Today I was asked by a colleague why I always wear a formal business attire to work so I thought I could share my thoughts about this on my blog as well.
At work I always wear black pants and a blouse (5 blouses in different colours – one for every workday and a few formal tops as backup when I’m too lazy to do laundry in time). This is in contrast to my colleagues who go with more casual outfits. While I was thinking for a while about dressing the same way my colleagues do, my outfit has some points on the plus side that a casual outfit doesn’t have.
1) This outfit is set. I don’t have to choose from a range of possible things that I can wear, I know what to wear on which day. Which means that getting dressed is a matter of minutes. I know my combinations, I don’t need to choose every day, I don’t need to be conscious about this part of my day.
2) It is like a uniform. I associate different clothes with different situations, which makes it somehow easier for me. When I am in my work-clothes, I am working. When I am in my regular clothes I am relaxing. It helps me to focus better on both.
3) I like looking professional. I look rather young for my age. People usually think I am 5-6 years younger than I actually am judging by my face and outfits. My personal wardrobe has a lot of pink, violet and other colors in them so I look even younger in these things. Wearing my working-clothes hopefully makes me look older, more sophisticated and thus lets people take me more serious than they would if I was wearing Jeans and a pink Hoodie which I usually do in my free time. I like to go for cute things when I am in an informal situation.
Now to the con-side: I don’t get to express my personality through the clothes I am wearing. Also I dress differently from my colleagues.
But for me that’s a plus too, because usually I go for comfortable clothes and thus don’t look very presentable. I am not too fond of this whole notion that one should express oneself through their choice of outfit, because for me, different things are important. Seriously, can somebody please explain to me why you have to choose your clothes so they reflect your inner life? I really don’t get why I am supposed to do and even enjoy this. Apparently this part of “womanly interest” is not my piece of cake. Like: “I should buy this yellow skirt because it makes me look like I am a fun-loving girl” or “This purple sweater makes me look like I am very intellectual”. So maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get to do that.
For the “looking different from my colleagues” I found that it is only my department that takes the liberty to dress in jeans, the rest of the company dresses as formal as I do. So while I may stick out in my department, I don’t stick out on the whole so I decided that I don’t care about this.
Japanese are always careful to dress for the occasion.
How do you dress for work? Do you have to wear “business formal” or “business casual” or are you okay to come as you are? Do you care much about your wardrobe?