Friday, 7 October 2011

Colour is my friend - What I wear to work.

If you didn't know, I work as a Sign Language/English interpreter. Basically I wave my hands around a lot and look at other people waving their hands round and try to understand what they're saying.

Because of my job, I need to wear clothes that create contrast, so its easier for people to see what I'm signing (so they won't get eye strain.) As such, patterns are out, light colours are out (for me) and dark colours are in.

When I was training to be an interpreter, I took this to mean all I can wear is black. And so I did. For a long time, all I wore was black, all I bought was black. At first it was fun, like a work 'uniform' that showed I was an interpreter. But after a while black became boring (don't you hate it when wearing black top and black pants and both the blacks are different?!). I looked boring, like I was going to a funeral, and black can sometimes be too much contrast.

I decided I needed colour in my life. Slowly I have been building up a wardrobe of (work appropriate) colour. I still wear black sometimes, but when I do, its surrounded by other colours.

I'd like to share with you some of what I wear to give you ideas about how to use colour (even if you're not an interpreter, some people still tend to over-black.) I've taken photos over a 2 week period of what I wear for work, so in winter there would be a lot more heavy coats, in summer it will be more long skirts and sandals, but you'll get the idea.

Navy skirt - teal tee and black cardi

Orange skirt -black tee - Navy Jacket

Burgandy Merino Dress

Burnt orange dress - Navy Blazer

Green Maxi skirt - black top and cardi

Mid blue dress - brown cardi

Green skirt, Navy Jacket (remember to iron your clothes...)
See the colour in action....
Please don't ask about my facial expression

Wearing blue, and dying from smoke inhalation - all in a days work

I am wearing colour here.. see the pink scarf!... hmm bad interpreter?

See, adding a bit of colour isn't so hard! If you aren't working as an interpreter, you could add patterned tops and dresses and nice accessories (jewelry, scarfs etc.)
As for me, my accessorising for work goes about this far;

You might have noticed I don't wear trousers. This isn't because I am anti trousers. I just don't have any nice ones that fit. And trousers tend to come in boring colours, whereas skirts give you a lot more colour freedom. (You may have also noticed I am not wearing shoes in many photos. Don't worry, I do actually wear shoes to work.)

I personally am anti-jeans for work. I was inspired by an interpreter friend to look more professional, so I don't wear jeans at all when working. I find that dressing up a bit makes me feel and look more like a professional, and tends to suit the situations I work in.

So there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed seeing what you can do with colour :)


  1. I found this post from a google search for interpreter attire. As a terp student in the US, and someone who loves color, I've been wondering how I can put more color into my wardrobe without ticking off my instructors. Thanks for sharing classy, fun ways to add color! I will continue to be brave in wearing touches of color! :)

  2. thanks, glad I could inspire :)


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