Work Code

I tried a choker in my workplace, and no one batted an eyelash – in other words, wear yours before the trend is over.

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To paint the setting, my office is very corporate. There are about 600 people packed into 9 floors of an iconic Boston building, yet the range of style barely spans a Talbots or Ann Taylor. Slowly but surely through my years of employment here, I’ve tested the waters for what is and is not appropriate in a reserved environment. The results? Actually, not terrible.

Prior to this, I worked at an online streetwear retailer that was dynamic, diverse, and dog-friendly. We were free to wear whatever we wanted without judgement. Flashback: Black cropped tank and high-waist red hotpants worn over faux-garter stockings, while handing a daily consolidation report to the CFO. Now is probably when I mention that I work in Finance…

Clearly, switching jobs required a conscious level of adjustment. To prepare, I bought a pencil skirt, cotton work shirt, and cut all my hair into a chic little bob, ready to fit into my new work world. All was well. But as time passed, I couldn’t help but escape from the black blazer uniform, and let my own sense of style bleed through. It began with a leather skirt, then followed by a bell-sleeved blouse, and now here we are 3+ years later and I’m telling you that I wore a choker to work and everything was fine. I even got a couple compliments, albeit from the younger folks.

Here’s the trick, aside from sloppy or slutty, you can wear almost whatever you want to your corporate job, as long as you wear it with confidence. Now I’m not saying you should don a metallic tulle skirt on day one, but it’s possible it could be something for the future.

First, take some time to gauge the flexibility of your office dress code (and side-eye generosity of your coworkers) to see what kind of space you’re working with. Second, start integrating some of your personal choices into your daily get-up and wear them proudly around the office. Eventually, you might even notice the two styles start to blend together. If that happens, embrace it! Your wardrobe and your bank account will thank you, I know mine did. Finally third, start investing in clothes that you know can span your two worlds, ones that you can work multiple ways and constantly repurpose. And thus we arrive at the MO of Utilita State, where fashion meets function, with utility-inspired style. See what I did there?



Choker / Shop Elle Kae
Shirt / Banana Republic
Trousers / Topshop
Heels / Zara
Bag / Kate Spade

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