Dressed for (anti)success: an outfit to quit by

I don’t remember the outfit I wore when I successfully interviewed for my first job as an attorney, but I can guess I rocked a polyester blend suit, likely from Petite Sophisticate, with a patterned silk undershirt, and sensible pumps.  As a broke law student, Petite Sophisticate was the only place you could buy a cheap suit that fit my size 0 frame (circa 2002, things have changed a little since then).  Unfortunately, I vividly remember my interview over lunch in San Francisco, while waxing eloquent about living in Beijing at the exact moment my potsticker slipped from my chopsticks and fell into a vat of soy sauce, splashing brown bits on the suits of 3 of the 4 attorneys lucky enough to be sitting at my table.  Despite my clumsiness, they took a chance and hired me anyway; maybe they found my blunder charming.

I spent the next 7 years learning the ropes, building skills, and trying to convince myself that my brain was actually worth the money they were willing to pay me for working 10-14 hours a day at my desk.  Somehow I lucked out, and managed to work with people who believed in me more than I ever could.  Life kept going, my career kept growing, and before I knew it I had a husband, a newborn, and a whole new set of priorities.  Suddenly the career I worked for my entire life didn’t seem to fit in my life any longer.  I took an extended maternity leave to sort these feelings out, and started a part time culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu.  On Monday, I took a leap of faith and said farewell to Tamara, Esquire.

quitting-time-1-of-1 Before heading to my Downtown office, it dawned on me that I may be slipping into business casual attire for the last time, especially now that I’ve joined the checkered pants wearing counter-culture.  I took a nostalgic tour of my closet, still filled with blazers, sweater sets, flouncy skirts, slacks, suits, gigantic purses for carrying briefs, heels, and more heels; clothes I no longer need but can’t bear to donate, just yet.  I may have abandoned a career in the professional world, but I’ll be damned if I abandon my respectable biz-cas wardrobe.  I snapped a photo of the quitting outfit*, hoping it wouldn’t be the last time I have an occasion to dress like a career girl.

7 years from now I may decide that taking an indefinite hiatus from my career was just plain stupid.  I’m putting “successful career” on hold to pursue playing with food and playing house.  Walking into my son’s room this morning and seeing him smile and laugh at me while standing in his crib ready to face the morning, I know I made the right decision.  For now.

*The quitting outfit: White blazer and gold sequin purse, vintage BCBG.  Skirt, Zara, purchased in Rome ages ago.  Platforms, Prada, purchased in Milan.  Gold headband, Asos.com.  Short gold chain, custom made for my wedding party.  Long gold chain, some cheap thing.


  1. I find it admirable that you are pursuing something you are good at! I don’t think you’ll regret the decision that you made. Personally, I would regret not taking a chance and wonder what could have been! Best of luck to you!

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