Travel for work? Here’s some wardrobe ideas.

Okay, so I haven’t done any fashion-related posts for awhile. I am a huge fashion nerd, and pretty much all of my site traffic comes from people looking for Dior dresses (sorry, don’t have any to sell, but a girl can dream!), so I thought I’d write up a piece on how to pack and dress while traveling.

So here’s the deal: I travel for my job. A lot. In fact, recently I’ve begun to wonder why I’m even paying rent. I think I’ve spent about 6 days in my apartment since I moved in this May. I guess it’s worth it to feel like I’m a functioning adult with a home to actually return to when I do manage to get a day or two off. ūüôā But anyway, this post is not about that. It’s about what I do with my wardrobe and how I manage to pack for all sorts of weather, work, and the occasional fun night out. Now, my job isn’t terribly controlling of how I dress. I am not allowed to wear sweatpants to work, which was a huge disappointment, but I am allowed to wear jeans. You may have a more formal job, in which case, you’re going to have fewer choices to work with.

The basics, and what works for most ladies:

If you’re going for a short business trip, say, between 2 days and a week, pack light. You might be thinking of a million things that you want to do, like sightseeing after work or checking out the nightlife, or touring a museum. But the most important thing here is that you’re going to be working, and that’s what you’ll probably be spending most of your time doing. So pack for work first, and fun second. You don’t want to have to pay an extra $100 because you over-packed your one bag. So your medium-sized suitcase should probably look something like this:

– Three pairs of slacks, dark and neutral colors (like black, gray, and camel, for example). Keep the hemline shorter. You’re not going to be wearing stilettos. For a touch of personality, try interesting, yet clean cuts, such as a tapered or wide leg, or a high waist.

– Blazers or jackets that match the slacks. They can button or drape.

– Several blouses. Make sure you bring blouses that fit properly; no one wants to see the epic straining button while you’re talking to your clients or investors. Well, maybe they do, but it’s not going to make them pay attention to what you’re trying to say.

– One pair of black kitten heels. If your dress code allows, you can have slingbacks or peep-toes to feel fancy. Otherwise, the heel should be no higher than an inch and the shoe will probably feel a bit dowdy, but it is professional and it will look good with the suit. And you can stand in these for awhile and not feel like your feet are trying to escape from your body.

РA pair of flats.  Love love love me some cute flats.

– If you like jewelry, pack a pair of stud earrings and maybe a few statement rings. I don’t think huge necklaces or layers of bangles are very professional, but a simple necklace or bracelet would be okay. You don’t want this to be the defining feature of your outfit. You also don’t want to show off extremely expensive jewelry when you’re traveling. Keep it simple and safe.

– Another easy way to accessorize is to throw in a cute scarf or two. ¬†They don’t take up much space and they are always in style.

– Underwear: Obviously this is up to you, but I usually bring 2 or 3 bras and enough underwear for every day I’m there.

– If you work out, pack a sports bra or two and your workout clothes. Don’t bring more than one pair for a week. Suck it up and reuse your clothes. You can do it, I promise.

– Sneakers/tennis shoes.

– For after-work activities, choose either a dress or a pair of skinny jeans and a cute top. There’s really no need to pack a lot for this. Try to pick something that you can mix and match with your blazers, or your blouses. You can create some pretty cute looks by mixing professional and casual.

– Finally, throw in a coat you can wear in case of rain, and of course, an umbrella. ¬†If the weather is going to be cold, pack a jacket. ¬†Don’t tell yourself you’ll be indoors all the time and therefore won’t need one. ¬†You’ll regret it. ūüė¶

Here’s an example of some outfits I would pack, thanks to the ever-wonderful Polyvore. ¬†Click the image to see the set up close! Oh, and a note on the prices: I just chose looks I liked. ¬†I’m sure you can find similar looks for wayyyyy cheaper:

