Michael the III's
Guide to Office Fashion
Is having your initials sewn into your underwear a measurement of professional success? Is happiness found outside of the bedroom? Can you make an honest living and still afford VIP tickets to the Formation World Tour? These are the questions I pondered this summer while backpacking across Oprah's backyard. Now it’s 2017, and I have found the answers. I am a working gal, as we like to call ourselves. I have learned how to dress appropriately, professionally, and seductively for the office. And I’d like to share it with you. Let’s begin.
It’s now 10:44 am. It’s your first day, and you’re however many hours late. Some would say this is a bad start, but you know it’s called fashionably late for a reason. Twirl into the office and do a high-kick. This is everyone’s first impression of you. Wearing something big and bold is a guarantee that your debut ensemble yells, “Here I am, office. I take my coffee black, my resumé is 100% accurate, and I’m so glad to meet you!” Of course, these are all lies. You put seven spoonfuls of sugar in your coffee, you in fact have no clue how Excel works, and you’re actually a bit conflicted to meet that one co-worker who reminds you of your ex in all the right ways.
11:01 am: You’ve removed your coat, arranged your desk, and you've inserted your headphones into an incorrect socket, successfully blasting Paula Abdul throughout your open-concept office for three minutes and fifty-three seconds. A productive start, but now you really must get to work. There is a lot to do today and your new professional LinkedIn profile picture is certainly not going to take itself.
At any given moment of the day you will be juggling a multitude of office-related tasks. Embrace that. This is the new you! Every time you’re asked to do something you should reply, “I'll have it done in under 5 minutes,” then let the stress inspire you. I've found over-accessorizing best achieves the timeless allure of the strung-out employee. I think it was Coco Chanel who once said: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and put on 13 more accessories."
12:14 pm: You’ve been hearing rumors around the office and hopefully they are about you. If they are, we might just be able to secure you that corner office you so deserve after an impressive one-and-a-half hours of work. If they’re not, you’re going to need to do something to get everyone’s attention back on you. I suggest an outfit change—the kind with a big reveal like a tear-away skirt, or a top hat hiding a sequined fedora.
At 12:17 pm, a brusque co-worker tells you the rumor: someone is dressed inappropriately and nearly everyone agrees. Unfortunately for us, this confirms that the rumor is not about you. It can’t be. You’re clearly dressed with the utmost respect for people’s moral sensibilities.
Meetings are the best place to show off to a wide range of people from other departments and many of them have not seen you since your last outfit change. If you’re a lowly intern popping off in the hottest looks like me, you’re probably not invited to many meetings. Don’t let this stop you. You’re a career girl now. You’ve got to get in there to be seen. A good strategy is to wait in the boardrooms until people gather for a scheduled meeting. You’ll appear punctual, and more importantly, you’ll have the privacy and backdrop required to take the coveted sensual-work-selfie. Strewn across a boardroom table, your followers will see just how professional you really are. Don’t forget to tag your boss and hashtag the company.
You’ve tended to your work, but the office is more than just a factory, it’s a family. Lunchtime is where you leave the shackles of your desk to work on truly leaving your mark on the lives of your coworkers. This requires impeccable attention to detail. For example, Tommy told you a humorous little anecdote about something you can’t remember. Barb told you she loves goats. Someone who looked important told you there was a task that absolutely needed to get done before lunch. Well, you can’t do much with any of that information but you can dazzle them with your personal style. Don't be afraid to make it all about you.
It’s now 2:36 pm, and you’re back at your desk. Although you only had time for a two-hour lunch, you still feel rested and refreshed. Your coworkers do not seem to feel this way. They are scowling at you, they refuse to answer questions about their personal life and they insist on keeping quiet. They must be tired. This is not promising, so I suggest you transfer to a new department as soon as possible. Nothing ruins productivity like grumpiness.
Taking my advice, you’re certain to hear the words “business casual” thrown around a lot. Michael, can you please be more business casual with your looks? and Everyone else is business casual and you’re dressed like you’re about to take a hot bath are common usages of the term. I would like to clarify that I only wore that bubble-thong outfit once. Anyway, I regret having to say I have not deciphered what “business casual” means, but I did drop out of English Literature to major in the more practical Homoerotic Poses of the Renaissance. Unquestionably the words “business casual” imply “this business is casual,” which means you can wear what you want, do what you want, go on Grindr, take a second lunch, eat salmon at your desk, tap-dance to the water cooler, host a party, and start your own line of tiny hats for tiny cats. In general, exactly what you’d do at home.
The time is now 5:00 pm. You’ve completed a full day of work, more or less. You still don’t know what exactly this “office” does to sustain itself, but you’ve learnt a lot about yourself. You’re leaving this office a better, more rounded person. After pulling off 12 successful office-wear-inspired high-fashion, east-meets-west, boy-meets-girl, Audrey-Hepburn-meets-Sylvester-Stallone looks, you’re confident that you’re ready for a full career. But let’s be reasonable. 12 looks every day for the rest of your life is costly. If you stay employed, how can you afford this? It’s better to retire now and save your money.
Text: Michael the III
Photography: Michael the III
Styling: Michael the III
Hair and Makeup: Michael the III
Model: Michael the III
Craft services: Michael the III