Business Casual - WSIW?

That's "What Should I Wear?" 

The Occasion: A reception celebrating exceptional graduate students and post-docs. (That's me, apparently.) 

Time: Cocktail hour (nibbles and drinks served)

Dress Code: Business casual

Situation: I will likely be walking (so what else is new?) and coming directly from my tutoring meeting about a mile away from the location. 

Weather: About 7 C, unseasonably warm, sun with possibility of showers. (Does this mean BOOTIES vs. BOOTS?? )   Whoooooooot!! :) :) :) 

Other notes: I am obviously one of the older grad students being honoured in this way and am likely to be confused with a professor (which is fine with me, since I'm that, too, but I don't want to discomfit any other grad students). I'm also one of the only (maybe the only) student honoured this way for a highly interdisciplinary arts-based project, so I feel the need to wave the flag for arts-based research in some visible way. In fact, this is the only reason I am going -- I want people to understand that artistic practice can be based in important research, and more, can itself represent significant research. 

So my question....what should I wear? I know, not denim. But what would be a good looking, not too stuffy, a bit creative appreciated! 

And yes, I'll do some playing and experimenting with ensembles. :) 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Katerina replied 3 weeks ago

    First of all - congratulations on your honours! What a wonderful thing to be celebrated like that, happy for you!

    Your question is really difficult. I am not that familiar with your wardrobe yet, so I answer based on my own style. I would wear tall dressier boots (flat or low heal since you have to walk to the location), a pencil skirt and some interesting blouse. I would add some special modern accessories (probably a brooch) or a necklace and/or a statement scarf. Nothing too classic or corporate looking, more art style. Or do you have some not too formal interesting dress? Another option is to wear a pair of trousers and booties instead of the skirt.

    Do you have any options you are already considering?

  • Kathie replied 3 weeks ago

    What about one of your military-inspired jackets? I love both, and if it's appropriate for the weather, the red one would be a fabulous statement.

  • torontogirl replied 3 weeks ago

    Gosh Suz, I just flipped through your blog to see if any out your past WIWs would work, and it's hard to choose! One the jumped out was the one with your red boots, red jacket and scarf ... It looked polished, but also creative and colorful. Also - you mentioned your gilet makes you feel like a million, but you don't have many occasions to wear it - I haven't seen it, but might it fit the bill?

    Congratulations on your success!

  • Katerina replied 3 weeks ago

    Oh, of course - your blog! Sorry Suz - have not thought of checking it out. Now I have. Agree with TG - the red jacket and boots outfit is gorgeous. Echo TG.

  • jussie replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations! I agree it’s hard to choose between the great outfits on your blog- however my faves are you in either red boots and scarf or the hot pink jacket with pearls and floral blouse. I also like the red military jacket. Pink and red look amazing on you.....
    best of luck with it :)

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Oooh, the gilet! It's perfect and I never get to wear it. 

    The only issue would be what to wear as a coat over top for the walk...sigh...this is the usual problem. But maybe a trench would be enough. I can experiment with that. 

    Thanks for suggestions of red jacket or pink jacket. And red booties. If it is sunny I can wear those for sure. 

    I also might experiment with the dark with a hit of colour ensemble and/or the cinnamon/ red/ black (for me, blue) -- and for me, more red than cinnamon. We'll see. I'll try to snap some pics in the next few days. 

  • La Pedestrienne replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats, Suz! Now I'm totally intrigued by your studies...

    First thought: gilet.

    Second thought: Rhodes blazer over a column of navy. 

    And yay, booties!

  • Suzanimal replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats!!! I would probably wear something simple and go for some dramatic accessories - statement jewelry, a beautiful, bold scarf or handbag, maybe? Something that expresses a project you worked on.

  • Runcarla replied 3 weeks ago

    Gilet over red cropped flares (unless you have passed them on). White top (turtleneck sweater?). Go lighter weight with your coat layer due to warmer outfit.

  • unfrumped replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats! Great for you and your field.

    I would wear the red jacket WITHOUT red boots- a neutral boot- or pink jacket. But you might still not kind the buttons on the pink! I think of cocktail time as “ face time and silhouette time, so something feel very good in, with Happy “ artistic “ color. I’m not opposed to red boots per se but I like the idea of one statement color area and especially if you feel slightly out there in the jacket.
    It’s hard for me to see the darker jackets, but I know you have several that fit well and look excellent. So one of those with the right underpinnings and accessories could be great.

