Haute and Dangerous: In the office

Blend In, Stand Out

Your mother always told you that you were special, and I’m not here to tell you any different. Regardless, you don’t want to be the one on the receiving end of the venomous stares from the water cooler club (“Oh, look, Marcia. That skank from accounting wore a ballgown to work again….”) If you overdress, you look like a snothead who thinks they’re better than everyone else. Underdress and you look like a slob (there goes that promotion!). How does one find balance?

The reality is that, just like you, every office is a unique entity with its own distinct dress codes. Don’t think of words like “casual,” “business casual,” or “power suits unite” as boring rules as much as a foundation you use to build your fab wardrobe. Ensure that your outfits aren’t distracting (stilettos so painfully tight that blood starts to pool up and leak so your cubicle suddenly looks like a crime scene) and/or uncomfortable (a chainmail micro-mini that just won’t stay put) for you and your coworkers, you can get that promotion and make a few friends while still managing to dress better than everyone else. Who says you can’t have it all?

Buy Good Lingerie

Finding the perfect bra is hard. So difficult, in fact, I would bet that’s why we haven’t had a female president yet. It’s hard to focus on things like homeland security and foreign affairs when your underwire is digging into your rib cage like the iron claws of a hungry eagle. When you invest the time and money into finding the right unmentionables — supportive, breathable, pretty — your clothes look better, you feel more confident, and you’re able to focus since you won’t be constantly fidgeting with rogue straps and abrasive seams.

Go The Extra Mile

Think of every sports movie you’ve ever seen. Think of that one emotional scene with the tearjerker music where the coach (preferably played by Denzel Washington) gives a speech so moving, so inspiring, that it motivates his team of lovable underdogs to go forth and achieve seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

This is what should be playing over and over in your head when you’re out shopping. Go the extra mile, overcome obstacles, and take that outfit to the finish line. Don’t buy those $400 pants and cheap out at the last minute — spend the extra $50 and get them professionally tailored. Scared of wearing makeup? Set up an appointment with a professional who can customize your look and teach you the ins and outs of application. And why is a 25 year old with a full-time job still buying the bulk of her wardrobe at RAVE (you know, one of those stores where you can’t find even a simple tank top without padded cups sewn into the bust)? Go forth and conquer. To the victor go the spoils. Carpe diem. You get the picture.

Hygiene is an Ongoing Battle

So, after a particularly rowdy night out, you woke up in a dumpster and came straight to work. These things happen, which is all the more reason to be prepared. So, next time you’re at the drugstore, pick up one or more of the following:

  • deodorant
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • dry shampoo
  • makeup remover/face cleaning wipes
  • hairspray
  • comb
  • a pretty case to keep it all in

Put your newly-assembled car case (or cubicle case) in your car (or cubicle) so you can continue living your Lindsay Lohan-esque lifestyle without looking like her.

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