Dress for the Job You Want...On Your Way to Work

by Alyssa Shapiro

What do you wear on your way to the office? The Bustle offices are fairly casual, so heels aren’t required, meaning I leave my house and show up to work in the same look, head to toe. This wasn’t always the case for me, and, of course, different office cultures necessitate different levels of dress. Heading to the offices where heels are essentially requirements, do you throw on a pair of sandals generally relegated to the pedicure waddle-walks? (Please, don’t.) Nicer sandals? Flats? Flat shoes that go with the outfit? (Hopefully!) Essentially, do you look as presentable on your commute as you do after stowing your tote under your desk?

I’m all for comfort, really. I think that if you look good, you know you look good, and you feel good, then you can forget about how you look and focus on more important things. This is why I implore you to think about the commute outfit as much as the one your boss sees.

Think of it this way: How many people see you on your way in to the office? What’s the chance you’ll see someone you are interested in speaking with, whether it’s a potential business connection, a colleague, a cute guy? Do you want to be self conscious of your attire while laying on the charm or pitching a new idea?

Vanity Fair editor Michael Carl, who, in succinctly captioning the below image “NO” communicated quite clearly what the visual tells my brain, anyway. Clearly this person did not factor in that her white pants would drag with the wrong shoes. Perhaps she should have considered not wearing very long white pants in New York City, or she should have kept the heels on and taken a cab just this once. (It would have cost less than the dry cleaning bill, probably.)

White-pant-dragging-girl isn't the only one doing it wrong. Some of the more disappointing looks are the women I see who have on a great dress or skirt/top situation. They've done their hair, slicked on a daylight appropriate lipgloss, and are manicured and carrying a cute tote... but then they've donned a poolside-only-appropriate sandal. And you know as well as I do that's the part of the outfit you remember most. Eschewing the pantsuit-laden woman in sneakers hoofing it to work in the morning—you don't want to talk about her, and neither do I—put your shoe salesman to work to find you an appropriate, walkable shoe.

Some thoughts: Sometimes a sneaker can be cute with a skirt or leather short (keeping in mind the tennis shoes that still have mud from the weekend hike aren't the right pair for this). Try something more colorful and fun that's not meant for the trail. With skirts, dresses, or cropped pants, a ballet flat in the same color as the heels you'll be in all day. If menswear is more your thing, throw on a brogue and learn how to make a quick French cuff.

There are so many ways around these fashion mishaps. Save your clothes, save your look, save yourselves!

Image: @carlscrush on Twitter