Business Ca(jjjhhhhh!?)

WTF is business casual?!? When I asked my summer internship adviser for specifics on appropriate office attire, she gave me the very unhelpful answer, “Business casual—No flip-flops and no jeans.” Awesome, adviser, since I was really intending on coming in dressed as if I were going to a Davis pre-game. Not.

Wikipedia is similarly, if not purposefully, vague in its definition of business ca(jjjhhhh)…however you spell the abbreviation:

“Compared to the dress code of many blue-collar and service workers, business-casual dress is not a uniform. In contrast to business informal, there is no generally accepted definition of business casual wear…The interpretation of business casual differs widely among organizations and is often a cause of confusion.”

Bill Gates, Wiki’s pictoral example of “business casual.” Yep, causing lots of confusion

For the past week I’ve been observing the sartorial habits of the many important-looking working women in a fruitless quest to unearth a definition for “business casual.” I’ve seen ladies in sassy, pointed high-heels, in flower-adorned flats, in metallic gladiator sandals, in tight rumpus-hugging skirts, in flowing seventies-esque pants, in frilly-collared tank tops, in crisp-white starched button-ups, in bright-colored cardigans, in structured, stern-looking jackets. As you can guess, I am more confused now than I was before.

My pathetic attempt at shopping for business casual wear reflects my utter confusion. After three hours at Lord & Taylor I ended up with three tops (all of which, in all honesty, are more club than office appropriate), a pair of grey shorts (which upon trying them on, my brother LOL’d and asked if I was being serious…), and a sizeable bill that my UNPAID internship certainly cannot support. OK, so maybe I got caught up in L&T’s spring “sale,” but maybe if I had a little more direction I wouldn’t have been led astray…

Booty shorts, NOT office appropriate.

So here I am in DC. Broke. Broke with no business casual clothing. To remedy my lack of capital predicament, I applied to a variety of retail positions at stores ranging from Madewell to L’Occitane to Haagen Dazs. I quickly learned that my greenish-blue streak and nose ring were offensive too all of these fine establishments (I’m going to blog later about the unfair prejudices against persons with piercings and tattoos), so I’ve replaced the ring with the stud and am currently practicing ways to hide said greenish-blue streak.

Piercings and Weird Hair. Not office/grown-up life appropriate?!?

Unfortunately, my knowledge of Partha Chatterjee does not qualify me for a job in the retail industry. Furthermore, I come off as…Cheap? Lacking in class? Scary? Unreliable?… with my eleven piercings and odd-colored hair, thus making me an undesirable shop girl. So here I am in DC. Broke. Worse, broke with dismal cash-making prospects. Even worse(er), I STILL have no business causal attire because I don’t have the money to buy said apparel.

What is a girl to do? Well, as my mother always advises, stick to the things you know. From the judgey store managers, I know that I may be lacking in bougie appeal. And bougie is exactly the aura I must exude when I finally get my hands on some business casual clothes for the office. So, I here invoke the VERY bougie example of Yo-Landi Vi$$er from the South African “futuristic, rap-rave crew,” Die Antwoord.

And I say yes, gold body suits, very office appropriate.


But then again, at the end of the day, I’m left feeling more like Gwen Stefani in “If I Were A Rich Girl” wishing that my cash flow would never, ever end. So perhaps I should roll up to the office in a pirate-hooker outfit surrounded by a gaggle of Japanese tweens in tiny skirts …hmmm…suggestions?