Am I The Office D-Bag?

Ya’ll, I think I may be the office D-bag. Granted, there’s less than 10 of us, but still.

The head honcho has been out of the office for a while. While HH is out, we are allowed to dress casually. Like jeans and tennis shoes. While I am not sure that velour sweat pants with the word “JUICY” emblazoned on the arse would truly be OK, I’m hoping someone will try that.

What business casual is supposed to be.

What casual attire should look like.
Image credit:

For the first few days, I tore out of bed, excited to put on my jeans to go to work.  The casual dress thing is supposed to be a perk.  The only thing is that I hate working in jeans. Jeans make me feel like a student. Or a blogger. Or a teenager.  I tried to make it work by wearing my fancy jeans– the only pair I did NOT buy at Costco. But it didn’t feel right. I was supposed to be producing adult, serious work, but I couldn’t do it in my jeans.

Meanwhile, the rest of my colleagues wear soft hoodies, their legs comfortably encased in soft denim or worn corduroy, and I am all dressed up. Slacks. Button-down shirts. Cardigans. Mary Janes.

Here's my casual wear. (Image credit:

Here’s my casual wear, except my legs are longer and more lithe. (Image credit:

I couldn’t do the work in clothes I just spent two years wearing at the park, the grocery store, and the pediatrician’s office. Those are my mom clothes, and I’m not here to mother anyone.

Mentally, I have to dress the part.

“You know HH is still away, right?” they said when they saw me all decked out in my LOFT separates.

“Yeah,” I mumbled, trying to act like it was perfectly normal to wear black slacks and pearls around a group of people whose fanciest accessory is a scrunchie.

I remember making fun of young (male) associates at my previous law firm who insisted on wearing ties their first year. They were going for authoritative. Or serious. But to us more senior associates, they looked stuffy and pretentious. Like D-bags.

Now, I’m that D-bag.

But I still can’t do the casual thing. Today I am wearing a dress with panty hose. I tried to go Mark Zuckerberg’s route, but I’m not in the Silicon Valley. I’m smack in the Midwest flailing around in an identity crisis (mom? lawyer? writer? who the frock am I?) and I desperately need the sartorial markers that say, “Yes, I am at work now” when I have on my heels.  When I am wearing my jeans, my clothes remind me, “You’re home! Now little people will blow their noses on you.”

So, really, I am not a D-bag, I am just a mom who recently returned to the great American workforce.


46 thoughts on “Am I The Office D-Bag?

  1. part of being in the grown up world is looking like a grown up. so you wear your separates proud. dress for success. you are what you wear. and all that crap. go get em tiger.

  2. I work in a basement where I might see four people a day. And I’m wearing dress pants, jewelry, and kicky black pumps today. I like wearing my work clothes, especially now that I can fit into the cute ones again!

  3. I don’t get up from my desk much because I don’t particularly care for the people I might see when I rise. That said, we aren’t even allowed dress down days. No denim. Ever. Not even during holidays when no one’s here. I don’t mind much because like you, I prefer my “work clothes” to my “home clothes” (but only at THIS job. My previous employer was mega casual and I preferred it there.)

    I draw the line at pantyhose, though. Not gonna happen, cold calves and all.

  4. Hahaha – I love it! This is fascinating. If you wear nice clothes where I work, people ask if you’re interviewing. The more you earn, the crappier you dress. It’s almost like LA: out there the only way I could tell producers from homeless people was their shoes. I’m only kidding the tiniest bit…

  5. I think I would have a really hard time keeping my head in my job if I was wearing jeans, just like you. I actually enjoy getting dressed up to go to work and today, I am, in fact, dressed entirely in LOFT separates.

  6. Fascinating. I worked in an environment where some people dressed up, some dressed down, and I loved the days when I wore jeans. Loved. But now that I’ve been home and those jeans are my everyday attire with spit-up and poop all over them, I can actually imagine that I might prefer my fancier clothes if I went back to work. Except pantyhose. OMG you might as well put me in a straightjacket.

  7. Any excuse to wear the good clothes sounds great to me! Mine are gathering dust in the closet–nice sweaters, blouses, jackets, and slacks. I avoided skirts and dresses because I can no longer handle heels and I abhor pantyhose. I must admit I did wear jeans about once a week, but they were a nice dark black pair and always with a dressy top and jacket. The students seemed to like that look–still professional but approachable.

  8. This makes perfect sense to me! Out of curiosity, how would it go over if you actually shared your reasoning with others in the office when people comment? I mean, just say: “I personally like wearing different clothes at work than I do at home. Makes me feel like I’m at work.” Include the poop and snot for those workers who have kids and will get that? I can see some workmates going “Oh, I get it!” and lightening up on you. Others might still think you’re sucking up/making some sort of commentary about them. Just wondered…

  9. I can relate to this because I worked at a no dress code office for years and always dressed up. I have very young kids and did not want to dress like I was taking them to playgroup. I wore skirts and heels and dressed “the part” that I played at my job – it was a great excuse to wear my nice clothes too!

  10. As much as I’m lamenting getting dressed for work these last two days since I started the new job, it’s actually a good thing. I find it hard to respect myself if I’m wearing PJs to work outside of the house.

    I’ll bet you look fantastic too!

  11. I can’t blame you. The minute I found out I’d gotten the art-teacher job, I immediately went out and got clothes that didn’t look like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady or Bonnie Hunt in ANY 90’s movie ever made (you know, the ones were she gives up on everything just because she’s lousy at finding an even marginally competent sitter) or …worse a la Honey Boo Boo’s mother.

    Remember: you’re not a d-bag, you’re an escapee. 😉

  12. I bet you look chic. Chic is *always* appropriate, even on dress down days. I totally feel you. I could not do my old job in my mom clothes. It’s too “worlds collide” for me.

    • Right. Maybe when my kids leave the house in 100 years or so I can thug it up with a baseball hat and some vintage Gap bodywear. Til then, it’s me with the sweater sets.

  13. If you don’t wear all your cute work clothes to work, what the hell are you going to do with them?? And how will you justify buying more? It’s a practical matter. And you look great in everything!

  14. Love it! Some days I even “dress up” to go to my home office and I’m much more productive than when I’m sporting my spa robe. I get hassled about that too. Chief Money Maker always says, “Got a date?” LOL

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