My style superheroes
Jackie recently responded to the ProfHacker post on wardrobe essentials for women in the humanities. I enjoyed reading these posts and thought I would respond with a list of my own. So, without further ado, here are my five workplace fashion essentials, with some seasonal distinctions:
1. Born clogs. I wear my Born clogs (similar to these) almost every single day, whether I’m at work or not–I’m wearing them right now, actually. The only times I don’t wear them is when the weather is warm and requires sandals, or when the weather is snowy and requires boots.
I love Born shoes because my feet are extremely flat and prone to pain. These shoes, though not all that cute, don’t look awful and give me the support I need to be on my feet for hours at a time without being uncomfortable.
2. Foundations. I realize this is not exactly not polite conversation, but let’s be honest: if women aren’t wearing properly fitting undergarments, our clothing will be unflattering and possibly uncomfortable.
I know I cracked some of y’all up this summer with my constant blogging about bras, but we can’t build a house–or a good outfit–without good support, people. If I’m wearing a dress, this includes a shaper.
3. An A-line skirt. I have worn this skirt for years in black, with other A-line skirts preceding it. Thanks to my weight loss, I bought this same skirt in a smaller size this year. I branched out and bought two skirts, one in black and one in gray. Not very adventurous, I know, but I’m a believer in the basics, especially when it comes to skirts and trousers (more on that in a minute).
4a. Wrap or faux-wrap style dresses (for early fall/late spring). A colleague recently remarked to me, “You wear a lot of wrap dresses, don’t you?” Yes, I do. The reason is quite simple: this style is extremely flattering to my body type. I am of the philosophy that if ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so I always go back to this style.
Some of the dresses actually are true wrap-style dresses, while others just look like it. I tend to be more adventurous with my color and pattern choices when it comes to dresses; I have the Lands’ End dress in blue, and a giraffe print is not exactly subtle.
4b. A sweater set (for late fall/winter). I love a nice sweater set, because it’s extremely versatile–the pieces can be together or separately; with skirts, jeans, or trousers; for work, church, or casual get-togethers; etc. I had these two pieces in red for a couple of years, but they became pretty worn last year. I will probably put this set on my Christmas list, this time in purple.
5. Black or gray trousers. I once had a student say to me–around midterm of fall semester– “I’ve never seen you wearing pants!” It’s true that when the weather is on the warm side, you will not catch me wearing trousers; I find skirts and dresses far more comfortable. Once the weather turns cold, however, that’s all a student will see me wearing.
I may wear a long skirt on occasion, but for the most part, it’s all trousers, all the time during the winter months. While winter in northeast Indiana certainly isn’t Minnesota or the UP, it’s still flat, cold, and windy. In such a climate, trousers are more comfortable. Once again, I stick with black or gray, since they are versatile and flattering.
So, those are my wardrobe basics. I like how I dress for work and feel confident about my choices; casual clothing, however, leaves something to be desired. I need to re-learn that skill, especially given how my body has changed over the past year.