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Sewing Chatter: How do you maintain your personal style at work?


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This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

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You might have heard that we are gearing up for a new pattern release next Tuesday. If not, hey, new pattern release next Tuesday! To set the mood, we’re going to tease some themes on social media, and Kris recently shared some of her street style inspiration on the blog.

While the world might be more fun if we could wear our street clothes into the office, the reality is that many of us have to adjust our personal style for work.

So, I’m wondering, how do you show off your style at work? Do you have to dress up or down for your job, and how do you maintain your sense of fashion while you’re on the clock?

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 72


This is one of my biggest frustrations. I love wearing skirts, dresses, and 1940s vintage. At work, however, I have to wear pants. So I’m trying to reconcile work and fashion.


Since I work full time I tend to concentrate on my work style more than on my off-work style. Off-work I tend to wear jeans, joggers and comfy clothes and you would rarely find me in a dress. Whereas at work I tend to wear more dresses. I still try to make them reflect what I prefer in my off hours – comfortable, yet elegant. When I wear pants to work I try to make sure they are as comfortable as my jeans. I can also dress up my twill joggers with a blazer and heels. Also I love my leather jacket and wear it all the time in the off hours, so to work I pair it with heels and dresses or pants. I find it provides just enough edginess and reflects me. Overall though, I am still figuring it all out and I am excited to find more way to express my style at work and on the weekends.


I had this same experience when I was working in more of a business casual environment. I found it hard to justify spending money on any clothing I couldn’t wear to work, so I had to really try to combine the two.


Work outfits always seem so restrictive, physically and stylistically, so I sew to help loosen things up. I can make the pieces fit better, choose silhouettes that feel natural for me, or colors that feel good. No more button gaping, plunging necklines, translucent material, or awkward waistlines! Bad work wear is distracting for everyone, and we all deserve better.


That’s a great idea! It is a little hard to escape translucent blouses in RTW workwear, isn’t it?


I couldn’t agree more! Being able to sew your work outfits definitely opens up a lot more opportunities to bring different styles and details in, as well as avoid poor fitting and poor fabric choices.


I’m the one who’s always in here saying that everything I sew is for the glam, and I’m a vain and terrible creature who just doooesss noooot caaaaare…

So it will not surprise you that I wear handsewn from mostly vintage patterns every day to my stuffy giant conservative corporation office job! With underthings and petticoats and gloves and hats. It is the bomb.

That said, the first year I went to work I got a whole different wardrobe because I was super frightened of what people would think of me. Gradually I went back to wearing my old things because I didn’t feel like myself, and it was affecting my job enjoyment/performance. It was unexpectedly well received. The first time I showed up with a petticoat my boss’s boss chased me down the hall to admire my outfit. People regularly copycat my shoes.

Major caveat: I have the benefit of being classically pretty, clever, from “good stock”, and a success in my own right. Privilege, I am aware of it.


It’s so great to hear how well your style is accepted in a stuffy, conservative corporation! I think confidence is very tied to style, and it’s lovely you have the freedom to express yourself.


Do you have a Blog? I would LOVE to see your style!


I don’t anymore, sorry! I used to before I went to work in my stuffy office, but my style changed so much in those early days that I felt I wasn’t serving my audience properly, so I mothballed it. You’re making me think I should resurrect it though!


That is so great! I aspire to that.


I love a structured dress and I will always choose some sexy secretary to see me through the work day. Great fit and good fabric makes this super comfortable for me and I express myself in the colours and prints that I wear. Vintage works well at work – I run my own business so I get to choose what I wear. I am always respectful of the environment but I love to challenge the blue suit brigade.


I work at a community college where we have folks who are teaching students to be diesel mechanics and accountants. The general protocol is business casual. But I do wear a lot of vintage inspired dresses, with with heels or brogues. I am notorious for wearing my college polo with a mabel skirt. My color/pattern choices and accessories make it more modern looking. My favorites are hand knit scarves/scarves and my leather jackets. I wear a lot of bright shoes, either heels or brogues.

