I have been sitting on this post since leaving the Office Job, so I figured I'd just up and post it before the day gets away from me again(who knew being unemployed actually would give me *less* downtime?) - so here we go! Working in an office actually taught me a great many things about my personal style.
Growing up, I swore I would never work a desk job. I hated hose, pumps, and all the trappings of corporate officewear. So what did I do after graduating college? I fell into the most hose-enforcing, pump-mandating, corporate office I could find. In Beverly Hills, no less. But I soon found that I enjoyed the challenge of riffing within a very restrictive dress code and, as I look back, I am grateful for my corporate jobs and all the things they taught me along the way.
Classics Are Malleable
After wearing horrible public school uniforms, button front shirts made my teeth itch. But after a while I saw how versatile and changeable they can be. A great white shirt can go from Prim Banker to Rakish Schoolboy with a bit of scrunch and pop and tuck. Cool!
Subversion Can Be Simple
My former boss rocks some subtle flair. His tie and cufflinks always coordinate, and always by theme - boats, racecars, bulls & bears. Personality comes through in less pieces than I'd thought. Because of my dress codes, sometimes the only "twist" in my outfit was a cougar skull necklace, but it was enough for me to feel like "me." The small suggestion of edge and weirdness also felt more natural and effortless than a pile of zippers and studs. Rather than shouting, "Look how Artsy I am!" I was pleased to find that my outfits could smirk quietly in the corner... as I am sometimes known to do myself.
Conservatism Can Be Cool
In a city full of beautiful people who know how beautiful they are, you tend to see a lot of leg, cleavage, and hair. Button your shirt all the way up, or wear a calf-length skirt, and you start to stand out a bit.
People Do Notice
I never would have thought I'd ever hear so much discussion on the state of collars! A male coworker without collar stays may as well be wearing a cutoff tee and flip flops for how much grief he gets. People point it out if your pinstripes clash with your belt or suspenders. And they also notice if you're having fun with fashion. I used to assume no one cared about my outfits - and some may not! - but they do notice.
I Am Not as Edgy as I Think I Am
Finally, after leaving the office and having free reign to wear whatever I want, I find myself still pulling out collared shirts and boat shoes. I sometimes conflate "edgy" and "masculine," which is a mistake. And, thanks to Le Bank Job, I now feel very comfortable tempering masculine UWP type pieces with laid-back classics.
So I may have taken a slight detour in working a traditional job for 5 years but, in the end, I feel like I gained a lot from it. Besides the awesome friendships and contacts I've made, I also was forced to pay a good amount of attention to my style, and I was challenged to inject personality into a conservative dress code. All in all, I'm grateful to have done it - and I may even miss dressing in a formal, buttoned-up way. From time to time. :)
Pics start from 2010 (around when I first started recording outfits) and go through my last day at The Bank.