The Uniform

By March

This is not about perfume.

Last week I landed a job on short notice.  They wanted me to start immediately and I was ready to go.  All I needed was a uniform.

I’m in the DC metro area, working in a conservative industry.  It is not in any way a casual-dress environment.  But I’m in a “creative” position – DC creative, not NY or LA creative, mind you.  For many women in my position in this city, the default uniform is a suit, the ladies’ equivalent of a men’s suit.

I’m not knocking the suit.  Lots of women rock a suit and look fabulous.  But for me … I’m on the small side, and I tend to think a suit makes me look like a little boy.  When I see the wrong, boring suit on very small women, I don’t think power, I think, boys’ department at Brooks Brothers.  Plus, you have to pick out a blouse, and frankly that all seems like too much work.

When I looked at the very small array of interview clothing I’d assembled, the two outfits I turned to again and again were wool sheath dresses from Talbots, one black and one navy.  Laugh all you want, but a well-tailored, lined sheath dress is as comfortable as a pair of pajamas and requires just as much thought.  Pull on some tights, add shoes or boots, some statement jewelry and a jacket, and you’re done.

I was standing at Talbots in Friendship Heights when their doors opened, and to my delight they were having their annual 70% – 80% off winter sale.  I found a great SA, Karla, explained my situation, told her what I had in terms of ancillary items, and stripped down in the dressing room.  She did all the legwork and two hours later I left with seven dresses and three jackets at deep, deep discount.  A uniform.

A good SA is worth her/his weight in gold.  Depending on the cut, darts, and fabric stretch, I’m either a size 4 or a 6, and either petite or regular.  Karla, who’s built nothing like me, knew how everything would fit, and she gathered up all the right sizes and colors.  We settled on black, navy, gray, red, and a hint of brown.

From there it was the mad dash to Nordstrom, because for whatever reason Talbots didn’t have any hosiery in my size, and Nordstrom is great for that.  Once again I hit pay-dirt in the SA department.  Ariel was new and young enough to be my daughter.  I told her what I had in terms of clothing and shoes, what I thought I needed, and off we went – pantyhose, dress socks, etc.  Then she looked at me speculatively and said, there are a couple of pairs of boots down in the junior department I think you should take a look at.  The first pair was much too big in the calf (a perennial problem for me), but the second pair, kind of an edgy-but-not-too-edgy black motocross boot knockoff, was perfect, so I bought those too.

The result?   An easy to wear ensemble, all pieces matching, with a little kick by local standards.

The makeup routine is a uniform as well.  I pulled out my “daily” makeup from my copious stash and it lives on the counter.  After dabbing on jojoba oil I put on my tinted, high-SPF sunblock from my dermatologist (yes, my skin really is that dry.)  On my eyes:  Bobbi Brown long-wearing cream shadow in Slate, with a touch of dark eyeliner (Laura Mercier Black Violet pencil, or one of the Bobbi gel liners).  On my cheeks: the discontinued and much-coveted MAC Strada, a tip from Gina the makeup artist who comments here.  It’s a no-color color that gives definition without orange or pink.   The lips are where I play – bright red, fuchsia, or soft pink, depending on the outfit.  The nails are short and either red (loving the deep red of OPI Malaga Wine) or greige.  With a coat of Seche Vite on top, my mani lasts a whole week, and believe me, my hands take a beating.

A plug for the cheap-jewelry department: I’ve always been a high-low person.  If everything’s expensive it looks like you’re trying too hard.  Some of the most fabulous “statement” jewelry I own comes from …. are you ready?  Forever 21, Laila Rowe, Charlotte Russe, and similar mall-rat teen stores.  I have a chunky brown “quartz” Lucite necklace I get compliments on all the time, and a red cut “crystal” glass ring I paid five bucks for at Laila Rowe, and which I’ve had women offer to buy right off my hand more than once.  I love a big ring, or a big necklace, and once a week I wear the gorgeous silver-ring necklace Louise and Angie from NST made me buy in Paris after I went and visited it at the shop every day.  They said, buy the damn thing already.  I thought I would regret it.  I haven’t.

