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Work Attire: What ‘suits’ your needs?

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Having just graduated from college, my career experience is limited.  I previously worked for a large corporation in Reno as an intern for 2 years.  This was a wonderful experience for me and really opened my eyes to a different type of work culture (deadlines, projects, co-workers, responsibility).  The company I worked for allowed interns to wear jeans and “casual wear” to work since we are still students and go to school before/after work.  THIS WAS AWESOME!!  However I was ready to take that step and dress professionally and become a big kid.

After my 2-year internship, I currently work for another company in Reno where the dress code is a lot more professional.

Monday-Thursday I wear a suit.

I quickly learned that I was one of very few girls (okay… “women”) who wear a suit to work.  I learned this by the fact that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find suits for women, however every where you look there are suits for men. RUDE!  This is a topic that I am constantly discussing with others so do not be surprised to find another blog post (or 2) in regards to this topic.

My suit-wearing conclusions

Suits can be uncomfortable

Sweaty armpits anyone?  Surprisingly though, YOU GET USED TO IT!  I never thought I’d say that, but they start to become just as normal as jeans and a tee.

Baggy is in

Once you do find a suit, don’t expect it to fit.  The pants needs to be hemmed (for my short legs) and the jackets need to be altered to avoid the potato-sack look.  But still, “loose” clothes are professional as opposed to the tight look I’m used to sporting.

1 word:  Black

Other colored suits are really hard to find!  Well, suits in general for women are hard to find (in my opinion).  It’s one of those times when I think, “It’d be wonderful to be a man.”  It’s right up there with camping in the middle of no where when you realize you have to go pee… “It’d be wonderful to be a man.”

$$$$

Who thought that after you bought an outfit, you’d have to continue pumping money into the darn thing.  Like mentioned above, alterations can cost a pretty penny.  Dry cleaning is even more cumbersome.

Professional, baby

Wearing a suit truly enhances a professional appearance.  Especially as girls (ahem.. “women”), we have to strive to maintain our image as empowered employees or leaders, not less-than-worthy little girls.  Patty Conklin discusses this in detail in her blog post.  I have found that I receive respect from the people I work with, and I attribute it to my professional appearance.  Although my pants may still fit a little too “tightly” than what is generally accepted, and my heels may be a little too high, I am finding what works for me and what makes me most comfortable.

Does anyone else wear a suit to work on a daily basis?  Any other suit-wearing conclusions I may have missed?

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13 responses »

  1. You’ve basically covered most of my work attire complaints. I especially like your reference to the “potato sack” jackets. It’s very difficult to find blazers that are fitted without a visit to the seamstress. Another difficulty I’ve found are the shoes. It’s a challenge to find cute, comfortable work shoes. They’re either too high for work, not high enough for me, ridiculously expensive, patent leather, clear Lucite (kidding), etc.

    And we thought the battle was won when we were allowed to vote. Boys don’t know how lucky they have it.

    Reply
    • Kelley! We share the same exact challenges! I have stopped worrying about shoes and started wearing what works for me. Also, I was being a total creeper today in class and I saw your blazer/jacket you were wearing. Where did you get it?? It was very cute, and I’m having a hard time finding form-fitting jackets.
      Thanks for the comment, Kelley!
      -Ashley

      Reply
      • I found mine at Forever 21 (very professional, I know). They only had a couple at the store, but their website probably has lots more.

      • Good to know! I always get my jackets from Express which are incredibly expensive ($99) but I pay the price because I don’t know where else I can find jackets!
        Thank you, Kelley!

  2. I think dressing up makes you look and act more professional in the workforce, while upgrading your image in the eyes of others. Each presentation I did in front of a classroom or at work in front of management, it helped increase my confidence level and with first impressing from others, they took me more seriously when looking more polished, even if was the youngest professional in the room. Another note about work attire is that I found at some training meetings I have presided, I tend to wear a nice sweater and dress pants (more casual) so I fit in better with my audience, as I didn’t want to come across I was on a higher level than they were by dressing up to the 9 in a business suit. Although, business suits may not be the most comfortable, they sure make everyone look really nice. Great blog post Ashley!

    Reply
    • Lisa, you are always so professional- even outside of work! So I really value your opinion! Thank you for the in-depth comment Lisa! You confirmed my opinion that wearing suits can enhance your professional image 🙂

      Reply
  3. I am an attorney and have had luck with Anne Taylor’s sale section. They always have tons of suiting for cheap. This helps with the alterations not hitting the pocket book so hard!

    Reply
    • Beth – thank you for that suggestion! I’ll have to check out their suit selection – I’m always looking for new places to suit-shop so I really appreciate the information.

      Thanks again, Beth!

      Reply
  4. I love suits! I so miss dressing up every day in lovely looking clothes. A Professional appearance is rewarding. Why, it makes one look intelligent and incontrol of oneself. As well as feeling selfconfident. an example:
    A woman I knew told me the story that she went to her bank and was dressed in jeans and work boots. She lived on a ranch and was in a hurry before the bank closed. No one gave her the time of day. She was insulted. The next day she appeared at the bank dressed in professional clothing and was treated as a queen. She did not have money, but gave a lovely appearance.
    All my life I have strived to dress my best, not always had money, but in good taste. I have always been treated exceptionally well.
    Now, at age 81, I am still dressed well, get lots of attention, and have confidence.
    It does not take a lot of money to achieve how you feel.

    Reply
    • Beverly – isn’t it so interesting to see how your appearance can change the way people treat you? I think it’s sad, but at the same time it is something that we can take advantage of if we know that a professional appearance demands respect (especially as women!). I am now enjoying dressing nicely, even on the weekends. Be proud of who you are, right? Thank you again for all of your lovely wisdom! I love the stories you share.

      Ashley

      Reply
  5. J.C. Penny has an array of suits. You can also check out target, Dillards, Sears, and The Limited. My wife has several suits and has bought more than 15 of them over the past 8 years.

    If you don’t have those stores in your city, you can always shop online. And, you can create professional looks by mixing jackets with dress pants.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I do have a JC Penny – I just have a hard time finding affordable suits that fit without alterations. Bummer – I think it’ll just be a part of the process though. Thank you for the head up on JC Penny! I haven’t tried there yet so I’ll give it a try for sure!

      Reply

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