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.
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:
I can still remember the double-take and the incredulous tone, “Are those… cats?!”
Original post: Pairing orange floral with black
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! 😉
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:
“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.]
“You have the best shoe collection!“
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 Monday, Visible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilike, Shoe and Tell, Confident Twosdays, Turning Heads, Style With a Smile, Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays, Trendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup, Whatcha Wearing Wednesday, Top of the World, Thursdays Fashion Files, Thursday Moda, Celebrating Style, Fashion Friday, Passion for Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Fabulous Friday, Friday Favorites, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever Linkup, Weekend Wear Link Up, #SaturdayShareLinkUp