Category Archives: work outfits

Casual Friday formula | Purple + navy

Yep, another entry in my “Casual Friday” outfit formula of a blazer paired with skinny jeans! (I still have some past outfits from the spring quarter to show, and then I’ll continue with casual work outfits throughout the upcoming summer quarter.) When I saw this combo on Adina’s excellent Blue Collar Red Lipstick style blog (scroll down for the final pic), my eyes and brain lit up. Here’s how my thinking went when I pinned this look on my “Casual Friday ideas” board:

  • Structured blazer in a neutral color? Check.
  • Wine-colored top underneath? Check.
  • Skinny jeans? Check.
  • Animal print flats? Check.
  • Long pendant necklace? Check.

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

I wore this on a Friday — OF COURSE — a day which included a morning meet-and-greet coffee date with another local librarian, a meeting, another event on campus, and project work behind-the-scenes. Lots of variety on this Friday workday — and this comfy, classic outfit was good to go for all the myriad tasks on my to-do list. 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

We took these photos after work, and I thought you’d enjoy seeing the outfit “on the move,” so to speak, hence the photos of me jumping, above, and walking, below. The backdrop is a nearby church.

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Librarian for Life + Style | Purple tank + navy blazer Friday casual

Weather:  Sunny and dry

Where:  Casual Friday at work

What:

  • Blazer:  Macy’s, old
  • Tank top:  Old Navy, old
  • Skinny jeans:  Target, old
  • Flats:  Karen Scott via Macy’s, old
  • Pendant necklace:  Christmas gift this year from my in-laws
  • Silver earrings:  Christmas gift this year from my husband
  • Purple lip stain:  Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm Stain in “Shameless”

Shop my outfit:

very similar blazer from same brand  //  similar berry tank top  //  very similar skinny jeans  //  similar silver circle pendant necklace  //  similar animal print flats

Librarian for Life + Style | Casual Friday outfit collage, purple & navy

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, Flashback Fashion FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp

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

Style inspiration | Blue stripes + black belt

I recently came across this article featuring Michelle Obama’s stylish combo of a high-lo striped button-front tunic, black skinny trousers, and wide black corset belt. I have long been a fan of Michelle Obama’s personal style, which has always felt so accessible even when she chooses edgy, fashion-forward pieces.

When I saw Obama’s outfit, I immediately thought, “Oh, I have an idea of what to wear!” So I immediately pinned her outfit for inspiration. I paired my thin-striped blue button-front shirt with black ankle pants and black patent leather heels. My wide black stretchy belt mimicked the corset belt of Obama’s inspiration outfit.

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

It’s so hard to photograph the thin stripes of this button-front shirt! The stripes are more obvious in person.

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

I felt a little mod in this outfit, with the ankle pants and wide belt. It was a very comfortable outfit to wear for work!

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Librarian for Life + Style | Blue button-front + black belt

Weather:  Sunny and warm

Where:  Work day

What:

  • Button-front:  H&M, old
  • Ankle pants:  Banana Republic “Sloan Fit” pants, thrifted
  • Wide belt:  Kohl’s, old
  • Patent leather pumps:  Payless, old
  • Tote bag:  Target, new this winter
  • Hoop earrings:  Made in Oregon, old birthday gift

Shop my outfit:

very similar thin-striped button-front  //  exact style ankle pants by same brand  //  similar wide black belt  //  exact tote bag  //  very similar black patent leather pumps

Librarian for Life + Style | Striped button-front + black ankle pants outfit collage

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

New eShakti skirt | Teal + brown + white

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by eShakti to select a new clothing item from their site. I have worked with eShakti quite a few times over the years, as seen here and here, for starters. I ultimately selected a floaty midi skirt with a palm leaf-print design.

For the sake of full disclosure, I must point out that that this was my second selection for an eShakti item this spring; I will detail my failed first attempt in my monthly budget adventures post later this month. This post is also not sponsored by eShakti; although I was contacted by them to select a complimentary clothing item of my own choosing, there was no obligation to provide a review. I am doing so because I want to share my experience and photos with my readers.

I went the custom sizing route for the skirt, as you can see by the label and pics below. I’m very glad to report the skirt does fit. (Whew.)

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Fair warning, this is a photo-heavy post!

