Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Waves tackles officewear, Part I - Blazer & Pencil skirt

Let's face the facts: the traditional women's officewear uniform sucks. The plain, boring skirt suit robs us of our personalities, and it makes us look like machines that match the ideology of "the working woman". The message is to look proper, efficient and asexual. The employer tells you to look the part - so what's a girl to do?

My solution to the problem comes in two parts. First, pick pieces that shout officewear in structure. Don't run from the actual pieces of clothing you are expected to wear. Embrace the blazer-and-pencil skirt combo, because you'll never feel out of place, as long as you find a fit that you are comfortable with. There's security in that. Second, find freedom in colours and textures, and avoid anything too matchy-matchy like the plague.  Mix and match like there's no tomorrow. I guarantee it: you'll always look office appropriate, but never boring. 

I team my floral brocade blazer with a black velvet pencil skirt and a subtle print blouse. The combination is unexpected, super feminine and colourful, but - and this is the best part - it's totally office appropriate. People in the break room might go for a second take on what you're wearing, but no one will tell you it's not suitable for work.

For the days when I feel like wearing something a little tougher, my go-to blazer-and-skirt outfit includes a slim-cut men's shirt, a black boxy blazer and a brown suede skirt. The texture of the skirt breaks the mold  of traditional officewear subtly but powerfully. The whole ensemble is a somewhat trendy mix of menswear and womenswear, and again, it's completely office appropriate. The look changes entirely depending on  my choice of footwear, too.

All the clothes are second hand.


Cynthia said...

I think this is very good advice, and I love that brocade blazer.

melina bee said...

Yes, office wear is a challenge for me, too. Why does being a good employee mean you have no individuality?! I think blazers are the way to go, they make most anything else seem more profesh

Carolyn said...

Isn't it funny how men look very sexy and interesting in a suit, but a woman just looks the opposite?
I like all your new work attire, modest and proper, but you have not sacrificed your style and personality.

lin said...

Good advice, and I like your outfits, especially the colours of the second one.

My solution is to wear a blazer over everything, as a disguise. I'm not much good at what is usually sold as officewear - I feel frumpy and look way too serious for my taste. I'm lucky I don't work in a formal office.

Robin said...

I am definitely going to put this to use. I am allowed to wear jeans in my office, but I try to avoid it most days because it feels better to me to be more "put together" at work. Great post!

jo said...

Hey, that's some really nice office wear! And it's good to see you back!
I'm a bit curious what sort of office job you can get on the Finnish countryside?

I don't think men look good in boring ol suits either. Everyone needs more pattern and shine imo. The Waves as stylist :)

Hippocampe said...

agree with jo : men look like robots in their old-fashioned suits. I dislike ties particularly, the man wearing one always looks like he's about to hang himself with it.

the mismatched suit has become the norm for women I think, it's not very often I come across a woman in a real suit on my streets. Putting a blazer on is enough to look professional, the other parts of the costume have become optional.

Women in skirts are rare, the public transport is too dirty and men are too aggressive.

The Waves said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone! You know, it is weird, isn't it, that men in suits tend to look more professional and interesting than women in suits do. I do agree with jo and hippocampe though, that sometimes men can also look like robots in suits... and I guess a lot of men wear suits that are the wrong size and shape, and that certainly doesn't make anyone look professional!

I also agree with lin that wearing a blazer on top of whatever you might be wearing is an instant trick to make one's outfit office appropriate. It's amazing what one single piece of clothing can do!

jo, you asked me what type of office work I do - I work for my municipality, local government stuff. :)

Eyeliah said...

the suede is a statement, and I like that look a lot. I am so glad you are breaking the boring office clothes mold, but of course we knew you would.