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Thursday, February 28, 2008

WorkWear Diary for February 28th, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been struck by a somewhat inspired, somewhat self-indulgent idea. Since I have joined the workaday world after many years of living in the proverbial ivory tower, I yearn to be both stylish, smart, and office-ready during the week. Basic though my wardrobe may be, not to mention hampered by the currently frigid temperatures in New York City, I have begun to study my daily dressing routine for its flaws and merits. Behold, today's outfit:

This seems to be my normal palette--grey and black, with a splash of one dramatic color. Remember that I wear grey plastic geometric cat's-eye specs with black jewels in them all day. A woman just accosted me on the elevator last night with her goings-on about how lovely my glasses are, and since this is not the first time, I like to make the glasses the focal point (ha!) of my entire ensemble.

Now, about the outfit. I have always loved menswear tailoring and details--there was a pair of black tuxedo pants definitely worn to pieces in high school--so, barring the introduction of a fitted vest into my wardrobe, I wear a lot of straight- or wide-leg pants. This particular pair is from H&M (the example above is Bebe, ugh), totally on sale, in a grey/brown windowpane tweed-ish pattern. Not the most lady-like pair of pants I've ever bought, they make me look a little like Charlie Chaplin. Still, they match my shoes.

THE SHOES. Oh, Jeffrey Campbell and your Spanish-made leather shoes, I do love you so. Will you be mine forever? And could you add just a wee more padding in the soles, a la Sofft? I hate having to use insoles. The grey and black wooden-heeled spectator-style shoes lace up and I hate to admit it, but they cried out to me from a Williamsburg shop shelf. They make me feel like Clara Bow. I schlump about in the Converse low-tops when getting to and from the office, feeling all hip while bundled up in four layers of sweaters, and transform (a.k.a., change) into Super Office Girl upon my arrival at the 31st floor.

The shirt is actually a Target find, a high-necked faux wrap that zips up the back and makes my arms look WAY BUFF, my waist SUPER THIN. The watch was a present from my parents from a recent trip to Singapore, where my mother raided a local accessories market--it's not actually the lovely kitsch Betsey Johnson you see above, but a slightly punked-out red elastic band with silk ruffle and giant Superman-logo-shaped silver watchface. It's growing on me. The purse is a generic black possibly-fake-leather number, picked up on a whim in Tokyo this summer. It's a good size for all the junk I carry, but not so large as to be unwieldy. Well done, black purse! I salute you.

The finishing touch, a maroon cashmere scarf that was a handed-down regift, courtesy of my grandmother attending a second-cousin's wedding in Japan. All in all, I think this ensemble cost me less than US$150, with the shoes eating up most of that total. They are fabulous, after all. I think the verdict on today's outfit is that while it is quite mannish in a Tilda Swinton/Annie Lennox sort of way (one hopes), it is in keeping with a style that balances me out. What else can a broad-shouldered, thick-waisted, leggy girl do?

The WorkWear Diary experiment will continue, so bear with me as the daily outfit routine evolves through the seasons changing and hopefully, my increasingly fit body changes. Luckily, I have a fairly relaxed office environment for the Big Apple, I keep a black suit jacket on a hanger at work for official emergencies (a big meeting, lunch spills) and have yet to offend anyone with my outfit choices. I promise to try and break out of the Banana Republic pants + solid button-down shirt + necklace uniform of so many young working women. Office fashion should be experimental!

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