In working at a women’s consignment clothing store, one of the most popular items that are brought in for potential consignment are business suits, skirts and blazers. Although there are many cities where businesswear is booming and in high fashion, heck even mandatory! In Kingston, we are a university and retirement city, with not much in between.
We are a city that more and more has adopted the casual lifestyle and we have somehow made that lifestyle expand into the workplace. As you can imagine, I’m not one of these people, I will not leave the house in yoga pants unless I am on my way to the gym or to yoga class! We have a few blended trends that in my opinion have been completely overdone to the point of being lazy and sloppy. Let me give you an example.
The first celebrity images that surfaced of Pamela Anderson wearing UGGs several years ago. She now regrets having promoted them while on Baywatch (to keep her barefeet warm on the beach) after learning they were made of animal product. In Kingston, with our Canadian winter, the trend was misappropriated and considered to be a “Winter” boot, when in fact, it is not. It is being worn in this city with sloppy sweat pants or yoga pants, a padded bomber coat with a hoodie hanging out. I can understand if you are cold at home and you want to wear your “warm and fuzzies” but this is not where we are seeing this “look”. It’s everyday shopping, it’s off to work at Starbucks, it’s going to class.
As I said, one of the most popular things people try to consign at the store is a business suit or a blazer. Unfortunately, in our store, the more formal it is – the less likely it is to sell. Usually consignors have the initial shock expression when we decline these items even if they are gorgeous and in pristine condition. But when we then ask them why they aren’t wearing it, the answer is always the same: “I don’t dress up anymore.” Surprise, surprise. We like to use the bank as a great example of what “women” are wearing these days. They’re skin tight, low cut, belly roll hanging over the side of their yoga pants – claiming that anything black on one’s legs is a “dress pant”.
I had a student work along side me at one of my former jobs, a high end photography studio with very business-oriented clients. She showed up day one in a cheap black blazer from Stitches (I can’t criticize too much as she did make an attempt!), a white spandex tshirt with a pair of black yoga pants and dressy flats. Okay, number one – you did make an attempt at business attire with the blazer and sticking to neutrals; number two – who in their right mind thinks that yoga pants are appropriate for the office?!
I thoroughly enjoy listening to customers on a regular basis complaining that they don’t own anything dressy – usually for tonight’s formal event such as the Ballet. While sitting in the Grand Theatre this past Saturday evening I observed a very casual crowd, a mix of jeans and hoodies, a few sequined dresses and a couple tucked in shirts. Far superior in a formal wardrobe, the 6 year old girls out-shined 90% of the adults in attendance. All in all it is very sad.
When I go to work, I usually add a blazer to complete my outfit in the cooler weather seasons. Not only are they easy to match up in an outfit, they feel great and they instantly improve your outfit. Throw on a necklace or a scarf and I’m done! Granted, I am wearing jeans with my blazers to tone down the “business” look, but only because I work in a fashion environment where I want to show customers that blazers can be fun!
The blazers I am featuring in these three images were all under $15 secondhand. You can’t tell me blazers are expensive, I’m living proof that you can look amazing and well dressed on even the smallest budget!