What You Wear: Work You vs. Real You

Do you wear pencil skirts, heels, and heavy make-up Monday through Friday from nine to five but feel like you should be wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and Sperry’s??

I recently visited a good friend of mine at her new corporate office. She is, like me, a recent college graduate! Unlike me, she has been successful in her job hunt and is a Marketing Director for a major company in our city. As we sipped on our skinny mocha’s (dang those things are sweet!) we steered our conversation towards our appearances and our work attire. My friend has a love for quirky and bold pieces from online European websites and Forever 21.

I am a sucker for shorts, sheer flowy tops and generally dressing like I am fairy or like I am 20…

But as I began working in the fundraising world, I began to feel more subconscious about my appearance. I have had lunch meetings with very successful individuals who give large donations to my university at the drop of a hat. I have also noticed that my colleagues dress VERY professionally on a daily basis. As a result, I have begun to really copy their style and because of that I now have a wardrobe full of pencil skirts and blouses. I have also gained about 25 lbs over the past year and have begun dressing in darker colors.

Work Collage
Three of my work outfits…all very dark

My friend and I laughed at how our work selves dressed very differently than our real selves. On the weekend, I do not wear any make-up and it is all about shorts and t-shirts. I also tend to wear some quirky or bright colored pieces. There have been a couple of times where I ran into one of my professors or colleagues while I was dressed so casually and it was kind of awkward. Has this ever happened to you? 

I really do love my individuality and creative style so I am going to try really hard over the next couple of weeks to incorporate one piece that represents my individuality into my outfit. I think this will be a real challenge but I look forward to sharing my weekly outfits with you and how I have made the outfit reflect my personality without being too casual.

In the meantime, I would love to hear about your experiences.

What is the dress code like at your place of work? How do you express your personality in a professional manner? Have you ever worn something to the office that you wish you hadn’t?



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