Better than a Tom & Jerry sweater?
July 19, 2010 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I own two short-sleeve jackets that I love. How often can I wear them to work without people wondering why I keep wearing the same thing over and over again? Do my coworkers even notice my clothing or care what I look like? Even better, where can I buy cheaper (but not obviously cheap) jackets?

I've recently expanded my collection of blazers by adding two short-sleeve jackets. I'm not much of a short-sleeve person, but I love how they look on me, and that I can still dress nicely without being too over-the-top by wearing them with jeans and plain fitted t-shirts.

Is wearing each jacket more than once every couple of weeks excessive? Does anyone but me even care? Not sure what the best practices are here, since this is my first job out of college and the dress code is mostly fleece and hiking boots (or sandals with wool socks in summer).

What stores sell similar styles for less (under $100, petite sizes would be ideal)?
posted by halogen to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was always under the impression that jackets, like shoes, could be worn as often as you feel like it without anyone finding it weird.

If quality's not a huge concern, Forever21 has a ton of stuff like this for under $30.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:36 AM on July 19, 2010

Honestly, people only pay attention is you wear it more than once a week, in my experience.

As long as you change up the look and don't always wear the same jacket with the same bottom, you're cool. Also, scarves and accessories can become focal points which will draw attention away from the jacket.
posted by kidelo at 8:41 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Is wearing each jacket more than once every couple of weeks excessive?

If it is, then I am WAY out of line with my wardrobe. I have a pretty small wardrobe, and I tend to wear the same jacket or sweater about every other week, or even every week it if is something I like a lot at the time. I have about 5 pairs of pants, so I tend to wear them every week. I figure if I'm not repeating the same outfit within a week, I'm OK.

If you wear something that someone else likes, then they might notice when you wear it again. It doesn't sound like your workplace is very fashion-focused so it probably doesn't matter. If you worked in a very image-conscious industry, it might matter more.

In general, people don't care that much about what you are wearing as long as it is clean, appropriate and not identical to what you wore yesterday.
posted by jeoc at 8:44 AM on July 19, 2010

Best answer: I think you can wear them once a week without raising any eyebrows even from the observant and picky. But when I was 8 zillion months pregnant, and then after I had my baby, I was definitely wearing the same outfits twice a week or sometimes even more since my wardrobe was so limited, and I don't think anybody noticed.

Especially if you're changing your T-shirt, you could probably wear the same jacket all the darn time without anybody really caring. It's outerwear. I know some people who wear the same jacket or two literally all the time, and they make sure to wear a different colored shirt underneath every day, JUST IN CASE anybody's checking up on their wardrobe. But I didn't notice until they mentioned it, and I tend to like clothes.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:44 AM on July 19, 2010

Best answer: I loved wearing that type of jacket when I had a job that required dressing up, and they looked awesome with jeans. I see you're in the PNW-- if you ever make it up to Vancouver, check out RW&CO., Zara, and H&M. I've had great luck at all three in the past for really lovely items in petite under $100 (and in the case, of H&M, well under). RW&CO. has the best quality of the three, in my experience.
posted by mireille at 8:45 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: In my last office, we all had an ongoing joke about how each of us had our own uniform - either the same actual garments or a style we gravitated to. That said, we'd all worked together for years, had a fantastic rapport (everyone knew it was a joke), and we were mostly being mutually self-deprecating.

So I'd say that if you work closely with the same people day in, day out, they probably notice. Especially if they are women. However, they certainly don't care and probably wonder if you notice that they're doing the same thing.

I don't know where you are, but I've found jackets in the ~ $50 price range at H&M and Forever 21 (have not owned a jacket from F21 before so don't know how it will hold up). Forever 21 tends to be a little more casual, though, whereas H&M reliably carries decent quality office clothes. It's also worth scouring the sales racks at the places that tend to carry $100-150 jackets. I've seen cute jackets marked way down at the Gap, f'rinstance, and sometimes even J. Crew if you hit them on a really good sale at the right time of year. I'd steer you clear of Old Navy, though they fit your look and price range, because I find that their jackets always fit me funny and feel very flimsy and low quality (even compared to H&M). I try jackets on there all the time and never decide in their favor.
posted by Sara C. at 8:50 AM on July 19, 2010

H&M is also good for things like this.

And yeah, once a week is probably fine, wear them with different shirts and pants and it's no problem.
posted by brainmouse at 8:52 AM on July 19, 2010

There are several image-conscious people in my workplace who wear the same jacket twice in a week, most weeks, and one in particular has done so with one specific jacket for at least two years straight. I'm almost certainly the only person around (OCD, whee!) who notices. It's an office, business/business casual environment.
posted by SMPA at 8:56 AM on July 19, 2010

You can make amazing finds in thrift stores. I got a $300-$400 suit (I looked it up when I got home) for $25 once.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:59 AM on July 19, 2010

In most of the how-to wardrobe books I've ever read, they actually suggest buying a few great pieces that you love and wearing the hell out of them, mixing and matching pieces and changing the look with accessories.

My office is business casual but there are several women here who are considered nicely dressed and most of them probably don't have more than 8-10 outfits in rotation per season, if that. I can't imagine anyone would think it odd to wear each jacket once a week or more if you wanted. I've never heard of anyone paying attention to how often someone wears the same outfit unless it was a celebrity or rich society person who goes to a lot of events and gets photographed.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:08 AM on July 19, 2010

People will notice your shirt much more than your jacket or pants/skirt. As long as you keep changing that up, you're fine.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:09 AM on July 19, 2010

Best answer: Twice a WEEK would not seem too often to me. I wear the same pants to work every day -- I found a pair that I liked so much that I went back and bought 5 more. No one seems to have noticed.

The only time I ever notice what my coworkers wear is if it's something SERIOUSLY unflattering or inappropriate for the office.
posted by JanetLand at 9:59 AM on July 19, 2010

If you look closely, you will note that your coworkers wear the same clothes, week after week.

It's not that no one notices. It's that we all PRETEND not to notice, because we don't have a very big wardrobe of work clothes, either.

I would go even farther and say that you can wear each jacket twice in a week in summer, as long as you wear them with different clothes each time. Wearing the whole entire ensemble including shirt and pants would be a little much.
posted by ErikaB at 10:20 AM on July 19, 2010

Jackets don't matter. The only thing that is going to stand out as "bad" is if you wear the same distinctive top or bottom really frequently. If you have 3 pairs of the same khaki pants, nobody will notice that, but if it's something unusual, people will notice. For example, when the high school music teacher sat in gum one day and wore the same pants with gum stain the next day. We noticed THAT...

My own personal rule is not to wear something distinctive on top or bottom (or a dress) more frequently than every other week. Jackets should be fine, you're expected to repeat those.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:34 PM on July 19, 2010

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