Skirt: Ann Taylor
Button down: Express
Black pumps: Alfani
Belt, bracelet, earrings: NYC and Co.
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Today’s outfit is great for form, not so great for function. I’ve been trying to break out of my style box over the past year, and this outfit has many elements of an “Ashley” outfit, but a few elements of a “non-Ashley” outfit. So, what makes it an “Ashley” outfit? To begin, I believe I’m on of the least fashionable people you’ll meet, especially when compared to my mom and my sister. The nice way to put it, is that my style is “classic”, which tends to translate into “boring”. “Ashley outfits” are usually simple, symmetrical, clean lines, and minimal jewelry.
I started trying to figure out why I’ve always been less fashionable, and I believe it’s because I have a hard time with the fundamental discrepancy between form and function. It always seems like the outfits that look best are the most difficult to perform in! Throughout middle school, high school, and college, I was always in situations that required a lot of movement, making it difficult to wear form-fitted clothing and skirts. I started the morning bright and early with show choir rehearsal, where I was often literally kicking up my heels… not so much appropriate for jeans or a skirt. After a long day of classes, it was off to track practice or musical rehearsal, where I was again, kicking up my heels for hurdles or dance numbers. Flash forward to college, where I spent 3.5 years starting classes at 8 am, and often packing them into 2 or 3 days instead of spread out over the week. Who wants to look nice for 12 hour days of class? Not me! My first job out of college was a start-up, where all the other employees were young and male. This meant that “office attire” was a term used loosely to describe wearing something, ANYTHING, that semi-covered your body. Half the time, the guys showed up in ripped jeans and a sweatshirt, or shorts and a faded t-shirt. While this isn’t true of all young male employees, it was always the case at my start-up office. Thus, wearing khakis made me significantly more dressed up than any other person in the office.
Now, I’m in an office environment that does require business casual, and I sometimes like to take it up a notch to what might be termed as “presentation day” business casual. I’ve always loved the look of a tailored suit and heels, or a pencil skirt and nice blouse, but I’ve never had an environment in which to wear such attire. It’s a whole new world to explore, where I don’t have to be so brutally conscious of the functional qualities of an outfit. To be sure, there are some restraints, as noted in my post about the physical requirements of my job. I also prefer not to wear heels on a day that I have class, since I end up trekking all over campus (I learned my lesson quickly on choice of footwear!). So, at this point, I’ve decided that I can discard function for preference of form at least 2 days per week. This outfit is definitely worn on one of those days without class, without tradeshow shipments, and without a million errands to run after work.
Have I totally gotten over my aversion to pure-form clothing? Definitely not! But, I’m starting to get out of my box, and I’ve found that being conscious of my corporate attire has helped take me into a more fashionable realm. What tricks have you found to strike a balance between function and form? Like the outfit? See more details here!