What Do Women in Tech Wear? (Sustainable Fashion Edition)

You probably get a pretty good idea of what a tech uniform looks like from the TV show “Silicon Valley”. Hoodies, jeans and flip-flops are indeed pretty prevalent, but women in tech have a slightly different “tech uniform”. Today, I am going to list out all the common pieces women in tech wear! 

DESK

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To Dinner

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[Related] Style Advice: A Simple Guide to Creating Work Outfits

What Do Women in Tech Wear?

I recently switched jobs from consulting to tech, and I happily packed away all my formal business clothes. Now jeans are my go-to during the week, and a soft fleece vest is something that I throw on when the AC gets a little too strong. (No more to pencil skirts and blazers, woohoo!) Below are the common pieces that I tend to see women in tech wear:

(Everything I linked here is sustainable)

  1. Patagonia Grey Vest 
  2. Patagonia Puff Jacket
  3. Toms Shoes 
  4. The Day Heels from Everlane
  5. Allbirds Sneakers
  6. Nike’s Sneakers 
  7. Blouse
  8. Jeans 
  9. Oversized Sweater 
  10. Chambray Shirt 
  11. Tee 
  12. Button Up Shirt 
  13. Utility Vest 
  14. Booties (my favorite shoes of all time!)

Women’s Tech Uniform:

Outfit #1 – Patagonia Grey Vest + Shirt + Jeans + Toms Shoes

Outfit #2 – Blouse + Jeans + Everlane Day’s Heels 

[Related] A Capsule Wardrobe for Work with Sustainable Fashion Brands

Profile Amazon 3

My Take on Fashion in the Tech Industry

In tech, jeans and Patagonia jackets are the constants regardless of gender. Since the dress code is causal, women in tech can pretty much wear whatever they want theoretically, but most women I work with still choose to dress (gender) neutrally. 

If you follow me, you know that my style is extremely girly and feminine, but I personally choose to dress more conservatively when it comes to work. Working as a product manger in tech, I interact with more engineers on a daily basis, and so I subconsciously dress more “boyishly” at work. But women in other departments (sales, HR, and product strategy) do dress up a bit more and don’t necessarily follow the tech uniform.

Occasionally, I do feel like dressing up a bit more at work. In those occasions, I play it up by adding accessories (mostly earrings), wearing cuter tops and heels. 

One thing I love about working in tech is that the tech uniforms are mostly consisted of pieces from sustainable fashion brands. Patagonia, Everlane, Toms, and Allbirds are the most popular clothing brands in this industry, and you can definitely find a sustainable version of all the common pieces I listed above. 

Finally, another thing I love about working on the silicon beach is that going from desk to dinner on a Friday night has become easier! Here on the west coast, people tend to wear casual pieces to clubs/bars, and so I just need to switch out my shoes with heels. And viola, I am Friyay ready! 

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This post is totally based on my personal experience in tech, and I would love to hear from you if you work in tech and have a different perspective. I hope you enjoy the post, and feel free to comment below if you have any questions! 🙂 

Smile and style on! 

SK


Outfit Info

DL1961 Jeans

Schutz Black Heels

(Special thanks to Amazon for sponsoring these items!)

I run this blog completely out of passion, and your click on my affiliate links will greatly support the operational costs of running this blog. Thank you so much for your support! <3

 

Build a Sustainable Closet#4: Explore New Styles

“Build a Sustainable Closet” is a blog series about slow fashion, minimalism and steps to building a long-lasting closet that you actually wear and cherish. Each blog post offers tips and tricks on how to discover your style, buy less and buy better. If you care about the environment and reducing our clothing waste, check out this blog series on Styles For Thought.

So far in the series, we have only talked about discovering your style based on your past outfits. But what if you are not sure about your current wardrobe and style? Or what if you lack fashion intuition and want a third party opinion? Well, today, I am going to touch on a few ways to explore new styles.