I channel a little bit of sexy secretary, but I do try to be subtle about it.


The atmosphere in my workplace is relatively relaxed, which means everyone can wear whatever they please (which in most cases means either conservative or casual clothes). I, on the other hand, happily wear my bright floral dresses to work. There are colleagues who’ve probably never seen me wearing pants. First I thought I was being too vain, but I’m over that by now. I don’t mind being complimented every other day or shifting the topic of a water cooler talk to sewing. I wasn’t even surprised when I found out my male colleagues have read my sewing blog! Many colleagues seem to lighten up when they see me wearing a new cheerful dress, so why deny them the amusement.

I recently read somewhere that one part of being a professional is that your clothes should be the least interesting thing about you. I’m not sure I agree to this, but I do have thought that maybe my outfits do draw too much attention… But then again, wearing clothes I’ve sewn myself makes me feel more confident and perhaps even perform better professionally. Every time I’ve worn store bought ordinary clothes to work during the last two years, I’ve felt so drab.


I’m not sure if I agree with that statement about professionalism, either!


Professionalism’s exactly what I’ve been struggling with! We have the freedom to make so many wonderful things, but our clothes can hold our careers back. Too flashy, too modern, too old, too loose, too tight, etc etc. Anything that sticks out. I’m really glad you’ve found your balance.

Like other people working somewhere new, I feel like I have to “pay my dues” by wearing boring stuff until I’ve earned enough respect to wear something that reflects my taste.


I wonder whether it might work the other way around, too: dress according to your taste and earn respect for doing that?


“Anything that sticks out…” You said it! To finish that thought, anything that sticks out gets nailed down. Thankfully I worked from home in my most recent job for 7 years. But I still had to report a few times a year to my last company’s headquarters, and were they ever uptight about clothing. You could never compliment anyone who showed the slightest bit of creativity for fear of being called on the carpet for harassment or showing favoritism, or something else negative. When management was asked how should we dress, the saner was vague, like sensible business attire, only business casual on Friday, and that “it’s not a fashion show” (whatever that means). I went out of my way to wear beautiful outfits for the joy of it, but no one could say good job even if they wanted to. Laid off now, ha ha, so hoping my next job will allow the flexibility I have grown used to, and working from home again would be less stressful. I am so glad I never had to report to that office daily!


I think it really depends on what your profession is. When I was a working journalist, my general day-to-day work attire was mostly business casual, but I also had to be able to seamlessly seem to fit into a business meeting, meeting with politicians and talking to a farmer in the field. That sometimes meant multiple wardrobe changes during the work day.

Now I’m a grant writer and as it is a “creative” area I seem to have a little more leeway than some other business (ie if I were an accountant or a banker.)

SJ Kurtz

I worked in fundraising and development, and it was a struggle to come up with professional clothes that fit in with folks far wealthier than myself, that did not require dry cleaning. Thus, a lot more creative sewing choices for myself.
There was an expectation that the younger women would dress sexier than us older ladies. I could probably have worn anything, but there were ‘notes’ about more panty hose and high heels for my staff from my female bosses. Not cool, ladies. Not cool at all.


As my husband and I own our own business, I can choose what I want to wear. I wear a mixture of handmade and RTW dresses, RTW trousers (need to tackle trouser-sewing next!) and tops, and some days, jeans. Over these I’ll often wear either hand knit cardigans (courtesy of my mum), or smart blazers.

I have a very eclectic style (you probably couldn’t even call it a style, really). I had my colours “done” a few years ago, which made a huge difference to my clothing and fabric choices, as I am now much more confident in what colours suit me.

Overall, I think I display more personal style at work than I do in my down time, as out of work I’m mostly in boring jeans and jersey tops and sweaters. Work gives me an excuse to dress fancy. As I’m client facing, and am often in meetings, at events or lunches, looking pulled together in a pretty dress really helps me to feel like I “deserve” my role as director, if that makes sense.


