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When I first opened the shop, I was really excited about the idea of not being tied to a corporate dress code. I could wear whatever I wanted to wear now because I was the boss. The only thing stopping me from dressing how I wanted was my moral duty to society to cover certain parts of my body and the police who enforce such moral codes. (See also neighbors.) 

I always envisioned a shop owner as someone who dressed a bit more eclectic, a bit more crazy because she could. Her job now was to be a well-dressed bad ass. (This description is probably written in one of my junior high journals buried some place where it should be.) When I think of someone’s job, I always think of the uniform that comes with it. Perhaps it’s because I was raised with Barbie dolls — with the change of an outfit and backdrop my Barbie (and myself) could be anything we wanted to be. Heels included, skills not; but that didn’t matter because if we weren’t good at one job we could just change clothes. 

It’s funny because I rarely find myself wearing clothes now that I couldn’t before at the office. (With the exception of many jean days in a row and a few short dresses. Not saying I didn’t wear short dresses before, I just hunched over more and wore flats. Optical illusions, people. They work.) But for some reason I find more freedom to be more eclectic because of my job title. I’m still appropriate, but just a little bit more free. 

To that I say to 23-year old Kendi who thought she had to dress the part of the administrative assistant she was: you dress however you’d like. Maybe not in scrubs because people would judge you for not being a nurse, but other than that do what you want and don’t worry about the rest. 

_______________________

Top: bloom

Pants: Dagg & Stacey // Similar-ish

Bag: Target

Shoes: ShoeMint “Hellin

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August Capsule Wardrobe

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184 Responses

  1. Love this! And love the motivation to dress however you want πŸ™‚ I’m in that administrative position now!!

  2. You’re amazing!! It’s not only your looks that I love but the wit and charm you exude through your writing, which always seems to hit home with me….this post is exactly what I needed today xo

  3. Great outfit! Love the pants and the bag! I am lucky to work in a office that doesn’t require full business attire. I seem to get a way with my trendy looks – which I am thrilled about.

    Megan
    budgetfashion101.blogspot.ca

  4. Um, this outfit!

    And I know exactly where you are coming from when it comes to “dressing the part”. I’m currently a 24 year old Admin Assistant in the TV/Radio Business and I feel a lot of pressure to dress VERY professionally. For me, though, dressing this way makes me take my job much more serious. If I could wear jeans, a sweater, and flats every day than I might find myself… slacking. But when I’m walking into the building in a tailored suit and heels than I feel important… even if I’m just a little ol’ assistant.

    1. Absolutely! It’s like you have to figure out what works for your job. I remember feeling freaked out and not knowing what to wear and so I felt the need to dress like a 60 year old woman in scary flats. I say rock those heels and suits, girl!

  5. I happen to currently be a 23-year old Executive Assistant and over the past year or two have been inspired by your blog to dress more creatively at work. Thanks!

  6. This whole eclectic thing is perfect on you and I wish you dressed like this all the time! Its so much fun πŸ™‚ Love the pants

    xo Ashley

    thetiniestfirecracker.com

  7. I really really love that top. It has just the right amount of sparkle. Plus, it looks great paired with those louder pants.

  8. This is gorgeous!! You reminded me I have a white peplum top that I need to wear and post a pic of πŸ™‚ You definitely look the part of a well-dressed bad-ass shop owner!!
    ~Karen
    sewstitchincute.blogspot.com

  9. Those pants are so so so pretty! I would love a pair of those! Seriously! they don’t sell them online?
    And I agree with the dress code. When I’m teaching, I dress like a teacher all the time. It makes me feel (and look) more authoritative.

    happymedley.blogspot.com
    J.Crew GIveaway on the blog!

  10. So effortless chic! Love the fit of the pants, and the top makes the look so polished! That’s exactly how I envision store owners and I love how you’re style has changed since you opened the store, you make me want to go and splurge at your store!

    Cee. β™₯
    Code Overdressed

  11. I keep wanting to love peplum, but I just can’t! It looks so great on you and other bloggers, but I try it on and just feel like my hips are ALREADY peplum without a shirt drawing attention to it. πŸ™‚

  12. LOVE this look, those pants are gorgeous!

    Xo, Amanda

    theamandakathryn.blogspot.com

  13. You're amazing!! It's not only your looks that I love but the wit and charm you exude through your writing, which always seems to hit home with me….this post is exactly what I needed today xo

  14. Great outfit! Love the pants and the bag! I am lucky to work in a office that doesn't require full business attire. I seem to get a way with my trendy looks – which I am thrilled about.

