Work (fun)ctional

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As I (ostensibly) enter the world of adulthood I am more and more leaving the crop-tops and high waisted denim shorts of college behind me. Unfortunately I haven’t yet figured out my go-to stylish-yet-sophisticated-yet-still-displaying-the-requisite amount of personality outfits. After the cheeky way I was able to dress in a previous life, more grown up affairs continue to leave in me somewhat a sartorial quandary.

So, when my boss informed me we’d be heading over the headquarters of a think tank later on that evening for drinks I was at a loss. What does one wear to go talk about cybersecurity and hacktivism and be taken seriously as someone who would likely be the youngest and blondest in the room, while still conveying my interest in the topic? Can I dress in theme? What would one even wear to a cybersecurity themed party? Can I ever get my mind out of my sorority? Is this what adulthood is like?

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Maybe not so much

My boss had sent me to change since our general office attire wasn’t suitable for such an occasion. Naturally I spent 45 minutes rummaging through my closet playing out all the eventualities in my head. I landed on this ensemble—the black definitely was intended to convey a degree of seriousness and maybe make me feel a bit like a spy, which felt oddly fitting. I tried my best to channel my inner-Audrey (a great departure from my now usual loose-fitting pants, crop top and slides). The top was one that I generally had not found occasions that warranted the beautiful vintage Chanel, but I felt this could be that time. The rather intense monochrome of the outfit i felt needed to be offset by some type of accessory—and when channeling old Hollywood heroines—why not add the scarf?

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Over the course of the evening, I undoubtedly stood out, but with my age and distinct lack of initials after my name that was somewhat an inevitability, and as bold a choice as the scarf definitely added to it. The most important thing for me was that I felt like myself in the clothes and as such had the confidence to talk to the rather impressive array of individuals in the room. after all, that’s what an outfit is for isn’t it?

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That or to feel like a boss
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In Which I Sound Like a Cat Lady With a Really Nice Coat

So I realize this post is incredibly belated (Black Friday was ages ago, I know), but finals doesn’t exactly wait for me to have a new blog post, so I’m afraid you’ll have to bear with me.

I always hated the institution of Black Friday shopping. To me, it seemed utterly absurd. Why shop under less than ideal conditions? How can you possibly make a correct assessment of the quality and use of a particular garment when there are 7 other people clamoring for the same one? It didn’t seem feasible and didn’t seem pleasant. However, this year, Black Friday played matchmaker. I fell in love. It all started when my sister wanted a coat, and my assistance in finding one. Being on West Coast time, the idea of braving the midnight crowds seemed do-able, and we decided to make a trip of it, and hit up the suburban Macy’s. I felt fairly confident that, even given the greatest of discounts, I could take the bitches of the 847 down.

Upon entering the store, the crowds seemed less than hostile, though they to moved with a certain frantic gait. A phenomenon I attributed to most people chugging a Red Bull upon entry to combat the inevitable post-meal Turkey-coma. We were also met with a rack of doorbusters—a bunch of jackets and coats marked buy one, get one free. This was obviously a tantalizing offer, and my sister suggested we go in on such a deal together. As we combed the rack, I found a pea coat. It was cute, dark gray with big buttons, and heartily met with my sister’s approval, and she encouraged me to try it on.

I examined myself and the garment in the mirror and informed her that I have no use for a pea coat. I live in LA. I come back for Chicago winters, but hopefully for shorter and shorter increments of time. (I love my city but that shit’s brutal.) Buying a full-on coat wardrobe almost seemed counterproductive. So I kept my wits about me—I would not let the store goad me into buying something I didn’t need just because it was cheap. From my time in retail, I knew how sales worked. The corporation wanted me to buy this pea coat, but I was smarter than that. I was practical and rational.