Work wardrobe


Dorothy Perkins pleated dress
50¬†–¬†dorothyperkins.com

STEFFEN SCHRAUT slim fit shirt
$175¬†–¬†stylebop.com

Oasis red ruffle blouse
20¬†–¬†oasis-stores.com

Diane von Furstenberg crop top
220¬†–¬†matchesfashion.com

Preen trench coat
$759¬†–¬†boutique1.com

Lanvin drape jacket
$1,179¬†–¬†mytheresa.com

Paul Joe jacket
$615¬†–¬†net-a-porter.com

Blazer
$368¬†–¬†aliceandolivia.com

Maison Martin Margiela wool pants
‚ā¨208¬†–¬†luisaviaroma.com

Nudie Jeans Co. skinny leg jeans
$199¬†–¬†my-wardrobe.com

Anna Sui flower tight
$23¬†–¬†couture.zappos.com

Pants
$43¬†–¬†romwe.com

Oasis flat shoes
38¬†–¬†oasis-stores.com

Kg low heel pumps
55¬†–¬†houseoffraser.co.uk

Ivanka Trump croc bag
$150¬†–¬†nordstrom.com

Armani Exchange crystal ring
$25¬†–¬†armaniexchange.com

Just Female Acces wide ring
‚ā¨18¬†–¬†welikefashion.com

Urban Outfitters square earrings
$14¬†–¬†urbanoutfitters.com

Resin jewelry
$75¬†–¬†reissonline.com

Bajra brown shawl
$298¬†–¬†intermixonline.com

Polka dot umbrella
$17¬†–¬†kohls.com
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So, let’s talk more about marketing.

I know that you know by now that I’m a feminist. So that probably explains a lot about why I get so irritated with marketing techniques, and the tendency to paint women with one brushstroke. Quite a few other feminists have spoken out about women and marketing already; one of my favorites is wundergeek over at Go Make Me A Sandwich, a blog which regularly examines marketing tactics in the gaming industry through a feminist lens. Wundergeek’s most recent post got me thinking about many topics, one of which was being a feminist and not always enjoying feminist-friendly things or events. ¬†Another was how I could use this as an example of how varied women’s tastes are. ¬†Allow me to elaborate, starting with a little bit of background about the topic of Wundergeek’s post.

In 2007, Shelly Mazzanoble, a D&D fan and (gasp) WOMAN, wrote a book called “Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress,” which was apparently received pretty well by her target audience. Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of her book, noted her success and subsequently offered her a monthly column, “Conessions of a Full-Time Wizard.” Both the book and the column are meant to familiarize women with the tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, as well as let them chuckle a bit at the author’s learning experiences as she navigates her way through her own gaming sessions. Wundergeek has read both the book and the columns, and she doesn’t necessarily agree with all the points Mazzanoble presented. She selected examples of the writing that address her annoyance with the way the author portrays female tabletop gamers, and explains why these comments are hurtful to the acceptance of women as competent game players. While I’ve never read Mazzanoble’s column, I have played D&D, and I certainly know what it’s like to be a woman learning the game in a group of experienced players, who just so happen to be male.

It’s important to keep in mind that I only read the quotes that Wundergeek posted, so perhaps the language didn’t hit me as strongly as it did her, when she would probably read about the same topic, written in the same style, month after month. Much like Wondergeek, some of the quotes I found to be highly irritating, such as the whole “I made this character and I think it was very difficult to do, and now I’m gonna have someone explain how to play her because I certainly don’t know how” bit, or the “Hey, I don’t know what else to resort to, so I’m just gonna have my character start crying” habit she seems to have. Others I felt were things that could potentially be annoying to some people, but some of these things sounded exactly like something I’d done in my gaming sessions. Specifically, Ms. Mazzanoble had an irrational fear of looking stupid in front of the group. She had a really difficult time getting into roleplaying, character manipulation (and by this, I mean rolling up a character and deciding how to give her talents or abilities), and then when she gets overwhelmed, she has a tendency to whine. A lot. My dilemma was the fear of looking stupid, of not wanting to make ANY mistakes. I didn’t want to be perceived as some dumb girl who didn’t know what she was doing, and yet, I had no idea what I was doing! Why? Well, because I’d never played before. And because it takes time to learn the rules of a game of that complexity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing help while you’re learning, but obviously at some point, you must start to carry your character on your own. Mazzanoble doesn’t do this, as evidenced by Wundergeek’s post, and she never seems to learn her lesson. She just keeps making the same mistakes, or avoids taking on a challenge, and then relies on her old tricks to save her ass.