As a scientist, I also have the privilige to wear alomost whatever I want to work, but sometimes it is just easier to dress to the expectations of your peers.
In my work environment, it is sometimes hard to be accepted as a serious scientist, if you don’t look like the prototype-nerd. I have the feeling, that people have a hard time considering someone as smart/competent dressing feminine/vintage.
Depends on my mood if I have the stamina to convice my audience that a brilliant mind can shine also in a petticoat and not only in a black suit.


That’s really interesting, Lis. I’m sure many people dress for their peers at work, but I imagine that pressure is heightened in certain professions. You keep wearing that petticoat!


Can you take one of those Big Bang women as your role model? I’ve gone totally blank on her name, but the actor is little with an hourglass figure so suited to ’50s gear – which is what the character usually wears – not quite costume, but not modern corporate either. She works for Big Pharma, from memory – but clearly in a lab from the things she says about work.


I’m in science too and about to begin my doctorate. Since transitioning from student, to RA, to PhD, I’m finding my wardrobe at work is becoming more tailored, which I’m enjoying. I want to let the new people I meet know that I consider myself a professional, though I don’t feel like I’m loosing my style. I just need to get a bit less self conscious around my peers in hoodies! And everyone knows leopard print is a neutral…

Samantha Schmidt

I’m an elementary school teacher and feel lucky to have a lot of creative freedom when I dress for work. At school, some teachers wear sweatpants and others wear posted and blazers. I find myself somewhere in between with trousers and cute blouses, skirts and shirts. The coolest part is that I get to be an example to preteen girls on how to dress appropriately and to have fun. I also love being able to turn the conversation from “I love your shoes Mme!” to “Did you make that, Mme?” I also get away with super cutesy/kitschy outfits that would not fly in the outside world. Fan favourites are the glitter keds, fuchsia swan sweater and the gingham peplum blouse.


I love that you can have so much fun with your clothes, and lead by example. My favorite teacher in high school wore rainbow or florescent suspenders under his blazers, and I have no doubt it tapered how strict he appeared to us!


I have to wear full coverage high visibility work clothes with steel capped boots (and gloves, eye protection and a hard hat when outside!) so there is no chance for self expression through clothing while at work. The only self expression I can do is to paint my nails!
This pretty much results in me enjoying my clothing style choices even more on weekends though.


I wear a uniform to work and makeup, hair color, and jewelry is regulated.
I express my style in my earrings (small posts or very short dangles) and shoes which are also regulated, but the regulations of which I flaunt a little bit. My department is not frequently visited by the administrators who would care about this.
Someday I may work in a different library (yes, I’m a librarian) where I can really express my style on a daily basis.


Nope! I wear scrubs to work. And all the people in my position wear the same color scrubs. It makes it extra sweet to get home and change, or to pick out my clothes on my days off.


Me too! Navy blue scrubs are pretty much the cutest. LOL! Combine with danskos and I am pretty much ready for any real clothes…and shoes!


I have a uniform, too. Unfortunately, work is kinda messy sometimes, so at least the uniform takes the brunt of the abuse, and not something I really care about. I’m a florist at a chain store, and there is staining from plants and other organic material and thorny plants snag my clothes.
However, I do wear my own pants, mostly jeans, and I’m working out how to make some lightweight pants that can survive my workday. I’m still experimenting. Right now I wear necklaces that I made or vintage jewelry to keep my identity intact. But I desperately want to wear skirts! Many of the women I work with wear tennis shoes in outrageous colors, and a few have unusual streaks of color in their hair- blue, purple, magenta…whatever it takes to add some individuality. It’s so hard to feel pretty in a uniform.


