Thoughts on my style after one year at my new workplace

Longtime readers of this blog (thank you!) will know that a year ago, I changed jobs and workplaces and moved from Oregon to Washington state. I love my current and now not-so-new job and library and campus, and it’s been fun to witness how my new colleagues (who are all awesome and have their own distinctive styles, by the way!) have reacted to and gotten used to my personal work style over this past year.

I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be interesting to capture thoughts — both my own and my colleagues! — on my work style after one year at my new workplace. And as I wrap up the end of my first academic year at my new college — this is the final day of spring quarter! — I thought it would be perfect timing to finally put this post together.

Librarian for Life + Style | Style thoughts after one year at my new workplace

Style inspiration:

Over this past year, I think I have become quietly known as “stylish” amongst my colleagues, or at least known to care about style. Some of my colleagues have shared with me that they look forward to seeing what I will be wearing and have been inspired by my style, which always feels great:

I always look forward to what you will be wearing. You mix it up.

I wish I could live in your closet.

I want to dress like you when I grow up.
(This was a recent comment from a library worker who’s applying to library school! So sweet!)

Conversations and questions about style

And it might surprise my readers, but I usually don’t initiate conversations about fashion and style at work. The exception to this is that I do often compliment a colleague on what he/she is wearing… which does often then lead to conversations about fashion and style. And of course, I’m happy to join in style-related conversations if others start them or ask me questions, which has happened (and more frequently) at work. That’s why I have this blog, so I have an outlet to talk about fashion and personal style! 🙂

A colleague, as I shared in this prior post about my love of pockets, once asked me how did I find so many dresses and skirts with pockets in them. And more than one colleague has asked me for advice on where to find comfortable work shoes, as well as about shoe inserts. I’ve also mentioned my love of thrifting more than once, so I’ve also answered questions about my favorite thrifting stores, both in town and online.

Amusing colleagues with prints, bold colors + attention to detail

I have also often surprised, or perhaps just amused?, a few of my colleagues by my love of prints and bold colors!

These moments remind me of a time at my previous library when I first wore my red ankle pants, and a colleague walked into my office, stopped short, and stammered, “Those are… RED pants.” My response? “Yep!” Paired with a wide smile, of course. 😉

Here are some of the work outfits I remember that made some of my colleagues’ eyebrows go up:

Librarian for Life + Style | Kitty cats + books | Pairing a novelty print skirt with statement heels

I can still remember the double-take and the incredulous tone, “Are those… cats?!”

Original post:  Classic + quirky | Pairing a novelty print skirt with statement heels

Librarian for Life + Style | Pairing orange floral with black

Original post:  Pairing orange floral with black

Librarian for Life + Style | Berry + brown work outfit, with tie belt + new velvet fedora

Original post:  Raspberry velvet, if you please

When colleagues have asked me about how I put together an outfit, they’re often surprised at the level of thought and detail I put into it. I think some of my readers also marvel at this, hah! (Hey, Erin, what’s up? 😉 )

Yes, I really do think through everything I wear, even down to the jewelry, and I’ve written about my thought process behind putting outfits together in more detail here in this post. Putting together outfits and remixing clothing combinations in my head is like my version of crosswords — keeps my brain active and fresh! 😉

Looking professional

My focus on always wanting to look professional at work has been noted, even in recent evaluations from members of my tenure committee (!):

She was dressed professionally, yet casually, and offered a welcoming attitude

She was dressed professionally and seemed prepared to take on whatever the morning had to offer

I appreciate those two comments above because they demonstrate my personal style’s focus on comfort and practicality, and how one’s style and one’s work often intersect. Style can, indeed, impact how you interact with others. If you feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, then others can feel that, too, and perhaps feel more comfortable and confident themselves.

Another colleague remarked once in person,
You always look impeccably professional.

Enjoying style + remixing clothing

Other colleagues have noted that I do enjoy style, and that joy comes through in what I wear:

You can tell you enjoy clothes and thinking about clothes.

Colleagues have also noted the variety of items I wear and that I like to remix clothing:

Colleague:  “I don’t think I’ve seen you wear the same thing twice.
Me: “You’ve seen me wear the same piece more than once, just in different ways. I like to remix items. Like this skirt, which I’ve worn several times to work.
Colleague:  “Huh. You’re right!

This was the outfit that inspired the above conversation:

Librarian for Life + Style | Wearing a tunic dress as a top | Bold red + black

How big IS your closet?

[It’s not actually that large, it’s just well-organized. And I share half of the closet with my husband. See here for a tour of our current closet.]

Librarian for Life + Style | A tour of our new closet

You have the best shoe collection!

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of high heels in new closet

Has my work style changed over this past year?

Hmmm… that’s interesting to think about. I think overall my style has become a little more simplified over the past year. It does rain a LOT up here in Tacoma — even more so than in Portland! — so I haven’t gotten to wear as many “fun” shoes to work as I used to be able to. Also, my job here is even more active than my job was in Oregon — more meetings outside the library, so a lot of walking across campus — so again, that’s impacted my footwear choices.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been rewearing a lot of my older outfits, especially since I finished updating all my Gallery pages. And I have had an entirely new set of colleagues, this means they’ve never seen me wear those older outfit combos — it’s all new to them! 😉 So on days when I just don’t want to think about putting an outfit together, or when I’m running late or feeling sluggish in the morning, I just look at my Gallery archives and choose an outfit I’ve worn before. Easy!

