Okay, first of all I dress pretty well at work. Some on my level do it better, most do it worse. Some do it a LOT worse. Thing is, “my level” isn’t really where I want to be forever - I’m a librarian at a major downtown branch, and I keep applying for jobs at different locations, especially in branch management, because I’d like more autonomy and more responsibility and more room to “practice my craft”, as it were. And I haven’t gotten an interview in YEARS. I used to get interviews and then rejections, but now I don’t even get that.
Also, we’ve got some, let’s say, internal problems, and I thought, maybe I’d be taken more seriously when I bring concerns to the table if I dress more like the big guys? The library director, the head of my branch, all those people are very put-together. Accessories, all that sort of thing. All very age-appropriate but very chic.
I’ve been trying to dress well for a while, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a size I might slim out of. I get a lot of compliments on my clothes, but I think maybe I’m dressing a little young? I just turned 31, I wear a lot of cute little consignment store skirts and little sweaters and such, unless I’m wearing pants in which case I kind of dress like a shelver. (Must get nice pants!)
So anyway, I got a coupon from White House Black Market (worst named store in the world, by the way, but damn do they have some cute stuff) and wandered in TO MY DOOM, because they might have the worst name but they have the best salespeople. Seriously. They’re all hustling around making up outfits for me (I did try on a lot of combinations beyond my regular comfort zone) and picking out jewelry and making me try stuff on with shoes… long and the short of it is I walked out with a damned wardrobe. Spent a fortune (although those wonderful salespeople did also make magic with coupons and discounts) but I got some fantastic versatile pieces.
So now I’m wearing them to work and combining them and such and realizing, shit, I kind of have to wear heels if I really want this to look as sharp as it did in the store, but hell if I’m wearing makeup. Unless it will get me a branch manager job and then I guess I’ll wear some stupid makeup.
So questions: do people notice if you wear, like, the same three things in different combinations all the time? I need to spend, like, an afternoon looking at my previous wardrobe and combining it with the stuff I just bought and coming up with outfits. I wish I could import those little salesgirls to do it for me! Should I worry too much about being “the girl with the blue sweater”?
Also: what if you feel you’ve gone TOO formal? I bought a cool jacket I was going to wear with a pencil skirt today but put it on and thought “people are going to think I have a job interview”. (Not that those are secret around here, but you know.) Last time I wore something really, really nice to work I spent the whole day explaining I had a funeral to go to. Just go for it, or dial it down?
Is all this for nothing, or does it actually work on people? I’m kind of thinking maybe this will be the year I turn it around - I’ve been accepted into this leadership class thing they do here, and selected as a delegate for ALA this year. What else should I be doing to project the proper image?
I asked my boyfriend what he thought about one of these outfits or another and he said “I think it looks a little matronly… WAIT WAIT DON’T KILL ME I mean in a good way, like, more mature. You ARE in your thirties, you know.” (Considered beating him to death with a kitten heel anyway, just on principle.) I mean, I guess that’s what I’m going for, right? More mature? But jeez, must we use that word?
Anyway, I want specific advice about this career dressing crap and also any experiences you can share.
Also my feet are killing me and I hate these shoes.