The professional world is an exciting place! It is full of life, ambition, success, and great people! And, for young adults that have just graduated or are starting their last year of college, the professional world can seem pretty intimidating! People always try to give you advice when it comes to the professional world, the advice usually comes in the form of three topics: what to expect going into your first job, what to bring to the table, and what to wear. Now, every job is different when it comes to dress attire! For example, I am currently working three jobs while I’m in Chicago for the summer. I have the internship with my aunt’s business Transporter Group. I have the job as a teaching assistant at Hoover Elementary school for three weeks, and then I have a part-time internship with Urban Ministries Inc., a Christian publication and media company located outside of Chicago, IL that will help to digitize my aunt’s speaking messages. I know that having three jobs back to back may seem like a lot, but what can I say?

Each of these jobs require different attire because they are three very different work environments. For my job with my aunt, she runs her own business, so she does most of her work from her home office, when she’s not traveling for clients. So, the attire for the work environment is much more casual. A lot of people think because you are working from home, that means you can work in your pajamas. Well, I was one of those people and let me tell you, that is definitely not the case! Even though we work from home, my aunt tends to look presentable, especially on days when she has client video calls. But yes… Never pajamas… With me not knowing that, you can imagine how my first day of work was!

When I began my job at the school and UMI, it was different from my job with my aunt. Things at the school are a bit more business casual because it is summer school. This means that the staff is able to wear pretty much anything as long as it is business casual and conservative, because we do teach children and it is a place of business. the attire for UMI is more business than casual, meaning guys wear dress pants, dress shirts, ties and usually dress shoes. Where as women wear slacks, dresses, skirts, heels, or blazers.

My first time working all three jobs was last Tuesday. I began my morning at the school and I wore a maxi dress with a long sleeve jeans jacket and sandals. It was a perfect outfit because it was conservative, business casual, and cute! After working at the school, I went home and changed for my job at UMI which began at 2pm. For UMI, I changed into a pair of black straight leg dress paints, a blue sleeveless peplum shirt and heels. After getting off of work at UMI, I went back home, changed into a pair of jean shorts, with a t-shirt and began working for my aunt. At the end of the day, when I was off from all three jobs I was exhausted. No person should have to change their outfit that many times!

Because I am new to the business world, I don’t have a lot of outfits to wear so my aunt took me to the mall. This is where business attire becomes tiring to me because God blessed me with a shape that is quite curvy, so what would be considered conservative business attire is a bit challenging for me.

 

However, the business look seems to be based on what Demetria Obilor calls a “white standard of beauty”. My aunt shared with me the history behind the views of “black bodies.” She mentioned that sometimes women of color are judged according to a stereotype suggesting that we are more sexual and physical and less intellectual and cognitive. Of course things are changing but let’s consider what Demetria Obilor just recently went through. Obilor is a black reporter that was body shamed for being curvy on air. Click here to read more about her story! 

In my opinion women of all shapes and sizes should have the ability to look and feel confident in our appearance without having to worry about body shaming or being held to a stereotype. We, as curvy women, should be seen for our minds and what we are able to bring to the table. One of the reasons I’m in the communication and media studies field is because I want help shift the representations of women who look like me in the media.

Just so you know, I have a few business trips with my aunt coming up. I’ll be sure to upload some pictures to Instagram so you can check out my choices of business attire. Click here to follow me @kiki_cowart_xoxo and stay tuned! 😉

2 thoughts on “Kickin’ It With Kiki: Professional Attire is Tiring

  1. Wonderful post Kiki! I am enjoying your writing and experiences this summer in Chicago (one of my most favorite cities). Please continue to share and yes I am a curvy girl also and it does become challenging at times to find the ‘right’ garment

  2. Wow. That was very touching and impressive. Black women in the church enviroment deal with a lot of challenges as well because of our curves. Enjoyed reading it.

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