Build a Sustainable Closet Explore New Styles

1. Explore New Styles on Your Own

My favorite way to explore new styles is to go straight to the clothing store and try on random clothes. I put on my most comfortable undergarments in nude color, and then I try on clothes that I normally don’t pick out. When exploring new styles, I like to go in with zero expectations and let myself be surprised. With that said, I don’t do any prior research on the internet. One benefit of doing this is that you get to see how clothes fit on your body without any biases. Obviously, there are some merits in getting inspirations on Pinterest and Instagram. But oftentimes, your body shape is different from the model, so the clothes are not going to look the same on you. When you have an expectation in mind, it gets harder to feel satisfied even when the clothes actually fit you, because you are subconsciously comparing yourself to the model. On the downside, this method will take longer, and you might lack ideas to create new outfits.

Some of my favorite places to explore new styles are Anthropologie and a L.A. based boutique called Shopaholic Sample Sales. I like these two clothing stores because they carry different brands and styles. I recommend doing your style exploration in bigger department stores rather than small boutiques because there is typically less pressure to buy things.

Build a Sustainable Closet Explore New Styles

2. Get Help from a Stylist to Explore New Styles

If you prefer to get help from a stylist, I recommend going to Nordstrom to receive free professional styling services. As stated on their website, you can get help from a stylist at Nordstrom without feeling the pressure to buy. The service is completely free. Also, Nordstrom has a wide selection, making it pretty easy to explore new styles within the same place.

Build a Sustainable Closet Explore New Styles

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3. Try-before-You-Buy Clothing Subscriptions

Sometimes, trying on clothes in a fitting room is just not enough. You need more time to decide whether you actually like a new style. If this is the case, I recommend clothing rental subscriptions as mentioned in the last episode. The Unlimited from Rent the Runway is a good way to explore new styles from high-end designer brands, and Le Tote is another similar but cheaper option. Besides renting clothes, you can also try out these try-before-you-buy clothing subscription services. Now, you can pay a small fee to have stylists pick out new clothes for you! Here are 2 popular options:

Stitch Fix

Stitch fix is a popular try-before-you-buy clothing subscription service! At USD20 a month, you can now hire a professional stylist to shop on your behalf! When you first start Stitch Fix, they give you a fashion quiz to access your style preferences. Then a professional stylist will pick out clothes for you and send them to you. When the box arrives, you have 3 days to try on clothes at home. If you see a great item that you’d like to keep, you can pay the item’s retail price less the monthly fee of USD20. If you don’t see anything that you want to keep, you can send them all back to Stitch Fix. But make sure to keep all the tags intact before you return the clothes! How clothes fit on the body is many people’s biggest concern when it comes to online shopping. But according to my friend’s experience, Stitch Fix has always managed to find her clothes that fits her body well.

Truck Club

Truck Club is another try-before-you-buy clothing subscription service. What makes Truck Club different from Stitch Fix is that you get to select your own pieces after a professional stylist picks out a range of clothes for you. Additionally, Truck Club is a subset of Nordstrom, and so it carries a lot of common brands that you may already like from Nordstrom.

So here are my favorite ways to explore new styles. Of course, you can discover new styles through other means. You can even go to a friend’s place and raid her closet. Ha! But in this post, I wanted to focus more on professional styling services. Anyone can style you but what makes professional styling services stand out is that stylists are more familiar with different trends, brands, styles, and fits. Since they know more, they can better suggest other things that you haven’t thought of before. Once you get a couple new ideas and lock down on certain styles you like, you can go back to the beginning of this series and create a shopping guideline for yourself.

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I hope you enjoy this post! What other problems are you experiencing with fashion? Do you always know your style? If not, how did you discover it? Please leave me a comment!

Smile and style on!

SK


Outfit Information

Shirt :: Massimo Dutti 

Skirt :: Reformation (Sold out)

Shoes :: Stuart Weitzman

Bag :: Chloe

 

 

 

How to Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

Have you impulse-shopped before? I am sure most of us have. And 9 out of 10 times we regret what we bought when we impulse shopped. One simple way to help yourself buy better is to create a style guide. In a style guide, we write down our style and what we need in the closet. So when we go shopping, we know the right style to look for and the type of clothes to prioritize. Today, I will talk more about this and teach you how to create a style guide.

