Off the Couch, Into the Office

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In an adjacent dressing room at Ann Taylor Loft, I heard a woman say to her friend “that looks fine, get it, you will probably get a lot of use out of it.” Her “fine” looking friend sighed loudly.

Ann Taylor Loft, the cheaper version of Ann Taylor, is the true battleground of modern feminism. Where young women who make less that $40,000 a year buy clothes that will allow them to do their white collar jobs and remain invisible. These are the kind of clothes that you scan over and unconsciously register as “appropriate.” No detail draws your eye. No color offends your taste. The stretchy cotton slacks and shells neatly tuck away protruding parts. Have you ever woken up in the morning and said to yourself, “gee, I can’t wait to put on a shell”? Neither have the customers of Ann Taylor Loft, but they sigh and buy that shell anyway.

The plum pants (or slacks) above are from Ann Taylor Loft. I am not immune to the Loft’s utility. But the struggle to become effectively invisible in lady work wear makes my soul hurt.

Now that I have to dress like an inoffensive lady worker, I have totally reworked my wardrobe. I haven’t even worn a denim on denim shorts/shirt combo in a month because on the weekends I can’t peel my sweatpants off my body. Work wear depletes you of your will to look hip and reduces you to the constant hunt for blouses and blazers under $50 that allow you to avoid as much ironing and drycleaning as possible.

Here are my most invisible outfits:

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The only defense I have of these outfits is that I bravely replaced black slacks with black skinny jeans. I am such a rebel!

Here are my proudest moments. My refusals of invisibility:

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Jcrew Regent Linen Blazer, Jcrew wool pants, Everlane Loafers, Uniqlo Silk shirt

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Uniqlo jeans, Ash booties

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My Jcrew Jumpsuit. The best purchase I ever made. And yes, that is a bold red lip.

I defy you Ann Taylor Loft! I will pair my plum slacks with my teal blazer and confuse my coworkers with my frightening visibility. Or I might just give up and go back to the silk blouse, black pants combo. Sigh.

-D

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3 thoughts on “Off the Couch, Into the Office

  1. We are living parallel wardrobe experiences. For instance, I have a recent series of photos in which I am modeling slightly different versions of a basic black Ann Taylor pants suit. They are fine–not fiiine, just fine. There is no joy in them.

    However, I have since found some solace in pairing bold pants with boring, business-like tops and blazers. J. Crew Factory has offered key assistance in this regard. I pair pants like these (https://factory.jcrew.com/womens-clothing/pants/chino_cotton/PRDOVR~A6623/A6623.jsp?color_name=navy) with a solid top, and BAM. I suddenly feel more excited about my day.

    Also, I periodically cruise H&M for cheap, work-appropriate tops that are either in (a) bold colors or (b) interesting-without-being-twee patterns. Yes, they are 100% viscose. No, I do not love the way that fabric feels on my skin. However, I will not feel guilty discarding them the second someone decides to pay me a living wage.

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