Finally, let’s sneak some perfume in.  That’s part of my uniform too.  I wanted an office-friendly scent I didn’t have to think about.  I considered my beloved Goutal Mandragore.  I have enough bottles now I could leave one in my car, at the office, and at home, and still have a backup bottle.  But I went with a bottle of Chanel No. 19 Poudré.  It’s got that classic Chanel thing going on, a little sexy and a little aloof, and it’s a new scent for a new life.


Image: me and my new car, a Nissan Cube, fully loaded.  I traded in my gas-guzzling SUV for a commute-friendly vehicle.  I’m wearing a black wool Talbots sheath dress, a wool jacket, and the Paris necklace.


  • You look perfect. And perfect for D.C. Love the necklace–that was an excellent choice. Your Talbot choice is comme il faut, as mom would say. You can’t go wrong with dark colors in D.C. (Remind me again in June and July). I love uniforms, often put mine together from thrift shops and expensive slacks. I’m generously proportioned, so well-fitting slacks are hard to find and worth paying for.

    Much success in your job–however YOU define success.

  • nancy says:

    I’ve started wearing more dresses in the past year, and there is an Australian designer who, in my opinion, makes fantastic dresses in a range of styles, that are great for many occasions. Her name is Leona Edmiston and she does have an online shop. What I like about her dresses is that she uses beautiful fabric and the dresses are cut to flatter women of all shapes.

  • MollyG says:

    March — you look like a million bucks! I’m so happy for you as you embark on a new job and new life.

    Since sheaths tend to have a conservative cut and knee-length hemline, I think you could absolutely forego hose in the summer if you stick to a dress like that. The key to pulling it off and still being DC-appropriate is the shoes. Keep ’em sensible… maybe a peep toe pump or a closed toe slingback, but nothing strappy and bare looking.

  • Kate says:

    Everything about this post is just wonderful!

  • Anon says:

    Congrats on the job. Yes, I agree, office wear is a uniform,

    As a petite woman, though, let me address the suit issue. A badly fitting anything is badly fitting, a short woman in a well tailored suit can be “power” rather than looking like she is playing dress up in older brothe’s clothes.

    Don’t underestimate the advantages of a suit though. They are very practical. Walking to work in the winter? Pants suits will allow you to wear a reasonable boot,and the jacket will add a little extra warmth beneath your coat. Washington D.C. in the summer? Leave a jacket on your chair at the office for when you want to present yourself with extra umph in a big meeting, or to put on should you find yourself subject to an overactive air conditioner. (Given D.C. humidity, you may not want to wear the actual jacket on the subway). Is the bathroom outside your office suite, and does it require an extra key. Your jacket has the pocket.

    • March says:

      Oh, no fears. I’m already shopping for summer suits, so I’ll be on here, eating crow. You’re right about the way they work in the heat, and I am not going bare-legged in the office!

  • Elisa says:

    Love this post!! I work from home currently so my uniform is drawstring pants and a tank top …. not so cool when the doorbell rings.

    On the days I do get dressed, I tend to go wild. however, when I don’t want to spend too much time thinking about my outfit, my uniform is either: 1) a pretty t-shirt or tank top under a blazer or cardigan with skinny jeans and flats (add fun jewelry at will), or 2) a print dress, over and done.

    Take DC by storm! My boyfriend and I kind of gave the city a test drive once and couldn’t believe how conservatively everyone dressed.

  • nozknoz says:

    I love how you’ve thought this out and realized it with flair. Congratulations on the new job – communications sounds like a great way to get paid for your talents – that company is so lucky!

  • reglisse says:

    You look fantastic, and true to yourself, which is is the best thing. I think you nailed it and you have one less thing to worry about. I wish you the best of luck rocking the job.

  • FearsMice says:

    Hi, March —

    Just want to add my voice to the chorus of congratulations and atta-girls! The position sounds terrific and you definitely look the part.

    If I’m out and about in DC (I live in NoVa) and spot a small, chic woman who’s rocking fab salt-and-pepper hair, I’ll send you a friendly wave… ;>}

  • unseencenser says:

    Fantastic shopping, and you look great. What more could you want? You will conquer.

  • Ann says:

    Hey sweet March, I’m really late to the party here but may I say: Darling, you look simply MAH-velous!! You rock it, girl!!

