My Style Evolution: My 20’s

If you missed out on My Style Evolution: The Early Years you are definitely going to want to click through and check that one out. There is a random photo of elementary school Joules wearing a shirt with my own face on it, the perm years, and the most magical pleather pants in all the land. I basically cover elementary school through collage in that post. Which brings us now up to my 20’s.

At this point in my life, I had discovered a store called the Rugged Warehouse. Rugged was like a step between a thrift store and a TJ Maxx. It had mall brand clothes, but there was typically something wrong with them – weird stitching, a random small hole, the wrong size tag.

I remember VERY vividly that I bought an Abercrombie cotton v-neck long sleeved shirt in THREE colors because they were like $5 each and had just a tiny hole on the sleeve by the cuff. I think I had one in green, one in blue and one in purple because they were ‘from’ Abercrombie, so they were FANCY.

So, I graduated college at age 21 and started my first job in public relations in 1999. It was a super small marketing and public relations company and it consisted of 6 people who worked out of an addition on the boss’s house. There was NO dress code at all.

{The majority of those photos are taken with my phone from actual printed photos… so they aren’t the best. Also I blurred, erased and cropped to protect the innocent.}

This was my typical work outfit. One of those Abercrombie v-necks, bootcut jeans and my Doc Martin boots. I also was really into men’s sweaters, and I think this one might have been from Abercrombie too. I know for a fact it also had a hole in it somewhere by the bottom.

I basically wore those bootcut jeans ALL THE DANG time. Probably for my entire 20’s. However, I was also very into spaghetti strapped tank tops and cargo pants/knee-length cargo shorts.

I looked everywhere because I very much wanted to find photos from my first office job to share with you. But social media was barely a thing back then so I have no photos at all. Instead, let’s use our imaginations. When I started my second marketing job, it was for a financial services nonprofit. At the time, I decided to step my wardrobe up a notch and bought 3 pencil skirts from the J.Crew outlet (black, blue and khaki), 2 pairs of black trousers from the Banana Republic outlet and some solid cardigans.

Each day, I would mix and match a pencil skirt (which in hindsight was most likely too short on my 5’7” body), a spaghetti strap tank top, and a cardigan. Or, a pair of trousers, a tank top and a cardigan. I think there was a chunky necklace involved too.

That was it. That was my fancy marketing lady work look.

After a few years, I moved on to work as the Marketing Director at an accounting firm. I basically wore the exact same outfits there, but would occasionally supplement them with skirts and dresses I’d find on sale at the Loft or Banana Republic outlets.

I was still a Rugged girl though – this brown short sleeve top and turquoise tank top were absolutely bought from there.

So, if I had to describe my 20’s style in a word…I’d go with aspirational. I wanted to shop at ‘fancy’ work clothes stores like Loft and Banana Republic, but I bought my first house at age 24 and simply did not have the money sitting around to pay for anything more expensive than outlet clearance prices. I was always the only marketing person at each company, so I didn’t really have anyone to emulate or look up to when it came to dressing like a professional.

It wasn’t until I hit my 30’s that I really started experimenting with what clothing actually looked best on my body. So, I guess the next post will be My Style Evolution: my 30’s which is when I branch out to full-priced Loft, Banana Republic (not just the clearance racks), and the occasional sale on sale Anthropologie item!

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