What I Wore to Work Today: March 26, 2015
Blouse: Don’t remember, Xi?
Pants: Ann Taylor
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?
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.
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.
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.
I wore a dress with bits of green to make up for forgetting St. Patrick’s Day the day before.
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.
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!