Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Forward without the fashion

No wonder when I hear the term business casual, it makes me gag.  Can we just take a moment and look at this photo of "business casual".  It looks like a bunch of neutrals just barfed all over these fine young men and women.

So something I am definitely struggling with is moving forward while still being fashionable.  I am currently working in a temp position (hello new possible coworkers checking me out) and I want to impress.  However, I know something I personally struggle with is looking professional enough, while still being me.  This wouldn't really be a problem if I was shopping... heh heh but I'm not.  I am not sure if me being my fashion forward self is professional enough!

Also, the term business casual is pretty vague.  I read somewhere that business casual is without a jacket.  That's not exactly a good enough definition for me.  Also, from work place to work place, business casual changes.  My last job was technically "business casual", however the owners of the company wore cargo shorts.

Let's not even get started on the two permanent places on my body, clearly visible to the naked eye that show I'm a product of rebellion.  Nose ring and tattoo.  So far neither of these have been a problem at any place I have interviewed for (except for the kooky dance studio...  oh brother).  So, I want to think of the things that I feel insecure about and that I feel like hold me back from being professional, and explain what assets they can bring into a potential job.

Incredibly fashion forward :: modern and exciting
Nose ring :: able to deal with immense hardship (because dang that hurt!)
Tattoo :: conversation starter, and continuously inspiring
Uber 60's british girl hair :: hello, cultured?
Red/Coral lipstick :: bravery

Now, this doesn't exactly help me figure out what to wear tomorrow, but the more I can be myself, the more my natural talents will shine through.  I want to hear what you think about business casual.  Do you dress business casual?  What are some quirks in your office that would otherwise be taboo in another business? 


  1. My office is supposedly business casual...but I also work for a hospital (in the research office of an outpatient clinic) so we have dumb rules like no open-toe shoes (seriously, I can't even wear peep-toes), skirts are supposed to be mid-calf to ankle length and other ridiculous things.

    My blog is mostly what I wear to work, so you can get a feel for my take on business casual from those posts. Hope it helps!

    Congrats on getting a temp job, for now!

  2. definitely be yourself! i see lots of quirkiness embraced around VU, though i can see as a temp in an office you are in a different position. but you are young and adorable and i still think it will be a breath of fresh air to anyone who has been barfed on by neutrals! perhaps start with fun accessories - shoes, bags, jewelry, hair bands - then go from there! i like to dress sort of old fashioned when i actually have to be in busines clothes...belted cardigans or cardis buttoned up the back, hose with seams up the back, off-beat colors...have fun!

  3. Business Casual tends to be very vague. If you are temping at an investment bank business casual is what you see above, but for most other places it can mean so much more. At my job business casual is jeans or most items that have our logo on it (i work for a sports apparel company). Anyway, the point is with business casual there is a lot of room for you to showcase your own style.

    Although, for the first day I would keep it a little conservative until you get a feel for what others were wearing.

  4. I am in my pajamas. I am also the only one working for this company as I fired both my models and photographer. I could lie and say I am wearing a suit, but that would be a lie. Best of luck at the temp job.

    Btw your ad is up. Thanks again doll.

  5. I think you have to feel your new office out. Stay conservative the first day and then see what others are wearing so that you have a picture of what business casual means to them

  6. I agree w/ Amber Blue Bird. Dress conservatively (read: boring) while you're getting a feel for the new environment, then branch out & be a little more daring. Of course, this could take a while. I've been at my current job 1.5 yrs, and I'm still trying to find the right balance between professional & my personal style.

  7. Anonymous1:07 PM

    Hi Alyson,

    I have worked at a few universities, where it's safe to tread on the liberal side of the fashion spectrum... so in that vein, I really like seeing what's up on www.academichic.com. I don't know how this fashion would work at your temp job, but it's worth a peek (and no, I have no connection to them at all).


  8. I am having a similar issue (see, here: http://jesseanneo.blogspot.com/2010/08/professional-jesse-7am-rain-fail.html), although I've been at my job for 2 years. I tend to push the casual envelope even though the people on my team (aka "under" me) dress more professionally than I do! So I'm trying to change that but it's hard.

  9. Ughh.. Business Casual, how I hate thee. I actually dress "Teacher Casual" at work which is even worse. If I wear anything that's not a neutral or an ugly print, I get looked at like I'm a crazy person/shit starter. "Why is she wearing a RED dress to work?" Well maybe because it's cute, knee length, comfortable, and looks professional? Just because it's not ill fitting khakis and an awful shirt doesn't mean it's not appropriate.

    Okay sorry for that rant, but I'm with you - business casual is not specific enough. I usually just wear black or grey slacks and a nice shirt for the first few weeks until I get an idea of what is appropriate and acceptable and the I pull out more of my personal style. Good luck with the new temp job!



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