Author Topic: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)  (Read 7379 times)

Imma

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Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« on: March 22, 2019, 01:46:36 PM »
Hi, fellow mustachian women!

I need some advice about dressing for work. About 6 months ago, I started a new job at a big public company coming from a very different type of culture (IT). In my previous job I was always the most formally dressed person. Now I'm absolutely the opposite. I have not been formally reprimanded, but coworkers have made remarks about me looking a bit scruffy. My formal job title is consultant, I'm working towards a graduate degree parttime and want to be seen as a nearly 30-year old professional who's an expert in her field and not be confused for the intern.

The dress code in our office is not written down (that would be very uncommon in my part of the world) but is something like business casual. I am the only young woman in this location, which doesn't make it easier. My male coworkers wear crisp white or blue button down shirts but no ties and dark coloured suit pants or sometimes beige slacks. They don't wear jackets on a daily basis but will wear them when we have guests. They wear classic leather business shoes.

I'm kind of figuring out what the young woman's version of this outfit is. Women in professional roles don't generally wear pant suits or skirts suits in my country (this is what the secretary or the receptionist would wear). I do need one outfit like this because our HQ is in a country where professional women do wear that. I have tried to ask for advice from stylish friends or ladies in shops, but they are not mustachian and they don't really understand what I struggle with. They love dressing up in super unpractical clothes.

- I take the bus to work and walk a long distance every day - 10-15k steps. Oceanic climate, doesn't get really cold (not colder than -10C generally) but windy and rainy. Due to this, I don't want to wear high heels and the clothes need to be warm enough. We take a brisk lunchtime walk with the whole team, so just carrying hiking shoes in my bag isn't going work.
- Another reason why I don't want to change clothes at work is because I'd have to carry all clothes in my bag and that one's heavy and full enough as it is (with books, laptop, containers of food) and all the clothes get wrinkled. I also have no space at work to keep any clothes there, except for my desk drawer where I keep a large shawl for when I get cold.
- My usual clothing style is very alternative, so anything I'd wear in my private life is not remotely suitable for work
- I would prefer not to wear clothes that are too uncomfortable but I might not have much of a choice
- As for hair and make-up: due to the walking to work I look pretty windswept by the time I get into the office. I know that's not very professional (I do brush my hair as soon as I get in) but I'm not good at this grooming stuff. I don't wear make-up in my private life, but I try to put on a BB-cream, mascara and coloured lip balm in the morning. I have to honestly admit I don't manage to do that every day. I am working on putting up my hair in something else than a bun through youtube tutorials, but I'm not there yet. 
- I would like to own not too much clothes and shoes, for mustachian reasons
- Thrift shopping for work clothes is extremely hard. Professional clothes are almost impossible to find in thrift stores and frankly I don't have the time to visit 10 different shops on a Saturday. I have no idea what I want or like or looks good on me so that makes Ebay pretty hard too.
- I don't usually wear jewelry but maybe I should

Some outfits I wear all the time, that just don't seem to cut it:
- pencil skirt from stretchy fabric (black) with thin woolen jumper.
- pencil skirt from stretchy fabric (grey) with black button up shirt (not crisp and formal, but slightly stretchy)
- pencil skirt from stretchy fabric (grey and black stripes) with thin woolen jumper
- 40s style retro A-line dress (green or red)
- black shirt dress
- sometimes I'm almost alone in the office and then I often wear dark jeans + jumper.

I have a few short sleeved tops for the summer (also knit fabric, not T-shirt style but relatively formal looking) that I wear with the pencil skirts. I haven't worn them to this job yet. I have several woolen jumpers (grey, red, yellow). I wear those jumpers because I absolutely hate button up shirts and jackets. The slightly stretchy shirt I wear a lot is comfortable, but that's probably because it's one size larger than I need.

I am of average height and build, weight is mostly on my hips, which is why I tend to stick with A-line models and knee-length skirts. I prefer wearing skirts over trousers, but I seem to destroy very thin tights very quickly + they are also not warm in winter. I tend to wear thicker, opaque tights in winter but I'm not sure if I should.

All of my current work clothes are slightly worn out and should probably be replaced. I also need new summer shoes. I have absolutely no idea what to do next, so hopefully there are some stylish mustachian ladies present :)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2019, 01:54:02 PM »
Consider a capsule wardrobe. Buy a few outfits that are suitable. Let a shop advice you. Make sure you can combine some more blouses with the same basic stuff, so that you need as little clothes as needed.. And wear the same clothes every week.

I am sorry for that your job is such a burden.

honeybbq

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2019, 01:56:50 PM »
Do you live in the US? Sounds like maybe Canada?  I wear business casual every day and find TONS of clothes at the thrift store. In fact, most of my wardrobe probably comes from the Goodwill. I do live in a HCOLA and people consider clothing disposable here so I do find treasures every time I search.

I would find some business casual khakis and black trousers and some comfortable walking loafers.  Pants would be from Banana Republic, H&M, Ann Taylor, boring but necessary. Shoes could be Merells, Naturalizer, etc. I personally like doing a short sleeve blouse or tank blouse and a cardigan for layering. Or you could do a button down and a sweater over it. Or just a nice sweater. Browse the sales from BR, Gap, Ann Taylor (and Loft), J Crew, etc. if you can't find any thrifting.  You could also check Macy's or a similar type department store, they often have good sales as well.  Other ideas are comfortable dresses and skirts worn with tights and walkable boots like Borns. Fleece lined tights in the winter are amazing.

You should get one nice suit for your trips to HQ. The most important thing about a suit besides being classic is the tailoring. As long as it fits you, it will look good. So try any of the above stores for a suit and then get it tailored to fit you.

I rarely wear makeup or jewelry. I do have a couple scarves I use to "jazz" up boring outfits.

There's nothing wrong with a bun or a braid, ponytail, or other controlled hairstyles. Spend a couple minutes after getting to work to tame the frizzies and you should be ok.

StarBright

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2019, 02:07:01 PM »
Not sure where you are in Europe, but I have a good friend in the Netherlands who I know uses Poshmark (a US consignment site for nicer clothes) and just ships - she says it is still relatively cheap.

I bought something from Poshmark last week for the first time and it came in great condition. While it wasn't a mustachian purchase (it was an awesome black sequin blazer), it was about $150 cheaper than buying it retail.

A good brand for work dresses to look at would be MM Lafleur.

