Career Style


Hey everybody! So today is a milestone because I am officially heading back into the workforce – unfortunately my awesome time basking in academic unemployment (aka being a student) has come to an end. It was exactly two years ago that I quit my job to go to school – and honestly those two years were like a present to myself, when again will I get another chance like that to reflect, meet new friends, and get a chance to take my life in a new direction?

My funemployment wardrobe: these were found digging through a box labeled “Beach clothes”

In my time of no office and no job, I also have to admit that my wardrobe has taken a bit of a hit. On very lazy days, I have even been wearing these bad boys above….yes, these are Abercrombie & Fitch cargo shorts! These must be six years old or so….it is a bad sign when you are wearing anything that you also wore to a “tiki” themed kegger in college.

My trusty suit of many years

So…I may have to start looking for some more work clothes….but nothing too formal. I went hunting through my closet and found some nice pieces….and also my old suit. I haven’t worn a complete suit in probably five or more years when I was an intern in finance. I was also a Theory loyalist.Β I put it on again just for kicks, and remembered that the last time I wore it, I tore a hole in the butt! Above was my paltry and very shaky sewing attempt at fixing it.

I personally have a really hard time with suits – particularly matching ones – and always feel really uncomfortable in them. Especially wearing them with collared shirts underneath too. I just feel really constricted and awkward. I always thought I needed them for a variety of occasions, but that hasn’t been true. I didn’t even end up wearing a suit for my business school interviews (due to le hole in skirt) and it was fine.

I have seen a lot of girls in real life, and on blogs, rock their suits and look fantastic. But they just don’t work on me…so I don’t think I’ll ever wear one again (unless it’s this little 2008 number from Chanel above…sigh). Life is too short to wear clothes you don’t want to!

How do you all feel about suiting? Anything else that you find, just doesn’t work on you?

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  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    You're a little young to develop rigid rules about fashion πŸ™‚ There are a lot of different suits and not all have the blazer/pencil skirt look of your old Theory set.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    We have business casual policy at work but suits are not required for the ladies. I don't like wearing suits unless I've to go to the clients' sites.

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    July 11, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I personally love a nice piece of suits. What makes me constricted and uncomfortable is the layering of extra accessories. I just like simple outfits without too much burdens.

  • Reply
    Pencil Skirts and Lattes
    July 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    ha – I'm wearing a suit as we speak (just took pics of it for tomorrow's post!) and in my job (Finance in a Healthcare company) – they are a must for many of my work days. I love them, but I've also learned to have more fun with them. Try a cropped pant suit for summer – excellent way to stay on trend and still look classy and polished! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to see how I mix up an otherwise boring suit look – hope this helps!!


  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I think I'd go crazy in a suit. I think I can do one piece at a time (blazer with a dress, or suit skirt/pants with a cardigan), but not together! Not yet, anyway.

    I'm lucky my office is so casual!

  • Reply
    Tangled In Texas
    July 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Congratulations on your new job! So exciting!

    I feel the same way about (most) suits. I feel constricted. I have a couple suits that are a tweedy sort of fabric (more of a girly suit look) that are a little more comfortable. Luckily, in my line of work, I was always able to wear nice dress pants/pencil skirt with a cute top and cute accessories.

    Anything too trendy doesn't seem to work for me.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Congrats on your new job! I went through the same a year ago. I spent 2.5 years in super casual jeans, tees and shorts while in school and loved it.

    I personally love suits and have a few from J.Crew. They do, however, have an extremely formal feel though, and I find in Southern California that unless you work for a law firm or one of the Big4, you rarely encounter a corporate environment that requires the full suit for everyday wear.

    I think Annette put it well – do one piece of the suit at a time and layer the pieces.

    I would love to wear suits on a daily basis but alas I would stick out like a sore thumb. Where I work is very casual. They don't really like jeans for everyday, but some people still wear them.

