Do you dress up for work? Do you invest in your "work clothes"?

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 46
664 posts
Busy bee

I work in engineering, where people are a little more casual and lot less female. While I wanted to look put together, I was afraid of being perceived as too girly (misogyny causes many men to think girly girls are stupid). But I think I’ve finally found that sweet middle ground. 

In the last two years, I’ve switched from wearing jeans and casual flats to slacks and low block heels or plain leather flats. I’m pretty much wearing the same style of blouses so it’s amazing what a tucked in shirt, nice shoes, and well-tailored slacks can do. 

Post # 48
6411 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

I absolutely dress up for work, but I teach, and I am one of the only ones who does. I commonly wear dresses and blazers or longer jackets, but because I need to be able to bend over or squat and I walk a lot, I tend to wear dresses with fuller skirts and shoes with no more than a 2″ heel. Indeed, shoes are my thing, and I have quite a collection of unusual boots and almost-flat shoes. Dressing well makes me feel more professional and prepared, and it helps older students take me more seriously when I’m not dressing the same way they are.

Post # 49
8267 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I used to dress rather casually ( I’m a teaching academic ) ie decent jeans, shirts etc. Now  I have few good well tailored suit ( trousers  not skirts  ) and I wear  them pretty much  all the time ,with say a silk or plainish cotton  top.    Flat shoes  always,  I haven’t worn heels to work in years  . 

I must  say it’s rather a relief to have a sort of uniform , it simplifies’ oh god what do l I wear…’ enormously !

Post # 50
44 posts

I work in a collegiate athletic department so that way I dress for work depends on what’s going on that day. If it’s a normal work day, I usually wear pants and a shirt or a dress, if it’s warm out. On game days, I’m usually in a dress for basketball, a polo and Pixie pants or shorts for soccer, and yoga pants and a sweatshirt for lacrosse. 

My go-to place to buy clothes is actually Old Navy! Their Pixie pants are my staple and I own a ton of dresses and tops from there too. I’ve also started to look at thrift stores for some stuff. We have a store in my hometown called Clothes Mentor, which is like Plato’s Closet but tends to cater towards an older crowd. Shoes wise, I’m usually in flats and sandals in the summer and spring and boots/booties in the winter.

It’s a pretty laid back office, but I like to look as professional as I can. My one coworker wears jeans a lot or sweatpants with holes in them…which is a hard no. I should also mention I’m the only girl in my particular department…

Post # 51
262 posts
Helper bee

Just invest in a good jacket or blazer. It dresses up anything – I wear jeans (dark coloured – black or blue) and just by wearing a nice fitted jacket on top makes the whole look look dressy.

Bonus is you can wear it out at night as well.

Post # 52
212 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

I work in fundraising, so I need to dress reasonably professional, particularly when there are donors around. I did my original investment at White House, Black Market. All of my basics came from there and have stood up for 4 years now. I supplement from the GAP and using subscription boxes like Stitch Fix and Wantable. 

My go to during the winter is black tights and skirts or dresses. During the spring, I go for patterend or plain skinny pants with ballet flats and blouses and blazers. Summer is pretty casual with sun dresses. Fall I like to go for the leggings, tunic and booties look. It all depends on the weather and if I’m seeing donors that day. I definitely go more casual when I’m just in my office.

But really, WHBM is the way to go!

Post # 53
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Our office is casual but there is an expectation that management dresses up. I also enjoy dressing up for work, it makes me feel confident and I perform better. A part of my responsibility is highly visible to clients (unique to my specific role) so I do invest in my work attire and makeup, hair, nails, accessories. 

Post # 54
3036 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

No, I hate dressing up and have like two interview/conference outfits that I bought on sale at Macy’s and a couple of pairs of dressy shoes from Nordstrom Rack, haha! Oh, this blazer is marked down to $20? These black pants are $15? These leather mules are only $35? Then that is the interview look for me! 

I worked in social service and higher education offices and avoided careers like law and finance so I could be comfortable at work. Life is too short to wear pantyhose! 

Post # 56
7384 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

lurkingvee :  me too bee! The guys at my level dress fairly casually but I’ve been going to more functions and meeting more clients recently so I want to step up my game. I went shopping yesterday  and there are just so many ruffles and see through shirts out there (I know I can wear a cami but it just doesn’t scream professional to me).

I just don’t have the body type for most button downs so I’m left trying to find blouses that aren’t too girly. I did find a few at The Loft outlet store that weren’t see through and are actually long enough to tuck in so I got a couple colors of each. 

Also, does anyone know where those ankle length pants are supposed to hit? I want to make sure I don’t look like I’m wearing high waters…

And are booties appropriate at work with those types of pants? I’m so fashion challenged and have almost no females to take cues from at work. I definitely need to start paying more attention to the women I meet at professional functions.

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