bow-neck blouse and my stupid new black pumps.

2015_03_17 pushing up sleeve

2015_03_17 unstable legs

April 7, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 1 comment.

A world outside the balcony

2015_03_16 asha tongueWhat I Wore to Work Today: March 16, 2015
Blouse: Ann Taylor
Pants: Banana Republic, new
Shoes: Payless

I bought new pants that are ankle length, which I had always thought of as an ugly and unflattering style of pants. When I finally bought jeggings, joining the world of skinny pants just as hints of returning bootcut and flares and wideleg are in the air, I also bought some ankle-length pants. (I bought a bunch of things that week in a frenzy of spending.) After a couple wearings they were loose and a little, well, saggy, in the seat. They recently came out of the dryer truly legging tight and I realized I probably wouldn’t be wearing them to work again.

Hey look, a few pictures that aren’t on my balcony! I wrangled a photographer to take a few photos outside!

2015_03_16 outside2015_03_16 looking at dog2015_03_16 balcony2015_03_16 modeling

April 6, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Dog, Pictures, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. Leave a comment.

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