Wundergeek also takes issue with the constant references to fashion, shopping, chocolate… you get the idea. I do enjoy fashion. Shopping can be fun if I want to go shut my brain off and look at shiny things for a few hours. And chocolate? Well I know some people don’t like chocolate, but I’m definitely not one of them. Does that make me a bad feminist? Of course it doesn’t. Feminism is about ensuring that women have choices in life, not about restricting them to only certain roles. And those roles could be what we normally think of when we consider why feminism is necessary: 50s housewife happily serving her husband, not allowed to work, and must look presentable at all times; on the other hand, we are also not trying to say women can only be the opposite of that, for that is just as limiting, and does no service to women by simply demanding they do something else. ¬†I am by no means saying that this is what Wundergeek was implying by pointing out that she didn’t enjoy these activities. ¬†The ultimate point of Wundergeek’s post was that she did not believe that Shelly Mazzanoble was really all that much like her writing made her out to be. She suspects it’s actually a marketing tactic that attempts to draw women in with the use of humor (so it doesn’t sound too powergamer-y), a lovable ditz (isn’t she cute, though?), and mentioning stereotypical female interests (all we really want to do is play dress-up, anyway! Where’s that cute dress robe I saw earlier?).

The fact that there exist interests that intersect with stereotypical ideas of women’s desires, and there simultaneously exist interests that fall outside of this boundary or are considered non-traditional or alternative hobbies for women, is a great example of how varied women’s tastes actually are. ¬†Yes, most women experience some overlap of interests with most stereotypical marketing schemes’ tactics to garner female attention. ¬†But that doesn’t make it okay for the marketing crews to assume that this is what all women are interested in and will respond to. ¬†In fact, it further enforces the assumption that women are casual about games, or are only playing because their significant other plays, or are unable to learn the complex rules of a game such as D&D, ad infinitum. ¬†And the solution would most definitely not be to make fun of these “stereotypical” women’s hobbies either (remember that droid ad I ranted about?), because a lot of women really do enjoy “girly” things, like finding something they enjoy wearing, or eating something that tastes really good (like chocolate!). ¬†Shunning these activities only makes it seem like women are punished for just liking things that they like, and they then feel pressured to conform to another set of ideals, which are somehow defined as “better” than girly things. ¬†That’s still misogyny, no matter which way you slice it.

So my point here is not to condemn anyone for what they like or dislike. ¬†It’s to stress that, duh, women have different interests and trying so hard to draw their attention with just a few tired old tricks is kind of insulting. ¬† Humor, likable characters, and being able to relate to what is being sold to you are all vital assets in the marketing process. ¬†But they need to be careful to avoid using tropes that reinforce stereotypes, and definitely don’t limit the product to only one kind of personality. ¬† Sure, the intended demographic might be “women ages 15-60” or something, but going for GEE THEY ALL HAVE BOOBS, MAYBE WE SHOULD TRY TO REMIND THEM OF HOW FUN SHOE SHOPPING IS SO THEY’LL WANT TO BUY OUR GAME probably isn’t their best effort. ¬†That can’t be all you have to offer us… right?

Vintage-inspired dresses for everyone!

I don’t know what it is about me and vintage clothing, but I almost always like something that reminds me of the 40s and 50s.¬† When I was shopping for a prom dress in high school, I wanted something old-fashioned and, well, black.¬† After searching and searching, I finally found something that sorta-kinda resembled what I wanted, but it just didn’t align with my ideal dress.¬† It was A-line, black and silver, and had a corset back. ¬† I didn’t like that it lacked some ruffles and lace that were so iconic of the 1950s, but I was running out of time and had to get something within my mom’s budget.¬† I hated prom anyway, so it didn’t matter in the end. ūüôā

But I digress.¬† Over the last few months, I’ve been looking for a wedding dress.¬† This time around, I really want something special.¬† Originally, I was looking for a vintage gown, designer if possible.¬† I love Hattie Carnegie and Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and Adolfo Sardia… but alas, women these days tend not to be the sizes they were mid-century.¬† But looking through, I felt like I just had to share some of the dresses I found.¬† Vintage dresses, gah, I love them.

This is a Hattie Carnegie dress, circa 1950s.¬† I love the sparkles and touches of silver — and even though it’s pink, it just looks like it’d make you feel amazing.


Another Hattie Carnegie dress.¬† It’s too bright for me, but I love the layers of lace, the embroidery, the pretty scalloped edges, and the flattering waistline.