I’m a scientist working at a lab bench most days, and like Lis said above, at my work we can wear almost anything we like. I dress primarily for comfort at work, so I’m mostly in jeans and t-shirts, skirts and shorts in summer. I ALWAYS wear flat shoes (must be closed toes), it would be so weird to wear heels in a lab. This can often restrict my wardrobe choices somewhat.
I sometimes feel like I have the opposite problem than a lot of people have at work, that if I wear a nice dress or something more professional, my coworkers would notice it’s out of the ordinary and comment on it. E.g my husband and I went to the ballet a few weeks ago, straight from work, so I wore a nice dress to work, and I felt like I had to explain why all day long!


I usually have the opposite problem! I’m a graduate student and for a while everyone said I looked dressed up all the time (I usually wear blazers with nice jeans or dresses) but now if I’m on campus in a sweatershirt or something people ask me what’s wrong!


I love sewing well-tailored clothes – just made clover in a tailored grey linen lined in shocking pink, well-fitted vintage pencil skirts etc. I am a software developer in an office full of guys, and I found it actually helps with the gender perception thing when I don’t dress up TOO much. I am usually in jeans, t-shirt, bare feet, no makeup, hair barely brushed – strange to think it plays in my favour professionally?


My biggest challenge for dressing at work is that I stand for 8 hours a day without breaks, so I need to wear really comfy shoes. And of course, comfy shoes = ugly shoes. My dress code is business casual, and I absolutely love wearing (and making) dresses, but wearing a dress with my Nikes looks a little silly. Still trying to figure out how to work around this issue, 3 years later!


I have been wearing orthotics in my shoes since I was a little girl. It greatly restricts what shoes I can wear so I often dress around my shoes too. But I’ve found that I can wear some brands of oxfords and mary janes that fit my orthotics (I usually take out whatever cushy insole it comes with) and because they buckle or tie up they’re actually really comfortable despite my feet issues. Maybe you can find some other shoe styles besides athletic shoes to wear?


Hi Joanna, I swear by my Cole Haan shoes. Even the heels are insanely comfy. I will wear them instead of basically anything else I own.


I’m an engineer for the local provincial government. Unlike engineers working in private firms, I don’t have to impress potential customers. And since my specific job doesn’t imply working on sites, I get to wear what ever I like. So yes, sometimes it’s jeans-tee shirt-snickers, and other times it’s dress/skirt with colorful stockings and accessories. Either fancy shoes (I have a thing for Fluevogs) or steeltoe boots. And to top it all, I’m the gal in the building with piercings and royal blue hair!!!


I work for a small manufacturer of a niche type of plumbing equipment. There’s no dress code and I’m 1 of only 2 women out of the 10 people at the office, so the world is my oyster. I get to wear my handmade things everyday. Although my coworkers know I make my clothes, they are mostly oblivious to what I am wearing and rarely comment (which I simultaneously like and don’t like). I wear alot of dresses and skirts, which feels like a feminist statement in my man-laden office environment.
Sometimes I get to go on sales calls, where I go down into steamy boiler rooms and inspect plumbing, so I have to wear my RTW jeans and company shirt, but that’s the beauty of handmade underwear! It gives me such confidence wearing things I have made, it’s like secret armor. I can’t wait to see the new pattern…I suspect it’s a blazer or jacket.


“It’s like secret armor.” I love that!! :D


Interesting topic. I work in a small family investment firm, I hold the fort: reception, account, office management etc…..It is rather relaxed but I don’t feel that I can show off and I don’t make the most of the fact that I am in charge! I shoudl stand out. I wore a big skirt in African prints once and got a 60 something finance guy coming to a meeting commenting with cheer joy at my outfit. Moral of the story: I should sew for work more often, as much as I do for every social occasion I have, big or small

