Upgrade U: Barkins workwear

by - March 25, 2012

The thing about working in music and street fashion for nearly all of my 20s is I own a lot of sneakers and inappropriately short skirts, dresses and shorts. Not so great when you look for work in the public service. I had to buy an outfit for job interviews and when I scored a second job interview for what turned out to be my current role, I had to wear a vintage dress disguised as office-wear with a black cardigan, pantyhose and dress shoes. Barely passable. So when I got the job I had to buy at least three more outfits before I started for a five-day work week.

Seeing as how I'd only met the two people who interviewed me, I didn't have a clue how formally dressed the office was or wasn't. It didn't help that when I went in to sign paperwork before starting, everyone in my future team was wearing Hawaiian shirts and/or hula skirts for an endless summer themed morning tea. So I did what I don't normally do: take advice from someone who knows better. Little Sissy Pham has been working in the real world for as long as I have been running around fantasy land in tights so she came shopping with me. In a movie, this would have been a 30 second montage with perky music. Not in a movie, it took three hours with a toilet break.
I thought Target, Big W and K-mart would champion my previously unemployed budget of about $150-$200 for a weeks' worth of outfits but my saviour turned out to be Australian label Barkins. Barkins have a large range of work wear, day wear and cosy looking casual wear. I went to their store at Jindalee DFO in Brisbane this time. For some reason their website doesn't list this store nor the outlet on Smith Street in Collingwood, Melbourne. So maybe assume there's one hidden in your area somewhere and call up for store locations. Barkins have corporate looking outfits but me being me, of course, chose the more casual and colourful approach to workwear.

I managed to find three outfits that I actually liked and when I took 'em to the counter they only racked up a $99 bill! And to top it all off Little Sissy Pham's boyfriend bought all three as a late birthday present for me!! How lovely. I guess he does kindda owe me for all the vegan (or "bloody vegan" as I like to mutter while I cook) meals I make him when he's over. Plus, I've been a bit of a charity case lately. Dad Pham bought me a car to get around Bris and a desk for my room, Little Sissy Pham bought me a chest of draws for my clothes and fronted money for bills before I could pay her back. Even Big Brother Pham kept topping up the tank whenever he borrowed Luigi (my car). So when Little Sissy Pham's boyfriend offered to pay for my new work wardrobe, instead of letting my pride protest, the charity case in me jumped up and down yelling, "Yay!" The moral of this story is make sure your sister is dating some one who pities you.
I am probably the most casual and least professional looking lass in my office but, you know, I shower and attempt to tame my frizzy hair (it really dislikes Brisbane humidity, here's hoping it doesn't mutiny and leave my head again) so I am not offensive. Or so I hope.

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  1. Ahhahaha I tried on that red dress yesterday; I love Barkins! (I didn't end up getting it. But I got two linen 3/4 arm blazers :)

    1. oooh, i wasn't sold on the red dress in the store but bought it anyway 'cause it was better to wear it than go naked to work. But now i love it! it's so easy to wear. Blazers are next on my to-buy list. Now that I'm clothed, it's time to cover up against the air-con.