What to wear? First day of work!

pecanpieAugust 14, 2006

No, not me. DivaD1 is beginning an internship in NY next week in the fashion/pr realm. Her emailed inquiry for suggestions for office dress was answered with the terse reply "None". So of course, this dilemma eclipses all other stresses she's experiencing as we pack her to move.

I believe this is less a training position and more a "we are so freakin' busy this time of year we've got to have some unpaid help!" position. Granted, one doesn't need to wear a power suit to stuff envelopes and do grunt work, but one would like to fit in and make a good impression.

OK, friends. What would you suggest for a twenty-something, 5'8", about 115lbs? My initial thought was - a pair of black pencil pants, white/off white t-shirt, plain sweater, possibly belted, and some good but killer flats she can walk in.

Am I even in the ballpark?

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Tell her to wear what she's most comfortable in and doesn't have to think about at all. Something she absolutely loves. And forget what anyone thinks as some of them are absolutely ridiculous. She'll call you laughing about how everyone dresses at the end of the first day.

The fact that she got the job means she looks okay. She wouldn't have been hired if she didn't.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Sorry, pecan, I haven't a clue about what to advise. I did want to tell you that I was sighing at the idea of my dd #1 aksing my opinion on how to dress for her job. She is a self-proclaimed eclectic fashion guru. While it's true that she often gets paid by friends and acquaintances to put together her own brand of quirky fashion for them, which includes remaking thrift shop clothes and ebay items in very unique ways, I would love to see her in something, well, traditional. Perhaps even a bit conservative. She can sew a piece of this to a piece of that and add something else and cut this off and put a belt here etc to come up with some amazing things, but every now and then I'd love to see something less bohemian :) Ah, well. Artists, eh?

Hope your daughter has a great time!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:05AM
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Has she been to the company for an interview - or did they take her on sight unseen? If she's been there it seems like she would have noticed what other people were wearing and could pick something that would fit in. If she's never been there then I'd say what you describe is fine for the first day. After that she should know what is appropriate.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:24AM
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My daughter, 26, works in PR in NYC. She worked for a large PR firm for 4 years. PR firms are laid back and loose about dress code. Summery long skirt and cute T-shirt with sandals was fine.

My daughter is now in the Public Policy dept. of an accounting firm- much more buttoned up! No sandals allowed!

For the first day, to play it safe, I'd wear black pants (always correct), shirt, sweater set, or "nice" t-shirt, and a comfortable, nice flat loafer type shoe. Wait to see if others wear open toed sandals. NYC offices are always A/C and cold- bring a cardigan!
Good luck! And enjoy!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:26AM
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gibby- she did not have a face-to-face interview. They wanted one and she pointed out that flying round trip to interview for an unpaid position didn't make much sense.

rococogurl- she will appreciate that suggestion, and I appreciate your confidence in her-thank you. I will present that idea to her and see if it's enough 'structure' for her in her flied-up state.

seeking- I have always envied people who could pull off that bohemian look. I went through that stage in college but always looked like a hippie in a blender. I don't have the knack.

artteacher, good point about the open-toed sandals- thank you.

My first Real World Lawyer job involved dressing like a man- a small man with breasts- in a skirt, pinpoint button-down shirt, small foulard-print 'tie', a blazer, hose and flat loafers. I looked like every other twenty-something female lawyer trying not to look like a twenty-something female and just a lawyer and failing miserably. Keep in mind this was the early 80s- so add HUGE bushy eyebrows to the mix. We all looked like "Groucho Marx Goes to Court" and we should learn from history and make sure it is never repeated.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 11:59AM
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Pecan, has she seen "The Devil Wears Prada" yet? That might give her some ideas, especially if you have money coming out the wazoo! New Yorkers tend to wear a lot of black, at least that is what I saw when I was there. I agree with rococogirl, wear something you feel great in.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 12:30PM
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sue- she has seen the movie twice. First time for the clothes, second time for the plot.

I call her DivaD1 for a reason.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 12:39PM
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pecan -- she's welcome to call me if it will help her and i can talk her through pros/cons of various outfits and accessories.

The complaints about Devil was that the clothes weren't "editorial" enough.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 12:55PM
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I would say no open toed shoes and no sleeveless shirts unless she covers her arms with a cardigan. Also no skirts that are more than a few inches above the knee. This may sound conservative, but just for the first day she should test the waters carefully.

The outfit you suggested sounds good. Cute low-heeled pumps with a pencil skirt would also be good.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 2:30PM
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seeking, I'd love to see some of your daughter's creations sometime :)

rococo, gee I'd love to be a fly on the fiber optic line for that discussion... :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 6:20PM
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Black pants and flats or low heels sound like a great idea. But I'd do some color other than white for the T-shirt, since a white Tee can be a bit bland or even underwear'y. And if she's really nervous, a cool or funky jacket is more serious than a cardigan -- but it's got to be something she can haul boxes in without destroying.

