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Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Post :: Northern Exposure ::

Happy Monday everyone! As you know, I'm off at a cabin in the middle of nowhere with the hubs, but the blog must go on! I've got guest posters lined up for the entire week and the first is coming from Shayla aka Mrs. Dragon on Weddingbee! She's going to talk about improving her work wardrobe - something I've recently discussed, too! Please show her a warm welcome!  PS - Lots of great recipes on her blog for those of you interested!


Hi everyone! I'm Shayla, and I'm a journalist living in Sioux Lookout, which is all the way up in northwestern Ontario, Canada. I moved here a few years ago, and have been chronicling my adventures on my blog, Northern Exposure, for a year and counting. This is my first guest post ever and I'm really excited to share!

When I snagged my job as a reporter for a small-town weekly newspaper in northern Ontario, my first real job out of college, I went out and bought a black business suit. It never saw the light of day, and was recently donated to the Salvation Army in hopes someone else would love it.

Realistically speaking, my town and my job don't call for fancy clothes. Nearly everybody wears jeans, and the only people I regularly see in business suits are lawyers, during court proceedings. I like to think my own work wardrobe falls somewhere on the spectrum between Murphy Brown and Lois Lane.

Image from

Image from

I'm young and I'm female but I don't want to look like a high school student. I want to be professional, but I don't want to be boring. I want to be able to move easily and freely, and I need to be prepared for any number of assignments in a day whether I'm sitting at my desk or in the dirt at a track and field meet. I guess you could say every day is a casual Friday for me!

Here's a typical work outfit (mind the cat):

If I'm covering a political metting or something a bit more formal I'll dress up, but like everyone else in town, I'm usually in jeans. They can't be super low-rise because I do a lot of crouching and bending when taking photos, and I try to stay away from anything overly embellished or bleached. In summer, I switch to Bermuda-style shorts with a long enough inseam that I don't feel overexposed, mid-length skirts, or maxi dresses with shirts layered over top.  Short skirts are not your friend if you might have to get down on the floor for a photo! 

For tops, I like to wear basics with a bit of a twist. Lately, I've been gravitating to swingy dolman sleeves and banded bottoms -- things that let me get away with eating extra bagels! Shirts like this can be dressed up or dressed down easily, which lets me extend my wardrobe from work to weekend with minimal effort.

Footwear is really important when it comes to this job, something I learned the day I headed out to cover summer camp in gladiator sandals. Turns out, I had to hike through the forest on a really muddy trail and my feet were not happy by the end! During spring and fall I wear flats, in summer I wear dressier sandals, and in winter I completely give up on style and clunk around the house in big winter boots. I walk a lot, because my fiance and I share a vehicle and his work hours are more strict than mine, so I try to avoid heels and anything else that would get uncomfortable after a few minutes on the sidewalk.

When it comes to accessories I usually stick to my everyday rings (my engagement ring and another ring from my fiance) and a constant rotation of necklaces. Bracelets rattle against my camera and drive me batty and I don't have pierced ears.

My sister got me this for Christmas a few years ago and it's pretty much the perfect piece of jewelry for a photographer.

I'm known for carrying around giant bags, namely because of the sheer amount of stuff I lug to and from work. On this day, I had three Moleskines (it's an addiction), my wallet, sunglasses, a business card holder, a piece of paper with some story information scribbled on it, a serious boatload of pens, my trusty iPhone, a voice recorder, my keys (complete with embarrassing lanyard courtesy of my father), and my laptop (covered in stickers from college!) and charger.

The air is still quite chilly here, so I topped everything off with a twill jacket and a scarf before heading in for the day!

Now, I live on a journalist's salary, and I'm in the middle of nowhere so there aren't really that many clothing stores around. I do a lot of online shopping at Canadian-friendly siters, and I try to keep things on the inexpensive side. My jeans in the post are from Warehouse One, my tank top and shirt are from Forever 21, and my jacket is Fox Racing, and from a small store here in town, and my shoes are The bag was purchased at a little store in a nearby city so I have no idea what brand it is, and the scarf was a gift from my mom.

I've picked up a few wardrobe tricks over my two and a half years on the job:

  • I try to keep winter boots or rain boots handy, depending on the season. 
  • When I remember, I carry a sweater because you never know when the courthouse's air conditioning is going to be cranked up to Antarctic temperatures.
  • I keep an extra pair of socks at work, having soaked my feet too many times to count.
  • And I nearly always wear my hair up so it doesn't get all over the place and in my way while I'm working.

I think I could probably dress up a bit more, which is something I'm trying to tackle, bit by bit.

I'm curious--what's your occupation, and how do you dress for it? Is there a big difference between your work clothes and what you wear outside of the office?


Shayla said...

Thanks for having me, Sara! :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Nice - great pictures too. I'm fascinated with the stickers on your laptop and love the necklace!


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