Kristin P

I’m a stay at home mom now to twin babies, so I’m happy if I get out of my pajamas most days! But for the 8 years prior, I was working in a professional costume studio for a well-known performing arts venue. Our dress code was whatever we wanted. Some people wore jeans and t-shirts, one woman wore completely vintage, and I was usually wearing a mix of me-mades and RTW but always trying to be creative with my style choices. Most days I was on my feet all day long either measuring racks and racks of garments, or doing laps around my cutting table, so comfortable shoes and clothes that allow for ease of movement were my only real limiting factor. The tricky part of dressing in whatever I wanted was days when we had fittings with “celebrity” singers and performers (in quotes because fame is relative, right?). It could be difficult to find a good balance in an outifit. Forget about looking “cute” or no one would take me seriously for a second. My goal was usually to look sophsitciated, but not too conservative–it is an arts organization afterall; style-conscious but not contrived; trendy, but not fashion-victim; put-together, but not so fierce as to intimidate the fragile egos of some performers (yes that’s a thing!). And forget about wearing poofy dresses and petticoats when you’re down on the floor marking hems, or trying to rope a singer into a corset. Sewing was great for me because I made a lot of interesting garments from Japanese sewing books, or Vogue designer patterns that are a good blend of interesting, simple, and easy to wear that was needed for these occasions. It was a fun challenge figuring out how to dress! I love staying home with my babies, but I do miss having a reason to get dressed-up!


Do NOT be afraid of dressing nicely at home with your Precious Ones! Dress them up, too! I have seven children (all now grown), and I wish I would have done that more!

Kristin P

Awww! Thanks Teresa! I will take that to heart :)


I definitely make an effort to dress for work, but as a university professor, I have a lot of leeway (or at least I think I do – hah!). I actually document on my blog what I wear to teach each week, and since dressing is predominantly about creativity and personal expression, I feel like my outfits represent me. My off-duty style is similar although often much more casual.
But this is what I’ve done with other jobs – I get my boss or whomever to see that I’m competent and responsible, and then I start funkifying my work outfits. Sometimes I get a little too comfortable. For example when I wore what I called “the Jesus dress” (yes, long, simple white linen dress) to my job on Wall Street. Too funny! I didn’t get sent home or anything, but I knew it was a stretch.


interesting question, I , being a ranch wife ( don’t correct that I AM married to the Ranch) am also looking for style however , being that my work calls for function , function, function. I have spent several years giving clothes that don’t work for me anymore to others starting careers, going to parties , young ones coming into womanhood. This year I found my style, linen and cotton blend light weight maxi dresses layered for weather and task, over sized bark cloth or denim overalls, aprons, livestock , gathering, gardening ( my DIL also gave me a retro big pocket one for cloths pins!) and wool felted knitted and sometimes blended with silk blouses and outerwear. Weird for some , sort of a harvest fair meets Camelot look that functions well and does not aggravate my fibromyalgia ( thus the lose fitting gowns and oversized coveralls) I find my fabric choice expensive so thrift stores and upcycling are a big part of my life I have the time to unravel sweaters and the lanolin actually soften my hands! Now when it comes to evenings on the deck (summer) or by the fire ( winter) bias cut silk gowns and kimonos are my choice. I am still a bit of an urbanite! LK


I work as a fundraiser for a non-profit, which means that some days I am literally digging around in closets to see how many teeshirts we have left and other days I have a meeting with the Board or other people I need to try to impress. I strive for a mix of separates in silhouettes, fabrics, and colors I like (nothing frilly, flirty,or ultra femme, its just not me!), and nicer “smart” dresses for big meetings/fundraising events where I have to look nice but also run around working. So, I indulge my love of vintage patterns for those “smart” dresses in classic wools and tweeds, and for my daily separates I try to strive for something I could still wear on the weekend if paired creatively. For those, I turn to indies :)