Sounds like a fun job!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 6:23PM
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My input-have her do a 'spy' job and work out what others at the work place are wearing. Copy the general style to blend in. IMHO it's better to slightly over dress (layers are good- eg a smart jacket that suddenly feels formal and stuffy can be quickly removed!)
Comfort- nothing worse that tugging down a short cute mini skirt all day, or aching feet in gorgeous high heels!
A quality clothing item will help her feel confident as it will sit well.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 7:36PM
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Does the company have a website? Sometimes companies post pictures of employees at work, at the company outing, etc. That might help.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 9:01PM
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I worked for a NYC medical ad agency (ten years ago) and the attire was entirely eclectic, but predominately black. Interesting shoes were in our desk drawers to slip on after the comfty shoe walk from the train or subway. Attire at a fashion-based firm is going to be more self-consciously trendy. Black is so easy and moves from day to evening easily. Hard to wear much white in a sooty city environment.

Pecan, LOL, I wore the same uniform you described from the early 80's in my "first woman to do this" pharmaceutical management job! What about those foulard print fabric "rosette" ties! I found one in a drawer 2 years ago and put it on with a suit just for fun at an exhibit and got scores of comments on it. Everything old becomes new again!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Yes, what goes around comes around- despite our best attempts to prevent it. Annaleef, you and I need to get together and have a vintage treasures garage sale- free up some closet space!

My girls love vintage clothing and one (I have to admit) darling dress DD2 bought on eBay looked strangely familiar. My mother says I wore it to my HS graduation in the mid-seventies.

Has anyone's child come home from school and announced they have to dress up for '80s day'? Frightening!

My uniform for the eighties was either reverse drag (the small-man-with-a-tie outfit) or my maternity wear, which consisted of a either a long sweatshirt, leggings, scrunchy thick aerobic sox and high-top Reebocks; or oddly desexualizing pink or blue shorts sets with peter-pan collars for the summer pregnancy. My girls were horrified at my 80s wear, and for good reason.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 10:10AM
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sue--she could end up dressing like clip-photo-art LOL

Not saying this is what you were referring to, but your post reminded me of one of my HUGE pet peeves about corporate websites--those cheesy photos of 20 somethings sitting around a desk or on the cellphone at an angle...even with pretty well-to-do international companies, you'll see this silliness...

Just this past week I saw an 80s compilation called "Senses working overtime" (which was a song I LOVED, from a group I LOVE) at Starbucks. I heaved a big heavy sigh before placing my order.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:14PM
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Pecan, I can't offer any suggestions. Only popping in to say congrats on your DD! But now that I'm hear, I'll also have to sigh heavily at her stats....115 and 5'8"? Oh my...in my dreams. I could wear whatever I wanted! Without having to buy stretchy jeans to fit my huge thighs but smaller waist...always leaving a weird bunchy gap in the back....

BTW, I was cleaning my garage yesterday in preparation for selling our house, and I found your basket! I'm chagrined and embarassed. I remember vividly putting it into my car to bring back to you. Apparently my DH took it out when cleaning the car, and I hadn't seen it. Buried at the bottom is the 1 year old thank you note that was to accompany the basket. Oy. You shall have the basket back this week!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:15PM
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Doofus....Now that I'm hear

Make that...."Now that I'm here"


    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:43PM
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Not to worry about the basket my dear- I'm not on your beaten path. But "in preparation for moving" ?????

Where are you going? Will you do another kitchen perchance?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:53PM
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Remember that house I posted here a year or so ago? Well, the old dear is *still* on the market, and we are decidedly out of room. (I really didn't take into consideration the *size* that teenagers become!)

DH and I went over to see it again, and this time we decided it's time to move. So yes, I'll have another kitchen project! (I must be outta my mind!)

We haven't officially written the offer yet, as we wanted ours sold first. But it's going on 560 days on the market for the other one, so I don't know that there's a mad rush on it, though I guess you never know....

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 1:56PM
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Ya know, these TV programs showing the young girls in office attire that is far more fashionable than functional don't help at all.

Seems that in TV land, skirts are short, cleavage is standard and all attire is tight as a casing on a sausage.

So to speak...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 5:01PM
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One can never go wrong with a nice silk sweater set. It is nice because if it is too formal for the job take off the cardigan and tie it around your shoulders or waist. If it is formal, leave it on. Pearls always work. Formal, leave around neck, less formal, make in a double stranded bracelet.

Bottoms, a black skirt is always a safe bet also ankle length black pencil pants always are cute. Wear with ballet flats, mix it up with a pair of animal print ones, can be formal or not, but really fun.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 7:45PM
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