Thursday, May 29, 2014

Work Clothes

It’s a sad truth that a lot of my decision to become a lawyer was motivated by Legally Blonde.*  Wearing pink, practicing law, and teaching everyone about gender discrimination: that was the dream.

For awhile I was pretty pleased to be at least 1 for 3 on that - practicing law.  And the truth is, I don't have the fashion stamina of our fictional friend Elle.  I didn't go to class in law school in designer dresses; I went in yoga clothes regardless of whether I was going to pretend to do yoga that day.

In sum, I like style but I’m horribly inattentive to it. I generally treat it about the same as my high school boyfriend treated me - sometimes I spend time on it but other times I completely forget about it because I’m off playing laser tag with my friends.  (This is the most accurate metaphor I’ve ever created, and I was a poetry major.)

So I go through these swings, particularly at work. I’ll have times when the only thing I wear to work is the work pants I bought because while being cut like work pants, they are actually pretty much made out of black sweatpants fabric. I have a similar skirt that I bought at Costco for $12 which is, again, made of sweatpants fabric.  Maybe literally, though I'm not sure.  Okay, okay, I actually have two sweatpants-skirts: one in gray and one in black. I wear them a lot. I have five plain white blouses. I have some long-sleeved t-shirts with just enough detail on them for me to I call them "work shirts" and wear them to work, silently daring anyone to call me on it.

At some point in the last year (and after having spent my first year out of school wearing a boring suit every day) I decided to switch it up. So now there are select times when I decide to wear very impractical things that I stubbornly decided are what a lawyer should look like, mixed in with the fact that I actually hate how boring lawyers look.

N.B. Most of my coworkers are dudes and you can’t tell them apart other than by hair color/quantity because they are all wearing the same grey pants and blue or white work shirt. They actually get kind of mad when I point out when two or more of them are wearing the exact same outfit on any given day. "Hey, you guys match!" It’s a fun game for me.  
Question:  If you line up three in a row of them wearing the same outfit, will they explode into points of light, vanish, and award points like in the jewel game on my phone?

Whether I’m dressing stylishly or not is, I think, inversely proportionate to the number of billable hours I worked three days before.

And when I do decide to hang out with style, I go in unique directions. For instance, my new work pants are awesome wide-legged white pants with pockets (a la Veronica Corningstone)...

which I recently wore with a baby-pink ruffled shirt and a beige lace cardigan and a belt with a bow on it. I looked a little like Louis Quatorze via 1973:

 Yesterday I dressed like I was going to a Republican summer picnic campaign fundraiser - ie red sleeveless dress under a white linen blouse with tan sandals. I have a pink, blue, and green flowered blouse with a black sequined collar; several enormous statement necklaces I wear like ties (and occasionally I will just jack Husband’s actual ties and wear those, since they’re very cute and he never wears them); varying dresses in teal, hot pink, and patterns.

This whole situation is aided and abetted by my grandma, who is a very stylish former model who likes to buy clothes that are too big for her and then give them to me. It’s from her I got my leopard-print silk blouse and the red sleeveless dress and the bright yellow blazer.

I think it’s my one rebellion against the severe gray-panted, white-walled, blond-wood office aesthetic I live in where we get e-mails from the office manager instructing us to put plastic lids on our ceramic coffee mugs to keep from spilling coffee on the coffee-colored carpet. If I’m going to wear heels to work, they are going to be my hot-pink patent leather ones.**

...or my beige 4-inch-heeled Mary Janes. Or the gray Cuban heels. I have black pumps (also with four inch heels - heh) but those are only for court, and no one ever takes me to court. So there.

The net result of my swings in style is that I alternate between excessively boring and functional and borderline caricature of a lady lawyer. So I dress, on average, like a usual attorney - the standard deviation’s just higher than you’d expect.

* It came out when I was in 8th grade.  Like that's an excuse.

** Sassy came to visit last week and when she drove up she looked at my outfit (black blouse, black mesh eyelet overskirt over a hot pink underskirt, hot pink heels), she marveled, “Did you wear that to work today? Wearing pink and lawyering? You are living the dream!” Sassy always makes me feel better about my life decisions.

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