You've all heard the saying...
"Dress for the job you want, not the job you have."
Or in my case, "Dress well enough to avoid being sent home to change."
I try, but lets make a quick run-through the list of my previous jobs during college and the attire required for them:
3.) Cherry Cannery Factory Worker: See description #1.
4.) Housekeeper: See description #1.
6.) Night Shift at the Psychiatric Hospital: Scrubs.
As you can see, I've never had a job that warrants me owning anything that can be considered "professional work attire". I have one pair of gray pants, one, and even those are three sizes too big. As my boyfriend recently put it, "Babe, unless you're planning on being a 'gansta counselor', we need to find you some pants that don't look like you just escaped from some sort of juvenile detentional facility."
Although I must say I think I've done a fairly decent job of stretching my wardrobe. At the start of my internship, I resorted to wearing my coat (a respectable looking plaid trenchcoat) the majority of the day because it meant I could wear the same outfit two or three times in a week without anyone noticing. People judge you for wearing the same outfit everyday, but not the same coat. Sneaky, right?
But as the summer heat rolled in, my trusty wardrobe savior became irrelevant, and I was forced to bow in defeat to the 90 degree weather and leave my coat at home. Finally, it was clear to all that I would be rotating through the same clothes all week, which the staff jokingly referred to as my "uniform". Might as well grab my Ninja Turtle lunch box while I'm at it. Oh the joy of being instantly recognized as the intern...
Through all of this though, I have found myself undergoing a kind of fashion transformation. In general, I can't say I've ever found myself attracted to "work" clothes. They seemed boring and constricting, stuffy and unoriginal. But the closer I get to getting an actual job that reflects the level of education I've completed the more I find myself drooling over blazers, pencil skirts and structured vests. In short, I now see them as a badge of honor: I am no longer the lowly intern, but someone who deserves to be there, knows what the hell I'm doing, and damnit I want to look like it.
I must go shopping.
However, today was the last day of my summer internship (30 hrs/wk, unpaid) which means the need for professional work attire is no longer urgent until I start my final internship this fall (46 hrs/wk, unpaid). I've begun applying for jobs in the hopes that one of them will count as an internship where I may actually be paid for my time (please please please pleeeeeease hire me...), but I know it's a long shot.
Regardless though, I know it's just one step closer to having a job I've spent forever earning, and therefore one step closer to being able to afford the clothes that display it. Heck, maybe in another semester I might actually look like a responsible adult with a real grown up job and everything!
Oh c'mon, I can dream can't I?