How to Make Your Own Dresscode for the Office

November 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

5D (#28134)

So here you are, close to your first day in corporate America. You’re ready to move into that cubicle and finally, for the first time in your life, make more than minimum wage. At the tender age of 19, I was excited about my first REAL job at a REAL company. However, I was faced with a conundrum: what do I wear? My normal school wear consists of sweatpants, bright colors, and cleavage… none of which is appropriate for work. At all.

It seems simple: buy some collared shirts and khakis, and bring a pair of your best Sunday shoes. But if you haven’t noticed already, I’m not a collared shirts-n-khakis type of girl. I want to stand out, but not too much. I want to look funky, but professional. I want to look sexy, not skanky.

Since my resume only consisted of lab work (sweats and jeans) and working at California Tortilla (taco stained t-shirts), I had to learn how to dress in a professional work place. But in addition to dressing correctly, I wanted to stay true to my individual style. It’s been a process, but I finally have it down. Here is a guide to making your own office style:

1. Play it safe your first week/month(s). If you don’t know how deep the water is, don’t dive in head first. If you’re unsure of what the fashion norm is in your office, you will need time to figure it out. Wear something standard and overall acceptable, such as a white collared shirt and black office pants. This look is plain and simple, but looks acceptable in almost any setting. Play it safe until you are ready to experiement.

2. Observe the women in your office. If everyone in your office is wearing a navy blue suit, then it’s not wise to show up in a hot pink blazer. Take cues from the women around you; are they uptight and sleek, or are they more comfortable? Do they tend to wear tailored pieces or a traditional polo shirt? Take mental notes. Know what people are wearing, but also take note of what they are not wearing.

Here’s a tip: when wondering if something is acceptable, imagine the women in your office wearing it. If a woman showed up in a leopard print cardigan, would you or anyone else think it was odd? If no, then that cardigan might be okay. If yes, then maybe you should rethink it.

Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO for Xerox

Ursula approves of your style.

3. Take baby steps. So you have a general idea of how people dress around your office. You now have a good estimate of what the fashion boundaries are and what is considered acceptable wear. Now is the time to experiment. Try to spiff up your plain outfit that was mentioned before. Try a funky floral print shirt, or nicely tailored harem pants. Maybe a pair of funky earrings. See how people react. If no one seems to notice then great, what you are wearing is still A-OK. If you are noticing that people treat you slightly different or their demeanor changes, it is possible you have crossed the boundaries with what you’ve chosen to wear. Or if someone makes a seemingly innocent comment, such as “Wow, you’re skirt is so BLUE!” you may have gone too far. Reel it in.

Keep experimenting with different clothes and see how others react. Not sure if that red blazer is too much? The only way to tell is to wear it one day and find out.

4. Create your style. After figuring out what pieces of your wardrobe are acceptable and what are not acceptable, you can start putting the pieces together. Did you get a lot of compliments on those harem pants? Did anyone seem to care that your heels were cobalt blue? Did anyone make a side eye on that hot pink shirt? Take these cues and separate “Wear to Work” from “Do Not Ever Wear to Work EVER Again, EVER!!!” With these pieces, start styling up your outfits and be the most stylish one in the office!

Now, a note of caution. These are only general guidelines. If you end up looking totally jacked up at work, I cannot help you. Some offices are very loose and care free, while others might be very strict. Office culture differs from place to place. Only YOU can decipher what is appropriate to wear. You will have to use your best instincts. But also keep in mind it is a trial and error process. I have had my job for about 6 months now, and I am just beginning to truly build my office wardrobe.

And my biggest advice is to TAKE IT SLOW and take your time when building your style. Don’t worry if you mess up- if you’re a good worker and people generally seem to like you, people will forgive you for your fashion slip ups. If they don’t… well, I’m sorry about that.

If you are looking for a couple of ideas on what to wear, here are the types of outfits I typically wear to work:

Business as Usual
business as usual #2
business as usual #3

canvas backpacks

October 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thank god engineers make a lot of money straight out of college (or at least, I sure hope I do) because my whole paycheck will be going to a good chiropractor. Just for freshman year, my physics, calculus, chemistry, and engineering analysis books weighed well over 40 lbs, and thats a conservative estimate.  So of course, I need a sturdy backpack to carry all of my books without crumbling under pressure.

The trade-off for usability is style.  Usually I have to resort to a more utilitarian look:

Mine is similar to this one, only it’s red.  Doesn’t it look like you could smuggle a small child in that thing?

But I have been on the search for a back pack that is somewhat sturdy, but also doesn’t ruin a good outfit.  I’ve been lusting after Urban Outfitters Vintage Canvas Backpack.  Though a little steep for me at $48 (because let’s be honest, nothing at UO is worth what they sell it for), I couldn’t find anything like it: huge, khaki canvas, under $50, and matches almost everything.  Unfortunately, it’s on back order until January 22nd!

Ladies and gentleman, we must look past US borders for a stylish backpack.  Do not fret, for I have found them!  China-based offers some awesome options:

Smoothie Contrast-Trim Canvas Backpack – $38

Smoothie Convertible Canvas Carryall – $32

They’re cute, huge, and only time will tell if the material will hold up, but for under 40 bucks (plus $10 shipping)…  I’m game.

sweatpants: the new frontier

October 16, 2010 § 3 Comments

If you’re a girl in college, you know this dilemma: you wake up for that 8 AM Physics class, and you are in no mood to get dressed.  You can barely open your eyes, let alone put any effort into your outfit.  So you go ahead and grab that ratty pair of black sweat pants (still covered with bread crumbs from last night’s pizza), throw on a hoodie, and trudge your way to class.  Meanwhile, you’re too tired to notice that you look like a homeless woman, and the only thing distinguishing you from a university student and deranged cat lady is the sight of textbooks in your hands.

