Nerd @ Work: Tributes in the office


Every week in Nerd @ Work, Amy provides styling tips for the geek in the office inspired by movies, TV, comic books, and literature – all for under $150.

Growing up, I was a huge tomboy. I vividly remember my mom telling me she would shave my head if I didn’t comb my hair one summer. It was a rat’s nest of tangles and dirt, and I sat in front of the TV for what seemed like two hours, carefully combing out my hair until it looked semi-respectable. In many respects I’m still that girl with leaves caught in her hair. I’ve never been a girly girl, and even after I discovered the prospect of the opposite sex my style hasn’t changed much. Converse and t-shirts are my wheelhouse, much more so than dresses and heels.

I was (and still am) a voracious reader, and while reading books in my pre-teen and teen years, it was hard to find a series with girls like me in it. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, and really only two books from my childhood stuck out – Sabriel and The Golden Compass. Both of these had bad-ass girls, going on adventures and saving people without the help or desire for a man by her side. They didn’t have to wear dresses, they could climb all the trees that they wanted. I loved them and I wanted to be them. Flash forward a couple of years, and here we have Katniss in The Hunger Games trilogy. She’s a girl, a hunter, a provider, a warrior, a reluctant hero. She’s a girl I wanted to read about 10 years ago and I felt an immediate affinity to the character.

In The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss is very uncomfortable about “dressing up.” She’d much prefer her normal pants/jacket/bow and arrow outfit to the outlandish fashions of the Capitol. Watching teen shows like Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf and seeing high school girls wearing outfits I couldn’t afford with even my adult money, I totally get Katniss’ confusion about fashion. I feel it almost every day. I like dressing the way I want to dress. I even like dressing up for special occasions or a big meeting. But I like doing these things for myself. It hard to get ready for a client meeting without the fear or paranoia that someone won’t take me seriously because of what I’m wearing. It’s weird to know that if I wear a pretty dress and make-up, I’ll have a better professional impact than wearing slacks and a blazer with no make-up. Gender-based dress code expectations suck, especially in a male dominated field like I’m in but I like to do little things to try and push away from the shitty “norm.”

There are pretty things, and there are comfortable things. I much prefer comfort. I look forward to the work days where I can sit at my desk and not be out in the field. My every day in the office outfit much resembles the one I put together below, inspired by Katniss’ look described in the novels and shown in The Hunger Games:

1. Dark green blouse – $24.95 2. Black skinny jeans – $19 3. Brown boots – $44.99 4. Mockingjay necklace – $13.50 TOTAL $102.44

In The Hunger Games, Katniss is a hunter by trade. She provides her family and community with game to keep them from starving. In the woods, you don’t want to wear loud colors. You want to blend in with your surroundings and let yourself melt into the backdrop. I picked a deep green top and paired it with some black skinny jeans. I have a pair of these from Old Navy and they rock. They’re super dark, and don’t look so casual that you’d look out of dress code. At the same time they’re super comfortable and can be worn without a belt (guys, belts suck).

I like pairing my black jeans with warm brown shoes. I bought this awesome pair of lace-up boots from Modcloth last year (that they sadly don’t have this year) that look like old-school hunting boots. These short lace-ups are such a nice color, and complement the greens and blacks in the outfit well. And what Katniss tribute would be complete without a Mockingjay? I found a couple of necklaces on Etsy, or if you plan on wearing a cardigan or blazer in the colder months there are a couple of actual Mockingjay pins out there as well.

Katniss isn’t the make-up kind of gal (much like myself). If you do want to wear something, stick to a very basic look – When I do have to look nice, I like to use Benefit’s Benetint on my lips for a hint of color without wearing sticky lipgloss or lipstick, and a gold eyeshadow so I don’t look like I spent all night reading about vampires and witches  in YA novels (spoiler alert: I most likely did).