I’m a hairdresser and my work clothing choices are HEAVILY influenced by what’s been engrained in my brain for years ha! In Beauty school they had us wear all black scrubs which was comfortable and practical but no individuality at all except for our hair and makeup. Then immediately after I started working at a Paul Mitchell salon and one of the things about Paul Mitchell as a company is that you wear all black when working. “It’s the hairdressers uniform.” My salon was a tiny more lenient in that we could wear all black or black and white together and we could wear whatever color shoes we want. Then I also started working for the Paul Mitchell School in Las Vegas so more black! lol After the salon closed that I was working at, I moved to renting my own space and running my own business while also teaching but it became such a habit (and I have all the black clothes I love).
I was able to express myself somewhat because I could wear any texture or fabric or design style I wanted! Lots of uneven hems and skinny ponte pants and sequins and lace and studs and leather and fun drapey things and playing with different layers and silhouettes!!! And I always loved wearing weird and crazy different jewelry! Like I have a necklace that looks like the time turner from Harry Potter and I have Darth Vader earrings and long chain earrings and layered blinged out necklaces. And now sometimes I will wear other colors but I find that I do so rarely because I don’t feel like I’m working unless I’m wearing black!! It’s probably just a psychological things but oh well! I still love wearing all black :)

Aimee Steinberger

I keep trying to find cute but comfortable dresses that I can use as daily wear. I run after twins and spend most of the rest of my time hunched over a computer. I like looking cute anyway, but dresses that confine my arm movement or aren’t comfortable are just a no-go.

Amy Nicole

My husband and I own a BBQ restaurant .. so unless I want to get greasy meat juice on all my nice makes, I’m essentially tied to jeans and t-shirts. And even then I have specifically designated “work jeans” and “work shirts”. These are mostly things I would have gotten rid of already because they are soiled or worn or I’m just not in love with them. But I keep them because I don’t care if they get stained or dirty and its easy to have a “work stash” that I can just grab from and go. To keep it fun and express myself I never leave the house without some fun vintage earrings or a pretty scarf in my hair :)


I pretty much refuse to wear pants at work. So I end up wearing a lot of 1940-1950 style dresses with leggings, a cardigan sweater and some nice accessories. But I am starting a new job on Monday that requires a fairly professional look. So I’m trading in my funky prints for more classic designs.


My biggest struggle is with at-work climate control. It is freezing in the summer and way too warm in the winter. Fortunately, being able to make my own clothes allows for warm long-sleeved shirts in summer prints and lightweight layers in winter-y colors. Then, of course, I need to have “normal” summer and winter clothing when I’m off. Thank goodness I can sew!


I bike to work and need clothes that are comfy and move. Mostly layers because it is colder in the morning and much warmer when I get out. I like vests and zip up hoodies. I like to wear scarves that match pants and tops. Yup pretty simple.


It is interesting to hear what you guys do for a living. I homeschool my daughter and don’t have a job anymore. I used to teach at a community college. I wear skinny jeans and a sweater in winter and dresses and workout clothes in summer. We live in Arizona, so the weather presents the greatest challenge for me in terms of what to wear. It’s hard to think about fashion when it’s 115 degrees outside. I feel for women who have to wear pantsuit-type work clothes on those days.


I’m a stay at home Mum to four small children and an Army wife. I’ve found that my style is a mix of high street and homemade and veers from skinnies and breton top and a blazer all the way to full-on red carpet-esque evening gowns or a vintage 50’s ball gown (made by me). I wish it were different, but there is a bit of pressure to conform and there is a dress code for certain events. My husband is the CO, so I have to toe the line – with that in mind, I express my style through my sewing as it means that I always stand out. I’m never inappropriate but I’m always different.

Elle C

I work in a nursing home and have to wear scrubs and comfortable shoes everyday. I make all my scrub tops and pants. I don’t use scrub patterns (boring!), my favorite top pattern is Sewaholic’s Belcarra., pants Loes Hinse Cruise pants (OOP). I only wear natural fibers and no print is too odd, loud or crazy. I wear prints to work that I would never wear in real life. It’s fun. My favorite shoes are made by Alegria, they are loud too. I love what I wear to work.


What a great way to stay within the rules, yet flaunt them too! I bet your patients love what you wear too.


I’ve always worn exactly what I want to work. I was a teacher so there wasn’t any particular uniform as such but modesty is paramount. Now I’m a Design student so again, I just wear whatever I want. If I worked in an office, I would still wear what I wanted, I’d just modify it slightly to work within the office boundaries (unless of course it was an actual uniform which or course I would have to wear).