Luckily, it seems like an emerging trend is “stylish” sweatpants; pants with the tailoring of real pants, but the comfort of sweats.

Updated Sweatpants

I already snagged myself a black and a gray pair of those Charlotte Russe sweats for $12 and they are comfy as HELL! I can’t wait to try them out back at school and see if they’re effective enough to stop me from looking like a deranged cat-lady.

No, Usher, I will NOT get in your car!

October 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

I’m sitting at my desk at work diligently working on an Excel spreadsheet.  It was a perfect career moment, but it needed one more thing- music.  Ah yes, some tunes for the morning.  Maybe I should listen to something intellectual, like Mozart or tranquil like Imogen Heap?  Scrolling through the list, I come to the Usher “Versus” album I had downloaded earlier.  Not sure what the hell I was smoking to think that Usher would make good intellectual music, but I played the album anyway.  The song “Get In My Car” starts, and all of the sudden I hear:

One more drink and we ready to cut

you tuggin my front im squeezin ya butt

you ain’t gone finish don’t start no stuff, don’t start no stuff,

theres too many woman here to waste all my time on you,

oh what ya gonna do girl,

I know I can have any one of you if I choose I…

I choose you I choose you

I say ay…  you… get in my car,get in my car

you know you wanna ride”


[Looks around confused] Excuse me, but are you referring to me, Usher?  What do you want me to do what now?

Here’s the issue.  I can go on for days- no, years- hell, decades – about the degradation of women in hop hop lyrics.  I think we all know how that argument will play out, so I’m not going to beat the dead horse.  But what really bothers me about these lyrics, is that Usher thinks that women are just straight up objects.  And somehow, this girl should think HE is the shit and she’s just his toy, because hey – Usher’s time is so valuable and there are plenty of women to choose from.

First off, the line “there’s too many woman here to waste all my time on you” is the douchebag line of the century.  Can you imagine if someone told you this in a club?  Even if he was gorgeous, wouldn’t this completely turn you off?  It should. Why the hell would you leave with this man?  He is implying that you are not special or unique enough to capture his attention.  There is nothing about you (except for, I guess, your ass) that makes you an individual, because guess what?  There are tons of other women to fuck.  You’re not worth the time.  He can find someone else.  So really, it’s you who is missing out on fucking him.  That’s right – he’s hitting on you, but in reality you should be desperate to hop on his dick.

Uhhhh no.  I get it, Usher is good looking and rich and can sing and has nice abs.  Whoop-de-fucking-doo.  But would you honestly respond to that?  If any other man tried this, any woman with a shred of dignity would dismiss him.  But oh wait- it’s Usher.  Must be okay right?  WRONG.  Who does Usher think he is?

So now, Usher has chosen you and you are SO excited, because you just beat out all the other women for spot for a one-night-stand.  Congrats!  You should be so proud of yourself!

And you get outside to his Ferrari/Benz/Bentley/Hummer/[insert expensive car here] and he DEMANDS that you get in his car.  No “please” needed because he’s Usher of course.  He can tell you whatever the fuck he wants.  Don’t you remember?  He chose you.  Now you need to get in the fucking car.

This is just creepy.  Here you are, a grown woman, and this guy is telling you to get in the car? When I heard this line, I immediately thought of this:


Honestly, who does Usher think he is, talking to a woman that way?  Call me old fashioned, but if any one ever  talked to me this way, singing or not, I would peace out.  I don’t care if it’s fucking Usher.

You may say I’m overreacting, but let’s get real people.  Just because it’s a “song” doesn’t mean it’s harmless.  It has a message, a very clear one, and its being relayed to millions of people who listen to this song.  Because it’s a song does not mean its okay. Until we find out that Usher is Jesus, he is not above saying whatever the hell he wants.  And if you are a woman reading this, you should be offended by Usher’s song, and GOD I hope you are!  You wouldn’t take this from any guy you knew, and you shouldn’t let a pop star slide by with it either.

Come’on ladies, let’s get some respect.  And Usher?

You’re not worth my time.  And I’m not getting in your car.


September 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Man, I haven’t updated in a while.  I would go into a whole conversation about why my life is so busy blah blah blah, but who really cares but me?

So let’s get to the good stuff with another installment of WTFUO, looking for the worst clothes Urban Outfitters has to offer.

Today’s monstrosity:
Pins and Needles Printed Bloomers $24.00 OMG ON SALE FOR $9.99!!!

“Sweet printed cotton bloomers, gathered at the waist and legs with elastic and topped with soft ruffles. Complete with a tonal bow at the front.”

Because there’s nothing sweeter than looking like you have a misshapen ass. Cheers!

April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Grace Jones

“People think I’m the bitch of bitches because my shows are so grand and I rarely smile in pictures.  But the whole thing is funny.  They don’t see the joke in the bitchiness.  I act scary more than being scary but with my friends we have quite a laugh.” – Grace Jones

March 21, 2010 § Leave a comment