I like the wide and high-waist design of the skirt, and this design looks a bit retro to me. It is floaty and flippy, and I lost no time in twirling in my new skirt! 😀

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

The skirt is also lined, thank goodness, as the fabric is quite thin and lightweight. The fabric for both the skirt and lining is polyester crepe, which means I did have to use my static guard spray on the skirt, to make sure it didn’t cling throughout the day. (You can also read about my love of the static spray here in this “Everyday faves” post.)

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

As the skirt design feels both fresh and retro to me, I stuck with simple pieces to pair with it. I wanted the vibe to be soft and simple. Brown and turquoise remain one of my favorite color combinations, so I layered my brown cardigan over a simple white tank top. My tortoiseshell peep-toe wedges tied into the brown color tones, as did my vintage sunglasses.

My white tank top provided a nice backdrop for my gold bar pendant necklace. And my finishing accessories were my thin gold-and-pearl hoop earrings and my turquoise stud earrings. Ultimately, I felt pretty and feminine and comfortable in my new skirt and outfit today!

Librarian for Life + Style | Gold jewelry closeup

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Librarian for Life + Style | New eShakti skirt + brown cardigan

Weather:  Sunny and warm

Where:  Work day that included meetings

What:

  • Skirt:  c/o eShakti, new
  • Cardigan:  Gap, old
  • Tank top:  Target?, old
  • Wedges:  Payless, old
  • Gold necklace:  Lulu’s, c/o giveaway, old

Shop my outfit:

exact skirt  //  very similar v-neck brown cardigan  //  very similar white tank top  //  similar peep-toe pumps  //  very similar gold bar pendant necklace

Librarian for Life + Style | Turquoise midi skirt outfit collage

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

Retro inspiration | Sailor-style trousers

A few years ago, I did a collage of me and my maternal grandmother, the side of my family that I most resemble, and that post remains one of my very favorite posts. (And y’all recently enjoyed a collage of me and my mom for Mother’s Day!).

Back when I did the post of my grandmother, I mentioned that I had a few different candid photos of her with the idea that I would do more posts of me wearing outfits inspired by her. I didn’t immediately follow up on that idea (sorry!), but I’ve never forgotten that idea. So when I was recently going back over those old photos of my grandmother, I realized that I now had another piece in my wardrobe, a pair of sailor-style pants I picked up this past fall, that I could wear for another retro- and family-inspired look.

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspirations

I basically recreated my grandma’s look with modern versions, starting with my wide-legged, sailor-style trousers. I then thought of my black wedge sandals, which looked a little similar to the bit of her black shoes visible in her photograph. I echoed her polka-dotted button-front blouse with my own diamond-print button-front blouse (the print looks like tiny polka dots from afar). And my new black tote bag is structured enough to play off the hard case she’s carrying in the photo.

I then carried my black rain coat when we took photos, to more closely mimic the inspiration photograph.

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration closeup

And y’all know me and details! I filled in my eyebrows a little more heavily and went red on the lips for a more ’40s makeup look. (The matte finish on my laps is due to just using red lip liner on my lips, instead of red lipstick.)

I think one of the main reasons I didn’t immediately do more of these retro inspiration looks of my grandma’s is because I cut my hair all off later that year into a ’20s-inspired bob. Since my grandmother’s look in these photographs is so clearly from the ’40s, I didn’t feel I could really channel her in the same way that I had in that first post.

I still have short hair, so what made this time different? First, I no longer have the blunt, ’20s-style bangs I used to have, and my bangs are long enough now to play with. My recent hair experiments with the Kenra hairsprays have also given me more confidence in playing with my short hair! Therefore, I decided that I could do a slight nod to the ’40s hairstyles with a little pin curl of my bangs. So I rolled my bangs over and into a slight curl at the end, and then pinned and sprayed the bangs. It’s subtle, but it was enough for me. 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Librarian for Life + Style | Retro inspiration, sailor-style trousers

Weather:  Cooler but dry

Where:  Work day that included meetings

What:

Shop my outfit:

very similar polka dot button-front shirt  //  similar wide-leg black trousers  //  very similar black strappy wedges  //  exact black tote bag

Librarian for Life + Style | Print button-front and wide-leg trousers outfit collage


Did you enjoy this post and another outfit inspired by my grandmother? Do you have a favorite era for retro style inspiration? 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, Flashback Fashion FridayFine-Whatever LinkupWeekend Wear Link Up#SaturdayShareLinkUp