  • Victoria says:

    Love all of it! You look fantastic and I wish you lots of happiness and fulfillment in your new job.

  • annie says:

    Absolutely love everything….so glad I didn’t yak at you,when you were considering ‘dying’…..your hair is knockout….GO GUUUURL!!

  • violetnoir says:

    Love the Uni and the car, March! Keep doing what you’re doing, ’cause you sure are doing it right!


  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Since I work in food service, I don’t get the option of dressing on how I want. It’s black pants, hairnet, apron and a polo shirt with my company’s name. I’m not permited to wear bracelets or rings with gemstones in them.

    • Musette says:

      Having worked in commercial kitchens, I totally get that. Nothing says b-( like finding ‘stuff’ in a pot of food (which is why comm. kitchens require brightly colored band-aids. Glad I’m cooking at home tonight – that visual just …:-&


      xo >-)

    • AnnieA says:

      Yar – does it make you think more about what to wear after work?

  • Julie says:

    Congrats again on the job and the new ride. My friend has a Cube and he loves it. Here in San Diego, things are much more casual, unless you are in a legal or financial job. And of course, bare legs year round. My uniform is Gap perfect trousers with some sort of top – only requirement is no dry cleaning and no ironing! I have 3 pairs of the pants which are machine washable and slightly stretchy and the right length for a pair of mid level heels. This reminds me I should get some more – I only have 1 backup pair of the pants. Never know when they will run out or change or discontinue them. I should try the sheaths and jackets for a more polished look, though I fear my dry cleaning bills would go up and I am both cheap and lazy!

    • Julie says:

      and second the Forever 21 rec for jewelry. Last time I went there, I got 3 very cute bracelets for under $20.

  • tammy says:

    March, you are just perfect. Perfect.

    The kind of feminine, pulled together, polished, stylish woman I have always dreamed of being and have never, ever managed to pull off.

    We Are Not Worthy.

  • FragrantWitch says:

    You look gorgeous! Work appropriate but with a real sense of you as well. And I am in love with your car, I too think it looks like it wants a stroke, in a panting puppy-bum-waggling-in-the-air-kind-of-way.
    As a stay-at-home mum, my uniform is whatever I want it to be, which usually means jeans, cardigans, boots, denim skirts and tights, long sleeve tees and whatever jewelry suits. My girls are very nearly 3 and 5 1/2 so playground, playdate, PTA meeting, chaperone-friendly is the way to go! I’m sure to a large degree I look like what I am, a middle -class mum, but I doubt I smell like one! At the last PTA meeting I wore the Gap ( cardi and chinos) and Bal a Versailles…. Ha!
    You might want to look into Boden for spring-things- they do a nice line in office appropriate but lovely colour combos in relatively ‘basic’ silhouettes-very popular with creative office dwellers in London!

  • sweetlife says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravissimo! (And thank god for those SA’s!)

    I find shopping for clothes so excruciating that I’ve had uniforms all my life. If something fits well I buy in multiples. To keep from getting bored I have a lot of funky jewelry, scarves, etc. And, well, you’ve seen me. There’s a lot going on before the clothes arrive–big curves, lots of curly hair, a big mouth. Better to have a relatively plain background. :-)

  • jen says:

    You are perfection. :D

  • Disteza says:

    Congrats on the job! I’ma go ahead and plug Elie Tahari over in Tyson’s Galleria. I love that their clothes are perfect for anywhere from 20-60 depending on how you jazz and pizzazz them, are totally office appropriate, and sized for smaller people. They ain’t cheap, but I’ve never regretted anything I’ve bought from them. They also do a line for Macy’s which is a nice budget-concious alternative.

    I basically have on the same outfit you’re rocking in the photo right now: black sheath dress with some black leather detailing at the neck and shoulders, black leather boots, but I threw on a skinny black leather belt and a fierce little leopard print cashmere shrug and some AMouage Memoir (mens) to top it off. Have already gotten more compliments than I can count!

