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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Style and the Unemployed

Yesterday, I had the unique experience of attending a job fair.  I'm actively looking for my new job and/or career, so going to a place that held over 40 perspective employers seemed like a good idea. Apparently it seemed like a good idea to thousands of other people, as well. I kid you not...thousands.  The line to get in wrapped around the building.  The people at the front of the line had gotten there over two hours ahead of time.

Once inside, I had no choice but to wander through the masses.  It was an eye opening experience.  I know that Ohio is certainly not the fashion capital of the country, but this was a whole new level of awful.  Here are these countless human beings who are trying to improve their lives by getting a better job, who have shown up to meet potential future bosses wearing jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes, one-shoulder jumpsuits, shorts, and loads of bling.  It was almost tragic.  Had they never been told to "dress for the job you want"?

I understand that times are tough and not everyone can go out an buy a new suit.  I can't.  However, if I were an employer looking to fill any type of professional position and an applicant showed up to an interview looking ready for yard work, I wouldn't be interested in hiring them.  If they showed up in an awful, yet clean and professional, outfit, we could talk.  It wouldn't be so much about the end product, but if I could see they put effort into looking the part, it would speak volumes for how they would fare as an employee.

Professional attire isn't about fashion. *gasp!* It can be. Perhaps it should be, but that is not necessarily my angle on this post.  Dressing professionally on a small to non-existant budget is about resourcefulness.  For me, being stylish, fashionable and resourceful go hand in hand.  So, maybe it is about fashion?  As a girl on a budget who wants to look her best, I have to put thought into every piece I purchase.  A casual tank top is suddenly office acceptable when tucked into a pencil skirt with a blazer or cardigan on top.

Don't have basic professional wardrobe items?  I'm guessing a lot of these people didn't.  How you make it to adulthood without them, I don't know, but there is still hope.  Get them.  Don't use not having them as an excuse.  Go to the Goodwill stores in the area until you find what you need.  Still too expensive? No problem.  Talk to your friends.  Does Friend A have a black skirt she's not using? Borrow it. Too big? Pin it. Does Friend B have a button down shirt or a blazer? Yes? Borrow it. No? Ask if their kid has one. Seriously.  Especially for average to small sized women, the boy's clothing racks are a great place to grab an unexpected bargain.  If the sleeves are too short, cuff them and rock the 3/4 sleeve look. Find some unobtrusive shoes and you've got an outfit fit for an interview.  It's resourceful.

Maybe, just maybe, resourcefulness can turn into style, and goodness knows, what the world needs now is style...or love, sweet love.

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