I miss wearing office clothes: tough times are easier if I’m well-dressed

I miss wearing(ˈweriNG) office clothes: tough(təf) times are easier if I’m well-dressed

By Suzanne Westover

I am mourning(ˈmôrniNG) my office wardrobe(ˈwôrˌdrōb). In pre-pandemic days, if I needed a boost to my self-esteem(əˈstēm) or to gird(ɡərd) my loins(loin) for a difficult day, I reached for my black and white houndstooth(ˈhoun(d)zˌto͞oTH) blazer(ˈblāzər) with the hook-and-eye clasps(klasp) and deliberately(dəˈlib(ə)rətlē) frayed(frād) edges. Paired(perd) with skinny(ˈskinē) jeans(jēnz) and a tall caramel(ˈkerəməl) leather(ˈleT͟Hər) boot, it struck the right balance between authoritative(əˈTHôrəˌtādiv) and relatable(rəˈlādəb(ə)l).

Even more importantly, it was a gift from my mother after my first round of in vitro(ˈvēˌtrō) fertilization(ˌfərdləˈzāSH(ə)n) failed.

She subscribes to the motto(ˈmädō), “look good, feel better,” and when I was at one of my lowest points, she bought it for me from her month’s grocery(ˈɡrōs(ə)rē) budget(ˈbəjət). When putting one foot in front of the other was almost more than I could bear, I found unexpected strength when I donned a silky(ˈsilkē) pink tunic(ˈt(y)o͞onik), dark leggings(ˈleɡiNGz) and that houndstooth blazer.

It was my office go-to throughout my fertility(fərˈtilədē) treatments. It helped to hide my ovaries(ˈōv(ə)rē), swollen to the size of peaches after rounds of injections. But it also allowed me to conceal(kənˈsēl) a sadness too painful to reveal(rəˈvēl), when colleague upon colleague announced joyful pregnancy(ˈpreɡnənsē) news.

Today, my daughter is almost 9 and that blazer has remained a powerful go-to piece. When I put it on, I’m reminded that slogging(släɡ) through tough times is just a little bit easier if I’m well-dressed for the occasion.