When I lived in New York and worked in finance the question of whether or not to dress up for work wasn’t a question: Yes, looking business sharp was a must. I still have a full collection of suits — well, to be honest, I hate suits, so I only have three — blazers (now those I love), shirts and numerous black pants hanging in my closet from those days. The company where I worked didn’t require us to be fully decked out in suits but you wouldn’t see jeans or t-shirts in the office unless it was the middle of the summer and the bosses were definitely out golfing networking.
Since those days we moved to Boston — a much more casual city, I find — and I now work for a software company where the office uniform is jeans with a t-shirt. (For some reason our group, myself included, are also into funky sneakers, which make our workplace uniform even more relaxed andunformal ). For the first few months after I started this job I was happy to work in such a casual environment. Getting dressed for work required a lot less planning and effort than what I was used to and I was really comfortable during the day.
But then something odd happened: I started to miss getting dressed nicer for work. I have absolutely no idea why and it wasn’t like there was a specific incident that brought this on. One day I just woke up and felt like getting dressed up for work. Nothing fancy or too formal, but something other than jeans and a t-shirt. And I’ve kept this up ever since. Don’t get me wrong — on many days, I’ll still wear jeans. But I’ll often pair them with a fun blazer or tailored sweater. If I’m wearing a crazy funky t-shirt, I’ll layer it with a cardigan for a less just-grabbed-this-and-went look. And as much as I still love my growing collection of crazy-colored sneakers (purple and yellow, anyone?) I’ve taken my heels out of their boxes and put them into rotation. I’ve even started wearing skirts to work, which, let me tell you, is not a common practice.
I think getting a bit more dressed up for work helps me feel more put together and ready to deal better with whatever happens in the office. I don’t see it as a chore, more as a fun thing to do every day. C’mon, I might be a tired, under-slept working mom, but inside I’m still a girl who definitely likes clothes. (Obviously I think it is the worst idea ever whenever I have one of those nothing-to-wear days.)
How do you dress for work? Do you work in a very casual or more formal environment?