How to be a serious professional in an orange fish intarsia sweater

In addition to my dilemma concerning how to mix my love of hiking with designer dresses and footwear, another serious struggle that I have to deal with in my day to day life is reconciling a love for eccentric, high-fashion clothing with the fact that I work a corporate job, in a male-dominated sector, where “looking professional” means wearing a button-down shirt, khakis and a sleeveless polar fleece (preferably with your company’s logo on it). I often find myself pondering some semi-outrageous outfit in the morning and wondering how badly I really want that promotion. At least in Paris, land of extreme labor protection laws, I never had to ponder whether I might actually be FIRED for wearing an orange fish intarsia sweater to work. And despite having overly-formal workplace dress codes, Paris also has a fairly high tolerance for eccentric dressing, as long as it’s Celine, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Isabelle Marant, or any of the other french labels that make the French economy go round. They understand.

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Sweater by Stella McCartney, boots (pictured above) by Isabel Marant

As many of you know, I recently left my beloved Paris to move to the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, to Palo Alto, which has a population of 67,024 yoga-pants-wearing ladies and their hoodie-wearing husbands.

I moved here to take a job at a big company that sells IT infrastructure – not exactly a fashion mecca. As the name of this blog suggests, my hardware and software expertise has thus far been limited to jewelry (do you think this is white gold or platinum?) and sweaters (is virgin wool softer than cashmere?). For some mysterious reason, they hired me anyway.

But boy is it culture shock. Yesterday my boss looked down at my new Staud bag that I was proudly swinging and just said “what is that?”

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Sweater by APC, silk blouse by H&M premium, skirt and shoes by Prada

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Shoes by Prada, socks by Happy Socks

So the question is, is my passion for hardwear and softwear reconcilable with my newfound interest in hardware and software? Will anyone take me seriously if I continue to wear pink socks with sandals to executive meetings?

Only time will tell, but I will say this: at the end of the day, good work is good work, whether you did it in an orange fish sweater or a company-logo polar fleece, so why not have some fun?

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