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2019, 02:13:13 PM »
Consider a capsule wardrobe. Buy a few outfits that are suitable. Let a shop advice you. Make sure you can combine some more blouses with the same basic stuff, so that you need as little clothes as needed.. And wear the same clothes every week.

I am sorry for that your job is such a burden.

I quite like the job, I guess I just missed a few style lessons that most women seem to know instinctively. In earlier jobs I just copied the other women. Left to my own devices, I end up looking a little bit too casual. (Still a million times more formal than what I wear at home)

I'm in Europe (NL) so the shops you named don't mean anything to me @honeybbq but I will google some pictures to get an idea. I hadn't really thought about loafers, my grandma wears them, but I see on google that there are many modern ones as well.

@StarBright that's where I am, I'll have a look :)

socaso

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2019, 04:15:03 PM »
Your basic outfits sound like they ought to be fine for most business casual work environments so the fact that you are getting comments about being scruffy leads me to believe they are really not in good condition. There are a couple of different ways you could approach this. If the clothes in your existing wardrobe come from brands that you have access to, visit those stores and try a few things. If not, visit a store that caters to working professionals and try a few of their things. This will be to determine your size. Get on an email list if you can and they will let you know about sales. You can also then shop sites like Ebay, Poshmark or any European equivalent for secondhand shopping and filter by the brands you know work for you.

It sounds like you already have your version of a work uniform (pencil skirt and jumper or button down shirt) so there's no reason why you can just get newer versions of the same and be done with it. Or maybe if you want to change it up a bit get a nice pair of work pants to wear with the tops.

Finally, if you hate shopping or just feel you can't find the time, look into the style services that will send you clothes and you pick what you like. Here in the US there is StitchFix and Wantable and several others. You answer some kind of questionnaire about what you are looking for and they assign you a stylist who sends you things in your size. I know people who have done it and they got things they liked. You usually get a few items in each box and you only keep and pay for what you like and you can give them feedback about why you do or don't like things so they learn more about what you are looking for.

onlykelsey

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2019, 05:07:15 PM »
I haven't followed it in years, but www.corporette.com may be very helpful here.

In particular, https://corporette.com/the-minimalists-guide-to-dressing-for-work/ ?

NowClear

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2019, 06:48:41 PM »
I think a nice pair of shoes and one or two pieces of jewelry really helps elevate a basic outfit.

I hear you on the walking needs, as I also commute by foot. I do have two or three pairs of shoes in my desk at work that I'll often change into when I arrive. A bonus is that these shoes have lasted for a really long time by virtue of mostly being "inside" shoes--they also require very minimal maintenance since they aren't being scuffed up. I have a low, one inch black heeled pair, a higher heeled brown pair, (your mileage may vary here) and a pair of gold metallic flats--between these three shoes I can cover virtually every work outfit I might wear. Would this desk storage be a possible option for you?

I also have two very simple, moderately priced necklaces (one gold, one silver) and switch them in and out. 

I agree with the comment that condition of your clothing may be the issue as opposed to the basics itself. Can you let items air dry to reduce wear? Do you iron? Is it possible to purchase more durable items?

Finally: I also feel somewhat conflicted about the  additional lengths women often need to go to to look presentable (see makeup, jewelry, etc). It can be time-consuming and costly, and it sucks. For me I've come to a workable compromise: I feel okay making a small investment (see shoes, jewelry) to minimize friction in my career, but am not going all in on the full and varied wardrobes that some of my colleagues have. I don't know what the "right" answer is here, but this is one I can live with.

draco44

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2019, 09:01:37 PM »
I hear you on the walking needs, as I also commute by foot. I do have two or three pairs of shoes in my desk at work that I'll often change into when I arrive. A bonus is that these shoes have lasted for a really long time by virtue of mostly being "inside" shoes--they also require very minimal maintenance since they aren't being scuffed up.

I second this shoe suggestion from NowClear. In my city/office, "commuting shoes" are totally a thing. You can use leather flats nice enough to do your lunch walk as commuting shoes (I suggest black - they are the easiest to polish) and then switch into other shoes at work. These "work shoes" could be a duplicate of your commuting shoes (but get less wear and tear from being inside) and no one needs to know you even have commuting shoes, or you could go for a different style at work, like heels. You mention having one drawer with a shawl in it. Perhaps a single nice pair of work shoes could fit in there as well? You can put the shoes in a pillowcase or fabric shoe covers to prevent your shawl from getting dirty.

Also, eBay has been a game changer for me, but as you've noticed, it only works it you have a very specific idea ahead of time what you want. I suggest you do a some in-store research one weekend to find a brand and size of dress, sweater, and skirt that works for you, then try buying online if you can't afford to purchase new (remembering that the time to find stuff online is another form of cost). I find buying shirts and shoes online is too risky to be worth doing, but those other garments are more forgiving. This "research then eBay" strategy will allow you to buy nicer pieces than you might otherwise. For example, some wool sweaters can look too casual for an office, but a dark-colored cashmere crew or slight v-neck sweater paired with pearls or a gold necklace can look great with a skirt and still be way easier to fit than a button-down shirt (I hate them too). Since you are just starting to build a professional wardrobe, though, it may be worth paying full price for a few good quality basics (e.g. one pair of black trousers, one grey or black dress with 3/4 length sleeves in suiting material or stretch rayon more formal-looking than your black shirt dress, and a new pair of shoes).

Finally, from your description of your colleagues outfits and your own, it sounds like you may be making bolder color choices than the men you work with. Consider focusing on purchasing more neutral colors for the new items you plan to buy. This will also mean you need to buy less because your pieces will be less memorable and more interchangeable.

GoConfidently

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2019, 10:26:20 PM »
Maybe look at the workwear collection on Bodenís website. Even if the price points arenít in your budget, it should give you some ideas that I think will work with your current style.

Shoes - nice oxfords sound right up your alley. They can be worn with pants or dresses/skirts, and are more comfortable than heels or most flats imo. They also look great with tights, which I also love wearing to work.

Fabric - if youíre not going to have a crisply ironed shirt, maybe silk is a better fabric for you. It will look classy and feel good. Invest in some nice cardigans in basic colors that could go over a button-up shirt or dress. That might be a good area to bring in some color. Jewel tones are a good place to start if you usually wear neutrals and donít want to be too flashy. Your grey skirt/black button up shirt would probably look nice with a deep purple or sapphire blue cardigan. You mention a lot of stretchy fabrics. Look for thicker, more structured pieces that will hold their shape.

