While I’m off and away, teaching the youngsters and generally finding myself in way over my head with this whole teacher-student-haver-of-life balance thing, I invited some friends (some from the blog world, some from the non-blog world) to keep us all company here at The Life Academic and share their solutions to my current conundrum: outfits appropriate for teaching-studenting-living in the hot, hot summer heat.
Today, one of my dearest friends in the whole world — who I met in college and who has loved, supported, and put up with me ever since — has come to join us. In fact, Caitlin (who does not blog, by the way, much to my chagrin as she is fabulous and hilarious) has come from across the whole world to join us — a full 7638 miles! Anyhow, I’ll let her explain the whole thing:
When Martina asked me to contribute to her blog with my own work appropriate outfit I thought “why not, I wear clothes to work all the time.” (Editor’s note: seriously, do you not see why I love this lady?) Actually, I have been thinking about what I wear more than usual lately. I work for the US State Department* and this summer I am in Doha, Qatar. Qatar (located right next to Saudi Arabia) is hot, humid and conservative. Like 110 degrees hot, so humid your sun glasses fog up and at least half the women you see in public are covered head to toe in black robes. Basically I have two kinds of outfits I wear, those for working at the Embassy and those for when I have meetings with locals. This I is an outfit I wore on an Embassy only day:
The skirt covers my knees and the shirt covers my shoulders, so it is acceptable for wearing in public. However, as a young woman who already has to work to be taken seriously in the patriarchal society here, I tend to go for pants for outside meetings. This skirt, however, is way more comfortable in the heat. Also, this shirt doesn’t require ironing. I hate ironing, so this is a major plus.
Shoes: Geox, thrifted.
Finally, I love these shoes. I got them at thrift store in New York. I’m pretty sure they are a sample because they don’t have a size on them, but they fit me! They are really breathable and have just enough heel to make me feel fancy without making my feet hurt. Also, they are the same color as the ubiquitous sand/dust here so it doesn’t show as much when they get dusty.
Being here has really made me realize how much my work clothes are a demonstration of my American/Western-ness. The messages that I send with my clothes in the US don’t necessarily translate to other cultures. As I move on to more countries in the coming years I guess I will have to continue to balance the standards of US professional dress, local professional dress and manage to stick my own style in there somewhere. Hopefully the results will be awesome. (Editor’s note: Caitlin is always awesome, so by the transitive property, all her activities should be. Really people, this is science.)
*The views expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect the views of the US government or the State Department, who I imagine are pondering issues of greater significance than my clothing.
So, how much do we love Caitlin? And don’t we all think that she should start a “bad-ass State Department women” blog so that everyone can love her, too? Yes. The answer to all of the above is definitely yes. As ever, Caitlin my dearest, I treasure your sarcasm, silliness, and style in my life. Thank you for gracing my blog with your lovely self and now PLEASE come home soon so that we can have a play date, okay?