Despite accidentally buying shoes, the real shopping mission of this weekend has been finding an interview suit. All I want is something that doesn't make me look like I'm dressing up in my mom's clothes, which you'd think would be easy enough. But I went up and down Broadway and 5th Avenue, and have had barely any luck. My ideal interview suit would be a nice blazer with a matching skirt (I'm thinking navy or grey, because black makes you completely indistinguishable from every other applicant), and then a top in some bright, fun color that I can also match with my other work clothes. I really liked the suit Rachel Greene (Mark Greene's daughter) wore on the series finale of ER, although I can't find a full body shot of her. Her suit had pants instead of a skirt (probably smart in a hospital), but she looked very adult and competent, not at all like the spoiled brat we all wished would get crushed under an ambulance in the earlier seasons.
But every time I found a blazer that looked good, there wasn't a matching skirt, and when I found a good skirt, there wasn't a matching blazer. Do I need a blazer, really? It is late May, so it's humid as hell and I'm pretty sure my interviewer will not be wearing a jacket. And it's not like I'm applying for jobs on Wall Street; I'm trying to go into a more creative industry, although it's still one composed of huge corporations and HR departments. Also, a blazer will cover up the giant bruises I have on my left arm (I was running for the subway and the doors closed on me, twice, when I wasn't all the way inside. It hurt something fierce and now my arm looks like Rihanna's face, post-Chris Brown).
I did find a few pencil skirts I really liked, though, and I think I might bring them to Macy's tomorrow and see if I can find a jacket to match. The first skirt I bought is the Cotton High-Waist Pencil Skirt in marine, $59.50, at Express. It makes me feel like a leggy Mad Men-era secretary--someone who knows how to play up her curves, like Joan, but also has the brains to earn her own office and title, like Peggy. I like how this model added a thick belt to the skirt, although I always feel that's a bit of a gamble when the skirt doesn't have belt loops to keep it in place. I really adore this skirt, but I'm worried that it'll be impossible to find a jacket in the same color--it's just a touch more vibrant than your everyday navy. Express is totally falling asleep on the job by not making anything that matches this, by the way. What I really want to wear with this skirt is a marigold-colored top, maybe with some embroidery or beading or other fun detail along the neckline. Something in this color (this is actually a t-shirt dress for J.Crew kids, but we'll ignore that).
I bought a more basic black skirt (with some fun button details on the hips) from H&M, so that'll be my back-up if I can't find anything to wear with the navy skirt. But the skirt I wanted to buy, but didn't, is a bit more exciting (as far as work skirts go, at least). From Ann Taylor Loft, that venerable institution of grown-ups clothes, this Two-Button Denim Oxford Skirt, $54.50, is way cuter in person than in this photo. On me, it looks kicky and nautical and preppy-hot, but still very professional and mature enough for work. The buttons, in particular, add a bit of glitz to the subdued dark stretch denim fabric. And, just to be clear, it's not a jean skirt! It may be denim fabric, but it's nothing like those cut-off jean miniskirts that you wore on the boardwalk (if you grew up in Grease, that is). Oooh, and it also has pockets, which we all know is always a plus.
So I loved it when I tried it on, but I also knew that if Ann Taylor Loft didn't have a matching jacket (and I couldn't find one), then I would never find a blazer in the same fabric and with similar buttons. And it would be great on its own, but this was not a "buy any old cute skirt" shopping trip; I tried to stay focus on the Interview Suit quest. Wish me more success when I try again tomorrow!