  • Teri says:

    I work for an oilfield services company and a typical day can include both a corporate meeting and a trip to a well site, so my uniform has to always include slacks and sensible shoes. At a well site, I’m confronted with the challenges of coveralls and PPE (hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, booties, etc.). In the corporate offices, I have to be able to interact with the ‘power suiters’ and look as though I belong in that setting. On most days, I’ll wear slacks and a blazer with a shell underneath in the summer and a sweater underneath in the winter. Jewelry is usually not a good idea, but I’ll use a scarf to brighten up the look. Shoes are usually brogans or ghillies – something flat, of course. I wear socks rather than hose as hose and safety boots don’t mix well at all. Since ‘hard hat hair’ is often a factor in my day, I usually pull my hair back in a pony which is much more forgiving in a hard hat. Sometimes I wear a low bun at the nape of my neck. Daytime makeup is usually just mascara and lipstick.

    My one real concession to being a girlie-girl is my scent, of course, and my love of color, which I indulge in my sweaters, shells and scarves.

    • Musette says:

      Your ‘uniform’ and mine closely mirror, though I am usually onsite or with the plant folks who couldn’t care less what I’m wearing as long as it’s safety-conforming. Jeans seem to be the safest way to go, so I stick with tailored black ones (except I’m now too fat to get into mine so I either have to drop some lbs or get new jeans….:-?….maybe the ‘droppage’? yeah). Anyway, the one thing I could use help with is the hard hat issue. My hair is SO curly and thick (but just a tad too short to pull back in any real sense)- and I envy you who can pull yours back and rock the hat. :-< xo >-)

      • Teri says:

        I don’t know if this would work for you, as my hair is fine and stick straight, but a few years back when I had short hair and bangs for a while, I pulled on a sports headband before putting on the hardhat. That kept the hair out of my eyes. On the down side, I’d usually perspire under the headband, especially in the summer, so I carried a can of dry shampoo and a round brush. I’d spray on the dry shampoo, wait a couple minutes, then point my head toward the floor and brush the dry shampoo residue out of my hair. When I straightened back up, I’d pull the round brush through my hair like a curling iron, smoothing it back into some semblance of order and I’d look like a hooman bean again.

        • Musette says:

          Have you seen my hair? I’d look like a bush baby in 3 seconds flat. =)) On a good day I rival a Standard Poodle. Uncut.

          I’ve taken to doing a vague variation on the headband, though – a silk scarf (not the slickery twill ones but the matte woven ones – usually silk-wool or silk-cotton blend). I have to tie it ‘just so’ to keep it from going into do-rag territory but if I pull my hair down a little bit, then get the scarf on, I’m okay.

          xo >-)

  • Tatiana says:

    Congrats on the new job. You look fantastic. And that necklace rocks!!

  • Sherri M says:

    Also, March,

    Have you tried Milly? I think you could rock that brand, definitely! :-)

  • Sherri M says:

    You look beautiful, and I love those boots! Don’t have to justify either Talbots or the junior department with me. I think they complement each other beautifully. I use the same premise–Bebe or Juicy Couture jeans with a St. John Sweater (all bought either on clearance or ebay, of You need something classic and refined mixed with something edgy/sexy to balance it all out and prevent it from being too stuffy. I think you did great!

    Lots of love & hope this job brings lots of good things to you!!

  • maggiecat says:

    Fun to read article and good advice for everyday office wear. Congratulations! (as a college prof, my uniform is a top, cardi or jacket, slacks or even jeans, a piece of statement jewelry and perfume – casual but it looks as if I at least tried :-)

    • Musette says:

      Sounds excellent to me. Isn’t it funny how a statement piece of jewelry can make an outfit? I remember my beloved advisor, Dr. Reta Madsen. We would always dress – to the nines- for her classes. This was in the mid 70s, too, which made it all the stranger.

      But we loved it.

      :-< I do miss her so. xo >-)

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    LOVE the outfit!
    I know what you mean about sheath dresses. They’re my uniform too. Dress them up with a structured blazer, pumps, nice jewelry, dress them down with a cardigan, boots and a scarf–I can’t say enough good things about them. I also have discovered scarves. It’s getting almost to the point where I feel undressed without one.
    Yay Talbots!! I never knew they were considered “judgment-worthy,” LOL.

    • March says:

      I’m thrilled to see so many fans of the sheath dress on here! And my defensiveness about Talbots is probably due to an article from the Wash Post a couple months ago about how Talbots was the go-to store for boring women of a certain age… I like their timeless, classic styles, for the reasons you name.

