Finding a professional style

Can you guys believe we’re already almost 1/4 into 2014? I’ve been thinking about some of my New Year’s Resolutions this week and looking back on how I’ve progressed. I’ve been pretty good about many of my sewing goals, though I did cave and buy a few patterns for costumes. Those $1 sales get me every time. I really need to clear out my pattern bin… Or buy a bigger one. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Anyway, one of the big reasons I took on my RTW fasting challenge was to force me into making clothes that I’d actually wear to work. I haven’t been very good about that. Looking back at some of my makes over the last few months, Cambie #4 has only been to work once (which is a shame, because it’s a lovely dress). My pleated pencil skirt has made it to work three times. The shocker? My white Renfrew that I made at the beginning of this month has made it to work at least 4 times and I’ve worn it around home numerous times.

All of this has forced me to really look at my ideas around sewing vs. what I actually wear (you might also check out Sewaholic’s post on this topic). I haven’t posted about it, but I’m following along with Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series. I think my failing with some of my pieces so far is that I’ve been making clothing that I aspire to wear, but don’t wear often. Cambie #4 is a good example. I just don’t wear dresses like that at work very often. As a result, I’m somewhat uncomfortable. I still really like it, but I find myself thinking about it a lot while wearing it.

Most of the libraries I’ve worked at had a fairly relaxed dress policy. There aren’t any “rules” per se, other than don’t wear jeans unless it’s Wednesday (We get to wear jeans and t-shirts that support the college).

Here are a few of my go-to looks:

Dress go-to


Casual Comfy




I realized a couple of things while coming up with this:

  • I almost never wear heels. More often than not, it’s ballet flats.
  • I go for 1-2 layers of lower body wear. Most days, this is a knee-length skirt and tights or leggings. Sometimes it’s a pair of trousers.
  • 2-4 layers of upper body wear. I like layers for temperature control. At a minimum, I wear a blouse with a cardigan.
  • My outfits are typically monochromatic with a pop of color. Grey and black are my go-to bases

When I realistically looked at my work wardrobe, I realized I wear knits ALL THE TIME.  I have a desk job, so it’s basically like wearing fancy pajamas to work. Comfort rocks. At least once a week, I wear a knit dress with a cardigan and leggings or tights. I love these because they give me the illusion of being more dressed up with the comfort of knits.

So what does this mean for my wardrobe and future sewing? Well, I think it’s time to get friendly with my serger and make more work-appropriate knit things, especially knee-length dresses (I’m looking at you, Lady Skater and Penny Pinafore) and skirts. I’m suuuuper excited for Colette’s new book on knits. I think it’ll be a great compliment to my serger basics class from Craftsy. I’m also going to focus on making more basic, comfortable staples: blouses that don’t make me feel self-conscious and a few woven skirts with a relaxed waist fit.

What do you guys wear to work? Do you have any go-to patterns or looks?

6 thoughts on “Finding a professional style

  1. I usually wear jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan. I am trying to diversify a little bit by wearing more skirts and dresses but it’s difficult to change habits. I can really recommend the Lady Skater dress, it is super comfortable but you look really put together when wearing it. I’ve even converted the bodice pattern pieces to make t-shirts.

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