What to Wear Wednesday: Special Double Issue

Today we have TWO questions and since I feel like an ass for making people wait, I’ll address them both in one post. We’ll call it a “Hotties from Pasadena” special edition if you will.

Our first question is from KB:

“When is it appropriate to wear brown and black together? I seem to scoff whenever I see them together.”

I have never really been a fan of mixing black and brown. Call me a rule-follower or unimaginative, but I couldn’t quite wrap my head around a way to mix the two but still create a cohesive outfit. BUT! My friend Roadtripper got me hooked on a fabulous fashion blog: http://whatiwore2day.blogspot.com/ and she has included some photos and examples of how she pulls this off. (Sidenote: I fully realize I am cribbing info from someone else, but I am also CREDITING the original artist like a good little English major so back off, OK?)

Here are some photos of how Kasmira, the author, mixes black and brown. While these outfits may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I give her credit for linking the colors through accessories and managing to look purposeful rather than haphazard. It seems like you need to have a base, black OR brown, and then add accessories in the other color, and THEN a pop of something else just to keep yourself from being too boring. If you give it a whirl, send me some tips and photos!

Question #2 comes from Auditing Your Outfit and it is a doozy, kids.

“So my question does not pertain to fashion advice for myself (although I could definitely use it), but how to approach and solve the issues of others. And by others I do not mean the people I like to gawk at in Starbucks or at the grocery store. I mean those in my office. A place of business. A conservative corporate giant where it is supposed to be an honor to work (or something like that). All of these people have a college eduction, some even have a masters or a law degree. But for whatever reason, they cannot fathom that it is inappropriate to:

1) Wear pants that are a good inch too short (with white sport socks, sometimes)
2) Rock the camel-toe as though their names are actually Annie
3) Dress as though they can go directly from work to the club with ease
4) Sport 2-3 inches of cleavage (and still wonder why people don’t look at thier face in meetings)
5) Appear in apparal my mother (or grandmother actually) would have been wearing circa 1986 (not in a cool retro way, let’s not give people the benefit of the doubt here)

Those are the top 5.

Now I am not saying that its not okay to have commited one of the aforementioned offenses. It is NOT okay that committing the offenses is the norm rather than exception to the rule. It is an accounting firm people. Don’t show up to work in an outfit that you stole from the set of Flashdance and think people are going to take you seriously in a meeting. Save that for when I see you at Starbucks or the grocery store. How, oh how do I even tell these people they are so so wrong? Please help.”

Oh Auditing… It’s like we work at the same place! Chico is a very casual, laid-back town and our entire campus reflects that vibe but damn, some people really take it to an extreme. Shorts and flip-flops are not the way to go when you work in an office. People use the hot summer weather as an excuse or claim comfort, but I am a firm believer that a skirt and nice sandals are just as comfy, cool and likely more flattering. And, you know, WORK APPROPRIATE.

We have a couple of issues going on here: inappropriate attire vs straight up fugly. Let’s address the former first.

If someone who reports to you is dressing inappropriately (too casual, too revealing, whatever), pulling him or her aside for a little chat is fine. Or, you can have HR do your dirty work for you: a well-crafted memo reminding people of What is Acceptable and What is Not OK might help kick some butts into professional gear. Specific examples work here (mentioning cleavage, short skirts, etc) and you don’t need to run around talking to everyone individually. And if you have an actual dress code for your office/corporation, post it or attach it to the memo. A procedure can be enforced. Bonus: YOU are not the Bad Cop. It’s The Man keeping everyone down.

Now for the problem of bad taste. Yeah, if people are dressing within the confines of what is technically acceptable, but are doing so poorly (ie a suit with shoulder pads) there isn’t much you can do unless you just want to start calling people out. Note: I am not really opposed to this, just not sure if you want to be known as the Style Police. If you are friends with one of the offenders, invite her to lunch near a store with some cute outfits in the window. Stop in front of the store and INSIST you go in and have her try something on. Rave about how freaking adorable she is until she buys it. Compliment the improvements to the wardrobe and point out flattering pieces.

I did this with a co-worker and there has been a marked improvement in her daily wear. Sure, she sometimes wears black pants with white socks and brown shoes (for reals) BUT more often than not she’s looking more polished and like she put a little thought into her look. True story.
Sometimes a little positive reinforcement goes further than telling people they look like shit. Best of luck!

4 thoughts on “What to Wear Wednesday: Special Double Issue

  1. True story… I clicked on your page’s bookmark and thought I had clicked on What I Wore Today by mistake. It’s like worlds are colliding!

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