July 16, 2014

Remix: Casual to Work

Casual outfit: Dress (worn as top), Forever 21 | Skirt, Persunmall | Necklace, eFoxcity | Shoes, Target
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.
I'd also like to introduce to you the photographer for this post--my friend and neighbor George. As my own younger brother gets older, it's harder and harder to drag him out for outfit shoots, so I'm so grateful that one of my good friends was both willing and enthusiastic to help out. He's incredibly accomplished in both art and school, but more importantly, he's insightful and hardworking. It's been fabulous having classes with him this past year and I can't wait to see how he tackles his senior year! He's also a blogger, and you can check out his avant-garde tumblr here.

Life has definitely kept me busy lately, but that's exactly how I like it. Here's to many more adventures in this beautiful season.
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Join the conversation!

  1. Lovely outfits<3 You look so happy:)

  2. Haha look at you, being a temporary but still getting mentioned at the registers xD That sounds like the competent Lily I know! Keep it up girly.
    And I know, summers change drastically once you start working...I've been employed for about 2 years now and remember having to adjust to what it's like to work. Aha, the paychecks are certainly nice though ;)
    Love your bodycon dress (super flattering!) and how they're easily transitionable. You layered yours perfectly for a casual look!
    Though I really love the interview look. Soooo chic! No wonder you got the job

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  3. Firstly, wow, $4 for that dress (and top it acted as for the 1st outfit)! Love the ways you styled it.

    Nice and good on you for actually listening to your parents and getting yourself a job! Some cash and a lot of work experience that teaches you will definitely benefit you! :) & I can definitely relate about younger brothers being reluctant to take photos.. hahahaha, I'm so happy you found an insightful and hardworking photographer! The photos are lovely!! So lucky to have him as your new photographer. :) Looking forward to more outfit shots!X

    Chic Nikkie

  4. hey, Lily. I love the idea of this post! AND I love it how you have used the same hues in both looks. I think it's extra cool! my favourite look is the formal one though because that's something I usually wear to work. during summertime I mean. choosing a dress is always easier than choosing both - a skirt and a blouse, haha. anyway, you look great!
    and yes, working can be very hard. there are days that are harder and days that are pretty wonderful, it all depends. like in life overall. I myself have been working 6 straight years without any loner pauses than 2 weeks :P sometimes I'm depressed but most of the time I'm happy I can take care of myself and buy what I want, travel, eat well, own a house and so on. everything can't (and shouldn't) be easy anyway, that's life :) oh and good like with your job! and let me tell you that my job where I must sit 8,5 hours every day is not easy. sitting causes shoulder ache and sometimes it's pretty bad. but thank god for massages! :D

    Maikeni blogi - part of me

  5. crap! sorry for the mistakes! :D not "loner" but "longer" and not "good like" but "good luck"!

  6. I really love your casual look (: The skirt has such a lovely design, and that cat print is adorable! And I totally agree with what you were saying. You never know what someone is going through, so you should just be kind to everyone regardless.

  7. Yes, yes, yes! I have developed the same mindful respect for people--if I see a cashier who maybe seems a little down, I try to give them a compliment, even if it's something a little superficial like "your hair looks so cute!" or "those are some snazzy earrings!" I think everyone can use some positive words every now and then because you never know when their last happy conversation was.

    Anywho, I love what you did with remixing here! I always forget that dresses can be worn as shirts and the coral looks absolutely dashing on you. Have a wonderful week, my sweet, sweet Joyce!

  8. these outfits indeed perfect for both casual and work ;)

  9. This is amazing. I am impressed by the versatility, it completely looks like a different piece. I adore both outfits. The skirt is also super beautiful.

  10. Be forever strong, young warrior. Your musings are great here.

    Cute casual outfit, and the work outfit is pretty classy. Everything is styled very well by you. I actually like the work outfit more than the casual one. Looking lovely, Lily!