Shapes and structure - sounds like you need shapes that draw attention to your shoulders or waist. Look for a-line wrap dresses, tops with details at the shoulders or side gathers, or accessorize your simple jumpers with nice scarves. Scarves are the other area to invest in higher end fabrics and color to give your outfit some polish.

Jewelry - if youíre not a big jewelry person, invest in a few simple, classic pairs of earrings. Delicate hoops or studs in gold, silver, pearl, or diamonds (fake) will make you look more polished when your hair is up.

Outerwear - make sure you have a coat that looks professional and nice. Youíll feel sloppy if you throw a casual coat with work clothes and the lines will probably be all wrong. Same with any other outerwear (gloves, hats, etc.)

I think you should try on some ideas in person (not online shopping). Wear the work outfit you feel best in to go shopping so you can find pieces to mix and match.

Hope some of those ideas help! Dressing for work can be a bummer and it took me a long time to figure out what works for me and my workplace.

chrisgermany

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2019, 12:59:14 AM »
I was department head (legal) in megacorps for 20+ years.
What worked for me was classic pant suits in neutral colors (black, blue, grey, brown) jackets cut a bit longer. Whenever I saw one that looked good on me I bought it to build up a rotating wardrobe. Usually each suit was used 1 day per week and lived 4+ years.

Leather shoes in matching colors. Polished regularly. Flats or pumps with low or medium heel.
Tops in brighter colors, at least 2 to match each suit.
I wore a lot of scarfs, they upgrade tshirts nicely.
Classic gold or pearl necklace.
I hardly ever wore make up or mascara but always used lipstick.
It takes time to find out what works for you. And always dress for the next job level, not the one you are in.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/created-a-work-uniform/msg1267902/#msg1267902
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 01:15:00 AM by chrisgermany »

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2019, 06:06:42 AM »
Thanks for all the tips and ideas! :) You are right about lots of things.

I did laundry this morning and honestly, the black and grey skirt need to go. They are ready for retirement. I take good care of my clothing (line dry, iron, holes and missing buttons get fixed) but I do wear out clothing and while that's mustachian, that's not what people are supposed to do at work.

The black and grey skirt is a thicker fabric and less worn, so it can stay for now. It's true that I already have a sort of uniform - and not just at work, the pencil skirt + top combination is something I wear at home too. Just in a different style. Right now I'm wearing a short black denim pencil skirt + sweater + hoodie + boots. While obviously totally unsuitable for work, this skirt looks much better than my work skirts because the fabric is so sturdy. I need to find good quality work skirts that are not flimsy or elastic.

How did I get all those elastic skirts? The mustachian way. A friend of mine used to be a religion teacher and quit her job ....

It's also true that I love wearing bold colours. I dislike grey, beige and pastel. I am not going to drop bright colours completely, but I need some more neutral / light items.

As for shoes: I've always thought about having a seperate pair of commuting shoes as 'arriving in hiking boots, wearing heels at work' but it's true I could also wear more neutral flats. I'm not walking through a snowy forest to work like @Linea_Norway :) I am walking across some rough terrain so it makes sense to have outdoors and indoors shoes, even if they are both the same type of shoe. I have a desk drawer that is big enough for a pair of flats but not for hiking boots. Both loafers and oxford shoes sound like good options. From google, it seems that loafers are very much in fashion right now, but oxford shoes aren't so much. I'll see what I can find.

I need a new summer coat as well and I was already planning on getting a classic beige trench coat.

Ear studs are a pretty easy compromise for jewelry. I have a pair of pearl ear studs that were a gift that I hardly ever wear because my partner hates them. One thing that influences me more than I'd like is that my partner and friends absolutely hate how I dress for work and keep commenting and donating 'better' clothes for work (that are nice but unsuitable, like lace tops). They  mean no harm but they actively try to influence me to dress more casual and less 'frumpy / old fashioned / like someone's mum' (their words).

When I tell them I already look a bit scruffy compared to others they look at me like I have three heads. They really think I must be the most preppy dressed person in the whole building. Every single one of them is either a creative or works in IT and they just have no idea what people wear in a professional environment. I am not looking to become one of those perfectly groomed, manicured ladies with big glossy hair. I'm not on the cast of Suits and like @NowClear I have mixed feelings about having to dress up to a much higher standard than my male coworkers. They don't have to do their hair, they wear no make-up and jewelry except their wedding rings and no one cares. Also, I'm pretty sure most of them don't even iron their own shirts .... But I do need to dress in a way that helps my career instead of harming it.

The list of items I plan to buy over the coming months so far is:
- a pair of black trousers that go with everything
- a crisp white or light coloured button down shirt
- a new black or dark coloured button down shirt to replace the current one
- two new skirts to replace the current ones
- a beige trench coat or similar style summer coat
- two pairs of neat flat shoes
  I have two pairs of normal shoes in total right now, so this is a big one for me
- a light coloured summer dress, maybe a shirt dress
- I really hate wearing jackets and blazers but I should see if I can find one that's comfortable and matches with a lot of things

Wow, that's a whole pile of clothes ... A lot of light colours that will hopefully take the edge off the bold colours I already own. Then, next winter, I'll keep my eyes open for some new cardigans or jumpers to slowly replace the current ones. I had never thought of wearing them over a shirt but that will instantly make it look better. I'll also keep my eyes open for a suit. I don't expect to need it anytime soon but it's good to have it ready. I will choose a classic style that I will able to wear several years.

chrisgermany

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2019, 06:27:52 AM »
Now that I am ERed I try "Zalon", part of zalando for my problem area classic casual clothes.
I got 3 boxes so far and kept 5 pieces total. Having all the stuff at home I can easily check how the new stuff matches my existing cloths.
Might be worth trying if you do not like shopping, too.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2019, 06:51:13 AM »
I have to dress in a "professional" manner for work.  It's theoretically business casual but on the more formal side of that.  A lot of the men wear suits. 

This all depends a bit on body type.  I find as a woman with a larger bust that a jacket or structured cardigan over my outfit is key (apart from when it's boiling hot in the summer) to making me look more "professional" - in other words covering up my shape more. I don't usually wear suits apart from when I'm giving a presentation or other very formal work event.  But I wear a suit jacket over a dress or a black suit jacket with a gray pencil skirt plus a shell for example.  I have suit jacket and cardigans that I've collected over the years in various colors.  Generally, woven fabrics are more formal than knitted fabrics (ie stretchy fabrics or t-shirt material).  Look for classic, structured suiting type items when you go shopping and remember that most women's clothes are not appropriate workwear.  Things that you could wear on a date or to a nightclub are never appropriate for work.  I see this a lot with our interns at work - they might wear a black skirt which would theoretically be OK for work but it's either too tight, the wrong fabric (ie knitted not woven) or too short.

