Smart casual – job hunting

I apologize in advance for the photo lighting and overall lack of slickness lol.  I told you all up front I’m no model!  I promise to work on it if I continue with the idea of Wardrobe Wednesdays.  Promise.

There are a couple themes to the next set of outfits.  First off, they are (as I promised) exactly what I wore.  I took quick snaps moments before heading out the door to go about my life.  This week job hunting was on the radar.  I was applying in fashion retail at an off-price retailer.  Not the kind of situation to wear the suit that I do have hanging in my closet.  That would be much too formal and stiff for the environment.  Some may argue that jeans were not appropriate to interview but I beg to differ – knowing the environment is key.  I took into consideration what those in the company themselves wore, along with the city at large in which I live.

Outfit #1 was to go in and ask to fill out and hand in an application.  Temps were low 40’s so the velvet dark teal jacket was ideal.

Outfit #2 was for the callback interview.  Temps had gone up to mid 50’s so showing a little arm wasn’t incongruent with the season.

Both outfits are the exact same on bottom – J Brand black skinnies and suede black Chinese Laundry booties.  This is a great example of having some wardrobe staples you can depend on.  I don’t have to think about styling these.  They’re building blocks to great outfits.  You put them on and everything falls into place around them.

Worthy of note, is this is basically a dressier version of the good ole’ tee shirt and jeans formula.  Dark jeans are typically dressier, and jet black to me almost transcend the jean category altogether.  The tees are blends of rayon or modal and have a noticeable drape to them, unlike stiff, boxy basic cotton tees.

The two outfits also demonstrate the high/low variety in my closet.  The drapey white chiffon pocket tee in #1 was $5 at Old Navy, while the grey v neck in #2 retailed for $150 (I paid about half that) and is a modal cashmere blend by LnA.

Lastly, I topped off each look with a blazer.  As someone who hasn’t worked in an office in well over 25 years, you’d think I wouldn’t have much need for blazers.  I think this demonstrates that blazers don’t have to read as business or corporate.  Look for more interesting cuts, or fabrics that are not basic suiting material and you won’t feel like an office drone, I promise you. The jacket in #2 is actually half of a suit from Express.  The ruching, along with the zig zag pattern, help keep it from being too conservative for me.  I am glad I have the suit, just in case, but have so far worn the items separately only.  Often when one needs a suit is precisely not the time we want to be shopping on a deadline for one.  This is a ‘just in case’ item I wholeheartedly believe in having in the closet.

I don’t know if I have the job yet, but will update when I do.  Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed!

Do any of you work in a non office setting where a suit or even separates would be overdressing for the job?  Did you struggle to hit the right note in your attire?  What did you wear and would you have chosen differently in hindsight?

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9 thoughts on “Smart casual – job hunting

  1. I work in an office – the corporate office for a large property management company. A suit would have been overdressed for the interview. It was 15 years ago, but I feel certain I wore a dress, as it’s all I ever wear. To give you some idea of the environment – the recently retired senior VP wore what I would call a track suit every day. Matched pieces of athletic wear. The business world is not what it used to be!

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    • This didn’t happen to be in L.A. did it? LOL CA has it’s own idea of dressing and casual influences most every aspect. Maybe banking and legal fields are still buttoned up. Not much else it seems . . . .

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      • This is in Richmond, VA – a small, somewhat conservative city. When I worked in banking, things were much more buttoned up!

        I think your look is perfect for a fashion-y environment.

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  2. Good luck with the job search!

    I love seeing you rock and embrace a blazer. I recall threads on another fashion site where you struggled to see they can be non-corporate. Love seeing your evolution.

    Today I’m rocking a black moto so I think we have swapped personas 🙂

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  3. yes, I didn’t buy my first blazer until I was 35, long after my office days. It was very casual (cotton with frayed edge seams) and I saw the light instantly. Next one was a shrunken corduroy as was in at the time, and it was a hit, too. I need to keep them more on the funky or interesting side for my lifestyle and wardrobe, or they won’t get use.
    As for your black moto, I even still haven’t gotten one of those! Blush, yes. Rockin’ black – not quite yet 😉

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  4. I’m enjoying this blog, by the way! I wear blazers of one kind or another a lot, because I’m a university professor and I’ve always considered the jacket to be the thing that signifies my role when I walk into the classroom. I could break out of that, but the truth is that I really love blazers and other jackets. And in fact I realized the other day–as I was buying a lightweight red suede duster at a vintage store–that one of the many things I love about my job is that I can wear almost whatever I want. Back when I didn’t take so much interest in what I wore, I could throw on any non-jeans pants, a shirt, and a jacket and no one would blink an eye, and now I can tuck a cream-colored turtleneck into brown trousers, carefully pick out a black belt and black boots, and throw on the red duster, and have fun with the drama of it. (And I feel fine lecturing wearing dark wash jeans, as long as I dress them up with pieces like a grey double-breasted Piazza Sempione jacket and conscious choices of shoes and jewelry.)

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    • Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it. I haven’t been in a job where I was out of uniform since early 1992, so you can see why blazers maybe wouldn’t play in to a bartender’s closet in general. I’m hoping if I land this job I will, like you, be able to wear much more of what I’d like to (within reason of working dress codes obviously). I can’t tell you how much I hate the polos I’d have to wear at my golf course job. 😛

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