What are we going to wear?
It's time to go back to the office...uh oh!
It’s been a year since I had to wear anything resembling “business” clothes. It was early March 2020 BC (Before Covid) when I last threw on one of my work dresses and cute pumps. Pumps!?! Will my feet even conform to pumps after 14 months of slippers, sneakers and slides?
We took advantage outdoor dining whenever it was allowed in Southern California, so I made an effort to “dress up”. But booties don’t even come close to the confinement of a classic work pump. Jeans (a tad larger than my usual size, ordered online) were an unpleasant revelation after months of workout clothes and jogger pants. It felt good to grab a cute purse and a fun pair of earrings to complete my ensemble. But when I think about putting my laptop, which has become permanently affixed to my desk, into a tote and head out the door for “work”, I can’t picture what I’m actually wearing.
My career started in the era of power suits with those awful paisley silk flower ties and the short haircuts women wore to blend in. I couldn’t bring myself to wear the ties and I certainly wasn’t cutting off my wavy, unruly hair. Call me a rebel, I was the IBM rep sporting the shorter skirt and the long jacket, a big silk scarf and awesome heals in a sea of dirndl skirted suits, starched cotton shirts and sensible shoes. I caught a lot of grief from management until the fashion tides turned and women forced a little femininity into the workplace. Ultimately, they paid me to take a few of the woefully dressed ladies shopping!
But men asserted themselves once again, and the “business casual” genre was born. Great for men; they simply shed the ties, grabbed a blazer and a pair of khakis and they were set. But women? We didn’t know what the HECK to wear. The paisley silk flower tie wearers donned blazers, khakis and loafers too, setting women’s workwear back decades. Dreadful! The rest of us flailed around wearing wide-leg pants and “casual” dresses with flats. Ugh.
I had finally reached a point in my late forties, where I decided that I would wear what worked for my body and my taste, despite what the dress code dictated. Business casual? A well-fitting pair of pants with a great top, or a knit dress with opaque tights and boots were my go-to choices. “Smart” Casual? That called for a wrap dress and heels or a LBD, work version. This formula worked for me for YEARS, despite the younger generation wearing only slightly upgraded versions of what they used to wear on campus just a few years earlier.
But NOW? Dressy by nature, I am utterly confused on what comes next. Even if any of my tailored sleeveless dress and jacket combinations still fit me after COVID overeating, I think I’ll skip them. Too fussy. Too 2019. So here’s what I’m thinking…gradually we will regain the feeling of confidence only a great structured dress with fabulous pumps can inspire. In the meantime, it’s time to dig into the depths of our closets and pull out the nice black pants with a good bit of stretch in the fabric, a cute pair of low heals and a top with a print detailed enough to camouflage any (hopefully temporary) pandemic pounds. Feminine, forgiving adjustable wrap dresses will be indispensable as well. As long as we leave the loungewear and joggers at home, we’ll be suited up enough for 2021!
Any thoughts about what you’ll be wearing? Let me know!