  • Cee replied 3 weeks ago

    Armour, cape, shield and a sword !

    ...Sorry.  I watched Wonder Woman again :D 

  • unfrumped replied 3 weeks ago

    Oh and of course the vest. I can’t recall what are your other go- withs for it for this type of occasion. It is a good contender because to me it’s a “ standing up” item.

  • Roxanna replied 3 weeks ago

    I immediately thought gilet with leather jacket inside and booties, with a scarf for warmth while walking... Does that work?

    Also - a huge CONGRATS!! what an honour! See what I mean about living my dream life?! ;)

  • Jenn replied 3 weeks ago

    Oh, you have to wear the gilet!

  • krishnidoux replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations Suz! That's fantastic! 

  • Sal replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations - great achievement!!

    I think this is an occasion where you have quite a broad range of options and I would wear those pieces that you love and make your heart sing even if it means changing shoes at the venue and putting a tote bag under a chair in the corner.

    I vote the ink gilet, silver booties and some tonal layering of some sort. But you cannot go wrong in either the stunning red or pink jacket either!!

  • Mainelady replied 3 weeks ago

    You have been given some great suggestions and I don’t know your wardrobe enough to add anything to the list. I just want to say Congratulations on your honor! Woot! woot!

  • lisa p replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations on being thus recognized . You're more than deserving!  

  • Christina F. replied 3 weeks ago

    Yes, wear the gilet! It’s cool that they’re honoring you, and that you’re going to represent arts research. Congrats!

  • Angie replied 3 weeks ago

    CONGRATS. You are soooo fab, Suz. Proud of you. 

    Haven't read the comments, but here's an option: wear what you would normally wear to the tutoring meeting, and bring booties and a gilet for a quick switcheroo before the event. 

  • Suz replied 3 weeks ago

    Thank you all -- I'll try to get pictures to show. I think it should work -- a tote is a great idea. If I can't wear dressy booties to the meeting or the gilet I'll just put it on quick in the washroom like Wonderwoman when I arrive. :) 

  • JAileen replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, congrats for this honor! I think your gilet is a great idea.

  • shevia replied 3 weeks ago

    You are Wonder Woman! Congratulations Suz - what a fantastic honor and opportunity! The younger people, particularly women, will see you as a role model. I say show them that there is no reason not to look fabulous at any age. Gilet sounds great!

  • Greyscale replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats! And along with the honor, isn't it fun to have something to dress up for? Academic life doesn't have a lot of that!

  • Barbara Diane replied 3 weeks ago

    Suz, I think you have good clothing options. And congrats on being recognized for your work.

    When/if you have time would you post either here or in off topics more about your project? I’d like to know more about it.

  • Jane replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations! Super well done. I’d vote for the gillet too, and with brights rather than darks. And exactly what Shevia says about being a role model.

  • rachylou replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats! Very nice! And very interesting about research and art. I just read Phillip K Dick’s The Man In the High Castle, which was so different than I expected, so I went on to read commentary... and he did a lot of research for the book... which does and doesn’t show. The blurb that they always use to summarise it is completely wrong IMO...

    ... but I’m on a wild non-sequitur now. I await your outfit with the gilet!

  • Cardiff girl replied 3 weeks ago

    Yay ,well done you!I ve nothing to add on the clothes front but wanted to say many congratulations.I m sure that with your impeccable taste you will look as wonderful as usual,enjoy the moment.

  • Brooklyn replied 3 weeks ago

    Congrats Suz. And go the gilet!

  • Amy Isabella replied 3 weeks ago

    Many congratulations Suz! Most definitely a perfect opportunity to wear your gorgeous gilet.

  • Staysfit replied 3 weeks ago

    Have you tried the gilet over a dress? I often wear mine that way paired with tall boots. I think it looks great that way. The other combination I like is with trouser style long pants. The line of those pants seems to work well with the classic cut of the gilet. My long down puffer fits over my gilet, but it’s hard to know what the weather will be like right? It’s starting to get warmer here. I returned from a vacation in Florida and discovered temperatures had gone up above freezing and almost all our snow has melted.

    I have been to so many graduation events. 2-3 a year for the past >20 years. The biggest impact will come from what you are wearing from the waist up. That is what people will look at and remember.

  • Sterling replied 3 weeks ago

    Congratulations!!!!  A well deserved honor.  

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