Friday, January 24, 2014

Work-Wear Matters

            I usually consider leggings and a sweater a perfectly acceptable outfit. In fact, you’d have a good chance of finding me out on a Friday night in just that. Hey, no judgment, right? But not at work. I feel like work is another dimension of higher expectations, where you never know who you’re going to meet or where you’ll end up by the end of the day. Sure, you could say the same thing about going out with friends on the weekend, but if I meet someone special then, they’ll have to see me in my casual glory sooner or later, right? Work companions won’t.
            But at my new job, I was shocked by the low-key dress code in the office; jeans, Ugg boots, the works. If that’s your thing, good for you. But I just couldn’t. Sure, maybe I looked a little ridiculous crouching by the mail cabinet rummaging for a magazine in my skirt and heels, but I’m dressing for the job I want, not the job I have. Is it crazy to want to dress up, even if that makes you the odd one out?
            Science says no. In a recent study by Psychology Today, 300 participants were exposed to two men, one dressed in an expensive, tailored suit, the other in a similar, but lower-quality suit. After a 3-second exposure to the men from the neck down, participants spoke overwhelmingly more favorable about the man in the nicer outfit. They thought him more confident, successful, and guessed that he made more money. All because of his outfit. Clothing, whether we like it our not, has become an indication of our economic and social standing.
            But more than that, clothes not only dictate how others view us, but can also change how we view ourselves. Northwestern University did a study on something called “enclothed cognition,” meaning how what one wears alters their behavior. In the study, they gave each participant a white lab coat. To some, they said it was a doctor’s coat. To others, it was a painter’s smock. Turns out the people who thought they were wearing a doctor’s coat acted more careful and attentive than those who thought they had a painter’s smock. In an article for, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner said, “When you dress in a certain way, it helps shift your internal self.” Just look at makeovers or actors wearing costumes, she says. What you wear can change you internally.

            So when it comes to work, I’ll keep trudging through the snow in my heeled boots and skirt because, you know what? It’s worth it. Maybe it won’t actually make me more professional or cause me to work harder, but you never know. Maybe it will.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

When I Realize I'm Almost, like, an Adult

To remind me of my youth...
(yup, that's me)
Ever done something and then thought to yourself, “Oh my God, I’m old.” I have. All the time. Sometimes I worry I’m actually a middle-aged woman caught in the body of a 20-year-old. My days of childish care-free worry are over and true adulthood is looming on the horizon. My adult ah-ha moments keep jumping out at me. Here are times I realized adulthood is closer than I thought:

When friends ask me to meet them at 10pm, I laugh. Sorry, man. I’m not leaving my house after the sun goes down. Preferably, I’d also like to return to my house before said sun goes down too, but that’s a bit more flexible.

I get to use the phrase “at work today…” and not be referring to retail or babysitting. Now I finally have something more interesting to say than, “At work today, the youngest one colored me a picture.”

Facebook annoys me. OMG I’m SO glad that you and your boyfriend of two weeks are so MADLY in love and you want to post Pic Stiches about it ALL THE TIME and talk about how AMAZING he is (even though last weekend you were telling me he gets too drunk and never actually calls you back). PLEASE post more horribly romantic pictures so I can feel terrible about my life and hate you THAT much more.

I no longer consider Thursday the weekend. Not long ago I used to fall into the category of the unemployed college student that had no responsibilities Friday morning except making waffles. And it was grand. But when you have to be out the door by 8:30 on that Friday morning, Thursday becomes another early bedtime for me.  

Even the idea of a club makes me claustrophobic. Sweaty, half-clothed people trying to grind up on me and make conversation even though we both know we can’t hear a thing in there? Yeah, no thanks.

I’ve actually used the phrase “when I was a kid…” more than once. But let’s be real, kids of the 90’s had N’Sync, the Bop-It, and bubble gum in the shape of Band-Aids. How could you not want to talk about it all the time?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

5 Things I'd Rather Do Than Go Outside

I don’t really do cold. My father used to laugh at me when I told him I wanted to get away from frigid Colorado by moving to New York City. Guess what? It’s just as cold AND I actually have to leave my warm house and walk everywhere. Maybe you’re a fan of Jack Frost, love heading out to the ski slopes or just bundling up in your cute sweater. Good for you. But that’s not me. So when the weekend weather drives me back under my covers and makes me about as excited to go outside as I would be to chew off my own arm, I’ve got to get creative with my time.

      1.    Hulu Catch-up Marathon: Let’s face it; when you have a life, you don’t get to stay up to date on your favorite TV shows. Take the morning while you try to convince yourself that clothes other than your pajamas might be worth a try to catch up on all the shows you’ve missed.

      2.    Actually organize your stuff: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always as clean as I’d like to be. I think the floor is a perfectly good storage location. But while you’re inside all day, tackle a “problem area” in your home and get crafty. Use an old glass to hold your toothbrush and toothpaste, a magazine holder for your blow-dryer and hairbrush; whatever you need to do to put things in a place you’ll actually find them later.

      3.    Cook for the week: If you’ve got a lifestyle that permits you to spend an hour every night making some sort of gourmet meal even Pinterest would envy, I’m jealous of you. But most of us don’t. And if you’re like me, when you come home from a long day of class or work, the last thing you want to do is slave away in front of the stove for an hour. You want food. Now. So cook some chili you can freeze in Tupperware or bake chicken that you can cut into strips for sandwiches. When you’ve got extra time, make the meals you wish you had time to during the week.

      4.    Start a project: Maybe you’re a “vision boarder” or a scrap-booker. Me? I’m a knitter. Chances are good that you haven’t had a day to work on any of that recently (I’ve been knitting the same blanket since freshman year). Just sit down and do it. Pick a project for the day and do something that makes you happy (bonus points if you can do it AND have your Hulu Catch-up Marathon).

      5.    Don’t do anything: If going outside requires the same gear as adventuring in the Arctic tundra, I’d literally rather do absolutely nothing than hike through the snow. But let’s be honest; how many days do you have to sit around and just do nothing? Not many. And as a student about to enter the workforce, these days will soon be few and far between for me. When you have a day where nothing calls you out of the house, relish in it.