Monday, September 7, 2015

Doesn't Matter If It's Black and White

Odd Weekend Ensemble--Monday, 9/7/15

Sarah exudes insouciance in this combination of black and white shirt, black and white scarf, black skirt, and captoe heels (even though she is posing somewhere that does her fewer favors even than my office does me).


In contrast, I fully recognize that my own outfit is kind of insane and confused about what the hell season it is anyway.

*Black lightweight knit pencil skirt (thrifted, Target), $5.00/wear+
*Black/white large floral print drapeneck sleeveless top (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $4.00/wear+
Black shrug (Target), $5.00/wear+
*Black and white houndstooth infinity scarf (Target), $9.50/wear+
*Black suede captoe flats (thrifted, Skyler), $2.79/wear+

Outfit total: $26.29 (not bad for four new items)

The top, shrug, and skirt make sense together as a summer outfit.  But that scarf is actually made from pretty heavy/warm fabric, and the suede shoes are on the warm side, too.  The outfit came about in this way because I could not resist the opportunity to put 4 new items together plus get the wear of my black shrug in for the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.  So call me seasonally shambolic but self-satisfied in this ensemble. 

This butterfly is happily enjoying an unambiguous summer day at the wildflower center.

In other news...Tam sent me this article about VBO (visible belly outline).  She describes it as:

...A "thing" that fat fashion folks are discussing and basically being in favor of. It tends to be something we're afraid of in dressing - everyone hides their "little tummy" or their "great big huge tummy" if they can - but I think the idea of not hiding it is kinda fun too.

But Tam also wonders about how this intersects with dressing "professionally," which is a great question.  How do you balance "staying within the norm" in the workplace against...well, having a fat body that you don't either dress in a tent or squeeze into shapewear?

It feels easier for things like atypical hair styles/colors, piercings, tattoos, or edgy clothing, deconstructed denim, etc.  I'd say it makes a lot of sense to be careful about how those chosen elements of your look are going to play out in your profession/workplace.  (Pink hair and tattoos on a barista in an independent coffee shop?  De rigueur.  On a trial lawyer?  Uh, no.)

But what about things that are just a part of you?  Your curly hair.  Your skin color ("too dark" or "too pale"--the latter applying mostly to legs, it seems).  Your body shape and size.  These things are often described as "unprofessional" in ways that are clearly ludicrous.

And seems like there's different kinds of VBO that could be in play.  I'd say if you're a fat woman wearing clothes that would be "professional" for a skinny woman to wear, you should be fine even if you're fat.  Perhaps the classic example for me is a blouse tucked into a (not overly-tight sexy secretary style) pencil skirt.  If you've got a belly that sticks out, so what?  There's nothing unprofessional about that.  But if we're talking about a crop top that shows your belly at work?  That's not professional for typical office environments no matter how rock solid your abs are and how little fat you have on top of them.

I wonder how VBO is perceived on pregnant women at work.  Is being pregnant another one of those "unprofessional" things like curly hair or large breasts or does having a big belly because you're pregnant give you an exception?  Is it unprofessional to wear a knit top or dress that is tight against your belly so that you can see the outline of your belly button?  This isn't something I'd recommend a non-pregnant person to do, but I don't know how avoidable it is when you're pregnant.

But to bring this back to firmer ground--VPL (visible panty line), just avoid it, people, especially at work.  I did some googling that suggests that a lot of women find it tacky and a lot of men find it kind of hot.  I don't see how either reaction serves you in a typical professional environment.  Seamless microfiber undies are your friend!


jen said...

Granted that my office is casual when it comes to clothes, but I think trying to hide a pregnant belly is silly. I often wear a form fitting maternity tank with a cardigan, and several co-workers have commented on how cute it looks. But I still don't like the looks of a belly button bulge. Luckily I've found that (so far) wearing full panel maternity jeans/pants keeps it smooth (and are way more comfy now anyway). This week as it's been soooo hot (too hot for jeans), I've been wearing my foldover knit skirts all the way up to cover the belly button, even though it gives me a bit of a visible waist line. If covering the outie gets any harder than that though, I will probably just deal with it. Maybe by then it'll be cool enough to wear a long scarf if it's really noticeable. But if you watch carefully enough, you can see the baby kicking, so if you're really looking that close, you get what you get!

Sally said...

Jen, I'm glad to hear that the reaction to your pregnant belly at work is positive. I love the idea of someone checking you out closely and getting the view of a baby kicking underneath! You need a break in the heat up there. What gives? You all must be having an atypically hot summer--bah!

jen said...

Yeah, it seems we always have more heat waves than people are willing to admit, they just don't happen when they're expected (July is always cool and foggy, for example). Granted I'm more sensitive to it this year. I think Rick is the only other person to have actually seen (and felt) the kicks, but it cracks me up to look down and see my whole belly moving. I hear that kicks in the ribs and other sensitive areas, when they get bigger, are not as funny :)