    Megan
    budgetfashion101.blogspot.ca

  15. Um, this outfit!

    And I know exactly where you are coming from when it comes to "dressing the part". I'm currently a 24 year old Admin Assistant in the TV/Radio Business and I feel a lot of pressure to dress VERY professionally. For me, though, dressing this way makes me take my job much more serious. If I could wear jeans, a sweater, and flats every day than I might find myself… slacking. But when I'm walking into the building in a tailored suit and heels than I feel important… even if I'm just a little ol' assistant.

  16. I happen to currently be a 23-year old Executive Assistant and over the past year or two have been inspired by your blog to dress more creatively at work. Thanks!

  17. This whole eclectic thing is perfect on you and I wish you dressed like this all the time! Its so much fun πŸ™‚ Love the pants

    xo Ashley

    thetiniestfirecracker.com

  18. I really really love that top. It has just the right amount of sparkle. Plus, it looks great paired with those louder pants.

  19. This is gorgeous!! You reminded me I have a white peplum top that I need to wear and post a pic of πŸ™‚ You definitely look the part of a well-dressed bad-ass shop owner!!
    ~Karen
    sewstitchincute.blogspot.com

  20. Absolutely! It's like you have to figure out what works for your job. I remember feeling freaked out and not knowing what to wear and so I felt the need to dress like a 60 year old woman in scary flats. I say rock those heels and suits, girl!

  21. Those pants are so so so pretty! I would love a pair of those! Seriously! they don't sell them online?
    And I agree with the dress code. When I'm teaching, I dress like a teacher all the time. It makes me feel (and look) more authoritative.

    happymedley.blogspot.com
    J.Crew GIveaway on the blog!

  22. So effortless chic! Love the fit of the pants, and the top makes the look so polished! That's exactly how I envision store owners and I love how you're style has changed since you opened the store, you make me want to go and splurge at your store!

    Cee. β™₯
    Code Overdressed

  23. You are so beautiful lady! So definitely smitten with your look. Seriously.

  24. Love your post! I definitely know where you are coming from. Just because one works in office doesn’t mean one has to pull out the pencil skirts and high heels every day of the week. I’m a young professional and I want to look like one! I do agree though, that I can’t get away with jeans as often as you can now that you are the boss, but even then, I still look more professional and put together in my jeans than many other people at my work. Sloppy slacks still look sloppy! The key is just looking put together and work appropriate. Glad you highlighted this. πŸ™‚

  25. You have a lovely style. Its fun when you have the freedom to dress however you like.

  26. I keep wanting to love peplum, but I just can't! It looks so great on you and other bloggers, but I try it on and just feel like my hips are ALREADY peplum without a shirt drawing attention to it. πŸ™‚

  27. Kendi–what size top did you get in the peplum top?? I usually follow the size guide on the side when it says what you wear and it usually works out πŸ™‚ Love this!!

    1. Hi Shaun! I am wearing a medium πŸ™‚ The peplum hits right at your natural waist, so it’s pretty high but once I got used to it, I liked it!

  28. I need those pants in my life! Also, loving your advice to 23-year-old Kendi πŸ™‚ Right now, my dress code at work is khakis, company shirt, and sneakers. But sometimes (outside of work) the trends intimidate me, and 23-year-old me starts to think, “Am I told old for that?” But you are so right. If it looks good (and decent haha) and I like it, then why should I care what anyone else thinks?

  29. This is quite possibly one of your best outfits this season (not that they all aren’t amazing) in my opinion. When I copy this look I promise to give you credit but I may not link this page… I don’t want my attempt to be judged to harshly. I’m just saying, a girl does have to protect her self-esteem and you honey are just far too fabulous πŸ™‚

  30. Love your post! I definitely know where you are coming from. I work a professional 9-5 job in an office, and still find the ability to dress how I want in an appropriate way more often than not. Just because one works in office doesn't mean one has to pull out the pencil skirts and high heels every day of the week. I'm a young professional and I want to look like one! I do agree though, that I can't get away with jeans as often as you can now that you are the boss, but even then, I still look more professional and put together in my jeans than many other people at my work. Sloppy slacks still look sloppy! The key is just looking put together and work appropriate. Glad you highlighted this. πŸ™‚

  31. You have a lovely style. Its fun when you have the freedom to dress however you like.

  32. Kendi–what size top did you get in the peplum top?? I usually follow the size guide on the side when it says what you wear and it usually works out πŸ™‚ Love this!!