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    July 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Congratulations on starting a new job! I am so excited for you! My office is now jeans 5 days a week so on days when I post business casual outfits it feels really dressed up for me… I am not sure how I am going to adapt to a change in dress code! I too am a Theory Loyalist when it comes to suits, and also Elie Tahari! I dream of owning a black Gucci suit one day!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I personally really like the professionalism that a good suit projects. It makes me feel powerful. But I do understand the physical element of feeling restrained in them.

    I think experimenting with different cuts, sleeve lengths, and undershirts might help you find some suits you do enjoy wearing. They're all so different now!

    Come take a look inside A Working Mom's Closet

  • Reply
    amy b.s.
    July 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    i feel the same way about suiting. if you find something that works you'll have to let us know!

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    July 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Congrats on your new job! Yay!
    In my office, the dress code is pretty much non-formal, no suit is required. However, every now and then I love dressing up more by wearing a suit. I usually love to mix & match my suit, so it's not too matchy-matchy. Or if I have to wear the matching suit in the dark color (navy, black or dark brown), I will wear a girly top with ruffle or polka dot or something in a bright color. A pop up of color in the shoes/pumps or handbag is good too I think to make it more interesting.
    Happy shopping!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Oh girl, there are tons of suit stylles for you. To became more casual, try to wear those suits with a blouse underneath, at the office you can take the jacket off and get confortable. Acessories are your best friend, because i believe that is usefull to expent a lot of money in a great suit than give a little for bad ones. This is all about confort, come on.. you're working!

    I love your blog, i even put it on my blogroll! πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels massively bulky wearing long-sleeved button-up collared shirts underneath a suit jacket, and sizing up a suit jacket size doesn't help either.

    I may try the Theory suits as they get a lot of praise from suit-wearing women. I currently have J.Crew's Super 120s suits; I love the material of the suits, but sadly, I don't find the cut of the suit jacket to be especially flattering on me.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Congrats on your new job!
    At my old office I had to wear suits, or at least things that were office appropriate. I don't look good in the suits, the only great ones I had were from Miu Miu, so I learned how to mix up things to look nice on me and still be ok for the office, without breaking the bank. I love button down shirts and I still have a big collection of those because I can dress them down. I used to combine them with a pair of black slacks (Costume National and Jil Sander are the best) or black skirt (I had a few from Muji). I was adding a nice cardi on top (I have an extensive collection from M&S) and a sweet necklace (usually something from Swarovski). For shoes : ballet flats, pumps, booties. On casual Fridays I was wearing chinos (Gant or Tommy) and a blue blazer (Ralph Lauren) Sperry top siders. Generally I like men's wear and I look good in such fashion.

    Good luck with everything!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Suits are way too formal for my office environment and not wearable during the summer. I find that nice blazers, jackets or cardigans can do wonder with the right accessories for office.

    Good luck with your job, can't wait to see your work wardrobe.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    i'm ok in suits.. but i NEVER wear button downs. EVER! i think i may have gone out and bought like 3 or 4 of them right when i graduated.. but after realizing HOW freakin' uncomfortable they are even WITHOUT a blazer i stopped wearing them and have never put one on since. i usually wear like whatever blouses w/ a blazer jacket.. sometimes even just plain tee's from BR hehe.

  • Reply
    Tara @ Haute Lunch
    July 11, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Hope the working world is treating you well thus far! I'll still be living in academia for a while longer, so my suits are patiently awaiting my return to the "real" world. I used to like wearing them a lot, but it would always take a long time for me to find flattering ones in the store. Benetton ended up being a go to store for me when I had to wear suits often. They just fit right and helped me look professional while still feeling a bit chic.

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    July 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Congrats on the new job!! I can't wait to see what you wear to the office, especially since you are going to NOT do suits! I'm sure it will be fantastic!

