Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Look at Fashion Oxymorons: Business Casual

Two days ago, I happened to stumble upon a fashion oxymoron. I had signed up for an interview for a all woman's leadership/ community service club where I found the letters business casual taunting me on a slip of paper. I've heard of it. I've seen it. But still in my mind, I whined out loud, "What the Fudge is Business Casual?!" I didn't get it. And it wasn't just because I'm naturally slow like that. Was I suppose to dress business? Or was I suppose to dress casual? And is there even really such an idea as business casual? If I were to take this meaning literally than I would have applied the mullet theory to my clothing - business in the front and party in the back. But thankfully I decided to ditch the idea of a formal collared shirt blazer and jeans combo because apparently jeans do not fit under the business casual label. Then what the heck is the casual for?

I was not going to be defeated. I whipped out my handy dandy googling skills and looked up images. I was disappointed when I saw how boring business casual turned out to be and knowing myself I want to look anything but boring. I'd rather look tacky and take my chances with trashy than be seen as boring because I try to be anything but. It's also good for disguising my boring life in way. The description of "business casual" were mostly, for women, a nice button up shirt and slacks or a skirt. Did I really want to conform and change what I wanted to wear just for an interview? (If I were wise, I would have said yes, but I'm not wise, so I said no)


Okay maybe yes a little. I realized that I needed to find a right balance between displaying my personality while also adhering to what others wanted. After all, isn't that trade-off we all have to go to in life? If they wanted a button up shirt, I'll give them button up! If they want a knee length skirt, I'll give them a knee length skirt! So I wore this (minus the red stockings because people thought it might be a little too much even though I thought they were way cool and very Prada-esque)

I'll rule the city someday. This looks like those cheesy photos you take at the mall.

I wore a button up in yellow to add extra pizazz and because I felt like a yellow on that particular day. I later realized that the colors were also Bruin colors so if they questioned my attired I could have simply said that I'm very school spirited. The skirt was rather normal, in a neutral color. I added tights because business casual should not be too showy and revealing and my simple black flats with a bow on top. I managed to look smashing, to myself anyways, although I kept worrying that I was not business casual enough throughout the whole day. I decided that if they didn't want me because of what I wore, than this club was not for me. Thankfully they didn't say anything. But unfortunately I felt like the Asian Miss South Carolina during the interview. Hooray for me.

I love colors and I believe that just because those words business casual come up, it does not mean you have to go the ultra conservative and normal route. I would like to add however, if it's for something really important and you don't know what to wear, it's better to go the conservative route than to experiment. If you read this before your job interview and wore bright eye shattering colors and didn't get the job, please don't blame me! I rarely know what I am saying most of the time so never take my advice seriously. But you can if you wannnna....

When I typed up business casual, an image of Mary Kate Olsen appeared. While I'm not a big celebrity style icon type of person, I did like her "business casual" outfit because it looked so chic and fashionable at the same time.

Tips for a successful Business + Casual Outift:

  • No boobage. People want to know your ideas and thoughts and your intelligence not your girls. (Unless your working in the adult industry, now that's a whole different story.
  • Dress as if your parents are judging you. That should be a helpful tip. You want to look nice and presentable.
  • No flipflops or things to show your tiny appendages.
  • Sleeveless shirts are usually a no-no, but it really depends on your work environment or the situation. If going sleeveless is your dream then add a nice cardigan to your outfit.
  • Jeans are also probably a no-no. Go for a nice pair of trousers instead.
  • Shorts are also probably a no go.
  • Button up shirts are always a safe bet. Just make shirt it fits and no puckering occurs. A beek-a-boo window to your bra just looks trashy.
  • Skirts should be mid length. A long length skirt might look a little .. weird? Unless you can pull it off, then claps to you!
  • If you don't trust my advice then go with your own instincts because that's what I would do if I read these "tips".

Confidence is key. Too bad I lack it.


Jello on Springs said...

I never know what to wear for job interviews either. I think sometimes I get more nervous over what outfit to pick than the interview itself.I agree though, I think it's important for your personality to still shine through regardless of what they want, even if its simply adding a colorful belt to an otherwise monotonous business outfit. But ahh my comment is getting to long, but yea ive been following ur blog for a while but never commented bc i always thought commenting without a blog as anonymous, seemed so stalkerish, lol thought id finally say hello though.

lalaliu said...

aww, hello to you too!

Eleh said...

reading your post makes me want to experiment more with business outfit. Usually I would wear a brown shirt with a white pencil skirt. Now i think I might even add bright colours!

Did i mention your button up is utterly lovely?

AsianCajuns said...

Wonderful post. I pretty much have to wear business casual everyday and it's great getting some new ideas.

Isabel said...

You look so much cooler than business casual!

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