How to Build a Sustainable Closet: Create a Style Guide
These sneakers are from GREATS. I love them for traveling. Currently wearing them in Paris as we speak!
How to Build a Sustainable Closet: Create a Style Guide
You probably noticed that my favorite color is blue! 

 

“How to Build a Sustainable Fashion” Episode 1 Recap:

This is Episode 2 of “how to build a sustainable closet”. In the 1st episode, we talked about creating a user journey to discover your style. A user journey is an exercise where we examine past outfits we wore in real life and look for patterns to discover our style. Now that you have completed the exercise, you should have a pretty good grip of your style. In today’s episode, we will talk about how to document the results from our user journey and create a style guide.

Build a Sustainable Closet #2: Create a Style Guide

When we go shopping, we often buy clothes that look good on other people but don’t necessarily fit our style. After the novelty wears off, we put aside those clothes and never wear them again. Overtime, we collect a bunch of clothes that we don’t like, and we end up donating them and throwing them away. According to the True Cost, we throw away 11 metric tons of clothes each year in America. This is extremely wasteful, and it also leaves behind many negative impact on the environment!

One way to improve this situation is to shop with a style guide. When we create a style guide, we write down our style and remind ourselves of the clothes our closet needs. This style guide will then help us prioritize shopping and help us buy better.

What is a Style Guide?

In the tech world, UX designers use a style guide to detail specifications such as font styles, font sizes and colors, etc. As a company grows and creates more products, UX designers use this style guide as their point of reference to ensure a consistent look-and-feel across all products. A style guide governs a company’s brand aesthetic, and it’s key to achieving an integrated and memorable brand image. Just think about some of Google products you use in your daily life – Google Plus and Google Map both share a consistent aesthetic.

Similarly, the purpose of a style guide is to remind yourself of your style and fashion preferences as you continue to build your closet. When you go shopping, you will refer back to this style guide and shop for things that you lack in the closet and buy things that make your closet look coherent.

In my personal style guide, I included these elements:

  1. The types of clothes my closet needs:
  2. Within each type of clothes, list out
    1. The overall style I want to project
    2. Categories of clothes I gravitate toward
    3. Primary colors I gravitate toward
    4. Neutral colors I gravitate toward
    5. Textures (fabrics) I gravitate toward
    6. Patterns I gravitate toward
    7. Things that have never worked for me in the past
    8. Clothes that my closet needs.

How to use a Style Guide?

A style guide is informal, and you don’t have to stick to a specific format. But a useful style guide should always include these elements:

  1. The type of clothes your closet needs
  2. The overall style you want to stick to
  3. The look and feel of your wardrobe (governed by your favorite colors, textures, and patterns, etc.)
  4. The styles that never work for you from your past experience
  5. The clothes your closet is lacking (aka the gaps in your closet that you want to fill first)

A great style guide summarizes what you like and what you dislike, and it also points out the gaps in your closet and helps you prioritize your shopping. Here is a style guide template you can download:

Style Guide Template

(This style guide template is free to download. All you need is to subscribe to Styles For Thought :D)

One other fashion blogger I follow is Caroline from Unfancy. She created a wardrobe planner in the past, and I found this worksheet helpful as well!

Once you create a style guide, you want to keep it close to you so you can easily take it out when you go shopping! I suggest making a digital copy of your style guide so you can pull it out on your mobile phone.  You can either upload it to Google Drive or simply take a picture of it with your phone!

How to build a sustainable closet #2: Create A Style Guide. Style Guide by Styles For Thought

Talk to me! Do you already have a style guide? What other information do you include in your style guide that I haven’t mentioned here? I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to drop me a message below.

I hope you find this post helpful! See you next time.

Smile and Style on~

SK


Outfit Info:

Jacket: American Eagle (SUPER OLD! I got this since high school!)

Dress: Reformation Beliz Dress (Sold out this pattern)

Shoes: GREATS

(I love this! Super comfy, and they are ethically made in Italy)

 

Building a Sustainable Closet #1 – Create a User Journey 

Last month, I visited my family in Toronto and saw my cousin rocking this gorgeous top from Aritzia. Immediately I went online and ordered the same top without thinking it through. After a week of waiting, the top finally arrived, and it fit me perfectly. But as soon as I ripped off all the tags, I started having doubts.

