Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Packable Professional

I'm interviewing for a job that, should I get it, will require a lot of travel. A LOT. Kind of nerve wracking for someone who has sometimes been close to tears when attempting to pack for a vacation. And then, again, when she's trying to make wearable outfits from the stuff she brought with her.


I briefly imagined having a small rolling suitcase filled with several stellar, sophisticated, uncrushable St. John suits. Kind of a Mad Men-on-the-Move aesthetic. I stalked a couple of possibilities on eBay but decided I'd better determine my size before bidding.  I hit the fitting room at Nordstrom and discovered that the answer is "twelve" and that I will never be someone who can spend $1400 on a jacket (a jacket, mind you, not a suit) that I could make myself over a weekend. Heck, I'm not even willing to plop down the- much more reasonable but still not IMO worth it- sixhundredish dollars for last years model on eBay. I was really convinced that once I had a St. John suit in my hand, or on my body, I'd be blown away by the awesomeness. Or that I'd at least be able to see what made a $1400 jacket worth $1400. It did not happen. The jackets were nice. Very nice. But nowhere near $1400 nice. Not. Even. Close.


For $1400 I want drop dead gorgeous.  And, not to be too demanding, but is it too much to ask that I should be able to wear the jacket without a cleavage concealing camisole? So, the dream has died. Except that I now have a new dream of knocking off perfectly fitting knit suits in much nicer fabrics in my work room during my downtime from traveling. You probably don't need to know me very well to imagine how likely that dream is to be realized. Yep. Not very.


I imagine jersey dresses, like this one, are going to be my fall back plan until I get my perfectly fitted knock off scheme off the ground. So, probably forever. Since this one cost less than ten dollars I'm not going to get bent out of shape about needing a tank underneath it- although I will upgrade to a nicer cami for professional situations.


I'll be trying out a few more installments of "The Packable Professional" here. Even if I don't land this job (but, man, I hope I do!) being better at packing is something I've always aspired to.  I'm completely open to suggestions for building a creative work travel wardrobe.  What would you include?

6 comments:

  1. I really like this outfit...the nice print on the dress, the belt and shoes. Good luck on your interview.

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    1. Thanks! I wore this dress a couple of times in the fall and winter with tights and I didn't like it very much. Part of the problem was I kept thinking of it as a black dress with a print but it's actually pretty light in color. Changing the belt made a big difference too. I guess it's pretty much a given that the belt that comes with the dress will not be the best one to wear with the dress.

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  2. This dress looks beautiful on you and best wishes on snagging that job.

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    1. Thanks! I'm feeling pretty hopeful.

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  3. Professional wardrobe depends upon the work environment. Women in banking wear a very different professional wardrobe than say women in teaching would wear. This is probably obvious to you but I thought I'd say it anyways.
    That dress would be professional in many work situations. I think it is very flattering on you. The shoes may not be considered professional day wear depending upon the part of the United States you live in. In the DC area they would be considered too casual and sexy. Plain closed toes are the norm for business here. Some peep toe pumps are considered summer business shoes.
    I think that if you add a jacket to the dress it would work and give it another days look.
    I always traveled with a suit:jacket skirt pants and a dress. I spent the week wearing each piece as a separate combined with either some sort of knit wear top or woven top. I could easily get 7 looks out of these components. Adding the accessories helped spice the looks up.
    I have friends however that never wear suits and only have dresses that they travel with by either layering under them or over them. Such as adding a button down white shirt under the dress you are wearing. Might make it look like a jumper over a blouse effect. There are lots of blogs that have suggestions for travel capsules.
    By the way good luck on the interview.

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    1. Thanks Adrienne,
      It's a sales position and therefore pretty flexible. The wedge sandals should not be a problem. Having seen some of the other sales people it seems that they can push the sexy vs. professional envelope a little more than I would personally be comfortable with- and not just in the footwear arena. So, at least I know that there is some flexibility these and no one is going to be all distressed by my toes hanging out. Adding a jacket over the dress is a great idea and it will give me some different options. I'm tending towards these knit dresses simply because you can stuff something like 30 of them in a backpack and pull them out at your destination with no ill effects, but I do know that I will want some variety and a jacket or two would be just the thing.

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