Here it is! Part 2 of “Head Wrapping in the Professional World” by government agency worker, Lila Halpern Besser! Enjoy and take notes!
Hi ladies! Andrea graciously asked me to write something about wrapping in the professional world. I understand not every “professional” environment is the same, but I wanted to share my personal feelings so that it may help someone have the confidence to wrap for work.
A little about me-I’ve been wrapping since my wedding almost 2 years ago, and I live near Washington DC with my amazing husband. I met Andrea shortly after I got married through a mutual friend, and have been inspired by her in my wrapping. Some of you may recognize me from the Wrapunzel website (I had an awesome time modeling the midsummer line with Yehudis) and from the fangroup, where I post almost daily. Sometimes I need to see myself through a camera lens to see the outward image I am projecting for the world to see, and what better way to do that than sharing with the amazing and supportive Wrapunzel community.
What makes an outfit professional? (including my shopping tips)
Everyone has a different definition of what is considered professional. I work for a government agency where all of the men (and some of the women) are in suits every day. Dress pants and blouses and sometimes sheath dresses are present as well. That is what “business professional” standardly looks like. And yes, while I love to rock the sheath dress as much as the next girl (see pics below), that isn’t the be-all, end-all of dressing professionally.
First and foremost, confidence and tidiness are key. Even if you are in a suit, if you don’t hold your head high and your clothing is disheveled, you won’t look professional. And while wearing your tichel proudly, you allow your confidence to shine through. It may take a little practice to get a tichel looking neat and tidy, but master the Beginner’s Luck, the Regal wrap, and maybe a turban if you want and you will never go wrong.
My fashion tastes tend to be a little loud at times (pattern mixing, bright colors), but I keep it all professional by following a few simple rules:
1- A sheath dress with a cardigan or jacket, regardless of the color or pattern of the dress, is always an easy way to look put together (especially when your tichel coordinates with colors in the dress.
2- A line, pencil, or flared skirts, even in colors or patterns, are flattering and look great, but it always depends on the top. An outfit can hinge on a corresponding top.
3- Tops with collars, whether form fitting like dress shirts or a little more flowing, are amazing closet staples. Personally, I love the sleeveless, loose fitting button down tucked into a flowy or pleated skirt with a cardigan for a polished look. It’s pretty much my go-to most days.
How do I express my creativity while still remaining professional?
Part of it is the clothing I choose to wear, but tichels play a major part it in. Sometimes I want to do a fancy wrap with multiple scarves and feel creative, and some days I just want a simple Beginner’s Luck with my favorite sari scarf, or a turban with a T-shirt tichel. It all depends on how I feel, but my color choices in both my clothing and my tichels allow me to express myself and show the face I want the world to see.
Do I feel constrained or more free in my wardrobe choices due to wearing a tichel to work?
I think sometimes it’s both, but more often it makes me feel free. I’ve woken up some mornings wanting to wear a particular scarf and decided nothing matched, or had a hard time matching a scarf to an outfit I wanted to wear (in these situations, my husband usually comes to my rescue and suggests some fantastic combination. Don’t be fooled, ladies, some of my best outfits were chosen by him). But most of the time, I love being able to match scarves to outfits, pulling in some small color from my dress, or wearing a neutral outfit and brightly colored scarves. I also believe that accessories pull and outfit together and make it look polished. Tichels are as much an accessory and part of my outfit as makeup, jewelry, shoes, or a jacket, so I love to coordinate whatever bling I’m wearing on my tichel (headband, pin, sash) to the rest of my jewelry
to pull it all together.
What would I say to someone nervous about wearing a tichel on her first day of work?
To be completely honest, I’ve been there. I started my job two months before my wedding, and the first day going back to work, I had a really hard time getting dressed. I had been planning on wearing a wide headband, but somehow it just didn’t feel right. My husband was watching this dilemma, and he told me to just wear a scarf. So I chose something neutral and understated (black/white/grey ombre 2in1 with a silver headband), and went to work. The first week, I got a few questions from my supervisor and co- workers, but I was ready with my response: “Some Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair after marriage, and that is what I have chosen to do”. And everyone accepted that. Over the next several weeks, as I became more comfortable, I started branching out with brighter colors and more intricate styles, and no one batted an eyelash. Do I still get funny looks in the bathroom sometimes? Of course.
Do people occasionally ask why I cover my hair? Absolutely. Do random people stop me in the halls? All the time. But when I smile at staring people in the bathroom, they smile back. And I tell the people who ask that I cover my hair to signify my status as an Orthodox Jewish married woman and it is a part of my religion. And the people who stop me in the hallway? They usually just want to tell me they like my scarf, ask how I tied it, or where I got it.
What are some of my favorite professional outfits I’ve worn?
Check them out!