Monday, May 2, 2011

Proper Professional: What Andie Wears

The Proper Professional feature was birthed out my desire to spread the blogging love while also gaining some insight into professional and business attire in various situations. My goal is to feature bloggers from all different professions, whether stay-at-home moms, mega-corporation executive assistants, work-from-home employees, small office staff, business owners or more, to view different perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate, acceptable, and professional. Hopefully you'll be inspired and introduced to some great new blogs, too!

This week's interview is with Andie of What Andie Wears!

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog. 
My name is Andie- I'm a thirty-something working woman who works in a casual-professional work environment. I started this blog almost 2 years ago after looking in my closet and realizing it was out of control and I really had no idea how to make the most out of it.  In a goal to curb my shopping habits, I started trying to "shop my closet" and make the best out of what I had and I thought the best way was for me to take photos and journal my outfits as I wore them to see what I liked and what I didn't.  

When I'm not shopping  or blogging, I enjoy cooking, reading, watching football, and spending time with my family and friends.  

How did you come up with your blog name?
It actually came pretty naturally. Since I knew I would be blogging what I wore on a regular basis, "What Andie Wears" seemed simple and to the point!
Do you work from home or outside the home, and what do you do?
I work outside the home for a sales office of a national company. I currently work in an administrative capacity- I do a little bit of everything in a small satellite office that works with both the construction and oil & gas sectors of business.
Do you have a dress code by which you need to abide (either corporate or self-imposed)? If so, what is it and how do your co-workers (if applicable) approach the dress code?
My company doesn't have a super strict dress code, but we are expected to look clean, neat and professional just in case a client/customer comes to our office.  I work with mostly men who dress in a business casual manner (polos & khakis for most days, some days shirt & tie)  but I personally self-imposed a professional dress code on myself so that I could feel more polished and professional at my job. At first, my coworkers thought it was interesting that I always dressed nicely, but then they realized that I was dressing for the job I want, not just the job I have. I also believe that by dressing nicely, you will get greater respect wherever you go- whether it's at work or going to the grocery store. {This is very, very true!}

Do you choose your outfits in advance or in the morning, and how long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
Well, lately, I've been having to plan my outfits the night before.  Since becoming pregnant.  I value my sleep lately (since I know in a few months, sleep will be a hot commodity, I'm trying to get as much as I can now!)   Some days I will fall asleep before I plan my outfit, though, and on those days I will grab something that I know will look put together despite it being super easy to put on (like a jersey dress and cardigan). Usually I take 45 minutes to get ready in the morning- that includes a shower, short makeup routine, drying my hair, getting dressed, and hopefully getting an outfit picture taken.   

If you were commissioned to rewrite the dress code, what would you change (if anything)?
I probably wouldn't change it much at my office. I pretty much make my own dress code!
Do you think companies should take into account the potential cost for certain dress codes to be achieved and if so, should they be concerned about the cost being equal for both men and women?
I DEFINITELY think companies should factor costs for certain dress codes into the salaries of their employees.  I once worked for a financial institution that expected me to wear a suit to work every day and let's just say my annual salary didn't even break $20K.  This was right out of college, so I didn't know any better, but now, looking back, I realize I probably barely made right above minimum wage by the time I bought dress code approved clothes (and they were STRICT) and paid for my health insurance/benefits- (they just offered them, did not help pay).

I definitely think it is something that should be brought up and considered by employers if they enforce a strict dress code and it should be fair for both sexes.

What is your definition of professional attire and would this vary if the business is a small business compared to a larger corporation?
I believe professional attire is simple- if you look put together, well groomed, and nice enough to be approached by colleagues, then you look professional. 

Since I work in the south, most women here look professional enough in nice dresses, trousers, pumps, heels, or sandals (no hose, too hot!) cardigans and blazers.  I often see fellow professional women wearing light jersey and cotton dresses with a blazer or cardigan and nice sandals/pumps on a daily basis and I think that looks fantastic.  I definitely think a small business has more freedom and can work with employees to provide a balanced dress code.  I also think that larger corporations require stricter, more detailed dress codes because of their large scale to maintain a sense of decorum and to fit the image that their company is trying to portray.

What are some pieces that every woman should have available in their professional arsenal?
A basic black dress
Knee length pencil skirt 
Classic black pumps 
A classic blazer 
A classic trenchcoat 
White collared Oxford shirt 
Colored and printed shells/blouses 
Some classic jewelry such as a pearl necklace and earrings
What pieces are never professionally appropriate regardless of the situation?
Booty Shorts/Cut off Shorts 
Camisoles (as shirts) 
Tank Tops Swimsuits (unless you're a lifeguard!) 
Super Short Mini-Skirts/Dresses 
See Through Shirts 
Bare Midriffs 
Platform Stiletto Heels (otherwise known as exotic dancer shoes) 
Lingerie as Clothes
Describe an outfit you'd wear in each of the following settings: 1. A typical day at work. 2. A formal business meeting. 3. An informal meeting with co-workers. 4. A business dinner with co-workers and superiors. 
For a typical day at work, I wear a dress with/without a cardigan or blazer, flats, heels, or sandals, and usually coordinating jewelry.

For a formal business meeting, I would probably wear a black pencil skirt, coordinating blazer, classic black pumps with a printed blouse and jewelry that looks nice and classic, but not overwhelms the outfit. 

For an informal meeting with co-workers (I'm taking this as possibly an 'after hours' type of function- probably some nice dark wash trouser jeans, a patterned blouse/top, and a blazer/heels/sandals that coordinate.  This is a case where I would go a little snazzier with accessories and color.

For a business dinner with coworkers and superiors, I would probably pull out either a LBD (Little Black Dress) like a sheath and maybe jazz it up with a printed shoe and some understated jewelry. 

Are there any questions you wish I'd asked or is there anything else you'd like to mention regarding this topic?
I think you've pretty much covered it all, Melissa! Thanks for asking me to participate! 
Thanks so much to Andie for taking the time to answer these interview questions! CONGRATULATIONS on the pregnancy and if you want to see how easy it is to look fabulous while pregnant, take a look at Andie's blog!
If you'd like to be featured (or want to recommend someone else), please contact me at aworkingmomscloset at 
Have a great Monday, everyone! 


  1. I love Andies style, classic and smart. Also love her list of proffessional clothing.

  2. I love her list of what every professional woman should have in the true!!

  3. How cute is she ! Love her look !

  4. She looks awesome. I opened this up to read it this morning while at home, but then decided I needed to spend my time getting ready, even though I was ahead of schedule. :)

    I love her answers. She dresses well because she wants to move up. Dressing for the job is key, I think. I have noticed that the more pulled together I look, the more pulled together my work often is. This was much more visible when I worked in the big retail world and not as much now. But I know that people give you more respect when you look more respectable!!!

  5. andie has such a classic look; i love her style. this is a great feature to read. thanks, melissa!

  6. awww Thanks Everyone! You guys just totally made my monday! :)

    Thanks again Melissa, for featuring me. :)

  7. I like reading your professional interviews. They give me some great ideas.

  8. What a great interview! I think Andie's got it spot on--great style and savviness to boot!

  9. I total agree with you don't. One of my mangers one day was showing off her black bra. not pretty.

  10. Great gal. I like her work outfits. Cool blog name too.

  11. I agree with Andie when she talks about factoring in the cost of dress code approved items into salary. It's so tricky that way! She does a great job of being professional and still original.


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