Your Help Needed to Find Non-Girly Work Clothes

May 10th, 2007

Office Building - Photo Credit: Harris Graber

A couple of weeks ago, the Omiru community provided some great style advice to another Omiru reader, Christina, who was looking for fashion ideas for her summer design internship in New York.  

You did such a great job, in fact, that another reader, Teresa, is asking for your sage advice.

Says Teresa,  "I’ve lucked into every college student’s dream - the office where I did my internship last summer has offered me a full time position after I graduate next month! In my new position I’ll be working with design firms, community-member boards, and local construction contractors, so it’s important that I look accessible but also respectable.  My question about my new wardrobe is this. My identity and my style is quite butch;  I’m not comfortable in feminine tops, curvy pants, or skirts. I’d like to retain the flavor of my personal style as I assemble a wardrobe for the working world. How do I do this without looking like I’m in drag?"

So, tell us, what do you think Teresa should wear to work?  Please leave your advice in the comments of this post.

Entry Filed under: Q&A, Women's

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cindy  |  May 10th, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    When you’re building up a work wardrobe, there’s a few style issues you have to take into consideration, regardless of girliness. I’m not a big fan of feminine pieces but I do appreciate the simplicity of a good wrap dress! :)

    Invest in professional pieces that will build up your wardrobe as dictated by fit/finish/cut that will aid in making you look crisp versus dowdy: black work trousers (boot leg cut perhaps?), button-up blouses, v-sweaters/cardigans, blazers, shoes (boots, flats, fashionable sneakers, etc.), accessories (watch, work bag, belt).

    Consider your color palette and finish of your clothes (edging, buttons, detail work) and how that can be reflected in your clothes (do you favor brights? prefer neutrals? hate pastels?).

    I always rule on whether the work clothes i wear can transition from outside work (to ensure you’re comfortable in it and that pieces can serve multiple purposes). If you feel confident in your clothes, they’ll make you look confident to those you work with.

    Good places to take a look: Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Nordstroms. Good luck!

  • 2. Icy  |  May 11th, 2007 at 2:43 am

    I’m not particularly girly either, though I do mix it up sometimes.

    A strong suit in a dark colour with an unusual jacket is a good way to start. Crew necked t-shirts or strongly structured buttoned shirts work as well.

    Boots are a good way to keep the look strong, either chunky (think Docs or similar) or with an agressive point. If you prefer flat boots, consider a pair of cowboy boots. Covered by your pants they just add a hint of detail but are still agressive.

    If you really want to go the whole way, consider wearing a tie, or a scarf as a tie. With a vest for a 3-peice suit look it’s a fierce look. I do this one in winter and I feel/look great.

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