Today I decided that I’m not going to wear any florals to work. Or fruit. Or animals. (Well, the occasional bird might sneak in, because I am a human of a certain sort.) BFD, Charlotte. HUGE EFF-DEE, reader. This eliminates a solid 80% of my wardrobe. Forget about my homemade clothes, they’re just dead in the water. Thankfully, I’ve developed a taste for stripes, checks, and dots which might just save me from the navy tidal wave that’s about to hit my house.
The question is—and I’ve asked this before, and ask it constantly—what does it take to be taken seriously? I have to be comfortable, obviously, but what else? Because this is my first year at my job, and my first time having a job, I’m loath to try to change people’s minds, one floral fit-and-flare at a time. Naturally, I came to this realization after having made quite a few crazy floral dresses to tame with cardigans.
What is business casual, anyway? I ask because I went to an investment banking mixer (I’m on the back end in economic consulting, so the environment is more relaxed) which was supposed to be business casual. I wore cropped navy trousers, a silk blouse, a cardigan, and nice flats. One of the recruiters thought I was a member of the waitstaff (who were dressed completely differently than I was). I’m obviously one to trust about this. So, I’ve been doing some digging, trying to come up with Charlotte’s Business Casual, That’ll Last Her for At Least the First Three Months of Employment. I aspire to this on my first day of work: Which would require me to tone down and/or eliminate all of my Mindy Lahiri tendencies.
So hearts, flora, and fauna are all getting the boot. Instead, I’m channeling my more appropriate style icons:
Faye Dunaway and I totally have completely different but let’s say the same body type/s. But, her camel, taupes, and grays from network are a thing to behold.
So, if I’m meeting with the president, that’s totally what I’d wear. See? Room for fun.
I can wear tweed and a sweater but without the bouncy haircut and the visible underthings. Do you know who Bonnie Morrison is? Neither do I, really. (Fashion PR person and/or consultant, I think.) Yet, I am ob-sessed with her style. I follow the fashion editor of Details on Instagram (@matthew_marden), and he constantly posts photos of Morrison (@fiercegrandma) and her street style. The first time I saw a photo of her, I thought “Yup. That’s what I want to look like.” This was the first image, but totally not representative.
This is my favorite:
She wears a lot of neutrals, flats, and loafers, which might be just my speed for the first few weeks of work. Then I’ll branch out a bit, I think. So, from what I understand, one can show one’s midriff at work. False? Only if you’re OscarPRGirl?
In all seriousness, I am contemplating a bottle green leather pencil skirt for fall. It seems obligatory. But is it pushing the line?
What about stripes on stripes, like Marissa Webb? Too creative?
I think that I have to leave my Vlisco in my wardrobe, because can you imagine this dress with a cardigan? Yes you can.
Cidell of Miss Celie’s Pants did an excellent post about the Halston exhibit at FIT, and mentioned how much she wanted to make some silk knit shirt dresses. I think this might something I think about going forward. Then again, I am making crazy M6696s that might put Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Mondrian-lite look to shame.
What does any of this have to do with sewing? Well, I’ve edited myself back down to ten patterns, based on the above images: (the pencil skirt, the shell blouse, the fit and flare (old habits die hard), the full skirt, the woven wrap dress, the shirtwaist, the jacket, and three wild cards that get to rotate—right now they’re Hawthorn, the new Butterick prairie dress, and a to-be-determined coat pattern), and am trying to pare my fabrics down to things that I can comfortably wear at work, like wool and silk crepes with muted tones. I like buying button-front shirts and trousers, so they don’t make the cut. I figure I can make an A-line skirt out of the pencil, and add a sheath dress into the rotation, should I find the confidence to tackle the fitting. Let’s see how well this plays out, team.