Do you know the feeling when you show up to work on your first day and feel incredibly overdressed? Everyone around you is in some sort of t-shirt and jeans combination, and there you are in your most impressive, yet most uncomfortable, high heels and skirt combination. Your brain is overwhelmed with new names and work rules, but all you want to focus on is, "Why did I think this was the best outfit for today? I can't even walk in this crap, why didn't I at least wear pants!"
It's not that you shouldn't have dressed up on your first day of work — there is always some level of expectation that the newbie dresses up to impress for the first week — but somehow when I start a job I can't shake the feeling that I should have researched the "cool girl" uniform a bit more. You know the "cool girl" uniform; it's mostly comprised of sinewy French women and cool nonchalant outfits with barely a touch of makeup that adds up to an overall effect effortless beauty. How do you achieve it though? Sure there are million Pinterest boards (including mine) that try to decode this, but in my experience the crux of the cool girl equation is comfort.
If you wear what's comfortable to you there is a great chance you'll be most "yourself" during the day. You won't be worrying about the tightness of the top you're wearing or the crazy possibility of twisting your ankle on the pair of killer, yet ridiculous given the male-dominated office setting, heels under your throbbing feet.
(Tangent: I used to be 100% about heels. I felt it made me seem more of a woman if I could be the one that endures the pain of heels. I'd lie to myself (and others) that it wasn't a big deal that my toes are jammed beyond recognition in a pair of heavily-discounted Alexander Wangs, but for what? Respect? Naw man. For nothing.)
These days I parade around in the office in a combination of what you see up in my main photo: A pair of amazingly fitting slacks ( Dear Theory, please make more!) with a feminine top, or a feminine top with a bottom that looks amazing with heels or with sneakers. If I do wear a skirt, I like to dress it more tomboy so I don't feel I'm losing the "me" in the daily outfit equation. This is what works for me and makes me feel dressy enough to impress a visiting client or ready to take on a meeting where I have to be comfortable enough to perform and sell the shit out of whatever crazy-ass idea I'm selling that day.
In short: it's a mean world out there in business. "Dress to impress" is still the law of the land, but after that initial trial period dress to impress yourself, people. Attitude is 50% of every outfit, so just feel good in what you're in and you're halfway there.
J. CREW Ludlow Blazer sz 4 / GRACESHIP laptop bag (courtesy of) / THEORY pants sz 2 (similar) / VANS shoes sz 7 / A.P.C. sweater sz Small / EVERLANE shirt sz Medium
PS. Congrats for making it down the long post that was this post. I appreciate it! Now I hope you appreciate the sizing I've incorporated into the credit links. I figure that it's crazy difficult to gauge size on the internet, so if I can be of assistance, feel free to ask me what the fit was like of anything I'm listing. In the meantime, I'm putting vanity and the almighty pursuit for a size 0 aside to give you ALL my sizes. Enjoy, judgement free, ya?