I alluded to this in my initial post, and some of my readers have already heard more about this than they might prefer, but here it is: I am having a REALLY hard time dressing for work here.
I was never the most stylish gal in the room in Washington, but my clothes were fine. I had a couple of pairs of decent-to-cute shoes, and I had a range of clothes that covered me for most of the circumstances I was likely to encounter.
I brought those same clothes up north, and suddenly, I have nothing to wear.
Pretty much anything I would have worn to a day at work there looks ridiculously overdressed. And dark. And kind of boring.
And my shoes? Just seem silly. Like, insane.
It's not quite that people here are very casual; I would look out-of-place if I wore jeans, too (although I did, the day of The Big Snow, and felt OK about it). There's just a lot of LL Bean influence, or something. My customary work wardrobe is best suited to actually sitting at a desk, maybe meeting with someone, and possibly going out for happy hour. These people all look like they could do something other than sit at a desk or go to a bar in their clothes. They could go for a walk, or stand around outside waiting in line to hear a presidential candidate speak. They look useful.
Add to all that that it is not just an issue of style, but one of warmth. I somehow survived in D.C. with essentially no warm clothes. Did I not need them? I know it does get cold there. I think I used to wear skirts in the winter without heavy tights. Is that possible?
I tried to go out to TJ Maxx the other night and see if I could find some frumpier clothes and shoes, so I don't feel like such an idiot, but you know what? That is a bad attitude to have while shopping: "Let's see if I can find some frumpier clothes and shoes, so I don't feel like such an idiot." That does not lead to good clothes purchases. And the other folks around here aren't frumpy; they're just more practical in their clothing choices than I am, and their wardrobes aren't quite so, er, black and brown. I did wind up with one nice pair of pants, but I am pretty sure I cannot wear them every day.