Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dress Code

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:

1.) Landscaping/Plant Nursery: Any clothing that is already destroyed, or is on the verge of being destroyed.

2.) Bartender: Anything that shows off that is sure to help bring in the tips.

3.) Cherry Cannery Factory Worker: See description #1.

4.) Housekeeper: See description #1.

5.) Night Shift Hotel Clerk: Anything as long as it doesn't fit description #1 or #2.

6.) Night Shift at the Psychiatric Hospital: Scrubs.

7.) Ice Cream Truck: Whatever I want. It's my freakin' truck.

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."

Point taken.

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.

Being a 1940's and 1950's fashion admirer (and a rather, ahem, 'busty' girl myself), I notice I'm gravitating to shows like Mad Men mainly for the fashion inspiration. When my most recent issue of Cosmo had Christina Hendricks on the cover, I took it as a sign from the fashion gods.  

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?



  1. Following from the hop! Hope you will follow back!

  2. Hoping you get that job of your dreams.

    ~ Mona : )
    Mona’s Milestones

  3. This made me laugh, simply because when I took my courses to become an admin assistant I was told we had one day a week we HAD to wear work attire and we looked rather slobbish all year...and now that I am in an office, I've become very good at rotating my outfits almost perfectly (so no one notices I've worn the same pants almost all week).
    I've also found ways to bring non-work clothes into the office, looking rather put together if I do say so myself.

    You will get there, but at the end of the day ... you'll probably still long for comfy clothes.

  4. Stopping by from the thankful for friends thursday blog hop. Nice to meet you. Kim

  5. following from the FNF hop!
    I am heading back to work in a few weeks! Pencil skirts here I come!

  6. you're funny yet whatever you said got me nodding my head. I guess life is harder now but good days are ahead girl, hope you find a wonderful job. When I was in art college, I was also "poor", I had to work too. And we used to buy HAines T-shirts in many colors and wear them with the same jeans. My friends actually noticed that I always wear the purple one every Fri, ha! Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. And thanks for following! Follow back.


  7. When I started working as a "real grown-up" at an Embassy, the first thing I had to do was get grown-up clothes. Since money's always tight, I've bought my pants and most of my shirts at eBay so far (my other wardrobe traveled through time coming from the hippie era). And I look damn good in those office clothes, much to my chagrin. ^^

    (Now, as soon as I have lost those last few pounds, I will start treating myself to new clothes. Which is going to be a whole new adventure.)

  8. I interned for a TV station years ago and had the same problem! I own two pairs of pants and three or four shirts, not much to rotate through...

    ~ The Tuckerbag ~

  9. I wanna drive that ice cream truck :)

    Friday Hopping by to say hello.
    Have a great day!

  10. Great post! I love the fashions of the 40's and 50's and I love the show Mad Men! :) I've had lots and lots of jobs like yours, and for the past year I've found myself in a job that requires business professional clothes. Having never been in that place before, I've found it a bit hard to actually find business professional clothes that aren't suits. I do own a suit. It's hiding in the back of my closet. But when I go shopping I've recently started gravitating to dresses and skirts. I own a few pairs of dress pants which I rotate through, but tops are my real trouble. I don't care much for button down tops, and I find it difficult to find appropriate dress shirts that aren't button downs. But I keep working on it! :)

    You'll get there, I promsie! Someday, when I have money, I'm going to have a complete wardrobe from Talbots. Someday...

  11. I'm sure you already know this, but shop the clearance rack. I've been able to find decent (if mostly polyester) work pants at The Limited for ~$20... the down side is that it's sometimes rare. I get lucky because of my petite size in Michigan... there aren't many people here who can fit into a 0 or 2. But also sign up for or look for their coupons, or find a friend with a Limited Card. We typically get a $15 off anything/$20 off $100/$30 off $150 coupons that comes with one for a friend. I think they work on clearance rack stuff as well, but to get $15 off of a $25 shirt is great!

    Also, you can try Express. Though a word of warning, you'll need to replace them within 3 years if you wear them at least twice a week (like I did... I remember being on a tight budget during college when I did need to have "professional" looking clothes as a co-op at a company).

    There are times that Banana Republic has things that are so out of season that they're 50-75% off, and I've been able to find silk, cotton, & linen shirts there for $15-30 (considering MSRP is typically $30-100, I'd call them a steal!).

    DSW has been my shoe habit savior. I always go through the clearance section for work shoes. I got a pair of Michael Kors pumps a few years ago for under $100 from the clearance rack, had them resoled once, and that's still less than half of what some people paid for the full-price shoe! Oh, and a good cobbler is going to become your best friend if you're as hard on shoes as I am, especially if you lost a particular pair of shoes! You don't have to go through the hassle of finding another pair, the sole that's put on is sometimes better than the one you bought the shoe with, and it's a helluva lot cheaper than a new pair of shoes!

    I shop A LOT, so if you want any pointers or have any questions, I'm your gal! :-)

  12. Maybe you'll get a job at a place that allows you to wear jeans! That's a pretty nice bonus and you can probably wear most of the clothes you already wear to school!

    If not, have you been to thrift stores? If you can find a good one, it's totally worth it. I buy a ton of my work clothes just takes some patience. You can find really nice Gap, Express, Banana, Old Navy, etc. It's so much fun to find great bargains!

  13. Hello from a dark and dreary UK.
    I dropped by from the hop and am now following you.
    I remember agonising over what to wear for work- I always ended up overdressed but I always got noticed!
    Please drop by if you fancy a laugh at my blog. You'd be more than welcome. I could do with a stylish youthful follower...
    Warm wishes

  14. Hope your Friday is a good one. Just hopping by! I'm your newest follower. Hope you'll follow me back. We're doing a Giveaway right now!

  15. The time will soon come that your finance issues will be better. Use your experience to your benefit after your internships are over.

    Visiting from the Mskobi Scribe hop

  16. I was a fashion major. Love clothes of all kinds(including work clothes)! Would love to go shopping with you! ;) Good Luck on your next internship. Thanks for stopping by the S&R hop again and for posting the button. Have a great week!


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