Cross-class-dressing and DC-standard work attire

On my default setting, I dress like this:

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Includes: Daniel Dickinson, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Matthew Holmes

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Includes: Daniel Dickinson, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Matthew Holmes

And do things like this:

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Jessica Dickinson Goodman jumping into a creek in Elkmont, TN.

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Me jumping into a creek in Elkmont, TN.

Most of the people I hang out with also default to dressing like this:

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Photo includes: Daniel Dickinson, John Plocher, Matthew Holmes, Jessica Dickinson Goodman.

Credit: Katy Dickinson. Photo includes: Daniel Dickinson, John Plocher, Matthew Holmes, me. I don’t actually own that jacket, it’s my cousin Daniel’s. On top of the hood are the clothes I jumped into the creek in, sun-drying.

But 5 days out of 7, I dress like this:

and this:
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or this:
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And those are parts of me too. When I had my internship with Senator Feinstein’s office, I found wearing Lands End suit-pants and dress shoes to work uncomfortable. I pretended to be a character who would wear a suit, the Young Professional Jessica character. My bedroom has 2 closets, and one is for my work clothes and is full of shirts, a few pants, and a raft of dresses, all of which are DC-standard work attire. The other closet has my t-shirts, my sweatshirts, and my jeans.

I’m not really a Neal Patrick Harris about suits:

Much less an Amneris:

Some days when I dress for work, I feel like I’m cross-class-dressing, like I’m cosplaying Young Professional in a city-sized Law and Order convention. I don’t like that heels make it hard to climb over rocks and suit-jackets restrict arms-wide-open-hugs.

The times I feel most like me when I dress for work is when I wear sleeveless dresses and ballet flats–they let me run and climb and show off my arms, sit on the floor if I have to and stand during my work commute on the rare-and-bad days when I can’t get a seat.

On the best days when I have to wear a suit, I feel like Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton: both cross-dressing in a traditionally-male form of dress, and cross-class-dressing, hiding my skinned knees and Dia De Los Muertos socks and making a difference in the world.

But those suits and fancy dresses? Almost all are still from thriftshops:

Inspirational Quote:

“It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.”–Henry David Thoreau