  • Style Spy says:

    Well-played, my foxy friend. No judgment here on Talbot’s, I have a few Talbot’s labels in my own closets. They make extremely high-quality clothes for the price point, and excellent, build-on-able basics. Just stay away from the flouncy appliqué’d skirts and you’re golden! Their shoes are especially good – I have a very beloved pair of flat ankle boots from there whose eventual demise will cause much weeping and wailing.

    Very pleased about your new gig; very, VERY happy to see you shine on through, although I always knew you would. You’re a hero. Your kids must be so proud of you.

    • March says:

      oh my god the FLOUNCES. What is up with that? That’s not why we go to Talbots. I will have to check out their shoes.

      And thanks for the 😡

  • Olfacta says:

    In my “job” (painter as in arts, not walls) I wear flannel men’s pajama pants from Target, old ripped, or stained, or both T-shirts, athletic shoes from 3 pairs ago and my dad’s old acrylic sweatsuit jacket — in winter; in summer as little as possible. I really miss dressing for work and feeling good about it. I never thought I would, but I do.

    Congrats on the job and the new life!

    • Musette says:

      =)) at your painter-clothes description. I always look like I just climbed out of a 3rd floor window at a halfway house when I am working in the studio!

      xo >-)

  • Louise says:

    March, you know I think you look beautiful in your boy jeans and sneakers-but damn, I love your work look! I also admire how efficient you are-this wardrobe really suits your workplace, with plenty of room for March, and now extra time in the morning. Before you get in that cute car and zip off…. ; )

    My work outfits have the benefit of almost complete freedom. In an urban fringe middle school, we’re all happy when folks are clothed in a decent manner, and few rules apply. So-one day I’m in a dress and boots (moto if I choose), the next in flared vintage slacks and a short jacket, the following day in rolled colored skinny denim and a wrap sweater, etc, etc. You know I am tiny, so I can split my shopping between the classic shops that carry my size, vintage shops, and cheap one-season-offs-H&M, F21, etc.

    And yes, you did indeed need that necklace! Listen to your sisters <3

  • dissed says:

    Great uniform. If I had to dress for a job (I teach, so it’s all jeans/boots/sweaters), I would opt for that uniform.

  • karin says:

    Congratulations on the job, March! You look hot! I work at home, so don’t really dress up…but would love to. My uniform is typically jeans and T-shirts from Victoria’s Secret (I buy bunches of them – short sleeve for summer, long sleeve for winter).

  • DinaC says:

    Congratulations on the new job and the new “uniform” March! I love the way you’ve honed in on the essential elements for success, and that makes getting ready in the morning so much quicker and easier. Vitally important for a mom! :-)

    I’m a fan of the BB cream shadows, too. I have worn Cement, but I’ll have to check out Slate next time. Laura Mercier has a blush called Crushed Hazelnut that I have bought many times over and used for years because it’s a great neutral blush.

    Sheath dresses can be really flattering and forgiving at the same time, can’t they? I have a couple of them that are great. And the super thing about a dress is that there is less coordinating of pieces to be done. The latest issue of Real Simple magazine did a feature on work dresses, and they had some cute ones. Sadly, all very pricey for my budget, but I enjoyed looking at them.

    I look forward to hearing more from you about the working woman’s wardrobe. I used to wear No. 19 edt to work for many years as my signature scent, but I was a light spritzer. I think the Poudre would work very well. :-)

    • March says:

      Checking in very late and enjoying re-reading these comments. I will definitely investigate Crushed Hazelnut, that name makes me think it might be something like Strada.

      lol, Real Simple. It’s fun to look at, at the pool, but in my mind I call them Real Pricey.

  • Wordbird says:

    You are one chic chica! :d
    And I’ll second the thought that your car looks like a pet. It’s quirky. Quirky is so good.

  • Francesca says:

    Smart shopper! And I bet you look fantastic in your new outfits.

    In my job (book designer in a big publishing house) I can wear basically anything. So sometimes its khakis and a sweater or white shirt, sometimes a long skirt, whatever. But I do have a uniform of sorts for the occasions when I want to look “professional”: black gabardine pants, black cashmere sweater, honking great piece of antique Mexican silver jewelry. I don’t wear skankorama fragrances to work, but I wear pretty much everything else, toning it down for the sake of the neighbors if it’s something on the intense side.