As a tall women I get away with not wearing heels (hate them!) but I look for closed toe low heeled shoes that don't show too much of my foot/toes.  IMO even in the summer open toed sandals can look unprofessional.  It gets really hot here so I look for closed toe shoes that have cut outs in them for ventilation.

Things with collars are good - for example dress shirts but I can't usually wear them as they gape at the bust.  You have to figure out what works with your shape.  I recommend watching Trinny and Susannah (What not to Wear) videos on YouTube.  They have some really good ones on the various body types.

My last tip is slap on some lipstick.  Lipstick (not lip gloss or colored lip balm) automatically makes you look "put together" with very minimal effort.  Also - a (cheap) necklace always adds polish and is both easy and cheap.  I have various necklaces that I've accumulated over the years from places like Accessorize that I throw on and that plus jacket plus shell automatically looks work appropriate. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 07:09:15 AM by Hula Hoop »

Malkynn

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2019, 07:04:39 AM »
I like quality merino wool for my capsule wardrobe.
It's durable, great in all weather, and can look very professional while still being a sport level performance fabric.

If you like bold colours, it's very easy to do so with accessories, which can bring a lot of personal flair to a neutral outfit.

When it comes to keeping a wardrobe minimalist, the two biggest factors to keeping it looking polished are fit and fabric. A woman can look fiercely chic in a simple neutral top and bottom with absolutely no details as long as the fit is perfect and the fabrics are high end and in good condition.
 
It doesn't take a lot to look good, it's just very easy to look sloppy.

pbkmaine

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2019, 07:05:45 AM »
I think twin sets and nice pants would work well in your situation.

But “scruffy” may mean something else. Does your clothing have lint? Do your sweaters have pills, pulls or small holes? Are buttons missing? Are your shoes shined and in good condition? Is everything clean and unwrinkled? I worked in NYC’s Financial District, and many of my female colleagues overlooked these small details, which did affect the way they were perceived.

Noodle

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2019, 08:03:35 AM »
Definitely second the cardigans. I am really difficult to fit in a suit jacket without spending a ton of money, but I have found a cardigan with a dress or skirt/top combo looks fairly polished--enough so for work. I have also started buying shoes from the brands that specialize in comfortable professional shoes--Naturalizer is an example. They are not the world's most fashionable footwear, but they look good enough for work and let me be on my feet most of the day.

MayDay

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2019, 10:09:51 AM »
My typical wardrobe at home is extremely ratty so I know how you feel.

I always wear flats, no make up, no jewelry (bc fuck that nonsense) but I do make sure everything is in good condition. I also frequently wear a blazer- I used to dislike them but I guess I've gotten used to them? And they do make an outfit look sharp,very easily. I have quite a lot of stretchy blazers. You can even leave a neutral color one at work (hanging over your chair of you don't have other space) and pull it over a brighter colored blouse.

I'm not sure about in NL, but in the US I often find stretchy blazers at Costco or on Amazon.

remizidae

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2019, 10:42:00 AM »
I walk to work too, and I think you're just going to have to start changing between your walk and work. The clothes/shoes that are suitable for being outside and active just aren't the same as what will look professional.

Are you sure you couldn't keep a bag of stuff (shoes and clothes that won't wrinkle) at work at your desk? Or hang a couple blazers in a shared closet. Otherwise, you're going to just have to start carrying your professional clothes and taking a few minutes before work to change, fix your hair, and generally tidy up. Adding makeup and jewelry will also make for a polished look, and it doesn't have to be expensive--I probably only spend about $50/year on makeup.

LG89

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2019, 02:15:44 PM »
I'm a bit confused why you think professional clothing needs to be equated to "drab". If your friends/partner thinks you look "drab" and like "someone's mum" it sounds like it could be a combination of the fit of your clothing and the color choices. I thrift quite a bit and I definitely take things in to get fitted/hemmed so that it fits/drapes better for my body type/size. I have plenty of black and grey in my professional wardrobe but also lots of bold primary colors, the entire rainbow really. Everyone has already given good advice about the capsule wardrobe, make sure what goes into that capsule actually fits and looks tidy and crisp.

I think what your colleagues may be hinting at is that your overall presentation is not crisp/tailored. This will include your facial appearance, it sucks that  men are not held to same grooming standard; blemished no makeup faced men who are not hassled about it, where this would hold back a woman's advancement. So, don't present a greasy/messy face/hair. Make sure your BB cream/foundation looks good once you get in and evaluate how it looks throughout the day. You may need to switch products or what I would recommend is to get a primer and add a light foundation of your choice (bb, tinted, whatever) on top, conceal as needed. Do other makeup as desired, you mentioned mascara and tinted lip balm. These are solid, make sure your eyebrows are well groomed and SHAPED, no messy random overly bushy hairs (thick brows are nice but not when the hairs on practically on your eyelid). Always run a brush through your hair when you get in since you mention it being so windy.

If you're not doing this kind of basic grooming everyday I can see why your colleagues might make comments. Be consistent and present consistently.

LG89

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2019, 02:19:47 PM »
I walk to work too, and I think you're just going to have to start changing between your walk and work. The clothes/shoes that are suitable for being outside and active just aren't the same as what will look professional.

Are you sure you couldn't keep a bag of stuff (shoes and clothes that won't wrinkle) at work at your desk? Or hang a couple blazers in a shared closet. Otherwise, you're going to just have to start carrying your professional clothes and taking a few minutes before work to change, fix your hair, and generally tidy up. Adding makeup and jewelry will also make for a polished look, and it doesn't have to be expensive--I probably only spend about $50/year on makeup.

Agreed. It's not that big of a hassle to just leave a pair or two of work shoes at your office/cube. At one of my old offices when I took the public train/metro I would walk/commute in sneakers/uggs and then put on the shoes I left at the office. Many of my other public transit taking female colleagues did the same. Average individual typically had 3 pairs of shoes at the office.

lindy_zag

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2019, 06:06:51 PM »
I just started a new job with a higher standard of dress (business casual) than my old job (jeans and sweatshirts) which has required me to buy a good number of new things. I had some business casual clothes from an old job, but I always felt like I looked frumpy. Personally, I prefer pants to skirts, so I started buying all pants in a "skinny" or "ankle" cut instead of trousers. I really like the style of Ann Taylor Loft - I don't know if they ship to Europe, but it might be helpful to scan through their website for inspiration. I tend to buy almost everything from ThredUp, which is an online consignment store. I also don't know if they ship to Europe, so not sure if that's helpful.