Sharing the joy of style

I’ve also noticed how a couple of co-workers now seek me out to show me their shoes or clothing items, items both new and new-to-me. That’s always fun, to share in the joy of style by proxy. And I am always appreciative of my colleagues’ style — I really enjoy that we all have distinctive personal styles — especially when it requires fawning over a colleague’s pair of blue suede ankle booties! I’m up for that any day. 😉

And if you’re wondering, dear readers, if I share my style blog with my colleagues, the answer is no, I don’t choose to volunteer that information. A couple of colleagues have accidentally found out themselves about my style blog, by searching for librarians or library style online or through social media. [A couple more colleagues have since found out about the blog, after I wrote the first draft of this post… so… hi there!] I have been style blogging for 5+ years, so I can imagine that this blog pops up high on search result lists when you search for specific keywords like librarian style or librarian fashion. 😀 It’s just kind of weird to talk about the very specific arena of style blogging to those who don’t blog (hence my post about “Why I’m a style blogger, not a fashion blogger“), so I just choose to not make a big deal out of my style blog at work.

Note:  Talking about style in general is different to me than talking about my style blog. I will talk about style with anyone, any time. But outside the circle of basically my husband, my mom, and my good friend Stephanie, when anyone else I know in real life brings up my style blog, I basically stammer and try to change the subject as soon as possible. (And yes, my husband thinks this is a VERY WEIRD tendency of mine.)

Moving on from personal awkwardness… writing this post has also made me realize that I really do need to write some follow-up posts, like revisiting my current shoe collection (I had memorialized my entire shoe collection back in 2012 in this “Just me and my shoes” post), as well as going more in-depth about how I “trick out” my shoes with a variety of shoe inserts.

How do you feel your personal work style is viewed by your co-workers? Do you talk about style at your workplace? Please leave a comment and share!

Linkups:  Hello MondayVisible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellConfident TwosdaysTurning Heads, Style With a SmileWho’s Wearing What WednesdaysTrendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup,  Whatcha Wearing WednesdayTop of the WorldThursdays Fashion Files, Thursday ModaCelebrating StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion FridayFabulous FridayFriday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp


10 thoughts on “Thoughts on my style after one year at my new workplace

  1. karlee

    This was such a fun post to read! I graduated library school last May and I’m currently working in a law library. I love seeing how you put outfits together and it has inspired my own outfit-creations!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Oh yay, thanks so much for your comment! It’s so sweet to hear that I have helped your own work style as a librarian. In my head, a law library feels like it would require a more formal kind of work style — is that totally stereotypical?

  2. Kezzie

    I love this post and honestly, if you substituted the word ‘librarian’ for Teacher, I could have written this post from the comments about colleagues’ admiration to chats about style but not about the blog and your awkwardness about talking about it. My husband told this female friend about my blog on Saturday (he told her I was on a blogger meetup with my American friend who showed me around libraries in Oxford , which, Incidently, you should totally come over and read to drool over books! It’s my current post) . When I met them later, she asked about my blog and i was mortified, thinking he had told her about it as he knows it is secret. I made some big show of assuming she was talking about my school music blog and kept talking about it while she stood there confused and i changed the subject.
    I like planning outfits, it is fun and i have various children who approach me daily to say they like something. I think quirky is good for teacher dressing!x

  3. Erin

    Ha! Thanks for the shout-out.

    I really enjoyed this post. As you know, I work in a VERY casual office and I’ve definitely fallen into the jeans and a simple top mode. However, I still occasionally get compliments on something I’m wearing. Plus, because I was once profiled on a local business website for my office style, my company’s CEO occasionally refers to me as a “style guru.” You can bet that makes me feel awkward!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Woot, style guru indeed! You just can’t keep the inherent style from coming through! 🙂 And even though my workplace is still definitely on the casual end of the style spectrum — as is the PNW — I still forge ahead with my color-coordinating and put-together outfits. As I’ve written about before, that Southern upbringing of “dressing up” for things and people that matter, is still very much a part of who I am — and will continue to be! 😀

  4. amberiam

    I can’t believe you’ve finished your first year there already! It’s amazing how quickly time seems to go by sometimes! We’re in the process of moving (just across town – thank goodness), and when we get settled in and unpacked, I want to work on becoming more thoughtful with my wardrobe and outfit planning. I appreciate all of the time you take to explain your thought processes and how you put things together. I know I’ll definitely find inspiration when I start stepping up my game! Congratulations on a successful first year there!

    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thank you, Amber, for the comment of appreciating the time I take to detail my thought process when it comes to style and putting outfits together. I have to admit, I sometimes feel self-conscious about that, like “Will anyone keep reading or care about all these details?” But I keep doing it, anyway, even just as a self-reflective exercise for myself — but I appreciate that at least someone else out there likes it, too! And I hope your move goes well! 🙂

  5. Jennie

    This was such a fun post to read, Jen. It was fun to read what your colleagues have said about your style. I receive many of the same and am always approached about style advice, even though I also do not initiate fashion conversations. I will always love your cat and books skirt. 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday!



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