  • Ronny says:

    oops, meant BB Slate

  • Ronny says:

    Congrats on the job. Your car looks like an oversized pet, like it expects you to stroke it before getting in and going for a drive.

    This is a great post, March. Really enjoyed reading it and living your shopping experience vicariously. I’m another work-from-home person. I sometimes find myself struggling to put myself together when I enter the world. The next time I’m in London I’ll have to investigate Bobbi Brown Shale, and have you found anything comparable to the discontinued MAC blush?

    Have you tried La Canadienne for boots? Great quality, interesting designs. Pricy, but there are always sales on Zappos or Amazon.

    I don’t really have a go-to fragrance for work situations, but at the moment I tend to gravitate towards Shalimar EdP. It sounds safe, but really isn’t.

    Finally, which industry is the new job in? I won’t be more nosy than that :)

    • March says:

      BB Slate I love (I have a couple different colors) because you put them on with a brush from a pot, they’re a cream, and they DO NOT BUDGE. Don’t crease, don’t fade. I’m sure other companies have something similar, but the BB works for me. And no, I have not found a replacement for Strada, and I have looked. Everything’s too orange, too brown or too pink.

      I have a pair of Canadienne microfiber boots I wore all over Paris.

      I’m VP of Corporate Communications for the DC metro area of a nationwide commercial real estate firm.

      • Ronny says:

        Wow! That sounds like some serious job :0 Good wishes.

        I like BB makeup, but not the foundations/concealers even though they come in a good range of colours.

        I covet La Canadienne’s biker-type boots.

        Finally, I really can spell in real life: but it should be ‘they’re’, or even ‘they are’, but very definitely not ‘there’. Been a trying morning.

      • Francesca says:

        Oooh, I have to check out the BB eyeshadows. My eyelids are very oily and shadows never last on me.

        • Musette says:

          you use primer and powder first, don’t you, F? My lids, gratefully, are pools of oil – so I use a bit of Laura Mercier foundation primer, then a whisk of Prescriptives foundation powder…then I do the shadow. Of course, I use YEBB shadows so I don’t know why I go to all the trouble…/:)

          xo >-)

          • Francesca says:

            I always forget to use primer! And I do use powder eyeshadows–Nars has some nice ones. Gotta be careful about any kind of pearlescence, though–shows up the wrinkles.

          • Musette says:

            yeah, I’m way past that phase meself. 🙁

            Matte all the way, baby! My favorite is Sephora’s Suede – it’s as close to YEBB as I can get and it just smooths out my look. I rarely wear ‘colored’ eyeshadow, except as a thick liner. Seems to work (fingers crossed)

            xo >-)

          • March says:

            Even after I oil my face, the BB pot shadows don’t shift or crease or look crepe-y. I tried different colors. I use them to give me some eye definition while hiding my rabbit-eyes. I have another color (fawn?) that looks awful in the pot, but great on.

  • Tom says:

    Nice! I can’t see you in a suit: certainly not one of those buttoned-up prisons that ladies wore in the 80’s. Something from the kids department from Brooks Brothers with darts and a blouse with an apologetically flounced neckline and a bit of riband as a tie substitute. One of those outfits that said “I’m sorry I have an opinion and a vagina” Talbot’s is great. Ellen Tracy is also good. Heck, really screw with them and throw some Lilly Pulitzer in there..

    Love the Cube, if only because they’re one of the few Japanese car companies that get the idea that we load from the curb on the opposite side from them and they spent the cash to switch the door orientation..

    • March says:

      So glad you didn’t throw me under the bus for Talbots. Ellen Tracy I will look into. I have a buncho Lillys but here they’re such a suburban-mom signifier I don’t wear them often.

      The Cube? I love the cube so much. And they redid the door, which is wonderful, but the gas tank’s still on the wrong side. 😉

  • Joanna says:

    You look fabulous in the photo. Congratulations on the new job! Reading this almost makes me miss living near DC, (I was in NoVA for a few years.) Women and men are so much smaller in general there than here in Minnesota. I always heard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries in my head when I went shopping out there and imagined the sales women whispering, “What do we have that will fit a giant albino woman?”

