Some people think that dressing up too much -also commonly called “overdressing”- is a sign of you wanting to desperately look superior than everyone else in the room. I don’t stand for this b*&%$@it though. I believe you should get your strength from the things that make you feel like the very best version of yourself. And if fashion can play the part, then why wouldn’t you give it a go?
If I was to write a manifesto about power dressing, this would probably be the preface.
Here’s something not many people know about me: I like to dress up for work, even though it’s sometimes unnecessary.
To me it’s like: watch out, world, I’ve got a badass wardrobe full of sunshine and you gotta see me modelling it. BAM!
At my previous job as Content Director for Fashion Days, however, I was careless about fashion -how crazy is that though, considering the role?-.
I mean, fashion was a core part of my inner self.
I would watch the shows and sob because Stella McCartney had done an amazing hybrid that included ruffles and menswear altogether. I would attend Berlin Fashion Week in my checked Vans and sit front row and cross my legs, just because #YOLO. I would stalk the cool kids from Berlin Mitte, beginning of 2013, having their soy lattes in their adidas Stan Smiths. I would observe and criticise old people’s outfits and anticipate a trend comeback.
Old. Good. Times.
Fashion was definitely something I would contemplate, to then quietly experiment with. Not something I would actively participate in. I’m not part of the fashion community, and the fashion community is not part of me. Period.
I partly blame the fact that I was working in a 24 sqm room, 500 meters away from the TV tower in Alexanderplatz, with two adorable German guys who were working in Business Development. I had zero needs to dress up. What for? Duh!
Then shit happened. Well, not really. I accepted a job in Munich that transformed the way I dress forever.
See, Berlin is not a city for women to wear high heels. It’s uncomfortable to walk, to say the least. It’s also not a city for formal clothing, unless you work in, I don’t know, something formal? And even if you do, sneakers are your go-to choice, and so are cotton turtlenecks and baggy pants with backpacks.
So my first challenge when moving in to my new Munich lifestyle was to get an iconic style that would make me, well, iconic. I needed a hairdo, a fixed shoe type, and a palette.
I chose ombre and straight hair, either down or in a low ponytail -never in a topknot. I opted for cap toe high heels -I bought six different pairs that I wore religiously every day-, and went for black and white looks, with some denim and nude cameos. Minimalistic, if you may.
By focusing on those three pillars, shopping to mix’n’match was easier than ever. Suddenly, EVERYTHING I owned worked together. And boom, if I would ever get something bolder -in, let’s say, orange or bright purple- it would be the cherry on the cake and everyone would think I put a spell on them.
Yeah. I love a good compliment. Thank you.
Suddenly I was a fashion bitch. The kind you ask where she got those shoes from or what size her high-waisted jeans are. And the key to that was this uniform I ended up calling “my Munich style”.
Was it very Munich? Not at all. Too edgy sometimes -I once wore a varsity man t-shirt to a pencil skirt-, too unnecessary -I pulled off a dress for work you’d probably see Blake Lively in at the Grammys-. But it was my interpretation of work attire in a clothing company in Munich.
Now what happens when I get back to Berlin and I’m home-officing? Do I go back to sweatpants and adidas superstar? Do I put my hair up in a bun again? Do I refuse to put on my makeup or use a flat iron? Hell to the no. I have a huge wardrobe full of sunshine -I said it before but had to drop it again- and I spend more time picking up clothes now than I used to, before.
Why? Because now that no one can see me -cause I spend 8 hours on my own working from the comfort of my home with my two chinchillas as coworkers- I realise that I have finally understood how to dress for myself. And that is by far the MOST empowering learning I got from these eight months in Munich.
Also, am I afraid of not looking Berlinish? Well, a bit. Because seriusly: this city has its own uniform and palette, such as Stockholm does. But every city’s style is made by the people who live in them. So why shouldn’t I inject my own sparkle into the equation?
So girl. I’m not gonna tell you to dress to man-repel. I’m also not gonna tell you that “you’ll never be overdressed”, because that’s not true: you COULD, poteeeeentially, be overdressed sometimes. But is that wrong? No.
I’m gonna tell you to dress well if this is what you want to do. And trust me. People will notice that you’re putting an effort there.
Go buy that tuxedo and wear it to work tomorrow with a crop top. I know you want it. We all want it.