  11. i can see why you got the job- that second look is gorgeous! and i love people like you, that remember to be mindful to others. i see waaaay too many snobby people be rude to those that are trying to help them. it always irks me :/ And working at Nordstroms must be so fun- all that temptation, haha!!

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

  12. I love both these outfits! And glad that work is going well :) even with the foot-aches :(

  13. Hello Lily!
    Good for you on your new job. This has been my third year working at the BMets, the local baseball stadium. I remember my first day on the job. First of all-I was wearing cringe-worthy different shades of blue: bright blue cap, dark blue t-shirt, denim jeans, and my blue fake-Keds. I walked into the stadium unsure of anything as there was no training. Someone even had to show me where to clock in! Then there was the unreasonable amount of hot dogs to make, bun, and bag. Pretty sure if you work there long enough, hot dogs become despicable to even look at. Once the game got started, time seemed to go by quicker. But when I walked out to meet my dad, I was in a daze. My legs and feet hurt and I smelled disgusting. Since that day, things have gotten a lot better. Hot dogs aren't tooooooooooo gross to deal with and the great people I have met over the past few years definitely make things much more bearable. Due to some changes in management, this year is probably my last year. So many lessons have been learned and great memoires and great friends too!

    I loved reading about your change of perspective. I really do try to give strangers some slack even if they can be jerks. We hardly know a person's story to make a judgment on someone. Like you said, they could be having a hard day at home, or at work, etc. Yes, I want to be treated with respect from everyone but we should all give people some slack. Mistakes are made, words are said but that doesn't make a person a bad person. I think that's an important think to keep in mind.

    Anyway, such a cute outfit! My favorite parts are the pattern on the skirt and of course, your smile:) I bet you have some sort of dress code at work...Does this fall into it? Heheh it's nice you have George to help you out with your outfit pictures! I usually use a tripod and remote but sometimes I get my handydandy boyfriend to help me:)

    Be well, do good deeds, and keep in touch,

  14. Oh, it such a nice post from you again, Lily! Good for you to have a job in this summer. Myself never think that earning money is that hard until I start my small business, ups and downs. I do respect people that working hard.
    Anyway, really love your skirt and it's print!
    George seems like a lovely person! What a lucky to have him as a friend.
    Have a nice day! x


  15. pretty look :)


  16. i love how you transitioned that dress from casual to work appropriate! the dress is beautiful and thats awesome that you can get use out of it in multiple scenarios! and i totally know what you mean! i never realized how tiring just standing all day can be let alone having to also do your job. i just start job too, well internship, and i spend all day standing in a studio working with my hands. it definitely gets very tiring very quickly! but congrats on the job! :)


  17. Oh that printed skirt is adorable!!! Loved this article very useful for busy women :) You are welcome to visit my blog -- http://www.mlleepaulettegirl.com/

  18. Already commented but just wanted to say how sweet your comment was about my picture on Instagram! He was my aunt and uncle's dog and unfortunately suffered massive tumors for the last few years. Passed away in May:( My mom gave me the idea to draw a picture of him and I gave it to them when I visited last weekend. Anyway, again, thank you so much! It means a lot from your support and I really appreciate it:) You're such a sweetheart, Lily and I'm glad I sort of met you through blogging!

  19. Good, wise attitude Lily. You hit the nail in the head and it is a good reminder for all of us. The outfit is really pretty in both cases, looks v different! I had a part time job in a fast food restaurant from the age of 14 and it was so hard, esp in the summer. X

  20. haha a big thanks to George!! I know how you feel about your brother getting older and developing a mind of his own (..my sister!)

    You are so mature for your age!! After working for a few days, I got a new appreciation for working people as well. IT was very tiring and it ate up a lot of my day. I felt less free and everything I wanted to do had to work with my job time! I have to say though that getting a paycheck was a really nice feeling!

    Your outfit looks so cute on you! It looks perfect for your job and wow, only $4!!



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