I was the kid who learned how to sew (well, I used one of those staple sew-guns) in junior high school because I wanted to make clothes that no one else was wearing. I hated blending in and not being able to show my style. When all the other girls were begging their parents for huge sweaters to wear over leggings, I was churning out maxi skirts and crop tops. But by the time my senior prom rolled around, I was too busy socializing to finish my dress and dashed out last minute to buy one. All those years of looking original, and some other girl showed up in the same dress. Nightmare. Well, nightmare of high school proportions. It was no Sharknado.
Cut to years later, and I still love style that's all my own. One summer during college, I was working in an art gallery. One day, one of the curators who was a well-known fashion plate walked into the offices, took one look at me and said “what are you wearing?” I snapped, “don’t start with me, I’m not in the mood,” to which she quickly replied, “I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that you’re always wearing the most unusual things and I love it. I want to know what it is.” It was considered a badge of honor that this style maven liked my style.
So when I see every second professional woman dressed in a navy or black suit, I just want to stop them and say, “don’t you want to be noticed? Don’t you want to show you’re creative?” (Also, sometimes I want to ask for insider stock tips but I don’t do that either.) I’m not saying you should channel Lady Gaga, but consider these ideas for office attire that is still appropriate, but allows you to shine a bit.
Relegate the navy to the navy. They’re all about uniforms, after all. And in today’s workplace, creativity trumps uniformity. Imagination beats homogeneity. Where would we be if Gates and Jobs thought good-old-fashioned books were more interesting than bytes?
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