So, I put the coat back on the rack, and continued my search for something exceptionally warm for my winter-bound sister.My mission was to find something for her, and I could not be sidetracked with shopping for myself. And that’s when I found it. The music stopped and time moved a bit more slowly. The lights dimmed, and the store was lit simply by the effulgent glow emanating from the striking gold accents of my precious. It was stunning. It was impeccable. It had pretty little ‘MK’s in the zippers. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on the new object of my affection, my closet, nay my life would no longer be complete without it. I grabbed the first one I saw off the rack and threw it on.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” I asked my sister, showing her my beloved. “I need this.”

“Are you serious?” She asked incredulously. “You just said you didn’t need a pea coat. You live in LA remember? I thought we just went over this.”

“Don’t be silly. I didn’t need that pea coat. I need this pea coat.”

My sister just rolled her eyes, and maybe she was right to do so. After all, in terms of practicality, no, this pea coat was not, by any means, a necessary addition to my closet. But it was love. And, as they say sometimes love doesn’t make sense. Sometimes love comes in the face of adversity and I can think of no more adverse circumstances than what was now 1:30 am on Black Friday. And what my sister didn’t seem to realize was that my passion wasn’t for the garment itself. My ardor was inspired by the way my treasure made me feel. From the moment I donned my wool-blend sweetheart, I felt glamorous. I knew that I could face any adversity with my asymmetrical, military inspired armor to protect me. I knew that the glow of infatuation would never quite fade from my cheeks whenever my body was adorned with my beloved’s magic.

“You’re ridiculous.” Was my sister’s only reply. I didn’t expect her to understand. She couldn’t grasp the depth of our connection. She would change her tune, however, once she saw me in my precious in the proper size. This one was the first I grabbed off the rack, and slightly too big. We’d show her how much we belonged together, once there was a perfect fit.

No love is without adversity, and ours found its first setback in the first few moments of courtship. In a moment akin to Juliet discovering Romeo’s last name, I discovered they no longer had my size. This set about a manic search throughout the entirety of the coat section. Every rack that contained even a glimmer of gold or a hint of sapphire wool must be searched. The coat department of Macy’s had been left like a warzone in the Black Friday hubub, coats scattered everywhere, none in their proper place. But no unceremonious pile was beyond by scrutiny. Despite my efforts, I was made fortune’s fool.

Disconsolate, I wandered over to the shoe department, hoping for something worthy of at least rebound, anything to take my mind off what seemed fated not to be. (My sister, pleased with her very warm and very discounted find was quick to remind me that the idea of retail therapy to combat the sadness of an unsuccessful shopping trip was “ridiculous”. But she was not coming away from the excursion empty-handed.) I moped past the in-store Starbucks (it remained open to caffeinate the weary shoppers) and entertained the idea of buying something, anything with chocolate. That’s what people do in these situations, right?

At around 2, my beleaguered sister and mother decided they had had enough of the mania, and we decided to head towards the checkout. As we stood in line, I was then hit with a stroke of brilliance that maybe I had overlooked due to the late hour: I could ask an employee for help. God I was a problem solver. I told my cohorts to hold our place while I went to go grab my last shred of hope. Maybe, just maybe, we could find a way to be together. I raced back, just as my mother reached the register and slammed the coat onto the counter.

“Is she with you?” The woman at the register asked my mother. The look on her face hinted at a desire to call security.

“Oh, yeah, sorry. Don’t worry I didn’t, like, cut or anything.” I tried to laugh, though I was still panting slightly.

“You never know on days like this.” She said, knowingly. “People are crazy.”

I asked her if the coat was on the system as being anywhere in the store. When the results turned up negative, I figured that was it. Then, the woman whose name tag informed me she was called ‘Betty’ became my saving grace with a few simple words: “We can order it for you.”

Half an hour and much confusion with shipping addresses later, my mother and sister trudged back to the car, feeling the effects of the fact that it was now 2:30 in the morning. I however, was immune, and was bounding back to the car floating on a cloud of endorphins. Parting was certainly sorrowful, but sweetened by the fact that we would be reunited in 3 to 5 business days. All was right with the world.

Coat: Michael Kors, Pants: Genetic Denim, Boots: Sorel, Hat: Courtesy of the lovely and talented Rachel Black

Photo Cred: My Mama