Cluelessly-dressed 30-year-old office-working lady here. I have come to the conclusion that it is in my best interest to start leaning much more toward the
on a daily basis.
Professional women/fashion mavens of Metafilter, could you lend me a hand with these business wear-related queries?
* What does your average working woman wear to help project an air of earnest, unshakable strength and confidence (à la Michelle Obama, if Michelle Obama was 5 feet tall and secretly terrified of everything)
* Where does she shop to find these items, please say thrift stores?
* Any reliable brands that I might try to specifically seek out at thrift stores, especially brands well-known for making high-quality petite clothing?
* Are there any tried-and-true wardrobe selections that I can buy once and then make them look good paired with almost anything?
* What is a good basic set of professional gear (ex: 3 skirts, 3 pairs of slacks, 5 shirts, 1 pair of flats, 1 pair of *twitch*
kitten heels, &c.)?
After experiencing unsettling epiphanies in these threads
, as well as the sudden realization that I have spent nearly 15 years being perpetually underdressed, I figure it's time for a wardrobe sea change.
My parents did not work, so I never got the whole 'received wisdom about what adults wear to their adult jobs' thing. To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, at age 15, I was reprimanded by my first employer for wearing my super-sweet Hot Topic bondage pants to the office because I didn't quite
grasp the first part of "business casual," and things have not gotten a whole lot better in the intervening years.
: I am very petite, like easily-fits-into-childrens'-clothing petite. Fair-skinned, lots of freckles, typical black-framed glasses, pretty much covered in tattoos. Close-cropped dark hair sprinkled liberally with silver, zero cleavage, obsessed with being mega-sparkly-clean 24/7/365 and always smelling like I sleep underneath the counter at LUSH
. I am not infrequently presumed to be and subsequently addressed as a man, but whatever; "feminine" (ugh) clothes are OK but not a must. If I had to describe my existing personal style, it would probably be something like "miniature goth librarian." In an ideal world, I could wear the same suit and tie to work every day and just be done with this nonsense already; sadly, this is not that world. I hate shopping for clothes more than I have ever hated anything in life. Every second inside of a clothing store is pure torture for me.
: Below-the-knee tapered skirts, sweater tights layered over colored regular tights, cardigans, button-up dress shirts, pinstripes, suits, peacoats, simple silver jewelry, cerulean blue or navy green with brown, maroon with dark grey, otherwise all black everything, Doc Martens.
: Long dresses/"flowy" skirts, anything with flowers on it, roughly 90% of prints, anything that could even vaguely be construed as "pink" or "pinkish" in hue, anything white/beige or pastel, pantyhose or "control top" anything, any type of vest, open-toe anything, any shoe with a heel taller than maybe 1/2", any outfit that involves a belt that serves no purpose except as a fashion accoutrement. Also, makeup -- nary a dab. Not happenin'.
Normally, how I dress wouldn't even register on my radar screen as long as I felt tidy and presentable, but I am lucky enough to be on a rather highly sought-after career track and have been at the same company for 11 years with minimal upward movement (but the world's best co-workers). Thankfully, I just got a promotion that could definitely turn into something more.
As such, I would like to sartorially beam out a message that my ideas should be heard, considered, and respected, damn it, even though I don't have a high school diploma and started out here as a data entry clerk.
Thoughts, tips, suggestions, words of advice or caution as I attempt to more pointedly approach the career ladder?
These previous questions are along the lines of what I'm looking for, with exceptions: one (but I like wearing grey!)
, two (there is no way I could ever afford to shop at Nordstrom)
, three (lists books instead of brands/stores)
, four (not my body type)
, five (ditto)
These previous questions were very helpful but less specific than what I am hoping to find out here: one
Thank you so much for any suggestions or help you might be able to provide!