Recently, I received an email from the career services at Cornell instructing me to bring formal, ‘business’ clothing to campus for graduate school. A graduate of a liberal arts college, let alone an all-women’s New England institution, you are likely to have a few business clothing here and there. We did get J. Crew to name a cardigan after us.
I have never been completely comfortable wearing formal, business-y clothing. I have never worn a suit. I don’t like suits on women, except Jennifer Aniston. I love blazers, and I consider pairing dark skinny jeans with a nice top as formal (…as I will go). This time, I have been specifically instructed to purchase proper business clothing and this particular message has been in my head for two weeks now. A specific email from a specific department not asking, but telling me to do something non-academic-financial aid-housing-orientation related. I am actually going to be wearing formal clothing in a space that is all too natural to be formal. It will matter what I look like, but more will be judged on how professional I look rather than if I actually look good (which can happen, formal or no formal clothing).
Perhaps I am making this into a bigger deal than it is because it feels like a wake up call to adulthood or perhaps a reminder of my reality–grow up, and get a suit, wear it and embrace it, and no, you can’t get away with things that are imaginary-formal.
Things are happening, way, way too fast.
Also, I did purchase a suit and cannot wait to wear the coat-blazer part without the head to toe one color deal that suits force me to do.