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Cotton On blouse, Banana Republic (!) skirt from a thrift shop, Lucky Brand wedges, Forever 21 collar necklace

Last week Banana Republic opened its Head-to-Toe Handbook, an online boutique where people who are incapable of dressing themselves can go to buy entire outfits curated by career. Assuming either that women don’t have careers or can dress themselves, job personas include “The Corporate Guy”, “The Creative Guy”, etc. In particular “The Startup Guy” uniform was met with much eye rolling and an onslaught of sarcastic features in relevant Valley and larger global publications, including: Business Insider, Valleywag, Venturebeat, Entrepreneur and FastCompany.

It’s one part Banana Republic’s sad gender-biased stereotypes about what work looks like and one part its total disconnect from what the jean-and-tshirt-clad startup community is really about, but the campaign seems to have missed its mark. Sam Biddle nailed it in Valleywag: “If Banana Republic were honest, The Startup Guy lookbook would consist of this: t-shirts with startup logos, giant shorts, purple-on-brown New Balances, ballooning blazers, and bootcut jeans. It is a mess. We forgive them for their mess because they are smart—and when you create a supervortex of wealth, hubris, mild Asperger’s, and hackathons, what more can you expect?”

Regardless of whether or not I’m going to walk in the office today and see all my colleagues in rolled khakis and sockless loafers, what I’m really interested in is the fact that without a complementary service in its women’s online store, Banana Republic begs the question: What’s a startup girl to wear?

I’ll show you.

Banana Republic's Startup Guy Uniform with commentary from FastCompany
Banana Republic’s Startup Guy Uniform with commentary from FastCompany

Going back to work in a real office has been fun because I get to not wear sweatpants every single day, a seemingly delightful but eventually depressing side effect of working from home. And since I work in startup I also don’t have to succumb to standard soul-sucking office dress codes. In my office, this is what a startup girl wears…

Jeans are always ok no matter what. Sometimes (all the time) I’m feeling dark and menacing like this…

H&M peplum top (resale), Michael Kors jeans, Lucky Brand wedges, handmade necklace


Other times I lighten up like this…

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Urban Outfitters blouse, J Brand jeans (from TJ Maxx), BC footwear shoes

Pencil skirts are a GO all the time.

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Cynthia Rowley tee (TJ Maxx), Banana Republic pencil skirt (see??), BC Footwear shoes, Forever 21 purse

As are giant t-shirts masquerading as dresses. This one my boyfriend bought me for my birthday from… Banana Republic.

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Banana Republic dress, BC Footwear shoes

And sometimes I wake up at 9 and don’t want to shower and just throw on what is basically a glorified sweatsuit–high-wasted pants and a tank–and get to the office by 9:30.

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Banana Republic tank, BCBG pants, Matisse gold sandals

I was actually unaware how much Banana Republic clothing I owned until I started captioning these photos. Perhaps that is proof positive that women in startup tech are their real target audience.

What do you wear to work?


  1. I usually wear trousers in a basic color and some sort of cute top. Today it’s a polka dot cardi with a tshirt beneath it. I’ve been really into dresses this summer too though.

    I love that skirt! And your “just threw it on” outfit of a tank and pants. The peplum top looks great on you. I’ve always wanted to try that style but don’t know if it’ll work on me.

    Most everything in my closet is either Old Navy (hello cheap) or Gap.

  2. Kikki Kikki

    Just curious about why you always pose pigeon-toed in all your selfies….

    • Katie Katie

      Uh this question would be great if I were actually pigeon-toed… I don’t know, do people stand with their heels together? Because I do not.

      • Chrissy Chrissy

        The only people I know that stand with their heels together are dancers. And it kind of makes them look like penguins.

    • Rachel Rachel

      Standing with your toes together makes your legs look skinnier. I do it often…

      • Katie Katie

        Works for me!

  3. Amanda Amanda

    Oh Banana Republic. I love your clothes but not your assumption that I don’t have a career. Or is it that they assume women with careers can pick their own outfits, while men are presumably helpless? Either way – yay sexism.

    I wear a lot of what I call “teacher clothes” which basically means a lot of flats and cardigans. That, and my standard grad student uniform of jeans and tee shirts. So boring. I do love that pencil skirt outfit.

  4. TaMo TaMo

    RE: Kiki’s comment

    People sure do study selfies of others, I suppose.

    • Kikki Kikki

      No need to get defensive about your daughter, TaMo. It was just a casual question based on her photos from a number of posts.
      Besides, doesn’t posting a blog dedicated to fashion photos of yourself invite a certain degree of observation, if not scrutiny?

  5. You fancy. Love all the looks.
    “Dressing up” is what I miss most about an office job… which I left in 2007. The first couple of years I was thrilled to be wearing yoga pants and tees to work… but now… ugh. I need a change.

    • Katie Katie

      Same here! I tried to discipline myself to get up and get dressed and go to coffee shops and stuff, but the sweatpants always prevailed.

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