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2019, 09:21:05 AM »
I'm a bit confused why you think professional clothing needs to be equated to "drab". If your friends/partner thinks you look "drab" and like "someone's mum" it sounds like it could be a combination of the fit of your clothing and the color choices. I thrift quite a bit and I definitely take things in to get fitted/hemmed so that it fits/drapes better for my body type/size. I have plenty of black and grey in my professional wardrobe but also lots of bold primary colors, the entire rainbow really. Everyone has already given good advice about the capsule wardrobe, make sure what goes into that capsule actually fits and looks tidy and crisp.

I think what your colleagues may be hinting at is that your overall presentation is not crisp/tailored. This will include your facial appearance, it sucks that  men are not held to same grooming standard; blemished no makeup faced men who are not hassled about it, where this would hold back a woman's advancement. So, don't present a greasy/messy face/hair. Make sure your BB cream/foundation looks good once you get in and evaluate how it looks throughout the day. You may need to switch products or what I would recommend is to get a primer and add a light foundation of your choice (bb, tinted, whatever) on top, conceal as needed. Do other makeup as desired, you mentioned mascara and tinted lip balm. These are solid, make sure your eyebrows are well groomed and SHAPED, no messy random overly bushy hairs (thick brows are nice but not when the hairs on practically on your eyelid). Always run a brush through your hair when you get in since you mention it being so windy.

If you're not doing this kind of basic grooming everyday I can see why your colleagues might make comments. Be consistent and present consistently.

I'm not sure if those comments say something about me or about them. Everyone I know dresses very alternative and none of them have office jobs. Most people in our social circle are artists. So they are very unfamiliar with how people with professional jobs are supposed to dress for work. They just think it's awful and don't see the necessity.

On top of that, I don't really trust my partner's good taste. We were at a traditional wedding a while back and strangers at the wedding came up to me to tell me I looked great, but he still thought my dress was drab and boring. It was knee-length, pink and worn with heels. Not what I'd usually wear, but appropriate for the occasion. He sounds a bit mean, but he's just very honest (like, literally incapable of lying, he can't even keep a birthday present secret) and a long time ago he lost his high school sweetheart because she turned into a Sex and the City-type woman all of a sudden and I think he's a bit scared that's what's going to happen to me too. We met at a punk show and that's how he likes me. I shouldn't ask him or any of my friends for advice, but I end up doing it because I just don't really know who else to ask.

I think you may be right about the overall presentation, but I can't really put my finger on what exactly is wrong with. It's certainly not cleanliness, and I sew, so I tailor clothes and mend when necessary. I do think I might keep wearing the same items for too long. I also generally prefer clothing that's a little bit oversized. And maybe it shows that I feel uncomfortable in work clothes.

Leaving items at work is difficult because while I have a desk with drawers, those drawers are meant for work related stuff. I can put a small pair of shoes in it and my lunch, but it's pretty full already and of course, work items take preference. I can't leave anything at work that doesn't fit in my desk drawers. We are really crammed into our current office, but we are moving to a different location in a bit, hopefully there's more space there. The new location will also likely mean a little less walking. I'm the only one not commuting by car, others just use their cars to store personal belongings, so there are no facilities like lockers etc.

freya

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2019, 10:23:42 AM »
Punk and business casual definitely don't mix well.  When people say "scruffy" they probably mean your overall style & look.  What's your hair like, for example?  Blue spikey hair, for example, might not go down well in a business environment.  Ditto for things like heavy black eyeliner or strong/unusual lip/nail colors.  Also it might be not only the condition of your pencil skirts & tops but the fit as well, you don't want them too clingy.  Length should be at or just below the knee.  What do your outfits look like compared to internet photos of business casual outfits using the same type of pieces that you typically wear?

I remember at least one "What Not to Wear" episode focused on women whose punk rocker looks were holding back their careers.  It might be worth trying to hunt this down.

It might help to think of business casual as a costume you have to wear, not a reflection of who you are.  Sort of the same idea as having to wear a uniform.


better late

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2019, 10:50:09 AM »
What would you say to a leather, faux leather, or other material Moto jacket of a weight that would be worn indoors? That bit of edge might make you feel more like yourself and the right one could add polish to your outfit. Not too embellished. Consider a color other than black but thatís ok too. Fortune magazine just did a spread how Moto jackets are being worn by top executive women. Banana republic has a few for spring if you want to see what I mean.

Also I understand the inclination to wear your clothes a bit loose, but suggest you do your best to get them fitted well. Iíll buy my skirts a size large so there is room at my waist, but then have the seamstress fit the hips and peg the skirt so it looks sharp. I agreed woven materials are a much better choice than knit for a skirt.

Finally you might consider adding just a bit of interest - so instead of black trousers consider black trousers with a light pinstripe. Just a thought.

NowClear

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2019, 11:42:28 AM »

It might help to think of business casual as a costume you have to wear, not a reflection of who you are.  Sort of the same idea as having to wear a uniform.

This exactly. I didn't mention this earlier, but thinking of my office wear as my "business drag" helped me be more comfortable. Weirdly, thinking about things this way also helped me overcome some of my introverted tendencies that conflicted with aspects of my job. I am still me, I just feel a little freer "in drag" to be different aspects of me that are helpful to work.

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2019, 11:59:41 AM »
I like to think I'm totally stealth at work. My hair looks like Stevie Nicks' hair and I wear it in a bun usually, very natural make-up, no jewelry, no tattoos or piercings. No short skirts or boots or anything like that. Some coworkers know because of my picture on Whatsapp. But even on my days off I don't look like I used to 10 years ago. So I don't think that's an issue.

I have a totally separate section in the closet for work clothes that I don't wear in my private life, so I guess it's a costume already. But I'm not sure if seeing it as a costume is necessarily always helpful - a costume implies a role and people tend to notice it when you're not being authentic. So I'm trying to avoid feeling like I'm playing a role and getting more comfortabele with my work look.

