March 03, 2014

Black Barter

At the start, it sounded terrific to wear black and just black. Day in, day out. A no-brainer in the multi faceted studies of outfit composition, so easy to obtain, so hard to stain (see what I did there?).
Three years ago, I felt thrilled about my new work uniform guidelines and couldn't understand why the long term employees called them "restrictions". After all, it should be easy to appear stylish and polished in all black clothes. Think of the billion ways you could possibly wear black leggings. Am I right? AM I?  Not to mention the hours of time savings both when you're getting dressed and when you're out shopping. Black shirt and skirt. Done. "Does this come in black?" - "Yes" - Done.

It never occurred to me how quickly the damned shade would consume my wardrobe and more significantly bore me to bits.

NO is what I say and it's time to put an end to this "saving the good outfits for the weekend" kind of attitude. And yes, you're invited to join in and overhaul your own boring work uniform week after week.

Aside from the usual clothes shopping criteria (fit, price, ensuring you don't already own an identical item), there are three main factors one is to consider when buying work clothes for a retail or service job:

  1. Flex -Factor: You can't do squats or fully lift your arms in those clothes? Put them back on the rack!
  2. Bend -Factor: Your bits are showing when you bend over? Not even stockings can save your grace? Back on the rack they go!
  3. Sweat-Factor: That fake leather top may have passed Flex and Bend factor, but you'll never make it to the stock room and back without bathing in your own body fluids. Put it back NOW!
Now it would be insane to expect anyone working on a retail or service wage to completely overhaul their wardrobe in one go. In "Black Barter" I will highlight one particular item of clothing each week that should slowly but steadily make it into what will become your polished work wardrobe! 
And this week's star thread bastard is:

fltr: Asos Curve panelled trousers, Asos Petite real leather pants, Asos panelled Ponte pants, Asos leather look leggings
NO you won't have to buy these off Asos, I promise, but I just love the structured online shopping experience where a variety of high and low cost items of the same category are conveniently laid out for me. Oh and their Curve and Petite collections are a bonus if you're as much about body positivity as I am.

If you're looking to invest in a more expensive, real leather pair - and considering the buttery soft feel and comfort it would be worth it, keep an eye out for the ones Zara stocks from time to time. The ones featured here by Asos look terribly unflattering in this picture (click the link for more pics), but I am incredibly tempted to give them a go.

  1. oversized black cotton T-shirt and long wool cardigan, chunky necklace, suede low ankle boots
  2. sheer button up long shirt, thick leather bralette, pointy toe flats
  3. round neck T-shirt, oversized blazer

Black Barter is a series which celebrates and simultaneously condemns the monotony in retail and service industry uniforms.
If you, like me, have to wear appropriate all-black attire to work you can move comfortably in, and you're looking for a bit of weekly affordable inspiration, you should be thrilled to learn you've come to the right location.