I work at a bank in a back office without customer contact. The dresscode is conservative, which means dark suits. My female coworkers sometimes wear dresses, or skirts and blouses instead of suits. I try to sew as many clothes as I can from organic fabrics, and I even wear some of these for work (mostly dresses or skirts). I’ve sewn a wren dress in navy blue and a zinnia skirt in a white / blue cotton (version 2), and both of them are fine for work (well, zinnia in summer only). I even got complimented by a female boss for wearing “professional, but feminine” clothes. I still wear my RTW suits, especially for important meetings when I’m expected to look conservative.
My main issue when sewing for work is how to find organic fabrics in colors or patterns that are suitable, and how to find patterns that are “conservative” enough.
I live in Europe, so things might be a little different than in the US, but the question “how to dress for work and still kep your personal style” is just the same over here.


I work in a business-leaning business casual office, and the biggest rules really would be no super-short skirts and no super-revealing tops. Sleeveless is fine, spagetti straps not, that sort of thing. So I wear a mix of RTW and me-made. My goal is to phase out the RTW and replace it with work-appropriate makes over the next few years. Mostly, I wear separates. My Zinnia comes out once a week, as does the 60s-style wrap-over mini skirt, and then I have a few pairs of fitted trousers (Zara mostly, I’m not much good with pants yet). Those I’d always wear with a blouse or a knit top, flat shoes and a cardigan. Pair that with a big scarf and occasional earrings/necklace. I have a couple of dresses too.

I guess my look at work is somewhere between sexy-secretary and librarian. Mostly though, it fits, it’s comfortable, and it’s flattering. And I don’t have so much in my work wardrobe that I struggle to quickly put together a nice, appropriate outfit in the mornings.


I’m a nurse who can wear whatever I want to work (no scrubs) and I actually work both on the floor and in the office on different days. So I mix it up. Floor days are usually jeans and some sort of top I’ve made but on office days I can wear anything. My only rules are that it appear somewhat casual, can be washed (even if this means by hand), and shoes need to be comfortable and closed toed (and yes, cute boots count). Just bought silver closed toe sandals for the upcoming season because they were me without revealing toes. I always manage to find a way to throw something in that reflects my style while still following the rules.
Years ago when I was forced to wear business casual everyday, I had a bit of a meltdown on the weekends, piling on all of my fun clothes to find my identity again. I’m far more comfortable with this situation.

Katie Emma

Another scientist here – We are free to wear whatever we want, again with closed toe shoes and long pants. I recently started a new position at a different university, and I’ve noticed a slight difference in how people dress. At my old job grad students and postdocs were more casual – sweatshirts and track pants were pretty common. At my new job people dress up a little more and dress pants or kakis are not uncommon.

My general approach to dressing for work is to be comfortable but look put together. I usually wear jeans, but you’ll almost never see me in a sweatshirt or screen-print t-shirt.


In the last 5 years I have gone from working in a corporate environment ( suits), to a small business (smart casual), to being at home full time. Also i have been learning to sew. Now that I have the skills to make my own clothes I find it difficult to know what I want to wear! Although I love looking at all the outfits on sewing blogs many of them seem too formal for my new life where some days the only people I see are my family. I seem to opt for jeans and a jersey top with a cardigan or jumper most days for comfort. I think maybe I need to find a way to bring in a little more style while keeping it casual. I’d love to see more outfit ideas along those lines and also with layers.


I cycle to work too. It is raining a lot where I live so for me it’s wind- and waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear. Unfortunately, functional clothing is not very fashionable and does not allow for much “style”. On the other hand, I guess being active or sporty reflects my personal style – although I may not look very “professional” to some of my more conservative colleagues. I work at uni and don’t have a leading position so I get away with it!

