I’ve abandoned my blog for a while, because I am the person who is in her head, which means – I could not think of anything except for work for quite a while. But every now and then my brain relaxes and lets me actually DO something and not just flip through my RSS feeds for some fashion fast food. And since vacation brain kicked in, I am able to write a couple of sentences about the topic, that particularly pains me. Dressing for work.
Since I live and work in Germany and not in some big city – it is quite conservative around here. I mean there are people who dress nicely, but basically that is it – NICE is the word. Nice, as in “I hope I will not offend anyone’s, with the stick up their asses, eyes with my clothes”. Everyone knows everyone and it is SO important what everyone thinks, that this is how everyone ends up in this dull porridge. I know what I am talking about, I come from a small and grumpy town and country.
At first I intentionally did not overtry at work with my outfits. You know – button down shirts and skirts of appropriate length, with just red shoes to survive the boring-ness. Keep it simple. But during last year I developed I dunno…self confidence of sorts, when I just put on whatever the hell I like. No, that is not entirely true. I still have those mental boundaries, but they are much more flexible now.
Here is a good example of what I am talking about. Please feel free to enjoy/ignore the photos, that are not related to outfits.
It is not offensive in an obvious way – silk blouse, black skirt, flat shoes…And yet it is not proper in a way. Let us break it down a bit. The blouse is already funny, because it is not tight and because it has strawberries and butterflies on it. Red shoes. Green bag. Nothing matches in the standard way – in this case one of those mismatching things are the shoes and the bag combo. And yet, I expect to be taken seriously, while wearing this. Or at least hope, that no unexpected meetings will pop up with some high level management involved and I can just enjoy my clothes without feeling stupid or guilty, that I’ve put these on.
The things that are hammered into your head since childhood about all the appropriate things. I actually find it to be quite stupid, that some unusually colorful piece of clothing might earn you looks of disapproval at work. Then I think, is this just in my head? Might be, but I do catch those stares so I cannot be totally wrong. Though things are looking up, my female colleagues are embracing color, in a conservative way, but still. I think I can take part of the credit for that.
Anyways, this kind of duality in my head – I want to wear this against I should wear that – really stresses me out from time to time – I really want to wear this colorful blouse, but I have this big meeting today, can I wear this? Should I wear this? Sometimes I dare, sometimes I dare not. Then I think, what if I would to change jobs. I cannot wear such stuff to the interview. And it all turns so hypocritical, because I would go all grey and black and white to an interview…It is stressful not to be able to be yourself when you are all grown up.
Here is another example of what I wear to work.
The pants had their debut in Spring on the blog. This is how it works for work (what-a-pun…) – white button down and some ordinary pumps. I think the man repeller would see vaginae (yes, this is plural for vagina) on the pants for sure, which is not a bad thing either. Plus, when sitting at the table in some meeting, you see only a standard button down. At least here is less of an inner conflict involved and you cannot distract anyone with the vagina pattern on your pants.
So this is how a try to keep things more or less appropriate for work, and at the same time the outfits would not make me want to kill myself. It is not easy though. I overthink a lot and decide against wearing a certain piece (one dress hung half a year until I decided that yes it can be worn at work, despite the non standard pattern) or I have no energy in my legs to wear heels (oooh, I have several meetings and I will need to walk a lot), or… See – overthinking. But I do think I’ve come a long way already. It makes me feel good, when I know I am wearing something “offensive” and I know that the people that I’ve just passed by in the corridor are rolling their eyes out. And it does not make me feel good because I made them roll their eyes out, but because I accept that they are rolling their eyes and I AM OK with it. It is not some teenage like rebellion, though might sound like it, it is therapeutic I would say. I learn more about myself, learn to accept myself the way I am and enjoy the things I like and do not feel that I have to apologize for it. It is not always easy, but I am trying to get there.
With the fashion being so present online, I hope the people will adjust their eye sight to what is still considered weird will soon start to accept and embrace the weird and all us weirdoes will be able to feel free.
Good 2013 to us all, eh? Cheers.