    • March says:

      lol, I’ve never been the giant albino woman, but I have gotten my share of, have you tried the junior/boys dept?

      • Musette says:

        Folks have to have some meat on their bones to survive a Minnesota winter!

        That’s just a fact. So there. [-(

        Carry on… 😀

        xo >-)

        • Joanna says:

          LOL yes! I’m always padded for winter but also giant as in while I’m average height for this area I was taller than most of the women and quite a few of the men in VA.

    • tammy says:

      My maternal great grandmother was straight outta Trondheim. You wanna talk about Ride of the Valkyries…she was 6 feet tall. And red headed.

      I am 5′ 8″,(just shy of 5’9) and red haired as well. I have never been to NYC, but I felt like I was on another planet when I went to Boston. I must have been in the Greek/Italian section of town rather than the Irish, because I felt like a cross between Caspar the Ghost and the lead actress in Attack of the 50ft Woman.

      I remember standing in line at the Hallmark store, and being able to see the top of every head, male and female, in the store.

      • Joanna says:

        Tammy oh my gosh you have me in a fit of giggles! I’m probably 1/2 inch shorter than you, and I felt that way most of the time I lived on the east coast.
        Cheers to March’s new job and cheers to us Valkyries!

        Musette, you shine brighter than anyone around and that is glorious!

  • Catherine says:

    Hihi! Longtime reader de-lurking here :)

    Sounds fantastic!! Congratulations on the job too! :D You look fabulous and I adore those boots!! I’ve been hunting for a pair like that for myself too (but they have to be flat because I stand in a lab all day…) :D :D :D

    I similarly have a “uniform” though I have a lot more leeway (I’m a biophysics grad student, and I live in San Francisco, but I dress conservatively because I look 5 years younger than my age to begin with), which is generally a scoop neck or turtleneck long sleeved t-shirt with a long or boyfriend style cardigan, tailored shorts or skirt and tights, occasionally dark skinny jeans. Practically my entire wardrobe is in various shades of grey, navy, black, beige, brown and pale pink, with some jewel tones mixed in and I punch things up with pretty scarves. :)

    For makeup, I wear a very light bit of foundation and concealer, and then depending if I’m wearing warm or cool colors for the day (a little obsessive warm/cool coordination) I either wear a very subtle taupe or olive green smoky eye done with Bobbi Brown’s Tortoiseshell palette, and R&R Bedroom with Burberry 203 Brown Sugar or Shu Uemura pale pink (from the Aya Takano holiday palette) and Burberry lip gloss in Hibiscus. Sometimes for the warmer browns or with my olive green sweater or mustard yellow tights I’ll wear Majolica Majorca’s OR302 with Burberry 201 Cinnamon too.

    I typically stick to dainty jewelry and I don’t wear rings or bracelets because it interferes with putting on and taking off gloves in lab… but nail polish and perfume is where I let myself go crazy. I do my nails in whatever color I want, and sometimes deco with rhinestones, and I wear whatever perfume I want lightly sprayed (although there are a few that I avoid due to their PRESENCE even when lightly spritzed). No. 19 Poudre sounds like a fabulous choice for the office though! :)

    • March says:

      So you have a uniform too! And it sounds perfectly tailored to your job, right down to the jewelry/lab consideration. Thanks for de-lurking. (My sister in law is in a health profession and their nails have to be bare.)

  • Musette says:

    I think you look great! I’ll bet you smell great, too, except somehow I keep missing that damn Poudre. 😕 Must investigate.

    I would have NO idea how to dress for DC. It’s more conservative than I can fathom. Lots of big, shelf-like bosoms in the wrong type of top (if you are busty, a Chanel-cut top is NOT the thing to wear. Donna Brazile, I adore you. But try a v-neck, okay? Trust me on this.)

    My last job, before I started our biz, I wore ballgowns to work. For realz. And feathers. I kept Les Habitudes (outlet, around the corner) in business for years!

    :-< now it's fleece and jeans. ah, well. xo >-)

    • March says:

      Everybody’s still wearing those shell jackets, not sure what they’re called. They make me look like a box. Check back in late spring for the Uniform Update: the Great Pantyhose Kerfuffle (because I am not going bare-legged this summer, and/but it’ll be 98 degrees.)

