How To Wear Your Office Wardrobe After You Quit Your Job
Last month, I said goodbye to my job as events coordinator at a private women's city club (and my steady income) to promote my novels full time.
The good news: I will never have to wear a suit again. I can write my books in sweats and oversized T-shirts, and when I’m forced to leave the house for book readings or signings, I can throw on a trendy dress and a pair of beaded sandals.
The bad news: Everything in my closet is a suit.
My closet -- specifically the rows and rows of blazers, high-waisted skirts, pinstripe suits, and button-downs -- might make you think that I'm a governor instead of a writer. These office clothes, which I never felt comfortable wearing in the first place, cost me thousands of dollars right out of college (to the chagrin of my more budget-conscious boyfriend) and a lot of time and effort, now only to be cast aside a mere two years later for yoga pants and tank tops.
So even though I’m tempted to sink into the comfort of permanent pajamas, I have decided to find ways to use my suits and other office attire in my everyday writing life, if only to prove to my boyfriend that, yes, I did need that Kate Spade bag the week before I quit my job.
Below are some photos of my plans, mostly taken on my iPhone by random neighbors who I accosted at the bus stop or while out walking their dog, Lemon, in front of the building.
Book Reading in the City
I actually wore this outfit when I read at Kafe Bohem at their monthly literary series. The blazer is H&M (like most things in my closet), and the T-shirt dress is Express, with a pair of Bandolino sandals my sister gave me.
For my readings I strive to look both artistic and dressed up (but not like I’m trying too hard, even though I am), which will give me a good reason to break out the blazers every week or two.
Lunch with an Agent
OK, I don’t have an agent yet, but if I did, I would wear this adorable blazer (note the nautical blue and white striped lining) and a white lace dress from H&M. The shoes are Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose.
I told my boyfriend last week that I was saving these shoes for our wedding. He looked terrified, so I decided to break my vow and wear them to lunch at a local brewery instead.
Book Festival and Signing
For my book signings, especially outdoor signings at a festival, I prefer to wear a pair of nice pants instead of a dress. Trust me, if you have to sit on an uncomfortable folding chair in either extreme heat or cold while hawking your books, you don’t want to do it in a skirt. But if you look too young to be taken seriously, you can’t wear jeans either.
Here, I paired my office pants (again H&M) with a black tank top and my favorite pointy-toed Circa Joan David shoes, which add a little fun to the otherwise boring black and white outfit.
Everyday Wear (aka Trips to Starbucks)
When I’m not headed to a reading or launch party, I try to mix office clothes with casual pieces. You never know who you might run into -- I once got lost on the GWU campus and got directions from a nice gentleman who turned out to be Ben Stein.
From the left, you can see a small selection of my jeans and button-downs, office shoes and casual sneakers, and T-shirts and fancy bottoms, all of which can be mixed and matched with a strand of pearls to make you the best dressed errand-runner around.
So don’t despair, fellow work-from-homers—your carefully crafted closets will not go to waste.
If you have a great out-of-office look using office-wardrobe pieces, post a picture in the comments!