What I Wore: Breaking from a Uniform


I’ll be the first to admit that I hate dressing for work. I’m in a new position that is more administrative and conservative than my previous jobs, and it’s been hard to get a grasp on how to dress for work.  While the dress code is actually “professional” or “business casual,” when I spent the last 10 years in an environment (the performing arts) where the dress code was paint-covered jeans, black t-shirts, or dance pants, it makes give more consideration to what I’m wearing.

Most mornings, my thought process is something like, “What is today? Do I have any meetings? And can I get away with wearing jeans?”  To simplify that, I wear a “uniform” most days: some variation of nice top, pants, scarf or chunky necklace, and weather/activity appropriate shoes.

With spring on the way, though, I can swap out that tired old uniform for an outfit that’s even easier — sun dresses and sweet flats! Easy to wear, looks professional with little effort, and mentally makes me feel more “put together.”  As I’ve been working to lose weight this past year and half, it doesn’t seem to be too long between an item “fitting” and that same item being “too big/unwearable,” which makes it difficult to feel “put together.”  Luckily this dress still has a bit more life in it before it gets to the “too big/unwearable” stage.  Thank goodness! Come summer, when the weather is too unbearable for clothes, my “uniform” will become a dress or skirt and tank top!



This dress is from Australian-based plus-size company City Chic.  I love them for offering well-made plus-size options in youthful, trendier styles.  While some of the options fall into the stereotype of a plus-size garment (oversized floral patterns! shiny synthetic patterns!), there are many other pieces worth owning.  Dozens of pieces have stocked my closet over the years, and they’ve held up nicely.  The customer service has always been kind and quick to help.  Sometimes the pieces feel over-priced, so I always try to wait out a sale — they have great ones, typically from 30-50% off sitewide!

What I Wore:
City Chic Spliced Color Tunic (courtesy of City Chic)
Sorelli earrings (similar and similar)
Wendy Brandes Little Woolf necklace
Michael Kors Runway watch
John Fluevog Lately flats (similar)
Foley + Corinna Mid-City Tote
Prada Baroque Sunglasses

Call her Ash, Ashe, or Ashley– she doesn’t mind! Already Pretty contributor Ashley began blogging in 2007 about fashion and style to fill a void in her life while living in the wintery tundra of Indiana. Her blog Dramatis Personae focuses on food, life & style.  Ashley’s love of fashion began at 10, when she bought her first issue of Seventeen magazine; this also began a life long battle with learning to love her body (she never looked like the girls who graced those pages). As a plus-sized woman, she loves promoting fashion for all women and shops that want to make all ladies feel beautiful.  She currently calls New Orleans home and share her little house with a wonderful fiance and two brilliant and playful Maine Coons kitties.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for Ash in Fashion. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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11 Responses to “What I Wore: Breaking from a Uniform”

  1. Cassie

    Cute look and congrats on the weight loss! I feel the same way as you. I went from a position teaching at a college where I was free to wear whatever I wanted, within reason. I then moved to a position at a large law firm with a more conservative business casual dress code. It’s hard to get excited about basic work trousers. My work uniform right now tends to be skinny pants, a flowy blouse, and a blazer. I love your idea of easy dresses as a warm weather work uniform; I totally agree that it’s an easy way to stay cool and look polished!


    • Ashe

      Thanks, Cassie! And I’m sure in a law firm, you could add a blazer once you get in the office to business-it-up even more.

      But basic work clothes– I hate them! It doesn’t help our weather has two extremes, making it easy to start hating my uniforms all too quickly.

  2. Grace

    I love your enthusiasm for the change in season! Here in Montana, it’s still a ways away.:)
    Your look is pretty casual still for most office jobs (mine for example) but it’s the kind of thing a lot of folks would throw a cardigan or blazer on, I think. Now me? I feel like a grandma or a fake immediately if I wear a cardigan or a blazer. *sigh*
    I am always a fan of red shoes. 🙂

    • Ashe

      To be honest? It is pretty casual, but it’s a college– and sometimes I worry one day my boss is going to sit me down and say, “Let’s talk about your wardrobe…” I’ve tried taking cues from other women in the office and what they wear, though, but with my own slant on things.

      I tried to add a cardigan to this, but it covered up 90% of the detail on top! And while I’ve purchased them this past year, I still have a hard time feeling like “me” in them… and mostly use them as a disguise on cooler days to make myself look more dressed up.

      And trust me, come May, when the heat sets in… I’ll be singing another tune about the change in season. Mostly how it’s all hell and spitfire!

  3. LK

    I hear you on going from theater to an office. I continued to work in entertainment but in a management and PR type place. We had to dress “trendy NY casual” which involved a lot of thinking about your outfit unless you wanted your boss to critique your choice (which happened often). It was weird to return to the midwest where no one seems to care about what you wear to work or fashion. But it sure makes getting ready in the morning a lot easier!

    • Ashe @ Ash in Fashion

      Ooh, I feel you, LK! When I was in theatre & dance, if I put effort into my outfit, I usually got biting comments from the older dancers (early feminists rearing their head– which they did to the dance students often, too). And the South, much like the Midwest, is SO laid back in general… even if I have to look put together & professional.

      “which involved a lot of thinking about your outfit unless you wanted your boss to critique your choice (which happened often).” That’s such a shame, you know? It definitely made me feel disinclined to put effort into my outfits if I knew I was going to receive passive aggressive comments or backlash for doing so… and why do people even care?

      That’s for commiserating with me, LK!

  4. Max Rose

    this is really lovely! dresses and skirts are such great work options, especially when you’re like me and absolutely LOATHE dress pants! ha! also, your sunglasses are spectacular 🙂

    • Ashe

      Thank you, Max Rose!

      I loathe dress pants too– I’ve been on the quest to find great black pants that feel good, look good, and aren’t business/suit pants but still look professional and nice. Easier said than done!

  5. Cathy Benavides

    I recently started working from home, and I never feel put together anymore! But you are right – cute dress + fun flats = instant outfit! I love this look – you are stunning 🙂

    • Ashe

      Cathy, I feel you! Dressing for 10 years in theatre was a lot like working from home… everyone wore black tees, paint covered jeans, and yoga pants! It’s been a lot easier finding easy, instant outfits that help me feel put together, though.

      And thank you! xx