'Oh no, this top is a bit too low cut for me.'

'Is this style going to last?'

By the time I started second guessing, it's all too late because I just ripped off all the tags. I couldn't return it anymore, and I felt incredibly regretful and stupid.

Related: Shopping Tips: 10 Ways to Resist Shopping Temptations

Building a Sustainable Closet #1 – Create a User Journey

A common mistake we all make when we go shopping is that we focus too much on external inspirations, whether they are from cousins, advertisements, or fashion blogs. We often buy clothes that look good on other people but don't actually fit us. As we go shopping mindlessly, our closet grows larger and larger. And yet, we keep wearing the same subset of clothes, and we feel that we don't have enough to wear. According to the Wall Street Journal, this problem is so widespread that an avg. American only uses 20% of their closet. The remaining 80% is filled with regrets, and the clothes end up going to donations and landfills.

To build a sustainable closet, I believe that the first step is to understand how we currently dress and use our closet. This step is very important because we won't stop buying clothes we regret until we fully understand our style. And when we start buying clothes that we actually love, we will start building a sustainable closet that we will cherish for a long time. Today, I am going to teach you how to create a user journey and set a realistic expectation of your style!

What is a user journey?

A user journey is an exercise often used to help User Experience (UX) designers create a useful product. When mapping out a user journey, UX designers ask about the user's interaction with an existing product and note down his wants, needs, and pain points. From there, UX designers brainstorm new product features. A user journey is particularly useful in the design process, because it takes out all the guesswork. UX designers no longer have to guess hypothetically and add potentially useless features to the product because 'oh, I think the user would love to have this'.

In the context of building a sustainable closet, you are the user of your closet (product). And a user journey is a diary that details your current interaction with your closet. You write down the clothes you wear everyday and how you feel about them. Through this exercise, you will discover:

  1. The basic necessities your closet must have
  2. The nice-to-have clothes your closet doesn't need
  3. The style(s) you like
  4. The style(s) you dislike

As a bare minimum requirement, a closet should meet all your needs in real life. By writing down the activities you do, you understand the basic goals your closet needs to achieve. These goals lay out a framework for your closet. And the framework helps you buy the right categories of clothes that actually fit your real life, not your imaginary life on the red carpet.

Additionally, by writing down how you feel about your past outfits, you start seeing the styles you gravitate toward. A user journey is much more practical and concrete than the fashion inspiration you collect on Pinterest, because you are discovering your style based on the past outfits you actually wore. Conclusions drawing from real life data are always more reliable than hypothetical assumptions.

How do you create a user journey?

The goal of a user journey is to discover your style based on what you actually wear in real life and how you feel about the clothes. To create a user journey, you will do this everyday for a week.

  • Snap a picture of your outfit.

Build A Sustainable Closet Step 1 Create a User Journey

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  • Describe your outfit formula, i.e. Wrap Top + Dress + Heels, etc.
  • Note the color, the texture, and the pattern.
    • Color: Black + Blue + black
    • Texture: TENCEL + Linen + Suede
    • Pattern: Solid + Gingham + Solid
  • Describe the style of your outfit.
    • Preppy?
    • Boho?
  • Mark down the activity you do with this outfit.
    • Afternoon Tea
    • Shopping
  • Write down how you feel about the outfit after the activity.
    • What makes you feel comfortable in this outfit?
      • I love the lightweight and breathable fabrics
    • What do you like about this outfit?
      • The center bow
      • The blue gingham print
    • What do you not like about this outfit?
      • The VETTA wrap top could get unbuttoned too easily
      • It was hard to keep the VETTA wrap top stay cropped because the bottom part was loose
    • How can you improve this outfit?
      • Replace the button with a hook

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Repeat the same process for all other seasons because the weather dictates what we wear and affects how we dress.

As I mentioned earlier, a user journey helps you discover your style based on real life data, aka the actual clothes you wore in the past. With that being said, having good and reliable data becomes extremely crucial because it will impact your end result, aka your style and your closet.

So how to get good data for your user journey?