I went window shopping this weekend but I haven't found what I'm looking for yet. I think I first need to get the basics sorted and then add some extra items that are a bit more edgy.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2019, 01:24:24 PM »
I taught in the sciences so my work wardrobe was more casual/functional, it had to survive labs.  But sometimes I had meetings and dressed as you need to do at work.  I owned one grey suit and a tweed blazer and a few skirts for the blazer, they worked.  I thought of it as camouflage - blend in to the immediate environment, get accepted.

It is old but John T. Malloys New Women's Dress for Success book has good advice on shopping for work clothes.  And his most basic advice was, if you could wear it on the weekend, or out for a social event, it is not suitable for work.  Anything clingy or stretchy or a bit too tight is not suitable for work.   Light colours in anything but your top are not suitable for work, except under special circumstances (any time in the southern US, only summer for the rest of us in cold climates).  Shoes conservative, in style and colour.  Jewellery discrete and understated.

Anything your friends and boyfriend really don't like will probably be suitable.  ;-)

Is there a woman at work who dresses well for that environment who would be willing to mentor you a bit?  Someone at your level or a bit above would be ideal.

Someone had a thread on updating her wardrobe, and posted pictures - anyone know where that thread went?

Anecdote - many years ago a bunch of us at work took a professional development course.  We were faculty and professional staff, all women.  At the end we went downtown to a nice restaurant to celebrate (Crescent Street for those who know Montreal).   The waiter pegged us perfectly by our clothes - we didn't look like secretaries/support staff, but didn't look like business women, so we were academic professionals.  He nailed us.  So clothes really do send messages.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2019, 01:30:19 PM by RetiredAt63 »

mspym

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2019, 02:12:00 PM »
I have a work uniform. I have two knee length woven skirts (black, grey & black subtle Tweed) and a number of identical but differently patterned blouses that work with either skirt plus 2 pairs of Birkenstock Oxford's that look professional but are comfortable for commuting. I keep a comb at work and do a quick tidy once I arrive.

You have plenty of advice on your wardrobe but the other problem is your partner/friends. Can you say to them something like "thanks but we need to stop talking about this. I know how I need to work for this job and it makes me feel bad when you criticise my work wardrobe and my judgement"

PepperPeter

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2019, 01:40:30 PM »
When I started working full time in my 20s, I had a style crisis.  One of my friends got me this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Shopping-Manual-Building-Improving/dp/1592400361/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JWEKJSY8G1YGDCDTTAM6

It's older now but I found it invaluable at teaching me how to put together clothes and what pieces I "needed."

Personally, I work in a formal office and I wear a variation of a high waisted circle skirt with a tucked in blouse and ballet flats everyday.  Add tights and cardigan as layers as appropriate.  Everything I own is black, gray, red, and blue, and it all mixes and matches together.  What is the piece you reach for on the days you have an important meeting?  Build your wardrobe off of that.

historienne

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2019, 05:41:42 PM »
Slim cut seasonless wool pants (get 2-3 pairs, in some combo of black and navy) with nice tops.  For an idea of what I mean by 'nice,' look at the MM Lafleur website.  You don't need to buy from there, but it's more reliably professional than most competitor brands.  Use it as a comparison to set your work-appropriate meter. 

Boden can be great, but can also skew mumsy.  I would not wear most of their patterns to the workplace you describe.  Other Euro-available brands that reliably have good options include Reiss and Hobbs.

Shoes: low heels, ballet flats, loafers, or Oxfords.

Basic gold jewelry: small hoop earrings, etc.

pbkmaine

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2019, 07:13:23 PM »
Unless you have furry animals around the house. In that case, avoid black or navy at all costs, and focus on taupe and mid-range gray.

bogart

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2019, 09:18:02 PM »
I am definitely not an expert on this issue and happily, don't -- at least at present -- need to be, but I will say that in terms of colors, I've seen many professional women (particularly in Europe, we are more bland in the US I regret to report...) use a splash of color e.g. from a silk scarf to excellent effect (so the base is -- bland, say grey/black/navy/taupe) but then there is an excellent and perhaps large scarf, artfully arranged.  Nice (including costume/artsy but not expensive materials) jewelry can be put to similar effect. 

Scarves have the advantage of being multi-purpose, lightweight, and can be had inexpensively.

Zamboni

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2019, 10:12:40 PM »
A structured jacket (black or dark colored blazer) will make most outfits look instantly more professional. The key is that it has to fit perfectly. Nothing too small or too big.

With the trend away from blazers, a lot of department stores are now selling cardigans that are cut jacket-like, pinching at the waist with a button or two, and/or have "lapels" which is really just a knit collar that rolls over. Look for something like that, perhaps? You can unroll from a bag and it won't look wrinkled.
https://www.google.com/search?q=karen+scott+long+sleeve+clasp+cardigan&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjAsojc9Z7hAhVPm-AKHW4QBnAQ_AUIDygC&biw=768&bih=398#imgrc=V0wBD1aJo--iJM:

I'm also a huge believer in "travellers" fabric basic black pieces. . . they just won't wrinkle no matter how you try:
https://www.chicos.com/store/page.jsp?id=118709854&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8sWkr_ae4QIV1uDICh2OOAxGEAAYASAAEgK2r_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Mostly, though, if you work with all men and some of them feel the need to make comments about women's clothing, it might be rooted in sexism and so you might want to up your snark game. One of my favorite clap backs is some version of "I concentrate on the actual work because, thankfully, my PhD came with a life time exemption from the fashion police." Dry delivery is key. (sometimes, if I can get away with it, I'll flip it to "You're one to talk seeing as how your degree must've come with a life time get-outta-fashion-jail-free card.") It might surprise you to learn that women who try and actually do dress well for work probably get even more derisive comments about what they are wearing from the guys . . . at least behind their backs. The point is to belittle, and it's not about you or your clothes most of the time.

C'mon, in NL, you can be even more blunt. Obviously don't get yourself fired, but also don't take their crap.

ANewLeaf

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2019, 10:43:49 PM »
Someone on these forums years ago recommended the website, "The Vivienne Files" (https://www.theviviennefiles.com/) for advice on building a capsule wardrobe.  I found it incredibly helpful, especially to see more professional style outfits than i was wearing at the time, as it tends to skew toward a slightly older, wealthier professional American audience.  But if you look through the "start here" page, you'll see that there's lots of tips about how to build your wardrobe in a way that helps you identify and build on what you are comfortable in.  I also appreciate that it emphasizes strategic use of accessories, and really shows you how a little bit of jewelry or a scarf or two make a big difference for both variety, elegance, and color.