  33. I need those pants in my life! Also, loving your advice to 23-year-old Kendi πŸ™‚ Right now, my dress code at work is khakis, company shirt, and sneakers. But sometimes (outside of work) the trends intimidate me, and 23-year-old me starts to think, "Am I told old for that?" But you are so right. If it looks good (and decent haha) and I like it, then why should I care what anyone else thinks?

  34. I am a Software Developer and most of the time, i think my job doesn’t give me an excuse to dress nicely. But little by little, I learned to dress the way I want but complying to the standards of our office and appropriate to my job. You have a very good outfit dear. πŸ™‚

    xo, Wilma
    http://ohsopetite.com

  35. Dear Kendi,
    Thank you for being YOU! I love the way you dress, and the way you write. You`re a continous inspiration.
    My best best wishes!
    Eri

  36. I am 23 AND a nurse… and I dream of wearing beautiful outfits like this to work! (but people would judge me for other reasons)

  37. I know how you feel. In the past, I have always had jobs that had … dress codes, or uniforms, or … things I knew I couldn’t wear. I now have a great job that pretty much doesn’t care what I wear (you know, so long as it’s appropriate.) So from day to day, it’s always fun. Dress up, dress down, just being myself. Now, THAT’S the life!

  38. I am a Software Developer and most of the time, i think my job doesn't give me an excuse to dress nicely. But little by little, I learned to dress the way I want but complying to the standards of our office and appropriate to my job. You have a very good outfit dear. πŸ™‚

    xo, Wilma
    http://ohsopetite.com

  39. I couldn’t agree more – I always dress for myself because that’s what makes me feel good! Love how “peplummy” that peplum top is! You always look work/life/fun appropriate!

    -Classy Chic & Chardonnay
    http://ceislin.com/

  40. I love this peplum top. Do you ship to Canada? I agree, i dress for myself. Funny you mention scrubs and being a nurse. I am a nurse but I still won’t wear my scrubs to work. I dress up to go to work and then I change into my scrubs when i get there. I dress for myself and I want to feel pretty for myself and for my son. He is quickly becoming quite the vocal fashionista. He loves my style and when I dress up. Great post Kendi.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

  41. Dear Kendi,
    Thank you for being YOU! I love the way you dress, and the way you write. You`re a continous inspiration.
    My best best wishes!
    Eri

  42. Haha, you are too funny. I love to read your posts.

    It’s so nice to be a boss and wear whatever you like. I work from a home studio so I really can wear whatever I want ;). I always dress up, but if I want a pajama day, I’ll have that pajama day!

    XOXO from the Netherlands,
    Lucia

    ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

    http://luciafloresdesigndiary.blogspot.com

  43. A few years ago, I had a similar moment where I wrote down what I’d tell 23-year-old civil engineer me about workplace fashion.

    “Just because everyone else around you wears golf shirts and reverse-fit double pleated khakis, or button-down shirts and reverse fit double-pleated khakis, or scuffed brown leather Doc Martens and wrinkled reverse fit double-pleated khakis does not mean YOU have to follow suit. Dress cute, for pete’s sake. When you feel cute, you’ll be confident. And confidence is way more important for your career than blending in, or wasting hours ironing your damn khakis. (You’ll never get those hours back, and besides, do you really want to be remembered as The Girl with the Impeccably Pressed Pants? I didn’t think so.)”

    Older, wiser me boils it down to “Dress to respect, not to conform. Unless you need a big favor. In that case, wear a miniskirt and bring donuts to the office that day.”

  44. This is great advice Kendi. As a stay-at-home mommy/ blogger I have the freedom of dressing however I want but find myself more confident and productive when I dress a little snappier. I think you’ve mastered the eclectic shop owner/badass look. I love the embellished peplum and those funky patterned pants!

    xoxo,
    Chelsea & The City

  45. Your writing is always so inspirational and funny! I think most boring offices have boring dress codes, but you have that freedom to wear fun clothes not just on your blog but also life…. that’s awesome.

    http://www.chanelwears.com

  46. I know how you feel. In the past, I have always had jobs that had … dress codes, or uniforms, or … things I knew I couldn't wear. I now have a great job that pretty much doesn't care what I wear (you know, so long as it's appropriate.) So from day to day, it's always fun. Dress up, dress down, just being myself. Now, THAT'S the life!

  47. So freakin’ adorable. Also: insightful. One of my favorite outfits and posts from you!

  48. I couldn't agree more – I always dress for myself because that's what makes me feel good! Love how "peplummy" that peplum top is! You always look work/life/fun appropriate!

