women who work: marlene, of chocolate, cookies and candies

Marlene of Chocolate, Cookies and Candies is a person of firm opinions, and I thought it would be interesting to pick her brain on this topic, from the perspective of someone who currently doesn't report to an office every day, but gets scrutinised a lot nonetheless, being a blogger and someone who writes and photographs professionally.

The questions are slightly different from what I asked Maja, taking into account the fact that Marlene's her own boss.

1) Share one, two or three pictures of some typical work outfits that you wear for various work-related occasions and 2) Describe the elements of the outfit in your own words

OOTD-rick owens-3 copy
Photos courtesy of Marlene

Ever since I left the corporate world 7 years ago and started working for myself, my outfits have changed drastically. Back then, it was mostly pant suits - grey and black. These days, I work from home so my day to day work clothes can be ridiculously casual. I pretty much live in track pants and sweatshirts (am I allowed to reveal this online??). My only consolation is that I tend to get edgier and better made lounge wear from the likes of The Kooples, Isabel Marant √Čtoile and T by Alexander Wang. Hopefully, I don't look like I'm off to gym!

Most days, I'm at home tapping away. Other days, I could be somewhere else doing a photo shoot where comfort is key. It's hard to look glamorous when you have to squat, bend, run around and carry lots of heavy equipment. There will be occasions where I have to turn up to fashion events where I need to look a bit more spiffy. There isn't any strict dress code that I adhere to. Personally, I'm all about comfortable and fuss free clothes. I hate shopping. Online shopping is a lifesaver for me. I have a tiny closet no bigger than 3/4 of my arm span with a carefully edited selection of clothes. They're mostly in dark colors, namely, grey, black, military green and the odd burgundy. I get stressed just thinking what to wear so I tend to buy pieces that go with most of my clothes.

I have....perhaps....4 pairs of jeans and pants that I wear a lot. I tend to spend more on jackets which are my first love, next to handbags. As I get older, I prefer clothes that are edgier with interesting details. I have a small build so I tend to stick to mostly French brands because I don't have to spend extra on alterations. To me, Rick Owens is a genius at creating clothes that flatter the female silhouette. I have a Chanel jacket which I treasure. I purchased it secondhand at a pretty good price years ago. Isabel Marant does very wearable boho chic well but I wish she would continue to line her jackets and coats. They get ridiculously itchy especially if you're not wearing a long sleeved top underneath.

2) What's a common misconception people have about freelancers?

People think being a freelancer is fantastic because you're your own boss and working from home is a dream. Most of the time, they're right but it can get incredibly lonely as there's literally no one to bounce ideas off. I can spend days and weeks on my own until it's time to do the school run or the husband gets home. I now try to schedule meetings and network with various individuals so that I'm constantly inspired. Being your own boss is pretty scary at times because I'm a one woman band and the buck stops with me. I had to learn to self motivate which is easier said than done.

3) What's the biggest sartorial mistake someone can make when trying to make a good first impression in any kind of professional setting? 

In my previous role as a recruitment consultant, I've had to interview more than a hundred candidates. I've seen some pretty dire outfits including food stains on clothes, unzipped trousers, dirty nails, body odor, bad breath......to name a few. A lot of it is common sense really. If you're not meticulous with your personal hygiene and professional outfit, no potential employer would entrust any responsibilities to you. Once, I had to co-interview with a major client of mine and we both winced when a candidate came in. He was the perfect fit for the role but my client refused him on the basis of his sloppy appearance.So yes....first impression counts!

4) Please fill-in-the-blanks

My style in 5 words, or less: fuss free and comfortable

Uniforms are my lifesaver. I'm one of those who stick to what I like. Jeans, a simple top and a beautifully constructed jacket.

Jackets always makes me feel more professional, because they smarten up a simple outfit.

I would tell my younger self to take risks, make more mistakes and be fearless, because that's the only way to grow.

The idea of "dress for success" is understanding your personal style and being comfortable in your own skin.

P.S: This Harper's Bazaar story about one woman who wears the same thing to work daily has been making the rounds, and Adweek interviewed her. Personally, I need some variety; I suppose to each their own! What say you all?


nanashi said…
I was looking forward to your work series, so thanks! Do you know where her denim is from?
Lin, thank you so much for the interview! This is the first time I've ever been asked about my professional attire :)

Nanashi, my ripped boyfriend jeans was from a previous Zara collection.
Hema Sharma said…
Thank you for sharing this information and Very good looking blog.
The Cobbleroad

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