      • Musette says:

        Unless you’re Ines de la Frassange (or the Chanel wife – what’s her name? Coco Kopelman!) that is a very hard look to pull off. Imo, you need to be slender and flat – tall is optional, but it makes the look…Look-ier. However, when it’s pulled off, it looks phenomenal.

        xo >-)

      • cathleen56 says:

        Could you get away with fishnets? They’re much cooler than pantihose and come in several colors.

      • Ms.Christian says:

        Oh, hosiery…

        I’m an old fart and I think bare legs in a professional setting, especially with a suit or related business type attire, looks like one had a quickie in the ladies room then rushed back to the desk minus some underpinnings. It is NOT a nice look at all, bronzer or self tanner on the legs be damned. And when did pretty slips (full or half) go out of style. Guess what, ladies? I do not want to see through your skirt or dress. (Not directed at you, March, just the ‘go commando’ female world in general…)

        Not trying to sound pervy, but consider thigh highs. Back in the days when I still wore dresses and skirts, I found them a good hot weather alternative to being fully encased and cooked in pantyhose. I’m 5’6″, so I don’t have legs that go on for days and I had no trouble getting things that fit.

        • Musette says:

          or, even better, this is the time of year to actually go to PANTS! Cool, crisp linen/silk pants (wider legged, of course) mean you can avoid the whole hosiery thing altogether.

          xo >-)

        • Olfacta says:

          Oh, yes, thigh highs are the best! On the rare occasions where I have to wear hose I wear them. Buy the extra long and stretch them all the way up. They’re a whole lot more alluring than pantyhose, esp. when worn with “tap” pants. And more comfortable!

    • Ms.Christian says:

      Ball gowns! How utterly fantastic. I have to know what kind of job/work it was.

      When I had my practice and used to see clients at home, I could go full out vintage and wear Chinese silk pajamas, vintage kimonos, tinkling jewelry, turbans, leather pants and so on.

      • Musette says:

        what kind of practice?

        Mine was creative editorial. I was the managing director for a wackadoo house of creative editors and graphic artists (amazing kids, with great vision) – and I had to deal with all sorts of strange folks. So I just enjoyed myself, wearing floor-length gowns, the kinds of kimonos you described…the occasional leather pant (I was thin enough then to do that without 3:-o s everywhere running for cover. Now, I could wipe out an entire herd!)…it was great fun.

        Now, of course, I’m wearing the absolute reverse. Good thing, too, when my day often finds me standing next to a covered pit in a water treatment facility that says ‘caution. Sulfuric Acid” or some such craziness.

        xo >-)

        • Ms.Christian says:

          Holistic medicine and aromatherapy practice. I got my medical degree and aromatherapy certification back in the 70s, in Europe, before any of that was au courant here or there.

          I love the idea of your jobs-then and now!

        • sweetlife says:

          What lives you’ve all had! And how important and telling the uniforms are. I’m so glad you dressed up when you could, Musette.

  • Ms.Christian says:

    Veeeerrrrry nice! If you came to my office in those boots, I’d hire you. :-D

    You look professional but also like you have not lost your personality/individuality and that’s important. Vital.

    I wish you happiness and fulfillment in the new job.

    • March says:

      Thanks! It’s been veeeery busy.

      • Ms.Christian says:


        In the past 2 years, I’ve been buying/wearing a lot of Eileen Fisher stuff. I’m older than you and way BIGGER, so I don’t know if EF does ‘petite’ (they MUST), but I like the line because it’s basic, well made, mixes and matches, is very comfortable without being frumpy and I can combine my weirder/artier Citron and vintage pieces with it and still have credibility at the office while feeling and looking like ‘me’ and not some corporate StepfordExec when I leave the house.

        • Ann says:

          Yay, another EF fan!! I adore her stuff and what I love best is that she’ll do the same beautiful outfit in petites, regular and plus! I’ve gotten more compliments on several of her textured jackets that I own (but don’t wear much anymore).

    • Musette says:

      Hey, doll! If I get a pair of those boots, will you hire ME? [-o< xo >-)