Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Black Suits No More

Smart Business Casual.

Business-y, but in a smart, casual sense.

Why not call it Dumb Business Formal?

Business-y, dumbed down.

Not that many years ago getting dressed for work was a no-brainer.

I could close my eyes, reach my hand into my tiny little closet and pull out the first thing I touched.

Two piece suits lined my closet. Depending on my mood I would grab a short, black skirt with a fitted jacket (I was really into that whole Ally McBeal look) or a gangster - not to be confused with gangsta - striped pant suit or for a blah day with a blah client, a square cut, no shape, conservative Talbot-esque suit.

As recently as ten years ago we wore stockings too. Every day, even in the summer.Then came the easy part - Black shoes or oh I don't know, maybe um, black shoes?

Oh how I miss those days.

Somehow dressing down has made getting dressed more challenging than ever before.

Jeans today?

Can I dress them up with a sweater or should I just throw on a company logo-ed polo shirt?

What if I already wore a company polo three days this week?

If I wear black slacks with a blouse will I appear too serious? Intimidating? Too dressed-up in my dressed-down world?

Wait, if I bend over how far down my backside will these jeans travel?

Banana Republic t-shirts are ok but baseball t-shirts are not... or is it the other way around?

Is the difference between business casual, smart casual and casual whether or not you wear a belt?

If I shouldn't wear flip flops to a meeting and my flip flops are made of leather, does that make them sandals and therefore acceptable?

If I leave on the pants I slept in, will anyone figure out they're not cotton pants but actually pajama bottoms? Will anyone actually care?

I wonder if the company name was spelled out in letters across my bum if that would be considered company logo-ed attire?

And since when did muffin tops become fashionable? I've noticed all the ladies at work are sporting one - now there's a trend I'm not going to follow... I hope.

Alright, I've stared at my closet long enough. It's time to bite the bullet, push aside my coffee cup and anxiety and just get dressed for work.

I'll be back in just a second.

Amuse yourself for a few minutes... visualize what you wore on your very first day at your very first "grown up" job. Now there's a picture I'd like to see.

Ok, I'm back.

Whew! That took a little longer than I thought but I feel I've finally pulled together an outfit with just the right combination of smart and casual. Something that speaks to the level of my experience and status without intimidating the staff or clients. An outfit that truly is me.

Let me know what you think.