Saturday, June 04, 2011

More work wardrobe reflections

(Sorry about the blurry pictures. If you click through on them, it takes you to a better resolution one.)

I've been thinking about this work wardrobe thing.

As I said in my previous post, I wore the red dress on the left to work on Wednesday, and felt slightly out-of-place all day.

On Friday, I wore the black printed dress on the right. This is one of the simplest dresses I've made, but I reach for it near-constantly. It is loose enough that I can hide all body issues under it, but still flattering. I love this dress.

I was trying to think of why I thought one dress was more work appropriate than the other. After all, they are both prints. They are both about the same length. Both have sleeves.

Here are my theories.

- Color: Color seems to be a no-no at workplaces. A splash of color, in a blouse, for example, worn under a jacket is ok. Head-to-toe color, in the form of a dress? Out of place. Had I worn a neutral khaki jacket over my dress, I dare say I'd have felt less out-of-place. Sally at Already Pretty had a post about this a few days ago, it clearly stuck with me.

- Shape: The red dress has a vintage-feeling, flared shape. The black dress has a more contemporary straighter silhouette. As much as I love my vintage patterns (and trust me, I have a boatload of them), I don't think the vintage silhouette works for the workplace. It feels costumey. There are people that can rock vintage dressing, and I love their blogs and photos, and covet their clothes. But... mostly, these people work in non-corporate North America. My work place isn't banker-corporate, but it is corporate enough.

As I think through sewing a more work-appropriate wardrobe - I need to remember - color and shape.

(Crap! My stash is all cheerful prints. Super crap!)


SewOm said...

I have to agree with you on shape. I read a lot of blogs where people create a lot of vintage dresses. Thing is, those shapes are typically from an era when women were rarer in the workforce than they are now. A very full, gathered skirt does not convey authority or power - it conveys "pretty", or, "50's housewife."

I do think a cardigan would have helped that dress. I also think that the colors in that dress are neutral enough that with a slimmer, sleeker skirt, you would have felt better.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Reethi - this was my challenge when I took a banker corporate job 5 years ago (can't believe it's been that long!). You will find a way to incorporate color and prints into your work wardrobe where you won't stand out so much as being admired for the pieces you create. However, I have very few "wild" prints in my work wardrobe because of the very things you stated!

SEWN said...

I am with you on the work wardrobe. Carolyn and I work at similar offices. Color is a big no-no. Whenever I wear my red/pink M6069 dress, I get the second glance looks. I don't care though. I love that dress. And I love wearing it. But there are some things I wouldn't dare to wear to the office even though they are perfectly appropriate. Such a shame really.