Work outfit: Dress, Forever 21| Blazer, Marshall's | Necklace, eFoxCity | Heels, Payless
Photos by George Liu
I've recently developed so much respect for people who work on their feet every day. As outsiders--casual shoppers in a department store, parched teenagers looking for a resfreshing summer drink, bustling adults running errands--it's easy to overlook things. When did that grocery store cashier wake up for work? How long has that salesperson been standing? What crazy hours does that barista tackle?
My parents insisted that I work this summer, and I can't help but be extremely grateful--it's a perspective changer. After four full days at Nordstrom, I now finally understand. I understand the aching feet. I understand the burnt-out mind. I understand that working is exhausting, regardless of whether you're a burger-flipper or an engineer. And both are equally respectable, for everyone has different stories.
That fast-food restaurant employee? He may be a recent immigrant trying to pave a new life in a foreign world. That weary hotel concierge? She may not have slept in the past three days, working back-to-back shifts of two jobs. It's not easy. Immediate appearances are a mere glimpse into a situation; they're far from the whole story. And this applies universally. That moody woman? She was just diagnosed with cancer. That sweaty pack of athletes running extremely slowly? They're not out of shape--they're on a cool-down after finishing an excruciating workout.
So be mindful. Be gracious.
* * *
Definitely took a little detour there with my wandering thoughts of the week. Working has definitely been hard, but it's also been fulfilling. It's gratifying to help a customer find that perfect leather jacket or that trendy sweater in the catalogue. I'm only temporary, so I'm not commissioned like most employees, but I've still had a few customers mention me at the registers. There's nothing like feeling competent and useful. I also get to dress up and work with clothes--what's not to like? More about what I've learned while working retail to come!
As for these two looks, the second is actually what I wore to my Nordstrom interview a couple weeks ago, but sans the heels and gold flats in their place. I snagged the red bodycon dress for only $4 last year, and it's been such a versatile piece. I'm a huge fan of layering, and bodycon dresses are ideal for throwing circle skirts over--it completely transforms an outfit.