    I usually only wear suits for interviews. I've never really been fond of them, but I found a cute one at banana that is a peplum jacket (that buttons all the way up so you don't have to wear a collared shirt under just a tank for good measure) and skirt. It's a light grey pinstripe. That's my favorite suit today!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I love wearing suits, but jobs I now work in are more business casual. I do love the pencil skirt, fitted blouse & Louboutins look though & try to wear that once in a while. Looking forward to seeing your 'work outfits'

  • Reply
    Mica Cataletto
    July 11, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    I love having a few suits for formal meetings or presentations. I like to dress to impress when necessary. But for most days, I end up using the pieces as dressy seperates and double the lifespan of the outfit.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Im like you, the suit kinda scares me but then you have to have one of those for the formal setups!

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    July 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Kat, you're going to think I'm weird but I ADORE suits. My trusty Theory ones are still sitting in my cupboard despite having left my job 4 years ago. I'd look totally weird if I wore the entire pant suit so I tend to pair the jacket with jeans.

    p.s. I'm lusting over that stunning Chanel jacket.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    July 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Kat, you're going to think I'm weird but I ADORE suits. My trusty Theory ones are still sitting in my cupboard despite having left my job 4 years ago. I'd look totally weird if I wore the entire pant suit so I tend to pair the jacket with jeans.

    p.s. I'm lusting over that stunning Chanel jacket.

  • Reply
    Chocolate, Cookies & Candies
    July 11, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Kat, you're going to think I'm weird but I ADORE suits. My trusty Theory ones are still sitting in my cupboard despite having left my job 4 years ago. I'd look totally weird if I wore the entire pant suit so I tend to pair the jacket with jeans.

    p.s. I'm lusting over that stunning Chanel jacket.

  • Reply
    christine brightside
    July 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I wear suits every day (I am a senior consultant at a consultancy) and I love wearing suits. There are so many great shapes and materials, I have "found" my brands regarding suits. I love Dolce & Gabbana black label (they just fit perfectly), Burberry and also the fabric Gucci uses. I have also become obsessed with white blouses, there are so many differences in fabric and cut. Since I do not have many range in clothing for my work life as it has to be "strictly business style", I spend even more effort on looking female and "sexy" – which is not the right word to express what I actually wanna say, but I do not think you need to give up your character (I am definitely all girly *lol) and personal style when wearing suits.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I totally agree. I never wear suits. I don't even own any. I used to when I was in college, but realized that in my chosen career path I never needed it. I think elegant and comfortable separates and attractive dresses are much nicer. Though I would love a classic Chanel suit one day!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 12:48 am

    Arghh the dread pant/skirt-suit! I like to wear a dressy top with a nice pencil skirt topped with a cute cardigan or something. Nothing too confining and certainly no dreary matching combos! Congrats on your new job by the way – perfect excuse to go shopping πŸ˜€

    xx Cindy

  • Reply
    Sarah M.
    July 12, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Hey! I totally understand the dilemma you're facing…so here's my advice:

    Even if you're working in finance, you shouldn't only be restricted to plain suits. Invest in a good pair of wool trousers (I recommend Theory…I've had my pair for almost 6 years now and I always wear them to a job interview!), a nice straight skirt made out of jersey or wool, colourful blouses and nice, silk camis underneath, colourful and playful pumps (I'm thinking Miu Miu) and a couple of good structured jackets that you can mix and match. Oh, and don't forget interesting jewelry and scarves! Even if you have to wear a jacket and pants, you can always have fun with cuts, colours and jewelry! Suits are very old school power woman and equated with Hilary Clinton…show the finance world you are a modern, chic woman with some of the choices others and myself have suggested πŸ˜‰

    xx from Montreal,


  • Reply
    Make Mommy Chic
    July 12, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Hi Katherine- I am not a suit wearer myself, but do love the look of a blazer with a skirt or with skinny jeans and heels. I checked out some Helmut Lang while I was in NYC, i love his jackets and the strong shouldered look but realize that that may not be for everyone. Congrats on the new job! You'll be the chicest one there, I bet πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 3:50 am

    Thank you so much for your comments everyone! I totally agree that I am very young to make such decisions…I'll probably change my mind somewhere down the road…lol. But I am glad to see some people are in the same boat as me, and happy to see others who are finding ways to rock their suits and extend their lives and ways to wear them!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 4:46 am

    Hey Kat, not sure if you had a scheduled post re: GoT, but in case you're interested, George Martin is going to do book signings:

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Suits stress me out. When everyone wears them we all just look exactly the same. When I had to wear a suit I tended to wear a colourful long cotton top underneath and jazzy shoes!