It's become one of my favorite websites!

englishteacheralex

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2019, 11:53:01 PM »
I bought several full seasons of "What Not to Wear" from Amazon and binge watched them. I found it to be a very helpful guide to work-appropriate clothing. Actually, I bought several books on the subject, as well. Nowadays when I need new clothes for work it's pretty much 100% Banana Republic, Ann Taylor Loft, and J.Crew. All stuff on clearance, of course. I basically have a work uniform of staples and rotate things out every couple of years when they get too worn. I think I spend about $250/year on clothes.

MoolahLula

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2019, 06:00:10 AM »
If thereís one nearby, go to a thrift store and try on some wrap dresses.  They are almost always universally flattering.  With a little jewelry and nice shoes, I think thatís 100% appropriate for biz casual.  Might need a tank top underneath if itís too low cut.  Good luck!

Marley09

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2019, 07:02:42 AM »
Imma-  I won't mention anything clothing specific because I think that you have gotten a lot of great advice already. This is a very small thing, but has worked wonders for my wind-blown hair- after I pull my hair into a bun, braid, up-do, etc, I have a regular toothbrush (not used) that I will use it to push/comb the flyaway hairs back into position.  If my hair is really an issue I will use some light hairspray to ensure that everything stays in place.  I also use the toothbrush on my eyebrows to help them keep their shape for the day.  I feel that it my hair looks good then I typically feel better about my overall appearance.

I will put in my vote that I also really dislike the double standard for men vs. women in the workplace. I am so thankful that I am able to work from home now and not have to care what anyone else thinks. I am rooting for you :)

-Marley

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2019, 08:07:19 AM »
Thanks everyone for the helpful comments! I've been quite busy this week so I haven't replied in a while but I've read everything. I need to look for that traveller fabric! I've owned a few pieces that said 'no iron' on the label but I still had to iron them. I will probably go shopping again tomorrow and maybe buy a summer coat.

I also realized I need a new bag. I've had my current bag since high school. It's a durable Eastpak bag, it's a shoulder bag, not a backpack and it's navy, but still, there's no denying it's 15 years old. I gifted myself an extremely lovely light suede work bag for my 21st but I hardly ever use it because it can't be exposed to rain. I need a bag suitable for all 4 seasons.


Mostly, though, if you work with all men and some of them feel the need to make comments about women's clothing, it might be rooted in sexism and so you might want to up your snark game. One of my favorite clap backs is some version of "I concentrate on the actual work because, thankfully, my PhD came with a life time exemption from the fashion police." Dry delivery is key. (sometimes, if I can get away with it, I'll flip it to "You're one to talk seeing as how your degree must've come with a life time get-outta-fashion-jail-free card.") It might surprise you to learn that women who try and actually do dress well for work probably get even more derisive comments about what they are wearing from the guys . . . at least behind their backs. The point is to belittle, and it's not about you or your clothes most of the time.

C'mon, in NL, you can be even more blunt. Obviously don't get yourself fired, but also don't take their crap.

My current coworkers all seem to be quite polite. Doesn't mean I've never overheard sexist comments ever but I haven't really experienced anything targeted directly at me and few comments about women's looks. I think they might be more right than I'd like to admit.

I am so thankful that in my country we can be pretty blunt and get away with it. I'm not good at subtle insults.

Sexism was pretty bad at my previous workplace and I learned to ignore it because I had the feeling the whole point was to get a reaction from me. Boss was an incel type guy and would always complain about why women weren't interested in a good guy like him. I used to wear the exact same work outfits when I worked there and was once told a woman like me must be expensive to keep... No wonder he was single :)  I got my revenge by moving to a better job about a week after an evaluation that turned into a two-hour long personal attack without any kind of concrete feedback. Boss didn't even shake my hand on my last day, that's how insulted he was. I handed in my keys to my coworker, cycled home with a massive grin on my face and had a celebration dinner that night.

Sibley

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #39 on: March 27, 2019, 09:48:34 AM »
I'm not sure if those comments say something about me or about them. Everyone I know dresses very alternative and none of them have office jobs. Most people in our social circle are artists. So they are very unfamiliar with how people with professional jobs are supposed to dress for work. They just think it's awful and don't see the necessity.

On top of that, I don't really trust my partner's good taste. We were at a traditional wedding a while back and strangers at the wedding came up to me to tell me I looked great, but he still thought my dress was drab and boring. It was knee-length, pink and worn with heels. Not what I'd usually wear, but appropriate for the occasion. He sounds a bit mean, but he's just very honest (like, literally incapable of lying, he can't even keep a birthday present secret) and a long time ago he lost his high school sweetheart because she turned into a Sex and the City-type woman all of a sudden and I think he's a bit scared that's what's going to happen to me too. We met at a punk show and that's how he likes me. I shouldn't ask him or any of my friends for advice, but I end up doing it because I just don't really know who else to ask.
...

Imma, it sounds like you can't rely on your friends or partner at all in terms of what's ok for work outfits. It also sounds like your partner is not a good judge of clothing more broadly. These make things harder for you, but it's good to know.

Find someone IRL who IS good with this stuff, and either talk to them or just observe. As for your friends/partner, if they make negative comments, it's ok to tell them that you work in a very different environment than they do, the rules are very different, and you need them to be silent if they can't be supportive.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2019, 10:14:30 AM »
Your partner and friends sound like they lack proper 'filters' - whether through upbringing or something else.  There's a difference between being honest and undermining/not supporting others.  I'm sure that they're aware that you have an office job and less freedom about how you look.  They should be mature enough help you with this rather than bring you down.  I guess since they're so blunt - at least you can tell them this directly without fear of them getting upset.

I agree with everyone here that the double standard about male and female appearance is really unfair.  I wish it were different.


Zamboni

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2019, 12:06:21 PM »
^It's just the culture to be very direct in the Netherlands. There is a much different standard for filtering words than we experience in the United States.

I've finally looked up the word "incel." He sounds horrible! Glad you got away from that job, and best wishes for getting your wardrobe in line with the norms at the new place.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2019, 06:42:14 PM »
Another vote for capsule wardrobe! I don't know how women who walk to work manage, frankly. By the time I get to work the hair and makeup are a mess. Doing such things at work when I arrive is near impossible, even with the time allowed for, because the area available  is less than ideal (lighting).

You don't have to buy new. There are plenty of higher end consignment stores that sell good quality clothing.