Here are some tips:

  • Be consistent with your language. For example, 'girly' and 'sweet' are similar adjectives to describe an outfit, and you can typically use both words interchangeably. But once you pick a word, I recommend stick to the same word because having a consistent data format is important in drawing a meaningful conclusion.
  • More sample data entails a more accurate conclusion. Remember learning this back in high school? So yeah, the result you get from a month worth of data are going to be more precise than a week worth of data.
  • Don't omit data. Did you notice that I wrote down 'black' twice because my top and my shoes shared the same color? Yes, frequency matters. If you see the color 'black' twice, write down the color twice.
  • Be specific with a big picture in mind.  A color comes in different shades. For example, 'powder blue' and 'cobra blue' are both considered blue, but they are extremely different. When should you drill down to the details (powder blue) v.s. stay on the surface (cobra blue)? Well, it depends. If you just like the color blue in general and have a pretty even split between all shades of blue, then keep it general and use 'blue'. On the other hand, if you glance over all the outfits and notice that you lean toward powder blue, then be specific and use 'powder blue'.

Discover Your Style through a User Journey.

This step is my favorite part of the entire process. Once you complete your user journey and get your data, the next step is to find patterns and discover your style!

Don't be scared! This is not rocket science, and you don't need to use a calculator. All you need to know is how to count! Get your paper and pencil out, and let's start counting!

  1. Group all your past outfits based on activities. For example, I have work outfits, weekend outfits, gym outfits, and I-look-homeless outfits, etc.
  2. Within each group of outfits like say, weekend outfits
    1. Count how often you wear a category of clothes, ex. a sundress.
    2. Repeat the counting process for colors, textures, patterns, and styles.
    3. Rank your preferences from high to low based on counts.
    4. Find your favorite outfit formula, color, texture, pattern and style.
    5. Gather all the elements that make you dislike your outfits. For example, if high-waisted denim shorts give you wedgie, take note of that. Don't repeat the same mistake and buy another high-waisted denim shorts again!
  3. Discover your style.
    1. List out your closet must-have’s, based on your top outfit formula and the categories of clothes that you wear most often.
    2. Do you see any clothing category that never makes a cameo appearance in your user journey? Well, they might be your closet nice-to-have's, aka you don't NEED them!
    3. If you describe 2 out of 3 weekend outfits as girly, then obviously your weekend style is girly. Additionally, your favorite color and texture, etc serve as a great shopping guide.
    4. Do you see any color/texture/pattern/style in your closet that you rarely wear? They might not be your style.

It’s totally normal to have different styles at work vs. during the weekend. Everyone dresses differently for different occasions. Repeat this process to discover your style for various activities and seasons. Also, I want to note that some occasions weigh more than others. For example, I invest more in my weekend clothes more than going-out party clothes because I don’t go out that much.

A User Journey is Better than a Pinterest Account.

Okay, you might not have a Pinterest account, but you certainly follow some fashion bloggers, or you use Instagram to keep up with current trends.

We often see pretty outfit pictures that we feel inspired by. And these pictures influence us to some extent when we go shopping. When you see someone else wear a great outfit, and you feel impulsed to wear the same clothes. But unless you try on the clothes in real life, you will never know if they are actually your style.

By creating a user journey, you are discovering your style based on the past outfits you actually wore. Your outfit pictures may not be as appealing as the highly curated pictures you see, but they are certainly real and concrete. Your past fashion choices tell you what styles actually work for you in real life and what don’t. This single factor alone makes a user journey way more powerful than any other medium you use to discover your style.

Worksheets for User Journey

I believe that knowing our style can help us build a sustainable closet.  By knowing what works for us and what don’t, we can avoid buying things that we will regret later, and therefore reduce clothing waste.  But of course, there is more than one way to build a sustainable closet. In the next couple posts, I will share more methods to maximize the value of your existing wardrobe!

So are you going to create a user journey for your closet? If you are, I am here to help! Below are some worksheets you can download to create your user journey.

Enter your email to download user journey worksheets!

I hope you enjoy this post. Good luck!

Smile and style on!

