Monday, October 18, 2010

Business Casual, Expanded

So firstly, let me apologize for my extreme absence.  Believe it or not, I have actually been busy.  I started my blog bc I didn't really have anything to do during the week, and I wanted to be productive in some way, even if it was only via a blog.  Since then, though, my schedule has picked up quite a bit, although not due to a job, as I would have preferred.

So what brings me back to the world of blogspot?  Well, despite my absence from writing, I still follow many blogs on my Google Reader, conveniently accessible on my iPhone. This morning, I read an article posted by Adam, a friend of mine from church.  Adam was detailing appropriate attire for academic conferences.  While I enjoyed the entry, there was obviously something in it that I found so disturbing that I could not refrain from commenting on it.  And since it was a fashion-related issue, this blog is clearly my most appropriate outlet for such a comment.  So you can thank Adam for my return to blogging, however long it may last...

Alright, to the matter at hand- this is the picture Adam posted for business casual, with the following remarks:


"In recent decades, it has become important that women be taken seriously in academia; sadly, they were not always given this privilege, and in order to overcome such prejudice women needed to dress as seriously as possible.  The business professional look is a very effective way for a lady to take charge of the room and let everyone know that she is serious and authoritative.  The only problem is that you might look like a boring lawyer, but you won't have the option of spicing it up with a tie.  This is an useful look, but un-fulfilling to some because it can lack any sort of flair."

Now, in all fairness, Adam is speaking specifically about academic conference, but I take person issue with these remarks.  First- I like this picture, and the outfit in it.  It's not terrible fashion forward, but it definitely gets the professionalism across. Here's my actual issue: "the only problem is that you might look like a boring lawyer... un-fulfilling to some because it can lack any sort of flair"....

Whoa, Adam- hold it. For any readers who do not know it- I am finishing up my last few classes at law school this semester.  Read: future lawyer blogging.  (I'm obligated to relay that nothing on my blog is legal advice nor should it be taken as such; but fashion advice is free for all!).  Clearly, I do not agree with the contention that business casual is merely boring lawyer wear.  Perhaps (and even hopefully?) Adam has not been in a law firm recently.  So we can easily forgive his narrow view of how lawyer's dress today.  But for Adam and those like him, I feel it is necessary to defend my future profession and our ability to be fashionable!

Ok, so what's the first thing missing from Adam's definition of BC?  The dress, obviously.  Certain styles of dresses are now as acceptable in the office (and in court!) as traditional business suits.  Slap a blazer or three quarter sleeve jacket over just about any of these and you're good to go!  In warmer weather and in the office, you can skip the jacket altogether (but do *not* go sleeveless into a courtroom!).

David Meister:

Kate Spade:


Kay Unger, at Neiman's

But even if you are going to stick by the suit, there is definite flair potential.  I prefer skirtsuits- bc I feel they lend themselve to greater interpretation, but pantsuits definitely have their options as well.  Playing with the fabric of the suit, and the detailing, you can really end up with some beautiful, yet professional, options:

Trend! Ruffled Collars

Armani Collezioni Plisse-Ruffled Jacket & Velvet Skirt

Kay Unger, at Neiman's:




Trend! Military

Donna Karan:

 Nina Ricci:

St. John Collection at Neiman's:

(anyone get a Mondo (Project Runway) vibe here??)

 love this funky undershirt!



From now on, I am refusing to call my work wardrobe "business casual".  I'm adopting the new, modern tagline being used by Vogue, InStyle, etc... "Work Chic", and I hope you ladies do too!    ;)


  1. Good post! I often look at 'work chic' clothes when I'm in stores, and it's nice to see other options. This gave me a bit of inspiration for when I actually am able to go out and buy some new outfits. I've always wanted work clothes with a bit of flair so it's more me.

  2. Ooh, I like this. I sense a blog war! But seriously, it's good to know lawyers can know fashion on the job.