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 6:22 am

    in my line of business, suits are 'highly encouraged', and none of that trendy cropped pants business either. I was a victim of the office suit drone for a while, mostly because it was easy, full pant/skirt suit and a collared shirt, dressed up with some accessories. It can feel bland, but as long as it is cut well, it will look great. Eventually, I hated the collared shirt everyday, and played with more patterned blouses and different textures. Luckily, I've moved to a position that is less suit rigid, so I get to have more fun. But I think I've come to enjoy the full suit. There's something very empowering about wearing a well-fitted suit and hearinf your heels click-clack down the hallway (as long as the heels don't break). πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I like the classic ones, but with a modern touch. I would go with asymmetric blazer, with pants.

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    The Fashionable ESQ
    July 12, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I wear a lot of suits for work. I feel better in skirt suits vs. pant suits. Pairing them w/ a button downs / collard shirts is sometimes too much. I like to pair full suits with blouses from banana republic or Ann Taylor.


  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    PS – thanks for the sweet comment on my blog and my suit post is up now, enjoy!! πŸ™‚


  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I absolutely hate suits on me. Thank God I only have to wear them on occasion. I notice that I only like the way they look on my super tall, super thin friends.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    i always envy those who can pull suits off with finesse…i always turn out looking like a dowdy grandmother.

  • Reply
    July 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Congrats on your new job!
    I get so bored wearing suits. Unfortunately, I work in a conservative industry and office, so I have no choice much of the time. I do try to mix it up with fun tops underneath – lots of the embellished tees from jcrew or banana. This is more comfy to me than wearing button-down blouses. Or I'll wear a tailored dress if I'm feeling really crazy!
    Good luck and have fun purchasing a work wardrobe!

  • Reply
    The Blonde @ Stylish3
    July 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    The only time I wear suits is to court, but I work in a relatively casual law office. I can get away with more fashionable business looks than my friends at bigger firms can, and I'm pretty thankful for that. I can't stand suits. I like my Banana Republic, Nanette Lepore, and Theory suits as pieces, but wearing any suit in its entirety makes me feel stuffy and uncomfortable.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Congrats on your new job!!

    Nothing makes me feel better than a pencil skirt and blouse, but throwing on the matching blazer makes me instantly feel 20 years older!

    I buy both pieces in a suit (in case I need to wear one) but end up wearing the blazer with skinny pants or a dress and the suit pants with a fun blouse.

    I went through a Theory phase where I wore all monochromatic jacket-shirt-pants. No reason. It was just a random fall.

    There are a lot of designers out there offering novelty jackets that you could pair back with basic pants to get the suit look without really wearing a suit. I also like how JCrew styles their suiting so casually.

    If I had to wear a suit every day, I think I'd opt for a tailored dress and jacket. Thankfully, I'm in the fashion industry so my 'tailored dress' could be leather or sequin and no one would look at me questionably!

    {mommy chic} design. style. kids. life.

  • Reply
    July 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Congrats on your re-entry to the workforce! I think the classic traditional matching suit look isn't for me and I don't think I've worn that look more than twice in my life. However, I love suit separates and that works better for me. I'm sure you'll find a great way to mix and match outfits that are still professional and polished. =)

  • Reply
    July 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I was always a bit funny about suits, especially being on the younger end of the office-dress-spectrum (I'm 25 now). You can look like a bank teller if you're not careful…. I found one suit that I liked in my favourite store, Reiss, and it's a slightly skinnier cut than usual. I don't feel like I'm dressing too old in this one. Big fan of the separates though!

  • Reply
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