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


  1. I just started blog-stalking you, and totally agree. I've struggled with the transition from wearing a uniform everyday to corporate-acceptable attire, and I'm almost but not totally comfortable. The tattoos, the lack of sass in the outfits, it's all on my mind. I have checked out Corporette, which is helpful. I am definitely interested in your thoughts. Also, for whatever it's worth, I thought you pulled off the modern business woman look well! :)

    1. Yay! Hi Erin! I'm feeling a little like it's just me making a mountain out of a molehill now that I've met all of you guys, but there's still that sense that we have to look a certain way for specific events (like career fairs), isn’t there? I'm hoping to spend less time worrying about what I'm wearing and more time figuring out the real stuff, but it’s all new territory for me too! We'll get through it together! And for the record, you pulled it off just fine too!

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