January 24, 2009

Dressing the Part

Some of you may know that I'm starting a new job soon. As if it's not enough of a shock to my system that I am leaving my beloved field of journalism, I've discovered I have to dress up for work.

As my mom said, "Time for you to dress like a grown-up."

To that I say, "Grrr."

Now obviously, going from a job working from home to a job in an office would require some wardrobe changes. Sure. You can't work anywhere in fuzzy fleece pants and skinny tanks, can you? But all my office experience has been in a newsroom. Working at night. So I've always had a little freedom in terms of what I wear.

I'm not considered a slob (I don't think). I have some fashion sense. And in my younger days, I used to look forward to fall when all the new clothes would come out. It was my own version of back-to-school, and I would get clothes that were not jeans, or shorts, and manage to dress "professionally" for a month or three until I finally lost interest. I am nothing if not lazy.

I always figured if I had to work nights and weekends, I could wear what I wanted.

No more.

This week I went shopping for work clothes. When I moved back from Paris I got rid of anything that was remotely dressy. This is oh-so-casual SoCal, after all. So I'm kind of starting from scratch.

And what does work clothes even mean? Trousers, I guess. Certainly not jeans. Khakis would probably be fine, but I prefer the cargo look, and that's not too office-like. Plus, khakis always need to be ironed. And I gave away my iron. I was told no jeans ... so that's totally off the table. Like many women these days, my idea of dressing up is heels and jeans and a nice top. Hey, if it works in a Paris restaurant, shouldn't it work in a Long Beach office?

Guess not.

I headed to my usual off-price haunts, since a new wardrobe can be a pricey proposition. But we're between seasons, and there was nothing on the picked-through racks. In fact, I hit five stores last week in one day. I found two pairs of trouser pants at the Gap -- and they were on sale. Score! Would those things go with the tops I already own? I don't know. And shoes? What about shoes?

I headed to Macy's yesterday. They were having a sale - -surprise! Got two tops that were acceptable. (Acceptable = sort of dressy without being too ugly and unflattering) Then we went to Gottschalks, which I've always avoided because it has a lot of old lady clothes. And while I'm no spring chicken, I'm not an old lady. There's a fine line between professional and matronly, I'm discovering.

Without extraordinary effort we managed to find another two pairs of pants. And the best part, they were ridiculously priced -- as in 60 percent off ridiculous. So it's all good ... a few days worth of clothes to get me started.

I suppose I'll get used to it. Heels instead of flip flops, blouses instead of T-shirts, trousers instead of jeans.

It's a whole new world.


Sky Guy said...

Shall I nominate you for an installment of "What Not to Wear?" $5K and a trip to NYC to buy clothes? Could be worse.

Yup. Sure could. You could be a guy who wife's got him watching "What Not to Wear"...

Leah said...

Rather than beg you not to, yes, I choose to focus on the fact you watch "What Not to Wear."

Sky Guy said...

One of the up sides of self-deprecating humor, I suppose. ;-)