I miss my corporate job. For some obvious reasons that you would imagine…steady pay check, health insurance, copy machines and for one that you might not think.
It’s my former corporate wardrobe that I miss the most (aside from my awesome former work friends). I worked for a company that loosely enforced a “professional” dress code. Since I was the only African-American in a highly visible management position, I had to be particularly cognizant of my attire among many other things. And truthfully, while I sometimes bemoaned not being able to wear jeans on Fridays, I really loved to shop and get dressed up which I get it from my Momma — the most stylish and accessorized lady I know.
I enjoyed decking myself out in power dresses, sky-high heels and sometimes went rogue against the semi-conservative dress code. Though I may not have been in my dream job and often wanted to leap out of the nearest window upon being trapped in yet another pointless meeting, I took a lot of pride in my professional appearance and business persona.
I especially loved attending cocktail parties and galas, where I could live out my celebrity fantasy of being dressed to the nines and stepping out of a black limo or town car gliding into fabulously lit events at swanky locations all over the city. All on the company dime, of course. In my head, all I was missing was the paparazzi! I became “known” around the office and company for my flair for fashion. I even had a closet in my office stocked with a couple of cocktails dresses, various pairs of heels, countless accessories including nail polish and remover. If I wore an outfit that no one commented on I would be crushed and wouldn’t dream of wearing it again.
So when I left corporate over two years ago and began living the much less glamorous life of a freelancer/consultant I hit a major style identity crisis. Those power dresses didn’t look so great with my flats and computer bag that I lugged everywhere. Since I live in Brooklyn five blocks from the train station that is always packed like a clown car, those teetering heels I once kept in my office closet were no longer viable. It’s one thing to jump in cabs to dash between meetings across town when you’re adding it to an expense report at the end of the month, but when you’re coming out of pocket for cabs and each subway ride – flats are the way to go.
I had to get used to wearing flats and more casual clothes to client meetings and events. I’ve learned to embrace more of a cool and semi-casual professional look rather than my former corporate “power” professional look. While I may miss being able to express that traditional professional sartorialism, I definitely don’t miss sitting in countless and pointless meetings. I’ll take dressing down over that any day.