Finally a non-pink Hattie Carnegie dress!¬† The yellow ribbon tied around the waist just makes this dress even more adorable.¬† I wouldn’t have thought to put a bright color like that with an ivory dress, but it looks amazingly fashionable and elegant at the same time.


Oscar de la Renta dress. This isn’t vintage (as far as I know) but the design sure looks it.¬† I love layers of frills and elaborate collar lines of flowers or ruffles.


A couple of Adolfo Sardia dresses.¬† The dropped waist is something I’ve always liked, too — and the beading is just gorgeous on the gown on the right.


The champagne-colored embroidery just screams vintage beauty.  I am quite in love with this Lanvin dress.


Christian Dior. Love this dress, it looks so frosty and sculpted; channels some feelings of royalty!


Christian Dior again.¬† So pretty with its cascading flowers…


I don’t know the designer of this gown, but the tiny sleeves, the beading, and the layers of fluffy tulle just make me want to put it on and twirl around like a little kid.¬† Seriously.


If I were going more for a traditional gown, I’d totally pick something like this.¬† Aside from the obvious reasons why I like it, I love the tiny buttons all the way up the back.¬† Cute? Yes. A pain to get on? Even more so.


Okay, so I went a little crazy posting dresses there.¬† These are mostly vintage, from the stellar site Thefrock.com, which, if you’re looking for high-quality (and a little spendy) vintage dresses, look there; they have an absolutely amazing collection to peruse.¬† But if you’ve been paying attention to the descriptions as well as the dresses, you’ll have noticed the sizes of most of these dresses.¬† Yeah, they run pretty small.¬† I’m not a large person by any means, but I definitely don’t have a 24″ waist — nor will I ever possess that caliber of daintiness.¬† So my sister turned my attention to etsy.com, where you can find all sorts of hand-made things. I didn’t really know what to expect from it — it seemed like you might find some things that weren’t as well made as, say, your typical gowns you find in spendy stores.¬† I was amazed to find a variety of unique designers who make tailor-fit gowns to your specifications.¬† Numerous pages even took custom requests, or offered to alter any part of a dress that you wanted to change.¬† So then I began my hunt.¬† I was positive I could find a gown that looked just as gorgeous as a vintage designer piece, and — bonus! — that fit me perfectly.

Bridal Bliss Designs.

Bridal Bliss Designs specializes in recreating custom gowns.  I love her attention to detail and her creativity in making a design match the vision of the bride requesting her work.  Just take a look at a few of her creations:

Looks remarkably similar to some of the 1950s tiered tulle and lace dresses, doesn’t it?


Reminds me of a ballerina — I could also see this paired with a cute, bright sash, like the Hattie Carnegie gown!

The lace details, the sweetheart neckline, and the a-line skirt make this a vintage-inspired gown worth checking out.

Avabridal.

Based in Australia, Avabridal has pieces that are unbelievably affordable for the amount of skill and care that goes into the creation of each gown.  They offer crystal upgrades and even sell matching accessories for their gowns!  Truly worth taking a peek.

I love the beadwork and the dropped waist, all tied neatly together with a little sash. Very reminiscent of the Sardia dresses.

The champagne-colored embroidery mimics the Lanvin vintage gown, and the cascading flowers tie in the “Cinderella” Dior gown’s appeal, too!

Classic layering of beads, organza and silk skirt — very elegant.

Bellina Bridal.¬† Located just north of Rome, Italy, this very small studio makes custom gowns as well as promoting its own line — and on top of that, sometimes they even carry true vintage dresses!¬† The work is amazingly high-quality and the woman who runs it is very kind and enthusiastic about her work.¬† Check out her skills, it’s worth it.

I love how she looks like some sort of snow princess.  A breathtaking gown.

Scalloped neckline, layers of lace, and a bow? Yeah, of course I like it.

The asymmetry in this dress just caught my eye.  I love the white beads and embroidery.

Then I saw this dress.¬† I immediately fell in love with it — and this will be the gown that I wear for my wedding this summer!¬† It’s absolutely perfect for me in every way — layers of soft fabric, pretty beads and flowers, an asymmetrical waist, and a corset back.

Well now that I’ve gone through this, I hope that if you’re looking to have some vintage styles on your wedding day, that this can help you a bit.¬† If you’re a lucky person and you get to wear a true vintage gown, that’s wonderful!¬† If you can’t seem to find the perfect fit, then perhaps these other choices will help you get the gown you desire.