Author Topic: Self conscious in new job and suburb  (Read 4015 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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Self conscious in new job and suburb
« on: July 03, 2015, 04:16:42 AM »
I recently got a new job.

I moved from our companies factory in the cheaper part of town to the head office in the fancier part of town.

I moved from a work force of people in steel cap boots, high visibility vests and overalls to an office of high heels, lipstick and business suits. I also moved house (I'm single and live in shared accommodation) to be close to this new job.

In my old job and suburb, I never felt self conscious about my appearance and work attire but now being surrounded by other people living a more expensive lifestyle, I feel kind of like the poor cousin.

I don't seem to fit in and don't want to buy fancy clothes just to look like everyone else.

Anyone been in the same situation?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2015, 04:55:49 AM »
I feel similar in most new jobs, takes me about three months to settle in. Been at this place for two years now. I rock up in a hoody and jeans, un shaven, but feel comfortable presentating infront of senior managers and the directors, because 1. I know my shit and 2. underneath the fancy suits, they're just a person like me.


  • Bristles
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2015, 04:56:17 AM »
Regularly because my kids (now only my youngest) go to private school.  I drive a 15yo minivan and keep my clothes forever.  I often felt self-conscience around all the other parents in their flashy new vans/suvs with their name brand clothes.  Then I realized that THEY all looked up to me as the mom of a large family who'd been involved with the school for 20 years.  Just find out where all the best thrift/consignment stores are and get your coworkers cast offs. LOL  But seriously, give your self time to settle in to both the new job and the new neighborhood and you will start to lose your self-consciousness as you realize they are getting to know you for WHO you are not WHAT you look like.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2015, 08:28:16 AM »
Second what Lakemom said about consignment shops. Many carry professional-style clothing at deep discounts and a little tailoring (in- or out-sourced) can make the difference in your appearance.

You're the new kid and if you think everyone's watching, you're right-they are. They may be judging solely on appearance at the moment but once you establish your bona fides and talent, they'll accept whatever you show up in.

And she works in fashion!


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2015, 10:32:07 AM »
What you are describing -- yes I have felt this a lot.  There are a few mustachian lawyers, but not that many in my experience.  What I do is maintain a small "capsule" wardrobe of good quality suits, dresses and shirts that allows me to dress the part, look nice, and fit in.  I get clothes at thrift stores whenever possible -- thrift/consignment stores rock.  I think of my small work wardrobe as a uniform or a costume I wear.  I do the minimum amount necessary to fit in looks-wise, and skip a lot of the extras like painting my nails.  As I've gotten older I care about looking different less and less.  I'm at the point now where I can go to a meeting at the country club in my nine year old Honda Fit (with a big scrape along the side where someone hit it, because I'm too cheap frugal to get it fixed) and park alongside the luxury SUVs.  When a coworker comments on my car I just say "Yep!  Totally love it."   

So my two cents -- get a few nice clothes on the cheap to fit in if you need to, and from there your competence and confidence will be what people see.   



  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2015, 09:22:16 PM »
+4 on the op shop idea. When I graduated and began teaching (as a single parent), I was totally broke, and I bought all of my work clothes at secondhand places. I still do, as I think paying $30 or more for a shirt to wear to work is just ridiculous. Just recently found a pair of pinstripe work pants for $1 on sale at my local op shop. I go for plain dark or neutral tops and bottoms that ideally don't need ironing, a few pairs of nice black work pants/skirt, and a range of plain tops is all you need. I try to blend in by choosing fairly plain (bland) stuff that fits well and wears nicely (doesn't stretch or get pill). Also, things like staying in shape, ensuring clothes flatter you (not too tight/loose) neat hairstyle, clean nails and simple makeup/accessories really help to blend in.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2015, 09:39:55 PM »
There is a great thread on the forums about creating a capsule wardrobe. If you ARE required to look the part, there is no reason to do it expensively! In fact, a few good quality well-fitted pieces (+1 to tailoring) will present a much crisper image than a whole lot of "meh" level clothing.

Consignment shops, I know a couple friends who have used thredUP although I haven't used it personally, outlet stores if you cannot find used, etc.

If it doesn't matter to you personally or professionally though? Screw em, they'll get used to you, and you'll woo them with competence!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2015, 02:14:27 AM »
I know exactly how you feel! My commute to work is a ten minute walk through one of the most 'fashionable' suburbs in nz - very easy to feel inadequate about an outfit compared to everyone else.
A capsule wardrobe is key - basic items you can repeat. Most people won't notice what you're wearing once you prove yourself competent in the role.


  • Stubble
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2015, 05:58:01 AM »
I started going through this recently due to promotions and the fact that all of my thrift-store clothes were falling apart after two years of hair-on-fire debt repayment. Setting up a capsule wardrobe took time and money, but so far it's worth it.

My other trick has been to subscribe to a clothing rental service. My colleagues have gone from teasing me about my limited wardrobe to complimenting me on all of my "new" dresses and purses. If you are in a position where people are judged by appearance (my role involves both consulting and lobbying with elected officials), it's a relatively cheap way of looking like you have a large closet of nice clothes. You might want to see if there are any clothing rental companies in NZ and if they are worth it.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Self conscious in new job and suburb
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2015, 06:31:28 AM »
I go through this, being extremely cheap but working in an industry where you have to carry a certain professional appearance.

You should quickly evaluate what is the minimum acceptable threshold and get to it.   I've always experienced this and now give the advice as a manager (which is interesting as a dude having this discussion with women), you have to meet the threshold of professional attire for the job/office, then go do your job.   

A 4-5 business suit rotation is all you need then you can mix up your looks with your shirts/shoes.  Working in a corporate office (or finance/law), you just have to view this $500 - $1000/year cost annually that's essentially a discount to your salary. 

One other thing about shoes (and this applies to both men and women), go find the best quality and figure out your cost/wear.  I buy a mid to high priced men's dress shoe brand, but still have shoes I bought 11 years ago because of their quality.  Up front cost hurt, but my price per wear is better than every $60 brand.