As far as ideas, google business casual or something and have a look.

Malkynn

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2019, 04:42:46 AM »
Thanks everyone for the helpful comments! I've been quite busy this week so I haven't replied in a while but I've read everything. I need to look for that traveller fabric! I've owned a few pieces that said 'no iron' on the label but I still had to iron them. I will probably go shopping again tomorrow and maybe buy a summer coat.

I also realized I need a new bag. I've had my current bag since high school. It's a durable Eastpak bag, it's a shoulder bag, not a backpack and it's navy, but still, there's no denying it's 15 years old. I gifted myself an extremely lovely light suede work bag for my 21st but I hardly ever use it because it can't be exposed to rain. I need a bag suitable for all 4 seasons.

I don't know if you can get away with this in your job, but a lot of professionals here carry laptop backpacks, even when in full professional dress.

I carry a one shoulder laptop backpack with a phone charger built it. I carry it even when I'm in my fancy designer suit and wearing heels. It's pretty sleek for a backpack. I found it on Amazon for $39.

Kind of like this one
https://www.amazon.com/KROSER-Backpack-Computer-Water-Repellent-Men-Black/dp/B07KBXBV7C/ref=mp_s_a_1_31_sspa?crid=61O6PJ0ZQQEU&keywords=one+shoulder+laptop+backpack+for+women&qid=1553769625&s=pc&sprefix=one+shoulder+&sr=1-31-spons&psc=1

I haven't bothered carrying a purse since, and I have several very nice ones. My back and shoulders just won't tolerate carrying them.

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2019, 10:00:49 AM »
I was in a baby store today to buy a gift for a friend and I noticed they had a lot of really nice diaper bags that seem suitable for work. Hadn't expected that at all! (But then, I never set foot in those kind of stores) You can take out the baby specific items like the changing mat and you're left with a large, waterproof bag big enough for a laptop with lots of compartments. Doesn't look like a diaper bag at all. My issue with regular laptop bags is that they often have no space for anything but a laptop and maybe a pen and notepad. I bring a packed breakfast and lunch and a thermos and a small make-up kit etc. I need a large bag, I don't want to carry more than one bag. That's why I'm still carrying around an old book bag.

@AnnaGrowsAMustache It is less than ideal, it's true. We don't have a car so the bus/walking combination is the only option to get into work. I really wanted this particular job but the location isn't great and the facilities in this small old building aren't either.

onlykelsey

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2019, 10:22:50 AM »
I was in a baby store today to buy a gift for a friend and I noticed they had a lot of really nice diaper bags that seem suitable for work. Hadn't expected that at all! (But then, I never set foot in those kind of stores) You can take out the baby specific items like the changing mat and you're left with a large, waterproof bag big enough for a laptop with lots of compartments. Doesn't look like a diaper bag at all. My issue with regular laptop bags is that they often have no space for anything but a laptop and maybe a pen and notepad. I bring a packed breakfast and lunch and a thermos and a small make-up kit etc. I need a large bag, I don't want to carry more than one bag. That's why I'm still carrying around an old book bag.

@AnnaGrowsAMustache It is less than ideal, it's true. We don't have a car so the bus/walking combination is the only option to get into work. I really wanted this particular job but the location isn't great and the facilities in this small old building aren't either.

You are totally right on the diaper bags!  Kate Spade diaper bag on sale was my work bag for years.  It's also washable and durable because babies are gross.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2019, 03:23:23 PM »
Just a comment my sister made re work clothes many years ago (she is an accountant) - never wear anything that looks like a t-shirt to work.  Even a $500 silk t-shirt says t-shirt.  Have a top that has a boat neck, a collar, a V, anything but a t-shirt neckline.

I find it hard to find non-clingy tops these days, and clingy is not good for work.

Good luck with the shopping.

Imma

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2019, 03:38:56 PM »
^It's just the culture to be very direct in the Netherlands. There is a much different standard for filtering words than we experience in the United States.

I've finally looked up the word "incel." He sounds horrible! Glad you got away from that job, and best wishes for getting your wardrobe in line with the norms at the new place.

I just came across this gem today: https://stuffdutchpeoplelike.com/2011/05/28/dutch-directness/  A blog describing our culture from an expat's perspective.

"The Dutch are in fact proud of all this directness and their very unique tell-it-as-they-see-it mentality. They often consider the English or American forms of politeness a sign of weakness, and reeking of insincerity and hypocrisy (two traits Dutch people absolutely despise). It turns out for the Dutch, there isnít much in between those two startling extremes (directness and insincerity) and when faced with such a choice, there is obviously only one answer."

So it's totally acceptable to say someone's new hair looks horrible or their clothes look scruffy. By Dutch standards, I'm fairly polite, my partner is fairly direct even for a Dutchie. I'm always a little bit anxious what he's going to say next when we meet British friends. They know his heart is in the right place, but I can imagine that sometimes they're a little shocked. Being British of course they'd never show that :) .

E.T.

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2019, 06:26:56 AM »
You've gotten lots of great advice already but I just wanted to double down on the topics of fabric and fit.

If you want to be mustachian and wear clothes for a decade, make sure to buy quality fabrics and construction. Look for natural fibers and scrunch the material with your hands to see if it will wrinkle. Check the seams and finishing to see if threads are pulling before you buy. Stretchy clothes wear out faster and will start to sag or pull strangely before they noticeably start to pill. It's tough to see it if you're not aware of those kinds of things, but that material wear is usually what gives people the impression of scruffiness.

Poor fit is also a surefire way to make you look frumpy. It's awesome that you sew, have you thought about taking an online course for how to fit clothes better when tailoring? I have to wear a lot of black tie formal outfits and when I taught myself how to tailor them I found online tutorials helpful for getting the fit professional looking.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Mustachian dressing and grooming for work (f)
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2019, 08:28:00 AM »
Imma - that is hilarious.  This explains an interaction years ago that I still remember with horror.  Dutch friend 1 had a new job and Dutch friend 2 said "oh, how much is the salary at your new job?"  I nearly died of horror that Dutch friend 2 would ask such an incredibly rude question and put Dutch friend 1 on the spot like that.  But instead of demurring or changing the subject embarassedly (as I would have done) Dutch friend 1 proceeded to answer the question down to the euro.  I was so amazed by this interaction that I remember it to this day, 10 years later.  My Italian friend who was there too was also speechless with horror.  But I guess this finally explains it!