A few years back, I found myself in the back of a Banana Republic, at the clearance rack (naturally) on the brink of a panic attack.
Somehow I went from casually sifting to frantically shoving wool pencil skirts, all sizes 00-2. However, this frantic fit was not brought on by the usual battle of the curvy girl meets tiny clothing, no, it was as simple as the question “How did I get here?” Not in the existential way I asked myself at 22 after recreational drug use, but in a very literal HOW DID I GET HERE?’ HERE: WOOL PENCILSKIRT; I live in Florida. HERE: BANANA; I don’t ever shop here. HERE: I AM SHOPPING FOR WORK CLOTHES.
Ah. There it is, this must be the place.
I’m 2 steps away from needing a XANAX, because few things bother me more than shopping for something I don’t want. Historically, work clothes have always stifled my creativity, boxed in my not-so-box-able parts, and made me feel like I’m playing at being a grown up, even if I am one. Additionally, it’s like buying tires. Much like tires, you should not skimp a work wardrobe, everyone should invest in well fitting work clothes that will survive the dry cleaner’s, the coffee spills, and the snags and rips of corporate America. I know this, and that’s a lot of pressure when you’re still paying student loans.
Enter panic attack.
I took a big breath and walked out. Over time, I figured out the silhouettes that worked for my body type, and stayed away from cuts that were unflattering and avoided curve hugging pencil skirts that showcased areas inappropriate for work.
In finding my sweet spot, I started buying a few quality pieces at slightly higher price tags periodically, mostly at outlets and department store sale racks.
Nordstrom Rack, Off Fifth and the Theory outlet are a few of my favorites. I’ve made sure to buy separates that mix in seamlessly with my existing wardrobe, like this St. John short sleeve knit blazer. It’s a twist on a classic long sleeve blazer, but still offers clean lines and can pair easily with several black dresses or with any pant. In this look, I paired it with skinny trousers from Uniqlo for a more off duty look that is perfect for Brunch, or a busy out of office day. I added a few fun pops with my sunnies and handbag to brighten things up and finished it off a with a low heeled point toe booty for polish.
You live and you learn to buy work clothes. Save the sale rack frenzy for when you’re fighting over designers heels at 80% off.
Bring your own Xanax.
- sunglasses – Dolce & Gabbana
- handbag – Betsey Johnson
- jacket – St. John, Tee- Theory
- pants – Uniqlo
- boots – Kenneth Cole