Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Tale of Two Tweeds

     Last week I spent my Friday afternoon as I always do: selecting my work clothes for the weekend, ironing, frebrezing, and mending them as needed. My work schedule is pretty much the inverse of everybody else's; my busiest days are Saturday and Sunday (I have two weekdays off instead of the traditional weekend). It's much better than it sounds, since trying to do anything in Tokyo on weekends usually results in blind rages when you realize that most of the 12 million people who reside in and around the city have decided to accompany you on your lunch date, supermarket run, or shopping trip.
     It is kind of strange, however, to have to wear office-appropriate clothes when everybody else is sporting jeans or miniskirts. My office has a pretty strict dress code for men, even on weekends, but for the few women that work there, it's much more lenient. Partially because it's tricky for the mostly male management to enforce what women can and cannot wear, but mostly because women have always had more flexible work-wear options and can often wear the same clothes they would on their days off as long as they dress it up a bit.
     Fair? Perhaps not. But we are still are expected to look decent and put together, and those who don't don't exactly endear themselves to clients or the other staff. So while I push things a bit by, for example, occasionally wearing boots all day instead of switching to heels (the horror!), I try to look somewhat professional. Being office-appropriate yet displaying your own personal style isn't all that difficult, as long as you err on the side of caution and know when to rein things in.

     So this past week at work I ended up wearing tweed twice in the span of 3 days, which is quite a feat considering I only have about 2 tweed pieces in my closet. One was a new purchase, which explains the urge to wear it right away, and the other was an older favorite:
Cream frilled neck top (F21), pale pink cardigan (random Japanese store), metallic tweed skirt (Gap)

     I loved this skirt the moment I slipped it on. It was one of the new spring items that had snuck into the store during the New Year's sale. I almost failed to notice it amongst the racks and tables piled high with half-off sweaters and scarves. But the glint of the silver metallic thread caught my eye, and when I pulled it from the cramped rail I knew I had to have it. Luckily the skirt is designed to sit low on the hips; if it was meant to be worn at the natural waist I wouldn't be able to leave the house in it! I was originally going to wear it with a light grey turtleneck, but since I wanted to wear it with my favorite sparkly necklace, I opted for a scoop-neck top (frilled, though it's tough to tell from the picture) and a super-pale pink cardigan. On my legs (which I DO have, by the way! What I don't have is a full length mirror) I wore nude stockings/pantyhose with nude pumps.
Accessories (rings/studs from mayglobe, my favorite Japanese costume jeweler, Tiffany&Co. engagement ring, and mirrored glass necklace), plus a close-up of the skirt's shirred waistband)

The tweed look I wore a day or so later was quite different: monochromatic, edgy, and tight as opposed to the pretty pastel softness of the Gap look.  I like both styles, though the Gap version is probably more "me." But sometimes the ease of the black turtleneck+pencil skirt+black tights/boots is too tempting to resist!
Metallic knit cap (Gap), black turtleneck sweater (Zara), tweed pencil skirt (F21). The frilled faux leather jack is from a random Japanese clothing store, the type that you can find in train station shopping arcades, selling gems mixed in with a truly ugly collection of old-lady/tramp clothes. I think I unearthed this one from a sales table that also boasted a neon orange sweater and a terry-cloth halter. Sexy!
Without the outer layer and a close-up of the day's baubles (mayglobe earrings/rings, Tiffany&Co. engagement ring, faux diamond bracelet)...and a random bird!
    So yeah, I like tweed! It's elegant but cool, and it doesn't wrinkle. Like at all! Perhaps one day I'll be able to add the Chanel version to my collection...

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