Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bussiness School Attire: When Panic Suits Me

Adding to the stress of my bschool application process was the dreaded interview. After giving out a little yelp of excitement that I’d made it past the first filter, I realized that I had nothing to wear. I like to appear pretty polished on a daily basis, and wear dresses with oxfords, cardigans, blouses, and so on, but I don’t own a business suit—and (fingers crossed) never really hope to.

I searched online to mixed results. Some sites said, yes, you must absolutely wear a business suit! Others said to just make sure you look professional, but don’t wear lots of jewelry or color. Wear black, navy, or grey. Make sure your clothes look clean and new. Business casual is a must. 

I was spiraling into a sweaty panic over what to wear, but I hadn’t just spent six months in GMAT and essay writing hell to show up to an interview looking out of place!

So I went shopping, tried on every single piece of business attire at Ann Taylor, J Crew, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, yada yada yada. I tried on suit sets in every color and style. I tried on cropped blazers, long blazers, blazers with three buttons, blazers with one button and everything in between.

At some point I realized that I am diametrically opposed to the woman that these clothes are designed for – both physically (my shape), and intellectually (my sense of self). None of them flattered my body. I tried on those slacks that hug your butt and then balloon out so your shoes are hidden, which basically just highlighted all of my "problem" areas.  More importantly, none of these looks made me feel confident. I felt like a poser in someone else’s skin—someone I didn’t even want to be!

So I called a friend, and she said “forget the suit sets, just get some cool black slacks, a printed blouse and an oversized dark blazer.” Oh. Duh.

She totally snapped me out of it, just like that. I ditched Ann Taylor, and it really was that easy once I realized who I was again. I don’t dress for utility and I don’t like following rules. I get dressed every day because I love fashion. So in the end, I found a way to look appropriate while maintaining my identity. I even wore a chunky necklace, NBD.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bussiness School Attire: Thoughts on the Modern Woman and Business Attire

So here’s the thing. I come from a punk/indie background; I’ve lived most of my life allergic to suits. My dad is a self-made entrepreneur. I’ve never seen my parents answer to a boss. My brother owns his own business, so do my uncles, my cousin, quite a few of my friends. And so do I for a little while longer. 

Until now, I’ve lived most of my life as an employee in corporate settings, working my way up the corporate ladder. Even still, I have a septum piercing, spent years playing in punk bands and had ombre hair before your hairstylist had ever heard of it. I don’t relate to a lot of my coworkers’ personal sense of style. I have always been the “quirky” girl in the office.

But I’m starting business school in a couple months and, as you might imagine, the question of “what to wear” has been filling me with anxiety! To me, business attire seems stifling, formal, un-fun. Ill-fitting slacks, skirt suits, nude stockings, sad, un-sexy pumps.  

Yet for the *modern woman, there’s this sense that you can be a creative, interesting dresser and still be a strong, respectable business person (just leaf through Elle or visit R29). Somehow I rarely see this in the “real world.” I have a lot of successful friends that are stylish, but they aren’t exactly executives or upper management types.

So my question is this: is it possible for me to retain my personal sense of style without standing out for the wrong reasons? I need to get to the bottom of this! How much can I get away with and not alienate myself or not be taken seriously? Is this even really an issue or am I just making a mountain out of a molehill?

I have a bschool event coming up in a few weeks… let’s see what happens.


*Everyone just loves to talk about the modern business woman! Have you ever watched an episode of Project Runway? They are constantly dressing this mysterious modern woman. Maybe I just don’t know any? Maybe I’m actually secretly more of a traditional woman? But the nose ring... you see? It’s confusing!

images: pants © jcrew.com // alexa chung’s legs via stockholm streetstyle

Monday, July 8, 2013

Welcome to Corporate Neon!

Hello out there, welcome to Corporate Neon, a personal blog focused on fashion and the business world. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to wear a grey flannel suit to be taken seriously—and I’ll have plenty of opportunities to test this as a newly admitted business school student!

Stay tuned for posts on fashion, including everything from runway and street style inspiration to what to wear to job interviews, business meetings and other business-related events – all while staying true to yourself.

Check out the About Me section to learn more about what I’ve been up to and why I started this blog in the first place!