Being a workaholic with difficult working hours and an ever so diminishing work life balance has taught me the value of carrying a bag full of essential makeup and backup clothes, especially for the days when the dinner dates turn a bit fancy. If you’re one of those people who can empathise with my woes of finding a work-date outfit balance and are a beginner at figuring it all out, let me help you by channeling my mentor for almost everything in my life, Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. If you’re not a crazy GG fan like me, I’d like to refer to you to an episode where Lorelai has to go on a date and she doesn’t know what outfit would be appropriate, and she talks about how to “come up with an outfit that I could easily convert from totally formal to totally casual with just a few moves.”
I’ve compiled my own version of casual work day to an important meeting to a casual date night to a fancy dinner date that is appropriate in most Bangladeshi context. Essentials to include in your arsenal for each outfit are your basic foundation, concealer or face powder, whichever you’re comfortable with as the base. Three shades of lipsticks that range from your basic red, pink and a dark shade and your basic eyeliner and mascara to finish off a casual look. If you’re more of an expert on makeup than I am, which is likely for a lot of people, don’t hesitate to make your own list of essentials. And most importantly, don’t forget a small comb of your choice, and your favourite mist/perfume!
For me, the kameez has always been a difficult outfit to truly master and I’ve marvelled at women who can make a kameez go from work appropriate to elegant. For this, I would suggest following, as my friend puts it, the ‘pairs’ principle. Plain colours that can be complemented with different accessories is the key here. Pair up a petite necklace with a plain white or black kameez and a simple dupatta at work, and switch it off with a colorful dupatta for the after work plans. Follow the colours of the seasons, floral dupatta and a simple bar pendant in spring, and for summer, colours can range from a burst of bright red and pink, with statement necklaces. Fall and winter can dim down to a darker tone, to dusty orange and shades of purple and brown with a combination of different bracelets.
The pant suit
If your workday involves a fancy meeting where you’re required to put on a formal outfit, a formal pant suit can transform into a date outfit with the usage of a chunky necklace or a fancy chocker. Finish the look with smoky eyes and bold dark lips. The best part of this outfit is that you can keep your hair pinned up to a perfect bun at all times!
When I asked my best friend if a dress could be incorporated into this scenario in the Dhaka context, she seemed quite apprehensive at first, and if you are too, hear me out. A dupatta with a skater dress or a shift or bodycon dress can be paired with your favourite tights and a scarf for work, and for your dinner date replace the dupatta with a chocker necklace, a statement necklace or a petite pendant that complements the dress. Replace the tights with a pair of kitten heels, or keep the tights and pair it up with your favourite boots and let your hair free!
This is my favourite outfit idea as I can never pull it off, but this is one of the best ways of achieving the ultimate work-date outfit. A pinned up plain sari would work for a day spent at a conference, just to be transformed into the ideal date outfit by letting the anchal free! You can play with the accessories to make the outfit look traditional to casual, and finish it off with some light makeup.
Whichever outfit you pick, always remember that comfort is always the key, and you should never sacrifice comfort for a date or a fancy night out! Want me to channel more of Lorelai for your outfit woes? Write to me at: [email protected]
Raida A. K. Reza is a free spirited bohemian lady who likes hugging trees, sciencing, making jewellery for her jewellery shop, writing and reading about (almost) everything. She also thinks she can change the world, but there’s not enough data to back that hypothesis (yet)