Jordan Slice

Luckily I work in an office that tolerates my professional-but-borderline-business-casual style. I work as a Research Specialist which requires a lot of time at my desk. Because of that, I wear a lot of knit/non-structured dresses for comfort.

I show off my style by choosing fabric (patterns or colors) that makes me smile. If I’m wearing a solid color dress (as I often do), I’ll pair a handmade scarf with it for a little flair.


I work for a heath care system as a data analyst. In the office where I work, men wear jackets and women wear black. I favor classic silhouettes, in a small grouping of colors, with primarily geometric prints (polka dots are my love of the moment). I also rarely sew or buy anything (with the exception of a great pair of jeans) if I can’t wear it to work and again on the weekend.
I go to a lot of meetings with people in dark suits, and although a skirt and jacket makes me fit right in, my choice of color and obsession with fit, make my clothes stand out from the other women in the room. They also make me feel like the most authentic version of myself, which gives me the confidence I need to do my job well.


My work clothes are the clothes that I am most excited to sew. I love playing with colour and pattern in the form of lovely skirts, dresses and blouses. It is a time where I can be really formal and put-together whereas in my social life being casual is important to fit in. On my off-time all I wear is jeans and graphic t-shirts so I am glad to have my office wardrobe to express my creativity.


This is a challenge because I have three different jobs. I don’t quite know how to describe my style other than pants and a simple top in winter, a-line or crops with a simple top in summer, always closed toe shoes.
Job #1 – I’m an acupuncturist and work for myself, so pretty much anything goes as long as it’s not revealing, allows me to bend and reach, and doesn’t look sloppy.
Job #2 – I’m on the clinical faculty at my old acupuncture college where I need to look semi-professional. Closed toe shoes and lab coats are required. I usually dress in wide leg dress pants or a knee length skirt and wear a simple short sleeve or sleeveless top under my lab coat. Closed back clogs are my footwear of choice there.
Job #3 – I work seasonally at a nursery and garden center selling plants of all types – indoor, annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Jeans are what most people wear but I’m not very comfortable in them as I’m a tough fit. In warm or hot weather I tend toward me-made cotton a-line skirts over running shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt. In cold weather I’ve been donning jeans just to stay warm. Footwear is hiking shoes or athletic shoes.
Personally, I think hiking shoes go with everything, but then i do live in Colorado! ;-p


I am a teacher, so my realm of appropriate clothing is pretty broad. I teach music at a high school and a k-8 school, and other teachers vary in style from suit-and-tie to capris and sandals…just depends on the teacher and the day. Me, I feel most myself when I’m wearing a full skirt with a nice top. That gives me the look I want with the freedom and comfort to sit cross-legged on the floor with my students (something I do almost every day). I have a red linen-blend Zinnia that is my absolute favorite! I do own a couple of pairs of dress pants, but I pretty much only wear them in the winter when I am tired of wearing tights or it’s very cold out. Once the weather warms up, it’s skirts all the way.

I have a couple of more buttoned-up, professional-looking outfits with pencil skirts/blazers that I wear when I take my students to music festivals…it helps me to put on my “adult professional” clothes. It makes me feel like people will take me more seriously. I also find I am more likely to wear those kinds of things on Mondays.

Fridays are all about the skinny jeans and button-up shirts for me (mainly my two Archers, which I adore).

I’ve also subscribed to the view that Chacos go with everything, as far as shoes are concerned. Once the weather warms up, they’re my go-to shoes, and I love them so much.


I work with a child with autism (basically a combo of teaching/babysitting), and I luckily can wear pretty much whatever I want. I’ll usually wear my own personal uniform of a fit and flare dress with flats and maybe a cardi if it’s cool enough. Don’t know what I’d do if I had a strict dress code


Strangely I sew more for work than for casual. I love to sew dresses and that’s what I wear every day for work, either a dress or a skirt. I wear more jeans and tshirts at weekends and I tend to buy these. It’s a great outlet for my sewing to be able to wear my dresses at work.

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