    -Classy Chic & Chardonnay
    http://ceislin.com/

  49. As a woman entering into the very conservative world of college professorship, I find this post extremely relevant! I’m totally gonna rock a skirt and maybe even some color at my upcoming job interviews. (gasp!) Thanks for your many outfit ideas that help me in the business-but-not-frumpy category.

  50. Haha, you are too funny. I love to read your posts.

    It's so nice to be a boss and wear whatever you like. I work from a home studio so I really can wear whatever I want ;). I always dress up, but if I want a pajama day, I'll have that pajama day!

    XOXO from the Netherlands,
    Lucia

    ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀ ❀

    http://luciafloresdesigndiary.blogspot.com

  51. A few years ago, I had a similar moment where I wrote down what I'd tell 23-year-old civil engineer me about workplace fashion.

    "Just because everyone else around you wears golf shirts and reverse-fit double pleated khakis, or button-down shirts and reverse fit double-pleated khakis, or scuffed brown leather Doc Martens and wrinkled reverse fit double-pleated khakis does not mean YOU have to follow suit. Dress cute, for pete's sake. When you feel cute, you'll be confident. And confidence is way more important for your career than blending in, or wasting hours ironing your damn khakis. (You'll never get those hours back, and besides, do you really want to be remembered as The Girl with the Impeccably Pressed Pants? I didn't think so.)"

    Older, wiser me boils it down to "Dress to respect, not to conform. Unless you need a big favor. In that case, wear a miniskirt and bring donuts to the office that day."

  52. This is great advice Kendi. As a stay-at-home mommy/ blogger I have the freedom of dressing however I want but find myself more confident and productive when I dress a little snappier. I think you've mastered the eclectic shop owner/badass look. I love the embellished peplum and those funky patterned pants!

    xoxo,
    Chelsea & The City

  53. I was also raised on Barbie dolls – I think that's why I always kind of wanted to be a flight attendant – they always had the coolest outfits! Except, if the Christian Louboutin exclusives were available back then… wow, I wonder what my career aspirations would've been.
    http://perpetuallycaroline.blogspot.com

  54. This is hands-down my favorite outfit you’ve ever done. Keep up the eclectic vibe!

  55. Hi Shaun! I am wearing a medium πŸ™‚ The peplum hits right at your natural waist, so it's pretty high but once I got used to it, I liked it!

  56. LOVE LOVE LOVE those shoes. If I wasn’t so clumsy I would definitely snatch those right up.
    XX-Myrna
    Mybeatboutique.blogspot.com

  57. I currently work at the counseling center at my university. At first I thought I should tone my style down, since it’s a more serious setting and the kind of work I do with the students demands that they take me seriously. Hard for them to do, since I look their age (I am).

    Little by little, though, I couldn’t help myself and my true clothing personality would come out. Turns out the counselors really like my true “working girl” style and the students do too. I will look their age regardless of how I dress, so why not give it my all, right?

    Loved this eclectic look on you. The bag is incredible! Can’t believe it’s from Target. Actually, I can, because I heart Target. Love the embellished peplum top too. πŸ™‚

    xo,
    -Nathy
    Earnestyle

  58. As a woman entering into the very conservative world of college professorship, I find this post extremely relevant! I'm totally gonna rock a skirt and maybe even some color at my upcoming job interviews. (gasp!) Thanks for your many outfit ideas that help me in the business-but-not-frumpy category.

  59. Hands down one of your funniest (and truthful) blog postings–I can TOTALLY relate:)! Glad you love what you do!

  60. LOVE LOVE LOVE those shoes. If I wasn't so clumsy I would definitely snatch those right up.
    XX-Myrna
    Mybeatboutique.blogspot.com

  61. I currently work at the counseling center at my university. At first I thought I should tone my style down, since it's a more serious setting and the kind of work I do with the students demands that they take me seriously. Hard for them to do, since I look their age (I am).

    Little by little, though, I couldn't help myself and my true clothing personality would come out. Turns out the counselors really like my true "working girl" style and the students do too. I will look their age regardless of how I dress, so why not give it my all, right?

    Loved this eclectic look on you. The bag is incredible! Can't believe it's from Target. Actually, I can, because I heart Target. Love the embellished peplum top too. πŸ™‚

    xo,
    -Nathy
    Earnestyle

  62. Hands down one of your funniest (and truthful) blog postings–I can TOTALLY relate:)! Glad you love what you do!

  63. Great post! Hope to see you in my blog real soon! I'm your follower!

    Kisses from VV!

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