OOTD: Blue, yellow, and floral (aka I miss business casual)

One of the hard things about my current mailroom job–aside from the sheer physical exhaustion–is that I don’t get to dress up. I’m on my feet all day, and the packages are not particularly clean, so I have to wear clothing that’s easy to move around in and that I don’t mind getting stained. This leaves me with a fairly small set of options.

It might seem like such a little thing, but I really miss the everyday, low-level dressing-up that comes with the office jobs I’ve had.

This outfit is from my last office temp job, in the registrar’s office at a university. It was near a lovely park that was perfect for taking outfit pictures on my lunch break.

Tank top and cardigan: Lane Bryant, skirt: vendor at a dance festival, shoes: Naot, necklace: So Good, earrings: CoupCoup Designs (aka my college friend Emily), hair flower: vendor at a local arts festival

For me, dressing up for an office job–at least one with a not-too-restrictive dress code, which I’ve been lucky to experience at most places I’ve worked–is a small, everyday form of creative expression. A chance to play with color, shape, and pattern within certain comfortable limits.

It’s can also be a form of social currency, a means of connection with other people, especially other women. I’ve always enjoyed exchanging compliments with my coworkers over dresses, shoes, and accessories. (Of course, the gender politics of this sort of feminine bonding can get messy–especially in predominantly male workplaces, or for women who dress in a masculine manner or have no interest in fashion. I recognize that what’s an easy and safe form of social connection for me isn’t always that way for other people, and I wish that weren’t the case.)

And it’s just plain fun.

4 thoughts on “OOTD: Blue, yellow, and floral (aka I miss business casual)

  1. Ok first, the outfit is adorbs.

    I have to say I’m a bit envious of your enjoyment of fashion. I prefer dress codes where you don’t have to care what you look like, can come in and jeans and a T shirt, because on days when just getting to work is a big deal, dressing all pretty and lady-like (with accessories etc) is just that extra step of effort and unnecessary “spoon” waste. There’ve been days when I was sick, though probably could’ve forced myself to go in, but called out because to a sick and exhausted Kit, getting dressed is actually more challenging than the job itself. Had the dresscode been more lax, that would make a big difference in how many personal/sick days I take.

    It’s the same, even, just with running errands or visiting friends etc. My neighborhood is so fucking trendy, that I feel there’s this pressure, as a woman especially (not to mention a fat woman), to be trendy too. There are days I like to dress up to feel special and pretty, sure. And I do believe in fashion as art and expression of identity. But my own natural way of expressing myself through outfits doesn’t usually involve a lot of accessorizing…personally, that’s time and energy I’d rather devote to other creative outlets. But I feel like I can’t even leave the house without a necklace or a headband, precisely matched to my outfit, not even just to go grocery-shopping on a Sunday, because even the people in Shaws are wearing these trendy matchy outfits and I get glares when I show up in sweats. So I end up forcing myself to put together something “cute” and “hip” like all the other girls in their twenties around here, and have little to no creative energy left to paint or collage.

    Don’t mean to make this *all about me*, but I thought you might get what I’m saying, despite enjoying accessorizing & “dressing up” yourself, because I seem to recall you writing on this topic in the past? How women, particularly big women, are expected to be fashionable even if they’d rather not care? (Obviously there’s history behind appearance being considered a woman’s “job” or some shit, but then you add that fat women are expected to compensate for the inherent grossness of their fat by being impeccably fashionable.) There are also regional differences in expectations…mostly along the city/suburb/country lines I’ve noticed. This is as much a topic that just fascinates me to analyze as it is a rant. But anyway, carry on with your cute self. 😉

  2. Thanks! 🙂

    Ugh, that’s awful that you’ve had to call out sick because getting dressed to conform to a dress code would take too much energy. In general, although business casual (at least as interpreted by the US government and various univerisities) has worked well for me, I’m in favor of casual dress codes–and this is just another reason why.

    I agree completely about the pressure for women, especially fat women, to dress up at all times, and it’s such bullshit. And yes, I have written about it a few times. I believe 100% that fashion should be optional, and that women’s–or anyone’s–bodies do not exist of the viewing pleasure of other people.

    This topic fascinates me as well, and if you ever end up writing a post(s) about it, I’d love to read it!

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