What We Wear Matters... Whether We Like It Or Not
Pink Granite is not a fashion blog or style site - unless of course J.Crew is reading this and wants to send me some swag (this girl's not above a free pencil skirt or two)!
In the short life of this site though, I HAVE mixed what I deem to be "style" posts amongst round ups of feminist news articles, high-fives to women "working it" in their careers and interviews with accomplished women in Texas policy and politics. Those items are my real focus - not the fashion.
However - I'm coming to realize that our attire does play a role in our success as women. Even if we don't want it to - and especially for young women looking to establish themselves at the Capitol. Read this opinion piece from CNN for a more in depth and educated view. Please let me be clear that in no way do I think this means it's okay to pick apart what a woman wore in her debate (cough, cough) instead of the things she actually said.
But it has come up in more than one of my recent interviews (yet to be posted, stay tuned!) that one of the biggest learning curves more experienced professionals have seen in their younger female colleagues is the meaning of "appropriate professional attire."
We've all been there. I interned for my Congressman at the ripe old age of 20 and was once pulled aside and told that I needed to tuck my shirt in. I was wearing a white button up dress shirt with a sweater on top of it - and was told I looked sloppy. And as much as I would like to tell you that I raged against the Republican machine - I did not. I promptly excused myself to the ladies room and tucked my shirt in.
The year before, a female supervisor at another job told me that I shouldn't bother to come to work if I wasn't going to wear lipstick. An extreme suggestion - but I'm telling you, it really happened.
Fast forward years later - I was told that I was "impressive" in a job interview because I "knew to wear a suit." Apparently I had learned a few things...
I have also had a male supervisor tell me point blank that if he had to wear a jacket to the Capitol every day, then I did too. And I did, but you know what? I still often wore my Target flats until they had visible holes in the heels. Not okay.
All of this is just to say to the young people, "I've been there." I'm still there at times. Even today I fall victim to the occasional dress that feels great at home and after schlepping my way to the Capitol, I start to climb the stairs and realize that perhaps my skirt is just a tad shorter than it should be.
I would love to tell you that your clothes don't matter at work. But they do. If you're a man or a woman - they matter. Men just have it easier, that's all.
This doesn't mean that your clothes have to be expensive, overly stylish, or that you need 73,813 suits. Most of the time if your clothes fit properly and you're in the ballpark of "professional" attire you'll be just fine. And ladies, I promise you can look cute in committee without also looking like you're heading to da club afterwards. Oh, and while I've pulled out my soapbox I'll add - I don't care that we live in Austin, TX. Don't wear denim shorts to a "business" lunch.
So rather than shying away from the fashion posts out of fear that I'll seem unprofessional or even vain - I'm going to push myself to share more in this area offering specifics about where I find pieces that last, how I wear them and when in hopes that we can all help one another out.
Additionally - I plan to reach out to dedicated fashion bloggers and ask them to contribute by way of guest posting on work day attire for us. No one needs to see a million pictures of me in my go-to black blazer. If you are a fashion blogger and interested in partnering please send me an email!
In the meantime I'll leave you with this first compilation. Mostly because three people told me they liked my outfit today and that's enough praise to make anyone think they are an expert.
For the record my entire outfit pictured above came from the J.Crew Mercantile store. My friend Julie even called me on it yesterday - which I loved because she had all the same pieces in her closet!
However, when I looked online the striped shirt wasn't available so I included a similar shirt from Brooks Brothers. Also the skirt linked is probably a higher quality in wool - mine is cotton and has pockets. My Mila pumps are from Ann Taylor but the tortoise colorway isn't available online right now so I've linked the plain black pair in patent leather.
Finally - my silver ball earrings are from Ann Taylor and only cost $10 but they aren't online anymore either. I've linked a fancy pair from Tiffany's because if we don't have ambition what do we have?