Lifeink

The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

How to Dress for Work September 9, 2010

Filed under: Life in General — Erin Joy @ 12:49 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

A few months ago, I was faced with a very frustrating phone call. The temp agency I’d been working with had discussed a few potential improvements I could make on my job. One of them had to deal with my attire. As I’ve always had a difficult time accepting my appearance, this came as a rather difficult piece of information to swallow.

I’ll admit: I cried. The day after I received the phone call, I didn’t speak to a single person in my office unless spoken to. I stayed in my cubicle and wallowed in my anger.

I knew I couldn’t act like that for very long if I wanted to keep my job, so I decided to take some action. I recruited my friend Egan to perform a “What Not To Wear” intervention on my closet. It was one of the hardest, most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t recommend having anyone but the closest of friends help you with this. I know I came very near punching her once or twice with some of the insults she threw at my closet. (The episode of “My Boys” a couple weeks ago is a perfect example when Kenny tried to organize P.J.’s closet.)

Since then, I’ve been looking for “work appropriate” clothing. I bought myself a few shirts that should be better, and I’m making sure not to wear things after they start looking a little raggedy. I started wearing make-up (and have since declined in my usage due to my tendency to be a little later getting around in the morning than I’d like).  I take time, however, to look at my hair. If I don’t have time to dry it and straighten it, it gets thrown into a bun with chopsticks. I’d prefer those over a ponytail any day.

Shortly after this intervention, however, I went with Ashley and Michelle to have our photos taken. Ashley and I were getting ready together since I was staying at her house. We were trying to go through some clothes and decide what she was going to wear, and in the middle of it, I had an epiphany.

People have told me many times that I look great when I go to Indiana or to friends’ houses, but to have this fall on my lap confused me. The one major difference, I realized, is cameras. When I visit friends with new babies or who take many photos (which are most of my friends), I expect to have my photo taken, so I make sure I look nicer. I don’t want to be remembered as “Auntie Erin, the scrub”, do I?

No. So as Ashley and I concluded, every day you should dress as if you’re going to have your photo taken.

Go to work expecting a photographer to show up and use you as a model for cubicle furniture or a printer advertisement. Visit your friend expecting to see yourself in scrapbooks down the line. Always be on guard for that camera.

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7 Responses to “How to Dress for Work”

  1. Abby Says:

    Good advice. My own sense of fashion is so terrible that the best advice I have is to pick a job where you’re EXPECTED to be a little eccentric, so they just let it go. Just do really good work, and on the rare days when you have to interact with the public, dress in something you saw on the mannequin or something that someone gave you all together as an outfit. It’s worked for me so far. 🙂

    This post also reminded me of this funny post from a while back on a blog called “I love old magazines”: http://iloveoldmagazines.tumblr.com/post/927694750/working-mother-1980-vol-3-no-2

    • Erin Joy Says:

      That’s another thing that’s great about this job: everyone is eccentric. I’m noted for my chopsticks in my hair. 🙂 I like the mannequin point, too. Those are usually well thought through.

      And you follow the best blogs! 🙂

  2. I think of that often Erin! It is good advice. I love the closet in your picture, I’m not sure why :).

  3. Abby Says:

    I know it’s a bit late, but since I’m starting a new job on Friday, I was just thinking about another dress for work rule I try to follow:

    If your pants fasten below your waist, try to wear a longer shirt to cover up the “muffin top”. If you want to wear a shorter shirt that won’t really cover up your gut, pair it with higher-fastening pants to make sure everything is well covered.

    I guess this only applies to ladies who have some curves, but in my experience that’s MOST ladies! 🙂

  4. […] As many of you know, I’m far from that now. I enjoy my job a lot. I have not only learned a lot from it (like having to give a presentation that scared the pants off me yesterday), but I’ve been challenged to better myself as well (for example, my professional appearance). […]


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