Why hello, busichic! Guess who is back at work?
So in case you missed it, I walked away from my career in Finance/IT late last year and then proceeded to spend the next few months planning my wedding. In case you’re interested, I’ll be blogging about what I learnt from that process (!) over at my new personal site, cherylplin.com So almost six months later, I’m finally ready to work!! Ummm, has anyone else had a slow start to the year?
Is your wardrobe getting in the way of your progress?
This might sound strange, but I feel like my wardrobe has been another reason why I’ve had a slow start to the year. You see, getting dressed for work has always been part of the regime I go through to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead; it’s also a process that I normally enjoy. However now that I am working freelance – time is money – so I would like to spend less time putting outfits together but still feel good in what I’m wearing. My trouble with *working from home* has been trying to find a good balance between the *work* wardrobe and *home* comfort; you don’t want to know how many times I’ve found that I can changed in one day in pursuit of this! Another incentive for me has been the realisation that it’s not just time I’m losing. Getting changed both takes effort AND creates clutter as I style and re-style outfits for the upteenth time. That’s brain power I could be using to create content for BusinessChic! But if I’m really honest, it’s the clutter that is the biggest problem You see, I haven’t gotten into the habit of putting away clothes as soon as I’m done with them. And while I don’t know much about feng shui, the sight of my mess and realisation that I need to *clean my room* is such an energy drain. It’s time to do something! So what’s a busichic to do?
Introducing structure into your wardrobe
So I’ve set aside some time to revisit my wardrobe and take things back to basics as my wardrobe evolves from Business Casual to Smart Casual. First some definitions:
First some definitions
“Business Casual.” Only the most confusing term ever! Everywhere I’ve ever worked in “Corporate-land”, the dress code “Contemporary Business Wear” has been used. It means that we need to be formal but not so formal that matching suits are required. While I still own some, it’s been a very long time since I have had to wear a full-suit. Even for meetings with the CEO, a blazer of some sort over a smart pair of pants, skirt or dress is all that’s needed. I recognise that more commonly in the fashion world, this term “Business Casual” is used – a case of fashionistas needing to catch up with the corporates? I’d love your thoughts on how you or your workplace describe this style. Smart Casual traditionally means jeans, in some workplaces it literally means “what you wear in your downtime or on the weekend.” Personally I find this interpretation a little too relaxed for the workplace; surely peeling slogan tees, unflattering cuts of acid-wash denim (literally from the 80s) and polar fleece are too CBF for a professional environment. In my interpretation we can still wear jeans but let’s try err on the side of smart and introduce some more creative flair…
I’m taking inspiration from the late Steve Jobs as well as 18 other successful people who wears/wore the same thing to work everyday to create some base signature work outfits that will save me time and energy but with also enough flexibility, variability and play to keep the joy of dressing up that I appreciate.
Taking inspiration from my recent trip (or should I say honeymoon!) to Japan, I’ve been reminded how important it is to have the wardrobe classics to use as a foundation for a timeless and chic wardrobe.
The business casual business chic wardrobe
So let’s start with a few of the key basics, which in my mind are:
- trench coat
- blouse – some say “the white shirt”, I personally don’t like stiff collars so I broaden the definition to include any top that you might love wearing
- pencil skirt
- mid-heel pump – I think patent leather works best for the office as they stay high-shine with very little maintenance required.
- scarf – required for layering and I love exploring all the ways there are of styling a scarf – although so far I think I’ve only got about five different ways that fit in for work…
- strand of pearls
- leopard print
Pearls can sometimes look a little twee on their own so I’m currently having fun giving them some dimension with some of my newest accessories like this gold-flecked cotton and silk scarf gifted to me by friends at Kish & Evie and contrasting the look with the pave bar stud earrings by Jane Heng Jewellery – a little gift I bought myself to mark my getting married!
Tune in each Sunday
So each Sunday, I’ll be sharing my progress from Business Casual to Smart Casual – all with a touch of my creative bent. By keeping you posted on what I’ve been wearing to work, I also hope to share progress updates on what I’m working on. You see, this world of freelance is as exciting as it is terrifying and nerve-racking so it’s easy for me to want to hide under the bed from it all. I know that I’m going to fail at things and that’s ok – so long I do it quickly and learn from it. In that same vein, I have a feeling that not all of the outfits I put together will necessarily work for my new freelance career. I’ve already found that some previously *trusty* pieces are way too formal. So each Monday night, I’ll update the post with what worked and what didn’t as I tweak my way to Creative Smart Casual; consider it a continuous improvement process! ——————————————————–
What I’m wearing: to my new office
This week I’ll be starting work from my new office at the nab’s co-working space, The Village. I’ve worked from most of the co-working spaces in Melbourne and have only good things to say about each of them. In fact, later this month I’d like to publish a post about co-working spaces in Melbourne so let me know if you have any questions that I can make sure I address. But for now, back to my first-day-at-work outfit! I’ll be working in nab’s co-working space where the dress code is very casual. That said I find that staff at nab dress in a Business Casual / Contemporary Business Wear way, anyway – there are very few co-ordinating suits. The outfit I have on in this post, is actually quite conservative even by nab’s standards but I feel like it’s a great outfit for making a good first impression in the conservative offices I’ve worked in to date. For my first day in a co-working space, I wore:
- Trench coat – I picked up mine in Japan but see more here on the Business Chic Trench Coat Pinterest board.
- Cream blouse - mine is by the now-defunct Bento label, see similar here on the Pinterest board I’ve dedicated to work tops.
- Pencil skirt – mine has a bit of flare detail and I picked it up from Big W for a song when I was going through some weight fluctuations and didn’t want to invest too much. Funnily enough it’s become a favourite in my work wardrobe, see similarly interesting work bottoms here.
- Patent leather heels by Bared Footwear
- Pearls – I picked this up on sale about a fortnight ago from a store in Block Arcade. If you’re looking for genuine pearls but aren’t ready to invest just yet, try experimenting with inexpensive fresh-water pearls.
- Silk & Cotton Scarf with Gold highlights by Kish & Evie – I love how much wear I’m getting out of this silk-cotton blend – it is so cosy to wear! The gold highlights also make it more interesting than the stock standard black scarf – classic enough for conservative workplaces but with enough twinkle to take me to drinks after work. Love it!
- Pave Bar Stud earrings by Jane Heng Jewellery – my beautiful friend Jane created this label and I hope to have her on the blog soon to tell you more about its wonderful story. In the meantime, I love these pave bar stud earrings that also play up to my new slight subversive hair cut – can you tell that I shaved my head?
Gosh it’s almost 11am and I actually still haven’t gotten out of bed! It’s so easy to just work here from my laptop. In fact, the only reason why I’m getting out of bed is because I’m hungry and my laptop is running low on batteries… :0
In more productive news, Kish and Evie are offering Business Chic readers 30% off their range of beautiful scarves! Simply use the code ATREATFROMCHERYL kishandevie.com – I’m already thinking about getting this vibrant number to pack more colour into my freelance wardrobe, or on a more Smart Casual front; these cute and sparkly watermelons!