SK


Outfit Information

VETTA Wrap Top

( Thank you, Melanie, for letting me borrow your top)

Reformation Dress

Massimo Dutti Block Heels (Sold Out, Similar, Cheaper Similar)

 

5 basic tips to restyle a cocktail dress

5 Basic Tips to Restyle a Cocktail Dress

5 Basic Tips to Restyle a Cocktail Dress

Today, I am sharing 5 basic tips to restyle a cocktail dress. I used to buy a new cocktail dress for every special occasion and then forget about it after wearing it only once or twice. This is totally not sustainable, and now I have way too many cocktail dresses in the closet. Wanting to wear my existing clothes more often, I started looking for restyling ideas for cocktail dresses. After many trials and errors, I found myself keeping going back to these 5 guiding principles when creating new looks. If you are also looking for new ways to restyle a cocktail dress, I hope you find today’s post helpful!

1. Wear a cocktail dress as a top

You can wear any cocktail dress as a top by pairing a skirt over it.  While this restyling tip may seem basic, you can definitely take it to the next level by mixing and matching different textures and colors. Here, I wore a high slit skirt over my cocktail dress. I love this look because you can see the red lace underneath the slit. It looked like a peek-a-boo cutout dress, but really, I was just trying to shop less and lower the cost-per-wear of my cocktail dress.

Related: Scarlet Floral Lace Dress with Nude Bodysuit
Denim Shirt || American Apparel High-Waisted Brown Belt

5 basic tips to restyle a cocktail dress: Wear a cocktail dress as a top

2. Wear a cocktail dress as a skirt

If you can wear a cocktail dress as a top, you can also wear it as a skirt. How? I love dressing down a fancy dress with a sweater. For summer, you can also pair a cocktail dress with a simple T-shirt or a button-down shirt too!

Here I wore my blue lace dress as a skirt and paired it with a navy cashmere sweater.

Related: Sustainable Fashion Review: Should You Buy Everlane Cashmere Sweaters?

5 basic tips to restyle a cocktail dress: Wear a cocktail dress as a skirt

In the recent fashion for relief charity show in Cannes, they paired a causal tee over a fancy dress during the closing walk. It’s pretty chic, right?

Restyle a cocktail dress as a skirt with a Tshirt

Restyle a cocktail dress as a skirt with a Tshirt

3. Wear a cocktail dress all year around with different jackets

Personally, I think jackets are the easiest way to restyle a dress. I also think that everyone should own at least one of these classic jackets: a black leather jacket, a beige trench coat, and a denim jacket. One way to become more sustainable with fashion is to stick with classic styles because they never go out of style, so you shop less in a long run. Here are some of my favorite jackets from sustainable fashion brands:

5 basic tips to restyle a cocktail dress: Wear a cocktail dress all year around with different jackets

4. Pair a cocktail dress with clothes of different colors

When mixing and matching different pieces together, I always think about colors first. I usually follow these basic color theories:

  1. Complimentary colors. Colors opposite to each other on the color wheel are considered complimentary colors, and I usually apply this theory on accessories. For example, pairing an orange clutch with a blue dress.
  2. Neutal colors. Neutral colors are black, white, beige, grey, silver, gold and brown. They pretty much work well with any colors.
  3. Same color of different shades. I love pairing red with pink, navy with powder blue, and purple with lavender, etc. You get the idea. And you can introduce any neutral colors to this mix as an accent color too!

I personally love clothes of solid colors and I don’t usually mix prints together. But in case you want to mix and match prints and florals, these color theories still hold. Match prints with base colors that complement each other. To learn more color theories, here is a pretty good introduction to color theory!

Lately, I started buying only blue color clothes when I go shopping. I found it easier to mix and match when all the clothes are of the same color spectrum.

5. Restyle a cocktail dress with different accessories

You can make a cocktail dress look completely different by just switching up your accessories. A subtle change such as pairing with earrings vs. a hat can make a huge difference.

Cocktail dress Challenge How to restyle a cocktail dress

Hope you enjoy this post! Do you have more to add to this list? Please leave me a comment below!

Smile and style on!

SK


Classic and Sustainable Cocktail Dresses:

Black Cocktail Dress

Navy Cocktail Dress

Red Cocktail Dress